Humanism on the Move


Sept. 30, 2009

Atheist Alliance International will be holding their 15th annual convention in Los Angeles on Oct. 2 -4. The conference will feature Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins.  In addition to speeches and book signings there will be an expo, live tapings, and a comedy show. Tickets are still available for those who are interested.

The American Humanist Association, (AHA), Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), Center for Inquiry, (CFI) the Secular Coalition of America (SCA), and many other groups, signed  a letter to Attorney General Holder urging the reversal of an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo that interpreted the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) very broadly. Under the OLC interpretation of RFRA, a religious group receiving federal funds for social services under charitable choice can discriminate in hiring based on the faith of the applicant.

According to Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the AHA, "The Bush administration used the OLC memo to subvert federal law and allow religious groups to side-step important civil rights protections." The letter is a product of the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD). CARD actively works against charitable choice.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State launched a book called Religion in the Public Schools. It aims to serve as "a road map for avoiding lawsuits and respecting parents' legal rights." AU also launched a website for the book where you can read a PDF version for free or order a copy for $15.

The book was written by Anne Marie Lofaso, a professor at the West Virginia University College of Law. It was funded with a grant from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund.

AU also submitted written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations' Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee. In their testimony AU argued against the D.C. Voucher program claiming that the "program is constitutionally suspect and provides incentives to attend discriminatory religious schools."

The Freedom from Religion Foundation announced a blitz of billboards in the Detroit area. The campaign will include seven simultaneous billboards. The billboards are of similar format to the ones that FFrF has put up recently, including in their massive San Francisco campaign.