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THE RATIONALIST ASSOCIATION OF NSW INC.


Incorporating The New Liberator (see Tab)

Too many unknowns in school scripture

No one can officially say if a scripture teacher has ever walked into a NSW primary school class with a dead animal and proceeded to dissect it. He or she could have, by following the authorised Sydney Anglican Diocese scripture material known as Connect.

There are serious concerns about scripture in NSW schools, not least the NSW Government’s apparent favoured treatment of church groups and unwillingness to allow public debate about whether the long tradition of religious classes in state school class time should end.

These concerns apply to all Australian states.From Chris Stevenson: 

"The schools will tell you RI is 'opt in'," said one parent, "but it's a lie." During a break he explained that his child was put into an RI class without his permission. In response to his frequent complaints, she was variously sat at the back of the class, then just outside the door, in the library and then ended up back in the class again. "And it's not just us," he said. "I've been told similar stories by parents from half a dozen schools!"

Many parents feel pressured to give permission for their children to attend RI. Schools complain they have insufficient staff to provide adequate supervision and, despite Education Department policies, children who opt-out often find themselves in the "naughty seat" outside the principal's office, put out into hallways or onto verandas, or else included in the RI class against their parents' wishes. See here

Other sourcs are:

Qld Dept Education and Training Report on the Review of the Connect Religious Instruction Materials here;

Hugh Harris, Religious Instruction in Queensland schools is discriminatory  here

Secular Public Education Inc.: here  and facebook here


There is no need to amend s.18C Racial Discrimination Act.

We do not believe that ss18C and 18D impose unreasonable restrictions upon freedom of speech. As it stands, the law in practice has been shown to be an effective means of working towards the prevention and occurrence of racist speech. See General Articles here

 


GILLIAN TRIGGS IS STILL HOLDING ON, AND HER REWARD IS CONTINUING TORMENT

 
Mark Dreyfus
The Guardian

"Triggs is not being recalled [to the Senate Inquiry] so that further facts of any matter can be established. It is simply another step in the coalition’s campaign, led by senators Ian MacDonald and Barry O’Sullivan, to harm her because they do not like what she stands for." See further,  here

 

 

‘I don’t judge politicians’: Pope Francis skirts Trump question


Faith school pupils punished for not attending mass

News | Thu, 06 Oct 2016

A group of non-Catholic students in a Scottish school have been punished with a week's worth of detentions after they refused to attend a religious service.

 


 

SURVEYS:  AUSTRALIANS LITTLE INFLUENCED BY RELIGION WHEN THEY VOTE AND THEY WANT RELIGION OUT OF GOVERNMENT

Size = 339 x 286 An August 2015 IPSOS survey on behalf of the Rationalist Assn of NSW and the Humanist Society of Queensland found that  only 14 per cent of Australians say their religious belief influences the way they vote.

Of that 14 per cent, only 5 per cent said they were ‘very much’ influenced by their religion. The other 9 per cent said they were ‘somewhat influenced’ by their religion.

The questions had no applicability to the largest  cohort of the survey, those with no religion, 34 per cent of the sample.

Catholics constituted 21 per cent of the sample. Only 4 per cent of Catholics said they were very much influenced by their religion with 11 per cent somewhat influenced.

Max Wallace, vice-president of the Rationalist Association of NSW said the results cast doubt on the notion that there is an influential, across-the board Christian or Catholic vote in Australia. He said ‘this squares with what we know about widespread support for voluntary euthanasia and gay marriage.’ 

The January 2016 IPSOS survey on behalf of the Rationalist Assn of NSW and the Plain Reason organisation of South Australia, found 78 per cent of Australians do not want religion dictating social policy.

72 per cent favoured a change in the wording of the constitution to make the division between religion and government in Australia more precise.

Plain Reasons’s Brian Morris said ‘politicians, the law, media, academia and the public sector should take note of this potent community mood to limit religious influence in contemporary social policy.’

But what are we to make of the association of politicians and the judiciary with religion, when they open the year's endeavours by invoking the will of God?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy, right, together with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and wife Chloe Bryce, left, during the ecumenical prayer service at Wesley Uniting Church on February 2. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE / MICK TSIKAS

 

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and wife Lucy, right, together with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and wife Chloe Bryce, left, during the ecumenical prayer service at Wesley Uniting Church on February 2. PHOTO: AAP IMAGE / MICK TSIKAS

 


 

Archbishop at Red Mass

At the annual Red Mass to welcome the NSW legal fraternity, Archbishop Fisher issued a call to undertake the task of rebuilding the Judeo-Christian patrimony of tolerance, reports The Catholic Weekly here. He said that ‘the law points beyond itself to God’s “higher law”, and trhat “In the Judeo-Christian tradition it begins with the idea that every person – even someone different from me in ethnicity, beliefs, experience and friends – is a child of God...,”

Judges attending included Justice Tom Bathurst, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW; Justice John Faulks, deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia; and Justice Margaret Beazley, president of the NSW Court of Appeal.


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thumbnailChurch millions revealed

Simon Plumb,

NZ Herald Sunday Jul 24, 2016

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11680258

Simon Plumb writes that the secretive community Gloriavale church is one of t three wealthiest churches in NZ. Its wealth of over $40 million in assets consists of ‘ property, deer and dairy stocks and “vehicle and aircraft”'. Plus donations from its flock through tithing.

Plumb goes on to point out that charities linked to eight Christian goups -Gloriavale, Destiny Church, Victory Church, Life NZ, C3 Church, Equippers Church, Arise Church and City Impact Church have amassed assets worth more than $214m. ‘Gloriavale, Victory Church and City Impact Church carry the most valuable books.’

He notes that Gloriavale recently states its Christian Church Community Trust has $41.4m in total assets. Most of that is in land ($10.4m) and buildings ($11.6m) but it also has deer and dairy stocks worth $4.8m and $928,000 in "vehicles and aircraft".

Massey University Professor Peter Lineham, an expert in New Zealand's religious history and activity. says, the community is also a very regulated existence. "It's a highly controlled life and manipulated structure with ­arranged marriages....Their recruitment is entirely from a very high birth rate. But every single member in the ­community is in fact working under community orders, for the community. Nobody gets a ­separate income. All expenditure is controlled by the community."

"All of these churches hold to what we call the ­prosperity ­doctrine - which argues that the sign of God's love for you will be that you become rich and that you will earn God's love by the generosity of your gifts to the church.”

But these are just the wealthiest of the churches.

Read more here.


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Size = 134 x 180 FREEDOM FROM RELIGION
Rethinking Article 18

By Meg Wallace
_________________
‘...‘important’ ‘significant‘ and ‘groundbreaking’.’

           Stephen Mutch, former attorney, parliamentarian, and Honorary Fellow at Macquarie University.

Religious freedom does not mean religious privilege.

Available from Cilento Publishing: http://www.cilentopublishing.com/ or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Meg-Wallace/e/B001KE1KPY;

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Shorten: Labor won't change discrimination laws to please same-sex marriage opponents, but he will not be seeking to roll back the exemptions to anti-discrimination laws for relgious institutions. See here; further on marriage equality see here.

The exemptions allow religious welfare agencies, hospitals and schools to hire, fire, provide or withhold services and provide conditions on these according to their religious convictions.

Knott quotes Greens campaign spokesman Nick McKim who said "The fundamental principle here is that Australians should be treated the same, whether or not they're of one particular religion or another or whether in fact they're not religious at all.".

"And if the rest of the country is going to be required by legislation to behave in a particular way and not behave in other particular ways, we think that's reasonable for the churches as well."

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Bob Hawke calls for euthanasia to be made legal in Australia saying it is “absurd that euthanasia is not legal in this country” see here.

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Secularism best to create fair society, says new Pacific Islands Secular Association

 

Secularism best to create fair society, says new Pacific Islands Secular Association

News | Tue, 15 Mar 2016

The UK National Secular Society has congratulated the founders of a new organisation to promote public understanding of secularism in the Pacific Islands.

The Rationalist Association of NSW has supported the establishment of PISA, and sponsoring its development.

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Sharia inquiry launched by Home Affairs Committee:

The Home Affairs Committee has announced the launch of an inquiry into Sharia councils in the UK, following the start of a Government review back in May.see here

TheSharia inquiry launched by Home Affairs Committee UK National Cecular Society comments that ‘[I]n their inquiry the Committee will on the "basic tenets of Sharia law with reference to family, divorce, domestic violence and children and how those compare to the same in British law., and will "examine how Sharia councils operate in practice, their work resolving family and divorce disputes and their relationship with the British legal system."

It is inviting written evidence on the "extent to which Sharia councils might discriminate against women" and why the councils are used.’ http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2016/06/sharia-inquiry-launched-by-home-affairs-committee

The Rationalist Association of NSW believes that a similar examination into the number of religious tribunals in Australia and their operation is required.  


http://www.secularism.org.uk/images/168655/large.jpg

UN children’s rights Committee calls on UK to abolish compulsory worship in schools

News | Fri, 10 Jun 2016

A UN committee has urged the UK to repeal laws requiring the provision of 'broadly Christian' worship in UK schools. It also called for pupils to be given the independent right of withdrawal from any religious worship held in schools.

See here.

46% in England support legal limits on free speech where religion is concerned, poll finds

 

 

46% in England support legal limits on free speech where religion is concerned, poll finds

 

News | Tue, 15 Mar 2016

A new report on identity and immigration has found that nearly half of England's population support legal limits on free speech when religion is concerned, and that support for free speech has fallen significantly.

‘....the law is not there to prevent us from feeling offended.

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Fears Turkish Justice Ministry “to classify violence against women as a ‘petty crime’

In Australia, women are killed as a result of domestic violence on an average of one a week. In Turkey on woman is killed on an average of one a day. President Erdogan and senior members of his party have made repeated statements about women's 'traditional' role in society. In November 2014 he denied that men and women should be on an "equal footing" and said it was "against nature". They are talking about making violence against women a petty crime, for which punishment may even be paid off: http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2015/11/fears-for-womens-rights-in-turkey-as-justice-ministry-to-classify-violence-against-women-as-a-petty-crime.

 

High Court rules Northern Ireland’s abortion laws breach women’s human rights - British Humanist Association

The High Court in Belfast has ruled that Northern Ireland’s abortion laws breach Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, in impinging upon women’s personal autonomy, in the cases where a woman wants an abortion due to either a fatal foetal abnormality or because she is pregnant due to rape or incest. Abortion in Northern Ireland will now need to be legalised in these circumstances.

The judge agreed with respect to rape and incest (up to the point where the foetus is viable), but not serious foetal abnormality, where he did not consider the evidence in front of him meant he could make a similar ruling. He also said that the European Convention does not mean abortion has to be legalised in general.

See: https://humanism.org.uk/2015/11/30/high-court-rules-northern-irelands-abortion-laws-breach-womens-human-rights/

What on earth is 'Extreme Secularism'?

After taking onmilitant atheistsin their last publication, London School of Economics Director Craig Calhoun and University of Bristol Sociology Professor Tariq Modood have now found a new target for their quest against what they call the problem of “lack of religion in the public sphere”. This time, it isextreme secularism”. See blog Dishonest and harmful attacks on ‘extreme secularism’by Chris Moos, http://freethinker.co.uk/2015/12/01/dishonest-and-harmful-attacks-on-extreme-secularism/
 

SICK OF CHURCHES MISREPRESENTING SECULARISM? THESE CATHOLICS ARE.

A liberal international Catholic group has criticised the Pope for misrepresenting secularism in a joint declaration, he issued with Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, stating that "very aggressive secularist ideology" sought to "relegate" Christians to the "margins of public life."

See summary here.

 

Britain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, says judge

 

The Catholic Church is telling newly appointed bishops it is "not necessarily" their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse to authorities.

A document explaining how senior clergy members ought to deal with allegations of abuse suggests only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.

The document, recently released by the Vatican, emphasises that bishops' only duty is to address such allegations internally - though it says they must be aware of local laws. Details were reported by John Allen, associate editor of the Catholic News Site Cruxnow.com.

The NSS stated:

 “According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds,” the document states.

The guidance reportedly states that "According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds".

The NSS, which has campaigned for ten years, including at the United Nations, to expose clerical abuse and the rape and sexual abuse of minors, strongly criticised the guidance for flouting secular law and the recommendations of the United Nations. http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2016/02/vatican-tells-new-bishops-they-dont-necessarily-need-to-report-sex-abuse-of-childrenBritain is no longer a Christian country and should stop acting as if it is, a major inquiry into the place of religion in modern society has concluded, provoking a furious backlash from ministers and the Church of England.

A two-year commission, chaired by the former senior judge Baroness Butler-Sloss and involving leading religious leaders from all faiths, calls for public life in Britain to be systematically de-Christianised.

It says that the decline of churchgoing and the rise of Islam and other faiths mean a "new settlement" is needed for religion in the UK, giving more official influence to non-religious voices and those of non-Christian faiths.

Read more http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/12036287/Britain-is-no-longer-a-Christian-country-and-should-stop-acting-as-if-it-is-says-judge.html?

UK: women’s rights groups urge government to hold inquiry into Sharia ‘courts’ and the lack of access to justice

In the UK, religious ‘courts’ are widely used instead of civil courts for deciding family law matters. Campaigners are calling on the UK government to exclude Sharia and all other religious forums (e.g. the Jewish Beth Din) from deciding divorce and family matters. They want to reverse cuts to legal aid to make access to civil courts easier; and to re-affirm the principle of the separation of religion and the law.  ‘By allowing religious courts to operate, we are saying that Muslim or Jewish women do not have the same rights as others in this country. This is unacceptable.” Mariam Namazi, justice advocate association One Law for All. Those agreeing to access religious 'courts' supposedly do so of their own free will, but given the nature of religious influence, this is not always the case.

Religious tribunals are also being used for civil matters in the UK as a condition of  services by religious groups. Again, the influence of churches can override a person's autonomy, preventing him or her from seeking justice according to the law of the state.

The extent of the use of religious tribunals in Australia is unknown. We need an investigation into the use of religious tribunals in divorce and family matters, as well as civil dispute resolution in Australia. Particularly in family law matters, they apply principles that violate human rights that give women (‘everyone’) equality before the law, which means one law for all.

Read more: http://www.siawi.org/article10362.html

 Oh the Irony!

 The Vatican, in response to the Charlie Hebdo murders, ‘tried to pretend that militant religion had nothing to do with religion’ and denounced the publication for ‘hiding behind the deceitful flag of an uncompromising secularism” – this about a magazine that never “hid” from danger and whose staff had been the victims of truly “uncompromising” murderers.’ See Nick Cohen ‘Don’t look to the Pope for enlightenment values’ Guardian 10 Jan 2016. here

 Also:

The Catholic Church is telling newly appointed bishops it is "not necessarily" their duty to report accusations of clerical child abuse to authorities.

A document explaining how senior clergy members ought to deal with allegations of abuse suggests only victims or their families should make the decision to report abuse to police.

The document, recently released by the Vatican, emphasises that bishops' only duty is to address such allegations internally - though it says they must be aware of local laws. Details were reported by John Allen, associate editor of the Catholic News Site Cruxnow.com.

The NSS stated:

 “According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds,” the document states.

The guidance reportedly states that "According to the state of civil laws of each country where reporting is obligatory, it is not necessarily the duty of the bishop to report suspects to authorities, the police or state prosecutors in the moment when they are made aware of crimes or sinful deeds".

The NSS, which has campaigned for ten years, including at the United Nations, to expose clerical abuse and the rape and sexual abuse of minors, strongly criticised the guidance for flouting secular law and the recommendations of the United Nations. http://www.secularism.org.uk/news/2016/02/vatican-tells-new-bishops-they-dont-necessarily-need-to-report-sex-abuse-of-children

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75% of Britons have never been influenced by a religious leader; see here


 Dying with Dignity

Developments

DWD2

South Africa, May this year,  a terminally ill man who was held to be ‘mentally competent and freely, voluntarily wanted assisted suicide’ was recently permitted by the court to seek medical assistance to die in a one-off case. See here. The groundbreaking ruling could set a precedent in South Africa, according to Johannesburg newspaper the Citizen.

In Canada, February this year, the Supreme Court made an historic ruling on voluntary euthanasia. It held that access to voluntary euthanasia is a basic human right, and that prohibiting assisted suicide is invalid, as it is a violation of the right to life, liberty and security of the person, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This judgment has important implications for legislators, and its reasoning can be applied to Australia as well. See Rights, Conscience Votes And Assisted Dying

In Britain, November 2014, the Assisted Dying Bill was debated in the House of Lords. The executive director of the National Secular Society, Keith Porteous Wood, who attended last Friday's debate, reports back about the debate and the Bill's progress. See Assisted Dying: It is now a case of ‘when’, rather than ‘if’.


 

 

 


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