Anti-Natalism 101: Free Online Education Opportunity

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Wednesday, August 31st @ 9:00 PM EDT

Admission is free to this CFI Canada Victoria branch monthly talk.

It is widely accepted by scientists that us humans are ‘superpredators’. We are indeed the source of the most terminal problems of our planet such as global warming and all sorts of pollution. While humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives, there are also humanists who think that humanity actually sucks big time.


Some believe that overpopulation is by far the worst kind of pollution. Some argue that not having children derives not from dislike of children, but from love too great to bring them into this limited, vain, and cruel world. Some say parents have a child, and in doing so they bring into the world a monster that kills everything it comes in contact with.


This month, we’ll discuss the basics of antinatalism, and explore some of its different forms. Our hosts are two antinatalists from Centre for Inquiry Canada’s leadership team: Mark Maharaj (CFIC’s Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator), and Onur Romano (CFIC Director and Human Rights Chair). Our subject matter expert is transhumanist author David Pearce.

Citations, References And Other Reading

  1. Featured Photo Courtesy of: CFI Canada
  2. https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1239855/Transhumanist-writer-David-Pearce-technology-transhumanism-humanity-plus

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.

Second Annual Pride Week In Russell Township

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia

On Saturday, August 20, 2021 , local residents and community leaders of Russell Township gathered at the Township Hall for the second annual flag-raising celebration of Pride Week.

HumanistFreedoms.com is proud to have reported the activism of a dedicated humanist in organizing the first Russell Township Pride Week flag-raising ceremony in 2021.

Russell Pride Week 2022

During this year’s celebration, Dr. Richard Thain, one of the event’s organizers said he was proud to take some time to “stop and reflect about things which are important to us: community, inclusion and renewal.

Two of Russell Township’s Councillors (Cindy Saucier and Mike Tarnowski) were in attencance. As was the Township’s mayor, His Worship Pierre Leroux who delivered a welcoming speech.

Other speakers included a local mother of two gay sons, and a high-school student who explained how in some local schools, 2SLGBQTQ+ students do not feel that they receive acceptance and support from the school administration.

Key organizers of the bi-lingual event included the KIN Club of Russell as well as Geneviève and Réjeanne Thain. Kinship, care and the passing of compassionate values from one generation to the next was clearly a theme of the activity. Geneviève commented that “…selon Statistique Canada, en 2018, les Canadiens de minorité sexuelle étaient deux fois plus susceptibles de déclarer avoir été victimes de comportements inappropriés en public, en ligne ou au travail. N’oublions pas que l’article premier de la Déclaration universelle des droits de l’homme stipule que « tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits.

Richard and Geneviève Thain

According to Statistics Canada, in 2018, sexual minority Canadians were twice as likely to report experiencing inappropriate behavior in public, online or at work. Let us not forget that article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

A highlight of the event was the performance of Lara Fabian’s La Différence by local singer, Lise Dazé and a brief presentation by Mme Denise Latulippe.

In 2022, human rights and the warm inclusion of all people in our community remains both one of our most fundamental of Canadian values – but also something that individual and collective Canadians should take time to reflect on and contribute to in a meaningful way. There are so many wonderful communities throughout the country and all of them can only be enriched when their members take time to care for one another.

Well done to all those who gathered on a warm August day to remember where we’ve been, where we are and where we wish to go with UNIVERSAL human rights.

Citations, References And Other Reading

  1. Featured Photo Courtesy of: Dr. Richard Thain
  2. https://kinclubofrussell.ca
  3. https://www.facebook.com/388050434576352/videos/1532015760478037
  4. https://editionap.ca/2022/08/24/russell-township-raises-pride-flag/

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.

The Violent Hand of Ideology: A Fanatic Attacked Salman Rushdie

On 12 August 2022, Salman Rushdie was brutally attacked and severely injured during a speaking event in Chautauqua, New York. As a publication devoted to humanism and human rights – including the right to freedom of expression which is so fundamentally linked to this situation – HumanistFreedoms.com condemns the attack and expresses hope for Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie’s best possible recovery.

While there are many stories about the attack in mainstream media providing reports of the attempted murder, the attacker’s name and hints to his motivation, these particulars seem to be little more than incidental to the attack. There seems to be little point in re-sharing information that is so readily available . Indeed, there seems to be much more sense in focusing on who the attacker was in the bigger picture. This latest attacker was nothing other than the inevitable and violent hand of extremist ideology.

Some of us at HumanistFreedoms.com had the opportunity and privilege to attend Rushdie’s reading from one of his novels when he visited the Toronto Public Library in 2015. It was a lovely and engaging evening – exactly the way attending a reading ought to be. The way the event in Chautauqua ought to have been. A room full of mostly mild, curious and intelligent individuals; a brief and charming interview; an author sharing their own voice with those who wished to hear it. It was the kind of thing Rushdie had so clearly been doing for many previous years and clearly expected to do for many future years as well. After all, who goes to hear an author speak other than those who want to hear what he has written and may have to say about it?

It is not possible, however, to have attended a reading by Salman Rushdie without being aware that he had lived under the threat of attack and assassination since 1989 when a fanatical ideologue and politician issued a faith-based assassination order against him. His conversation never seems to be far from that simple fact nor from the implications that it carried: sometimes people attend these events to prevent others from hearing the things that may be said.

The fact that the fanatical politician/ideologue/religious leader who had ordered the assassination happened to be a high ranking Shia clergy member and the “supreme leader” of a nation ought to have been enough to keep fanaticism and the perpetual probability of violence on anybody’s mind. In 1989, someone tried to complete the assassination and blew himself (and some of a hotel) up. Apparently there is a shrine in Tehran describing the person

Salman Rushdie: Violently attacked due to a work of fiction written almost forty years go.

as a “martyr”. in other words, a religious hero.

Fanaticism is a state that must be developed, encouraged and maintained. It must be cultivated. The fanatic and their cultivator each bear a portion of the responsibility for any violence which they promote and enact. To claim anything else is cowardice, at best – but more probably an indicator of traits worse by far than mere cowardice.

In the Iranian government’s first public comment on this more recent attack, its foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said “Regarding the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone other than [Rushdie] and his supporters worthy of blame and even condemnation.” The message is clear when it comes to ideologues. Cross them and you’ll get what they think you deserve.

But not everyone is like that. Not everyone flinches from truth.

The attacker’s mother had some different perspectives to offer, “As I said to the FBI I’m not going to bother talking to him again. He’s responsible for his actions. I have another two minors that I need to take care of. They are upset, they’re shocked. All we can do is try to move on from this, without him.

Only a few things more need to be said in context of an initial reaction to this brutality. Violence is the inevitable conclusion when extremist ideology, and let us emphasize any extremist ideology, is left unchecked, when fanatics are allowed to persist in delusions that their opinions and preferences cannot be challenged, when destroying another human being is considered a morally-entitled response to being offended.

And what do the humanist organizations have to say so far? We might have wished for more…and more emphatic than what we have been able to locate so far (Frankly, Rex Murphy seems to have done a better job of it). But we searched several prominent English-language humanist organizations with Salman Rushdie’s name and here is what we found on 2022/08/16

Unrelated to the attempted slaughter of an author by the violent hand of ideologues, one of our humanist mentors had recently shared a quotation from Martin Luther King: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”

Citations, References And Other Reading

  1. Featured Photo Courtesy of :  https://www.salmanrushdie.com/salman-rushdie-the-author/
  2. https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/rex-murphy-trudeau-biden-wont-name-actual-threat-to-salman-rushdie/ar-AA10ImbW
  3. https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/hadi-matar-mother-of-man-who-stabbed-salman-rushdie-says-he-changed-after-trip-to-lebanon-3256055
  4. https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/15/middleeast/iran-blames-rushdie-attack-intl/index.html
  5. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11110905/Mother-alleged-Salman-Rushdie-attacker-says-son-responsible-actions.html

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.

Miriam Beerman: Nothing Has Changed

Miriam Beerman: 1923–2022 NOTHING HAS CHANGED Opens Fall Season at Monmouth University

Exhibition shines a spotlight on the late Miriam Beerman, a New Jersey artist whose works are included in the permanent collections of over 60 museums worldwide and a female pioneer in the 20th-century art world

WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ—The Monmouth University Center for the Arts announces the launch of its fall 2022 season with Miriam Beerman: 1923–2022 NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

The exhibition showcases Beerman (1923–2022) as one of the 20th-century’s most provocative artists, whose humanist expressionist works highlight her talent as a colorist. A pioneer as one of the first female artists to be given a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Beerman is part of a canon of 20th-century women artists who were nearly lost to obscurity due to their gender in a male-dominated art world.

The show runs from September 6 to December 11 in the Rechnitz Hall DiMattio Gallery in the Monmouth University Center for the Arts. The opening reception is September 22 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Influenced by the social injustice seen around her, Beerman shines a spotlight on the horror and pathos of man’s inhumanity to man. The themes prove to be timeless, resonating today as much as when they were created in the 20th century. Her life and art were explored in the 2015 documentary Miriam Beerman: Expressing the Chaos.

Nearly 20 large-scale canvases by Beerman will be represented. The show is guest curated by gallerist James Yarosh and draws upon the recent exhibition Miriam Beerman – REDISCOVER, shown at James Yarosh & Associates Gallery in Holmdel, N.J., which opened in spring 2022. The exhibition, Miriam Beerman, 1923-2022 NOTHING HAS CHANGED marks the second guest curator role at the university for Yarosh who curated Sheba Sharrow: Balancing Act in 2017. A companion show of Beerman’s works on paper and collages is simultaneously on view at James Yarosh & Associates Gallery.

“Living with Miriam Beerman’s paintings at the gallery with the current exhibit REDISCOVER, one cannot help but be both moved and stirred to be in the presence of the colossal works, heavy with paint, laden with subject. When you see these humanist expressionist works existing silently, holding the weight of the world, you begin to understand the gallery’s presentation,” says Yarosh, a gallerist fueled by curatorial activism in recent years. “As I described Miriam’s art with clients, it occurred to me that those words also described the role of female artists of the 20th century whose voices were more stifled in favor of male artists—and of women’s roles in a patriarchal society.

“If our art history is male-dominant, and the artists before us our teachers, we are only getting half the lessons to be learned,” he continues. “We have an opportunity to do better. This presentation with Monmouth University allows the conversations to continue and include a younger generation.”

“NOTHING HAS CHANGED picks up the dialogue from the 2017 Sheba Sharrow: Balancing Act exhibition. Although their art is different, the mission is similar: A female artist who rails against social injustices in her art as a call to action to evoke change,” says Scott Knauer, Director of Galleries and Collections, Department of Art & Design, Monmouth University. “Much of the subject matter that Miriam Beerman delved into is still so relevant and threatened today: political, social, religious rights, women’s rights and threats against minorities.”

The show’s title piece, Beerman’s 1999 canvas Nothing Has Changed (shown above) is described by Yarosh as “a later work, a portrait of a monumental female face, whose eyes are closed in resignation of her role. She disappears behind the facade of joyous yellows and pink, and yet her hopes are painted on the right—an abstract dream vision of her imagined joy, to run away, to color outside the lines and create her own ideas of ‘happy ever after.’ The archetypal portrait is Beerman’s Mona Lisa, except here, the smile is upside-down.”

Gallerist Mitchell Algus and artist Heather L. Barone (a mentee and longtime assistant of Beerman) and Corey Dzenko and Theresa Grupico in the Monmouth University Department of Art & Design are contributing to the catalogue. A smartphone tour is also being planned with a potential online discussion with artist, author and former Asbury Park Press art columnist Tova Navarra. Other planned events include a series of salon evenings, a Q&A evening with the Expressing the Chaos filmmaker and an event closing show. For details on upcoming events, visit the “What’s New” page on the James Yarosh Associates Fine Art & Design Gallery website: jamesyarosh.com.

ABOUT MIRIAM BEERMAN: Miriam Beerman studied painting at the Rhode Island School for Design, where she earned a BFA. Afterward, she spent two years in France as a Fulbright Scholar, working in Atelier 17 and having her painting critiqued by Marcel Brion. In New York, she studied with Yasuo Kuniyoshi at the Art Students League and Adja Yunkers at the New School for Social Research. She has had over 30 solo shows, including at the Brooklyn Museum, Graham Gallery, the New Jersey State Museum and the Everson Museum.

Beerman’s work is included in many major collections, including Metropolitan Museum, Whitney Museum, LACMA, National Gallery of Art, Phillips Collection, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Victoria and Albert Museum, the Fitzwilliam Museum in England, the MEAM in Spain, the Israel Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., among others. Beerman’s painting “Scorpio” is also currently on display as part of The Vault Show exhibit at University of Arizona Museum of Art through fall 2022. She has won many awards, including awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Pollock-Krasner Foundation, RSID and others.

ABOUT MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY: Monmouth University is the region’s premier private coastal university offering a comprehensive array of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs in a dynamic and personalized learning environment. Located in West Long Branch, New Jersey, Monmouth University’s magnificent coastal campus is approximately one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia. Innovative academic programs, individual faculty attention, and nationally ranked Division I athletics make this private university a great place to find your future.

ABOUT JAMES YAROSH: Established in 1996, the James Yarosh Associates Gallery in Holmdel, New Jersey, was founded upon and remains loyal to its vision: to represent fine art for art’s sake and to curate gallery collections and thoughtfully present art and interior design specification with an artist’s eye and understanding. Yarosh, an artist and well- published interior designer, offers a full-scale gallery and design center where clients can associate with other like-minded individuals located just one hour outside Manhattan.

Yarosh advocates for what greatness looks like in the arts, showcasing at his destination gallery the works of both new and established museum-recognized artists of merit in a space designed to replicate the intimacy of an artist’s home. Current exhibitions such as Miriam Beerman – REDISCOVER (2022), The Humanist Show (2021), Sheba Sharrow: History Repeats (2020) and the NYC art fair Art on Paper (2021) help foster the idea of art as intellectual engagements that sit above decoration in design hierarchy, adding exponentially to the experience of living with art.

Citations, References And Other Reading

  1. Featured Photo Courtesy of :  

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.

Humanists Call on UK Government to Reverse Decisions on Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Over 20 human rights, pro-choice, and international aid groups, and the Norwegian and Danish Governments, have called on the UK Government to reverse its decision to arbitrarily strip ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ and ‘bodily autonomy’ from an international human rights statement it – and 22 other countries – signed only two weeks ago.

The ‘Statement on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality’ was issued by the UK as part of the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief conference it hosted in London on 5-6 July.

However, the agreed statement, published on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office website, was inexplicably amended without consultation; removing any references to ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ and ‘bodily autonomy’.

Now the Norwegian and Danish Governments have criticised the move. The Norwegian Government has told the Guardian:

‘Norway and Denmark have approached the UK and the Netherlands, who are the chair and co-chair respectively of the International Religious Freedom or Belief Alliance (IRFBA), to enquire about and protest against the substantive changes to the statement and the way the changes were made. Norway has yet to make a decision on being a signatory to the amended version of the statement.’

Furthermore, an array of influential charities and rights groups have signed a joint letter asking the UK Government to explain its reasoning behind the shock move and to reverse its decision immediately. The letter was organised by Humanists UK, which first spotted the change. Signatories include Amnesty International UK, Human Rights Watch, ActionAid UK, BPAS, MSI Reproductive Choices, Liberty, Fawcett, Brook, the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Article 19, and Maternity Action.

They write to the Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss:

‘We are writing to you with serious concern about the deletion of references to ‘sexual and reproductive health and rights’ and ‘bodily autonomy’ from the UK-organised ‘Statement on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality’. We urge you to reverse this move, and hope you could explain why the change happened in the first place.

‘As Professor Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, has said in response to the changes: “Claims that freedom of religion or belief can be invoked to deny women and girls the exercise and enjoyment of their sexual and reproductive health rights have no foundation in human rights. Rather, such claims must be rejected as representing intolerant and patriarchal attitudes that deny the equal rights of men and women to freedom of religion or belief. Such claims especially ignore that freedom of religion or belief also guarantees to women the right to bodily autonomy and conscientious choice.”

‘At a time when abortion provision around the world is under serious threat, due to the reversal of Roe v Wade, it has never been more important for the UK Government to stand up for sexual and reproductive health and rights and bodily autonomy. We note that the latest British Social Attitudes Survey to ask indicates that less than 5% of the UK population oppose access to abortion in all circumstances. In addition, 22 countries had signed up to the statement before revision – a similar number to those signing the other Ministerial statements – which is further indication that there is no sound reason for these amendments. We urge that they be reversed immediately.’

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK said:

‘The Government must surely be aware that, given the recent events in the United States, abortion rights are under threat. To amend an agreed statement in such a manner, omitting these rights, is therefore particularly poorly timed, never mind about being regrettable anyway.

‘Unfortunately, this supplanting of individual freedom under the guise of “religious freedom” is an example of the right to freedom of religion or belief being abused in order to infringe the rights of others.

‘The Government should withdraw these amendments.’

Marie Juul Petersen, Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, helped draft the original statement. She has told the Guardian that the revised text was ‘a big surprise’ and called the amendment process ‘flawed and unreasonable’. She added:

‘I saw the original statement as such a big step forward because this has been a very conflict-ridden area – the relationship between freedom of religion and belief and gender equality. For so many years, there have not been many attempts at finding synergies and overlaps or at demonstrating how these two sets of rights are actually compatible and in fact intertwined and inseparable. And I thought this statement was really a big step forward in that direction, showing that these two rights are not in opposition to one another but can actually reinforce one another. So I was really disappointed.’

A total of 22 countries signed the Statement before it was amended. The revised Statement has seen that number reduce to five of the original signatories, plus one new addition – anti-abortion Malta.

The stated intention of the London 2022 International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion or Belief was bringing international governments, parliamentarians, faith and belief representatives, and civil society together to increase global action on freedom of religion or belief for all.

Speakers included Humanists UK’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson, in his capacity as President of Humanists International, who spoke at the opening session alongside the Foreign Secretary, Archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Rabbi, and global Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh leaders.

Notes:

Those signing the letter protesting the changes to the original statement are:

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, Humanists UK

Clare Murphy, Chief Executive, British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS)

Bethan Cobley, Director of Policy and Partnerships, MSI Reproductive Choices

Sacha Deshmukh, CEO, Amnesty International UK

Yasmine Ahmed, UK Director, Human Rights Watch

John Good, Acting CEO, ActionAid UK

Martha Spurrier, Director, Liberty

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive, Fawcett Society

Helen Marshall, Chief Executive, Brook, UK

Andrea Simon, Director, End Violence Against Women Coalition

Quinn McKew, Executive Director, Article 19

Ros Bragg, Director, Maternity Action

Mara Clarke, Founder, Abortion Support Network

Emma Campbell, Co-Convenor, Alliance for Choice

Jane Fisher, Director, Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC)

Dr Hayley Webb, Co-Chair, Doctors for Choice UK

Lesley Hoggart and Jayne Kavanagh, Co-Directors, Abortion Talk

Marge Berer, Retiring Coordinator, International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion

Tanya Taylor, Communications Manager, Sister Supporter

Rachel Adamson and Laura Tomson, Co-Directors, Zero Tolerance

Jackie Longworth, Chair, Fair Play South West, the women’s equality network

Professor Claire de Than, Chair, Sexual Health and Disability Alliance

Jo Kinsey, President, Business & Professional Women UK

Dr Pam Lowe, Senior Lecturer, Aston University

Marie Fox, Professor of Law, Health Law & Regulation Unit, University of Liverpool

Grainne Maginnis

For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at press@humanists.uk or phone 020 7324 3072 or 07534 248 596.

In terms of what has changed in the statement:

  • A part said ‘Discriminatory personal status laws, laws that allow harmful practices, or restrict women’s and girls’ full and equal enjoyment of all human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, bodily autonomy, and other laws that justify, condone, or reinforce violence, discrimination, or inequalities on the grounds of religion, belief or gender should be repealed’.It now merely says ‘Challenge discriminatory laws that justify, condone, or reinforce violence, discrimination, or inequalities on the grounds of religion, belief or gender and that restrict women and girls’ full and equal enjoyment of human rights’.The significant change here appears to be the removal of ‘laws that restrict women’s and girls’ full and equal enjoyment of all human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, bodily autonomy… should be repealed’.
  • A part said ‘We commit to protect and support individuals, organisations and institutions that work to promote gender-responsive religious interpretations and practices’.‘gender-responsive’ has been replaced with ‘human dignity through’.
  • A part said ‘support and build capacities of local religious and belief leaders to advocate for gender equality, denounce sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health and rights’.Everything after ‘religious and belief leaders’ has been deleted. So again, sexual and reproductive health and rights has been removed.
  • As already noted, 18 signatory countries of the statement have come off the list, while one – Malta – has signed since.

Read the original and revised statements, and view the differences between the two as tracked changes.

Read more about the Ministerial.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, they advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. Humanists UK provides ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and its campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

Citations, References And Other Reading

  1. Featured Photo Courtesy of :  
  2. https://humanists.uk/2022/07/22/norway-denmark-and-human-rights-groups-challenge-uk-over-abortion-rollback/

The views, opinions and analyses expressed in the articles on Humanist Freedoms are those of the contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the publishers.