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THE RATIONALIST ASSOCIATION OF NSW INC.

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Incorporating The New Liberator (see Tab)

INVITATION

RATIONALIST ASSOCIATION OF NSW

ANNUAL JOSEPH McCABE LECTURE

DR SARAH EDELMAN

President, Dying With Dignity NSW

'Voluntary Assisted Dying: Where Are We At?'

Map of Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts5pm, Saturday 19 November
Sydney Mechanics School of Arts
280 Pitt St, Sydney NSW 2000 

Free Admission - Refreshments

Repost: The Mystical Dogma of Human Equality

September Image result for Open Bible Clip Art14, 2016 by Adam Lee

In an excellent argument (here) that demolishes both Christian rationalisation of God-established slavery in the Bible, and the claim that Christianity was the force behind abolishing it. Lee argues that ‘religious morality isn’t based on reason, it’s based on mystical dogma, and any mystical dogma is just as good as any other’. He argues that:

‘... Christians today fight ferociously against, for example, same-sex marriage and other rights for GLBT people. But they’re losing the demographic battle, and probably in no more than a generation, equal rights for gay and lesbian people will be a reality throughout the world. And when that happens, [Christians] of the next generation will piously clutch their Bibles, with all the anti-gay verses intact, and proclaim it to be a mystical dogma of God’s will that of course gay people should have the same rights as the rest of us. And once again, we’ll see religion trying to take credit after the fact for a moral advance that, at the time, it did everything in its power to prevent.’

 

Why prayer is futile


MAKE THEM PAY

Wendy Squires makes the case that responsible for child abuse should  be required to compensate victims, with those who fail to do so losing their tax-exempt status.

 


Saudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights CouncilSaudi women’s rights activist arrested – days after Saudi Arabia returned to Human Rights Council

National Secular Society Blog | Thu, 03 Nov 2016 by David van Rooyen

A leading women's rights activist, Mariam Nassir Al Oteebi, has been arrested in Saudi Arabia and languishes in prison, just days after the country was re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council, writes David van Rooyen.

Women in Saudi Arabia cannot leave home without being accompaied by a male 'guardain' (relative). Mariam is in jail and cannot be relaeased without the permission of the very familoy that beat her up and put her there.


ARE THEY SERIOUS?

Meantime, women like Mariam are provided with a saviour! The UN is concerned about the 'empowerment' of women'. So what does it do? It appoints the cartoon character Wonder Woman as an Honorary UN Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women. No appointment of a woman as Secretary-General from among the many very able women candidates. No, women around the world, of all ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds, are to be inspired by the white, Western, scantily-dressed, American-Flag-bearing culturally inappropriate cartoon character who has just been reanimated by Hollywood for a blockbuster franchise due out next year. Great publicity for them.

Yes, Wonder Woman is the way to ‘empowerment’! How will this message that you are your own destiny help girls and women disadvantaged by corruption, poverty and mysogyny?

Michelle Griffin of The Age reports here that over 1000 UN staff members have protested the ‘appointment’: Girls and women don’t need Wonder Woman, they need real power. Helen Razer comments, “Let’s pretend that this corporate, culturally inappropriate Wonder Woman sick was not upchucked just weeks after the UN did not, as per expectation, appoint its first woman secretary general.” here


Pope Francis said his biggest concern was for refugees (AP)

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

 

 

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Nearly a third of French Muslims prefer sharia to secular law, research finds

Posted: Tue, 20 Sep 2016 11:44

Nearly a third of French Muslims prefer sharia to secular law, research finds"Polling by a French think tank has found that more than one in four French Muslims, most of whom are young, support an "ultra-conservative" form of Islam and around one in three reject secular rule, favouring sharia.

"The Institut Montaigne, a think tank which conducts research on social cohesion, found that 29% of French Muslims reject secular law and consider sharia to be more important......

"Concerns were particularly focused on the younger generation who, in an inversion of what demographers usually find in other faiths in the west, were showing signs of an increasing religiosity. More extreme views were "overrepresented among the young" and the think tank said this was a particularly worrying sign.'

Read more: here


In defence of laïcité: our lives depend on itIn defence of laïcité: our lives depend on it

Read Maryam Namazie's speech on accepting the International Secularism (Laicite) Prize from the Comité Laïcité République.

 

 

Headscarves and other religious, philosophical and political symbols can be banned at work, says European Court Judge

Headscarves and other religious, philosophical and political symbols can be banned at work, says European Court of Justice"The fact that a female employee of Muslim faith is prohibited from wearing an Islamic headscarf at work does not constitute direct discrimination based on religion", but could be "justified in order to enforce a policy of religious and ideological neutrality,"a European Court of Justice  judge has said. The judge was referring to a matter that has yet to be decided by the Court. This particular matter involved a woman who had worked for years without wearing a headscarf, bu then decided to do so. See here.

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SHOULD ‘ADVANCING RELIGION' BE TAX EXEMPT?

A new poll by market research firm Ipsos has found that only 19.5 per cent of Australians are in favour of religious organizations having tax free status. The study asked whether churches and other basic religious organisations should continue to have tax-exempt status to advance religion. See here.

Rationalist  Society of Australia: http://www.rationalist.com.au/

An Opinion piece in the Fairfax press on Good Friday by Meredith Doig argues that "advancing religion" should not be considered charitable. 

 

 

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More on Tax and irationality about Money

432ParkAvenueUseless Money: A Humanist Sermon

June 13, 2016 by

"These super-rich people long ago passed the point where they could fulfill any desire a human being could possibly have. Having more money would, literally, be useless to them. Yet they continue to strive, to compete against each other for wealth and status"

Image credit: Alexander Caravitis, released under CC BY-SA 4.0 license


Mother Teresa proclaimed a Saint

Mother Teresa of Calcutta attends a Mass celebrating the day of St. Peter and St. Paul in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, in this June 29, 1997 file photo. (PLINIO LEPRI/AP)   In a hurried 'investigation' of so-callled 'miracles' she is said to have performed after death, the Vatican has proclaimed Mother teresa a saint.

Adam Lee states that 'Under the church’s rules, canonization requires two verified miracles. But the evidence that the church has put forward as proof of her miraculous powers is less than completely convincing. He documents the facts about the so-called miracles.' see here

From Mother Teresa was 'anything but a saint,' Canadian study says:

Mother Teresa may be synonymous with selflessness, but according to a team of Canadian researchers, the Catholic nun was “anything but a saint,” the Times of India reports.

In a study to be published this month in Religieuses, a French-language journal of studies in religion and sciences, they suggest the nun’s approach to caring for the sick was to glorify human suffering instead of relieving it.

Mother Teresa was lavish with her prayers, but penny-pinching with the wealth amassed by her foundation, according to Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard from the University of Montreal’s department of psychoeducation, and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa’s faculty of education.

The beatification of Mother Teresa, which the Vatican completed in October, 2003, is the last step before sainthood.

But according to Larivée and colleagues, the Vatican turned a blind eye to Mother Teresa’s “rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding … abortion, contraception and divorce.”

The study authors note that doctors visiting many of the 517 “homes for the dying” run by Mother Teresa observed unhygienic conditions and a shortage of actual care, food and painkillers. Lack of funds were no explanation, since Mother Teresa’s order of the Missionaries of Charity had raised hundreds of millions in aid money. When the nun herself was in need of medical treatment, “she received it in a modern American hospital,” they point out..


 

 

 

 

 


Faith school pupils punished for not attending mass‘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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WORLD NEWS

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.  


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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.

Canada Has Unveiled Its Plan to Let Sick People Die by Physician-Assisted Suicide

From  Justin Ling::

Before the election of Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the existing criminal prohibitions on physician-assisted suicide, and gave the government additional time to develop new laws.

The government of Canada has unveiled how it intends to legalize voluntary euthanasia.

The legislation is a huge legal shift for Canada, and leaves questions as to who, exactly, is eligible under proposed criteria that demands an impending death be "reasonably foreseeable". It was also met with criticism from groups who felt it did not go far enough.

If adopted, the law will allow a mentally competent adult who is over the age of 18, who has a "serious and incurable illness, disease or disability," and who has given voluntary consent, to obtain medical assistance in dying. It would also mean that physicians, nurse practitioners and those who help them can provide that assistance, without risk of criminal prosecution.

What isn't covered by this new law is those under 18 years old — so-called 'mature minors' — those suffering from certain debilitating mental illnesses, or those who have given advance permission for the euthanasia. Government officials say those issues will be studied by a panel of experts in the near future. In the meantime, those individuals will not be permitted to obtain doctor-assisted suicide....Read  more  https://news.vice.com/article/canada-unveils-its-assisted-dying-law.

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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