Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Posts Tagged ‘humanism

A Huge Step Forwards: Obama Acknowledges Gay Parents

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Words of common sense from the White House – who would’ve thought?
In his Father’s Day speech, Barack Obama acknowledged same-sex parenthood.

Fatherhood also carries enormous responsibilities. An active, committed father makes a lasting difference in the life of a child. When fathers are not present, their children and families cope with an absence government cannot fill. Across America, foster and adoptive fathers respond to this need, providing safe and loving homes for children facing hardships. Men are also making compassionate commitments outside the home by serving as mentors, tutors, or big brothers to young people in their community. Together, we can support the guiding presence of male role models in the lives of countless young people who stand to gain from it.

Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.

(My bold.)

Finally, somebody in american politics talking sense about parenthood, and acknowledging that a parental bond is not dependant on biological kinship. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

June 22, 2010 at 06:40

One of the Best Humanist Blogs Around

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I’ll be very busy this weekend, so I won’t be able to spend too much time here until next monday. So for the meantime, I thought I’d throw out a recommendation for all who want to read clear, honest, humanist thoughts:

It’s a blog called Belief In People. You can also find it in my blogroll in the sidebar. It’s a great blog full of insightful musings. What I find to be particularly interesting about Shawn’s writings is that he wrote a fair bit about being an atheist parent. His musings are thought-provoking, the topics are interesting, his reasoning is clear and his writing is eloquent. It just can’t get much better. A good place to start reading is The Best of Belief in People, a selection of his best posts. Enjoy!

Protecting Children From Sexual Abuse: A Better Approach

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“Do you like children more than you ought to? There is help. http://www.do-not-become-a-culprit.de” *

I was quite stunned when I saw this TV ad for a help-line for paedophiles. I don’t know wether they actually aired it yet, as I only saw it on their homepage. In any case I hope this gets massive exposure, for this is a laudable thing. Paedophilia is a tough topic, all the more so because most people are so disgusted by the thought of it that they completely close off to rational arguments.
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Thank You, Switzerland!

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Harun Yahya, whose real name is Adnan Oktar, is pretty much the Kent Hovind of the muslim world. His book, called the “Atlas of Creation” is an accumulation of pictures – fossils on one page, a living creature of similar shape on the other, and the assertion that life hasn’t changed at all. Therefore of course, Allah is the creator, Muhammad his prophet, and the Quaran his holy word. Two things are interesting about the book: Its enormous production cost (over 700 high-gloss color pages) and free distribution (copies were given to huge numbers of schools and universites) and secondly, the incredible incompetence of its author. Throughout the book, he is mistaking blatant mistakes such as mistaking a snake for an eel and fisihng lure for a fly. Oh yeah, he’s been convicted of various crimes, too.

On May 28th he was scheduled to give a talk at the Kongresshaus in Zürich. He didn’t actually give the talk himself, but just sent one of his minions, which totally doesn’t make a difference because just anyone can give a talk on creationism. There’s only a handful of “arguments” that need to be repeated over and over and over and over again.
The talk was heavily advertised, as can be expected from a ministry that is able to produce an enormous number of high-quality, large format picture books in nine languages and give them away for free. What they didn’t know was that the audience consisted in part of an organized, 70-people flash mob who, after a while just got up and left. You can watch the video of the people leaving here, or the complete lecture (part one of eight) here.

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Stop the Executions! An Open Letter From Iranian Mothers

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COLOGNE, Germany. A group of Iranian mothers aims to spread the message of Daye Saltaneh – the mother of Farzad Kamangar, who was executed by the Islamic regime two weeks ago. The group plans to protest in front of the state parliament, asking the government to support their cause.

The Mother of Farzad

Daye Saltaneh, mother of one of the executed prisoners.

Dear fellow freedom-loving citizens!

More than two weeks have passed since the executions of the political prisoners Farzad Kamangar, Shirin Alam Huli, Ali Heidarian, Mehdi Eslamian and Farhad Wakili Rad. Executions of complete arbitrariness, without even informing the prisoners families or lawyers beforehand. Executions on charges that were, according to the families’ lawyers, absurd and untrue. Farzad Karmangar, a teacher and journalist, was the nineteenth Karmangar family member to be executed by the Islamic regime of Iran.

In Frankfurt/Main Farzads family conducted a memorial celebration in honour of the five executed prisoners. During the event, a letter from Farzads mother was read, mirroring the suffering of a woman who has just lost her child. The tears and the silence of the audience honoured Daye Saltaneh whose wish it is that other mothers are spared the same fate; who thinks of other prisoners who are about to be executed, and who appeals to us to stand up and fight for the release of those in captivity. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

May 28, 2010 at 16:18

About ‘Everybody Draw Muhammad Day’

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Afghan depiction of Muhammad, 1436

Afghan depiction of Muhammad, 1436

I’m all for free speech, but I think Draw Muhammad Day is a silly idea. I think so because all it does is to play into the hands of hate-mongerers on both sides. My problem here is not that it does antagonize, but that it doesn’t do anything but antagonize.The one thing that criticism of Islam always has to be careful about is not to be hijacked by xenophobes. It is too easy to get pushed into the ‘ignorant-racist-redneck-corner’, and once in there, it’s hard to get out. Criticism of Islam needs to distinguish itself from islamophobic propaganda and racist hate-mongering. We are not Islamophobes, we are rational people standing up for our rights and against censorship.
Draw Muhammad Day is sending out all the wrong signals. What it really does is to play into the hands of the more moronic fractions on both sides. On the Muslim side we will have extremists using this to demonize us in the eyes of new recruits: ‘Those westerners, look at how hatefull they are and how they lack the slightest respect!’ On our side, we will have the racists using it for the same thing: ‘Oh, look at those evil freedom-hating muslims: they already shut down Facebook to censor a few cartoons, I wonder when they will burn the next embassy?’ Both these groups will welcome Draw Muhammad Day. It is oil to their fires. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

May 19, 2010 at 18:36

Abuse in Catholic Organizations is a Deep-Rooted Structural Problem

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The abusive nun

"Never Again!"

The media generally limits itself to refer to the whole business as ‘abuse’, and while that’s technically correct, there is a need to clarify this very abstract term. So what, exactly are we talking about when we speak of ‘abuse’ in catholic organizations? It’s not just molestation, which is what most people think of in this context, if they do permit themselves to think about it at all.
What the victims had to go through is far from being limited to sexual abuse. There are people all over the world who are now finally finding the strength to unveil the horrors of their childhoods in christian care homes, and the stories emerging are simply shocking. They were kept in solitary confinement for days on end, drugged, raped, deprived of sleep and of food, used as forced labour, beaten, humiliated, and even forced to eat their own vomit.
Take a second to let that sink in, take a second to imagine. Once we’ve established an understanding of the situation, we can move on to discuss the causes. Read the rest of this entry »

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