Tag Archives: activism

Reporting From Secularist Of The Year 2017

image

I’m currently en route to London for the National Secular Society’s ‘Secularist Of The Year Awards 2017’.

It’s a fantastic occasion celebrating the dedication and bravery of secular activists. I was on hand in 2015 and 2016 to bring you audio coverage of the event and hope to do so again today.

You can keep an eye on my Twitter account ( @Gspellchecker) or Facebook (facebook.com/gspellchecker) for updates throughout the day. If I can snag a wi-fi connection, I may attempt to live stream some of it.

This year’s shortlist of nominees:

Professor Steven Kettell, for co-ordinating a secular response to the Commission on Religion and Belief. His work helped rebut calls for more religious privilege, and set out the urgent case for a new secular constitutional settlement in the UK.

Professor Kettell said it was “a great surprise and a genuine honour to be shortlisted for the Secularist of the Year Award.” He said his own research had convinced him that “secularism is the best means of ensuring equal rights and freedoms for all citizens, regardless of their religion or belief.”

Professor Ted Cantle CBE has been nominated for his advocacy of integrated education and social cohesion. He has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the Government’s plan to allow a new wave of faith schools free to discriminate in 100% of their admissions.

He said it was “crucial that we support the secular principle of the separation of governance from religious doctrine.”

Asma Jahangir, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion,for her principled advocacy of universal human rights and her commitment to secular justice. She spent much of her career defending women’s rights, the rights of children and the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

Asma has campaigned against Pakistan’s deadly blasphemy law and has been a vocal proponent of human rights in her home country.

Houzan Mahmoud and the Kurdish Culture project, for their initiative to provide a platform for Kurdish writers, feminists, artists and activists to advance gender equality, freedom and universal rights.

Houzan said, “For the work in activism that I have done for nearly two decades against Islamism and Sharia Law in Kurdistan, Iraq, the UK and beyond, to be recognised by the NSS is one of the greatest honours I could be conferred.”

Scott Moore and Let Pupils Choose, a Northern Ireland Humanists campaign,for challenging compulsory worship and religious privilege in Northern Ireland’s schools.

Scott said “The Let Pupils Choose campaign wants to let over 16s/post-GCSE pupils opt out of collective worship without parental permission. Children of all ages are guaranteed religious freedom under UK, European and international human and children’s rights laws.”

He said he was “very grateful to the NSS for recognising the work I and others have been doing.”

Yasmin Rehman, for her advocacy of a secularist approach to tackling hate crime and promoting the human rights of women. She said, “I am incredibly honoured and humbled to be included in the list of nominees for this award particularly given the work being done across the world by so many brave and courageous people fighting against the hatred and violence being perpetrated by the religious Right of many faiths.”

Good luck to all the nominees. I’m looking forward to learning all about their work.

Online tickets sales are now closed, but if you can still contact the NSS office on 020 7404 3126 or email events@secularism.org.uk to enquire about availability.

You can support the National Secular Society by becoming a member here.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

Ep#86 – Average Mohamed – Anti-extremism

Average Mohamed (AverageMohamed) will be joining me on this week’s #GSPodcast. Mohamed is a retail worker and family man from Minnesota. In his spare time he is an activists who provides outreach to the Muslim community youth with the aim of dissuading them from succumbing to extremism. We talk about ISIS, scripture, the example of Muhammad, cartoons, democracy and more.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

Listeners get a free audiobook and trial with Audible at http://www.audibletrial.com/gs

#GSPodcast Theme by Dorian Silk & The MCH


Direct Mp3 Download

Reporting From ‘Secularist Of The Year’ Awards 2016

image

I’m currently en route to England’s capital for The Secularist Of The Year Awards which is being organised by The National Secular Society. Charlie Hebdo were awarded the honour last year and I was on hand to provide my listeners with some exclusive coverage. I’ll be hoping to do the same again this year from the sold out event.

Read more

Ep#76 – Imtiaz Shams – Faith To Faithless

Joining me on this week’s #GSPodcast is Imtiaz Shams (@imtishams). He’ll be telling me about the important work he is doing with Faith To Faithless. We also delve into free speech, imperialism, becoming an ex-Muslim and empowering minority voices. We’ll also hear about the VICE and BBC documentaries he’s been involved with.

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Support the podcast at www.patreon.com/gspellchecker

Listeners get a free audiobook and trial with Audible at http://www.audibletrial.com/gs

#GSPodcast Theme by Dorian Silk & The MCH


Direct Mp3 Download

Goodbye Glen Carrigan

image

Glen Carrigan, a well respected activist in humanist and secular circles has left us too soon. I didn’t know him well, and don’t have all the details concerning his death, but I thought I’d pay my respects here.

I met Glen in May1 during a double recording of The BBC’s The Big Questions  (pictured together above). Glen blogged about that experience, as well as many other things of interest over at his ‘Homoscientificus’ site. We had a few hours break in between episodes so decided to chance a local Warrington pub for some lunch. He left an impression. Funny, charming, knowledgeable and passionate about his activism and humanism. We were both giddy at managing to sneak in some microphone time at the end of our first recording and bonded over having both studied at UCLAN. I got the distinct impression he’d studied much harder though.

He struck me as someone who had the intelligence and personality to achieve great things. I felt optimistic about the future of scepticism knowing that someone like Glen was running UCLAN’s Atheist, Humanist and Secularist Society. He handed me his business card and explained that he wasn’t sure whether to have a serious card, or a light-hearted one – so settled on a double-sided solution. Smart.

imageimage

My thoughts are with his friends and family.

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.

  1. Albeit largely trivial, in the interest of accuracy I’ve just noticed my chronology is a little off. I actually met Glen for the first time in April at QED Con. Though I remember our conversation there clearly, I wrongly ordered that event in my memory as coming later

Team #GFGS Returns – Let’s Do Something Good Again!

558uJ7JgY-tQ8LjA82c_45oaS0BCu9jtcs62-CFBrR4

Would anyone like to help me do something good again? Back in 2013 I launched ‘Good For Good’s Sake’. This came about after being overwhelmed by the level of compassion & activism displayed by those that engage in the online ‘atheist community’.

I strongly felt that if this shared camaraderie could be channelled in a charitable context, we could really help some people who needed it. As atheists we share only one thing for definite; absence of belief in gods. Our politics, cultural backgrounds and our world-views may differ. Some of you may think Michael Bay makes good films for instance. BUT. There’s one thing I feel we could all agree on: the only thing required to be good is the recognition that it is good for its own sake. We don’t do good for the promise of eternal life, or post-death reward. We don’t do good because it is a doctrinal imperative. We do good because we have empathy, and as conscious creatures, we have concerns for the well-being of our fellow primates across the globe.

With this in mind, Team #GFGS has raised a staggering £22,773.03 for charitable causes so far. We’ve done this by ourselves, without media or corporate backing. Without promoting an ideology, or indoctrinating as a condition of our good deeds. A small group of people, in an even smaller pocket of the World Wide Web came together to achieve something that will make a positive difference to many people. That has to be good, right?

This brings me on to our third charitable drive. Are you up for the challenge? I’ve decided to choose Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Many of you will be familiar with what they do already. For those that aren’t, please see the below video and their website here.

MSF is an entirely Secular charity that delivers emergency medical aid on a global scale to those who need it the most, regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation. As with the last fund-raiser, this one will also end on Christmas Day 2014. Be a part of something important.  You can donate online by clicking ‘Sponsor Me’ below, or text ‘GFGS50 £5 (or any amount) to 70070. Spread the word where you can. Please keep an eye on my Twitter feed for updates. If you wish to hold an event for Team #GFGS to raise some money, please let me know!

Be good,

GS

Special thanks to @Wavish for the #GFGS logo

Click to be part of Team #GFGS