The Rationalist Association of NSW

The Rationalist Association of NSW was founded in 1912. We define rationalism as the attitude of mind which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason. It is a system of philosophy and ethics independent of all arbitrary assumptions or authority. Rationalism was a movement that emerged in the second half of the 19thC, particularly in the wake of Charles Darwin, whose book, Origins of the Species, provided a scientific foundation for thought independent of religious speculation.

Rome says no right to freedom from religion

The Holy See's Permanent Observer told the UN's 37th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva that freedom from religion is not a right and the expression 'freedom from religion' is "of the utmost concern" for the Holy See since it betrays a patronizing view of religion." He quoted Pope Francis: "religion itself, the religious dimension, is not a subculture; it is part of the culture of every people and every nation."

Delivering the response of the International Humnist and Ethical Union, Director of Advocacy Elizabeth O'Casey listed the established rights which constitute freedom from religion (click on image for these) and highlighted why freedom from religion is so necessary for those professing no religious beliefs around the world.

O'Casey reminded the Council that 85 countries severely discriminated against non-religious individuals and 7 countries actively persecuted the non-religious during last year. "So long as the rest of the international community stay silent, the rights of the invisible minority of non-believers across the world will continue to be trampled upon, including by members of this Council."

 O'Casey's response: http://iheu.org/actually-freedom-religion-human-right-iheu-tells-vatican-un/

THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT?

Despite Australia's membership of the  UN Human Rights Counci (UNHRC) ,the Council's working group on arbitrary detention has condemned as arbitrary and illegal our indefinite incarceration of refugees and asylum seekers.

Although seemingly committed to the concepts of equality, individual freedom and the rule of law, states with atrocious human rights records have secured membership and great influence on the  Council, established to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights".

Members generally have failed to condemn human rights abuses in e.g., the Sudan, Byelorussia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, says Ibn Warraq. It is largely influenced by nations who have signed a Muslim-based Human Rights Convention.

The UN recently voted to re-elect Saudi Arabia to the Council for the 2017-2019 term, despite its atrocities  in Yemen and at home. The Council placed Saudi Arabia in 2015 at the head of a committee that selects investigators to scrutinise human rights in other countries.


HUMAN RIGHTS UNDER ATTACK IN AUSTRALIA, SAYS THE UN

The Australian Government has been strongly criticised for the "chilling effect" its actions have unleashed on human rights defenders in Australia in a UN report released last week, and Special Rapporteur Michel Forst told the UN's Human Rights Council he was "astonished" to observe "mounting evidence of regressive measures" being pursued by the Government. See here.


LORDS COMMITTEE: RESPECT THE LAW BEFORE “THE VALUES OF OTHERS”

Public policy must put "respect for the law" before "respect for the values of others" and defend "the shared values of British citizenship", a House of Lords committee has said. See here.

CHAPLAINCY PROGRAM IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS LEGALLY QUESTIONABLE

Each state makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the ground of religion in employment decisions. These anti-discrimination rules apply to public schools and their hiring decisions. See here.

Also, federal and some state governments have STOPPED COUNTING COMPLAINTS against the school chaplains program and NO STATES KEEP RECORDS of the faith of chaplainns.  See here.


POLLIES IGNORE PUBLIC OPINION

Despite an overwhelming majority of Australians wanting legalisation of voluntary medical assisted dying, politicians aren't listening. Richard Mills, former President, Dying with Dignity NSW gave a talk to the Dying with Dignity NSW Central Coast Group on 17 August 2018 discussing the institutional influence of the churches, the doctors and the politicians, and what we can do.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT - IT'S MY RIGHT!

An EU campaign has been launched by religious and non-religious groups promoting freedom of belief . They absolutely defend the right of belief through secularism, but not the right to impose that belief on others.

HOLDING THE CHURCHES ACCOUNTABLE

Child abusing churches should lose charity status: former tax official.    Terry Hamilton expresses concern at the number of unchallenged breaches of taxation law by Australia's religious institutions.

Victoria criticised for delaying decision on confessional reporting Critics say Victorian government is 'still putting the church ahead of children'.

Survivors query treatment of Peter Hollingworth. Child sexual abuse survivors' group asks why Hollingworth was not asked to resign after royal commission report.

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Rationalists in the Pacific:

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Dr Max Wallace - Soft Theocracy

Max Wallace - Atheist Convention