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5th Anniversary of the Ontario Humanist Society

The Ontario Humanist Society celebrates five years of service to Ontario Humanists!

Look how far we’ve come! With your help, the next 5 years will be even better!

In that time, we’ve seen:

  • Steady growth to over 140 members
  • Dynamic and growing ceremonies program
  • Currently at 23 officiants in a dozen communities and a number of potential candidates in the works
  • Over 500 ceremonies performed in 2013
  • Popular Facebook page

We have been vocal supporters of:

We’ve given financial support to deserving organisations, including:

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Hello from the Ontario Humanist Society

We are a group of Ontario-based Humanists with a passion for social justice, civil and human rights, and environmental action, who have established a provincially-based organization to complement the work of Humanist Canada and local Humanist groups.

If you are concerned with Human and Civil Rights issues in secular society, such as Pro-choice, One School System, Equal Marriage, Gender issues, Dying with Dignity, Environmental justice, Science education, Intellectual Freedom and other progressive issues, we may be able to connect you with other volunteers, speakers and organizations. See our WELCOME page for more information.  Here is our OHS Mission Statement.

We invite you to subscribe to our News blog  (box at the upper left of this page),  and to join our OHS Facebook Group and to  ‘like’  our HumanismHelps Facebook Page  Send news items to OHS web editor

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Toronto Humanists: monthly HAT meeting with Fair Vote Toronto, June 13

Fair Vote Toronto is the official Toronto-area action team of Fair Vote Canada, the national organization calling for the replacement of the current first-past-the-post voting system with a fair and proportional system that provides equal votes for all, fair election outcomes and legitimate majority rule.

On Saturday, June 13, Joyce Hall, Co-chair Fair Vote Toronto Action Team, will speak to the Humanist Association of Toronto. The questions Joyce will address include: What is proportional representation (PR)? How does it work? Does it benefit women and minorities? What is wrong with the candidate with the most votes winning? In an election, doesn’t someone have to lose? Won’t PR result in chaos and instability? Join us for a lively and informative presentation, and bring your own questions!

Details:

HAT Monthly Speaker Meeting
Saturday, June 13, 1:303:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 4-414
Speaker: Joyce Hall, Co-chair Fair Vote Toronto Action Team
Topic: Fair Vote Canada and Proportional Representation: It’s Time for Change

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Simon Parcher, Humanist Officiant, on CBC’s “The National” May 13

Simon Parcher, humanist officiant and former president of the Humanist Association of Canada, will be featured in a segment on CBC’s The National on Wednesday, May 13.

The segment includes a double Humanist memorial ceremony Simon performed on May 3. It is part of special feature about the future of faith in Canada. Broadcast time on CBC Television is 10:00-11:00 pm and it will also appear on the CBC News Network several times between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am.

The Humanist ceremony will take up 3-4 minutes of the 19-minute feature. It will include some clips from the ceremony, and snippets of interviews with Simon and Marie-Diane Dodd, the wife and daughter of the two deceased individuals.

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Third atheist blogger murdered in Bangladesh

The IHEU has released the following statement on the news of a third atheist blogger being murdered in Bangladesh. Additional information on the matter is also available from the IHEU here.

 

Early this morning, Ananta Bijoy Das was murdered, hacked to death by four assailants on the streets close to his home.

Ananta had been on a list of atheist bloggers produced by Islamist political parties in 2013. They demanded a death penalty for ‘blasphemy’, and since then several writers on the list have been murdered, always by machete attack. Ananta was also named on a new hit list in March [Bangla] in connection with a group called Ansarullah Bangla Team.

Ananta wrote to IHEU at the time:

“It seems to me I am one of the targets . I am not sure how long I will hide myself. But I am sure If they will find me they will do what they did with Mr. Avijit Roy. My life is seriously unsecured . I am not sure how can I protect myself & my family.”

________________________________

International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) statement:

Each of these murders is a crushing loss to the humanist and secularist communities of South Asia and the world.

IHEU condemns this murder in the strongest possible terms, as well as the failures of the Bangladeshi authorities to bring to justice the individuals and to break the networks behind this string of targeted killings. Whether from apathy, or incompetence, or intimidation, the police and government are utterly failing Bangladeshi humanist, atheist and secularist writers, thinkers and activists.

Ananta Bijoy Das had reached out to us at IHEU following the murders of Avijit and Washiqur. Accepting the very serious threat to this life, we advised Ananta in trying to make the difficult move out of danger. However, we have been informed that his application for a visa to travel to Sweden, under invitation from Swedish PEN, was rejected last week by the Swedish embassy in Dhaka, on the basis that he might seek to remain in Sweden.

We call on all countries to recognise the legitimacy and sometimes the urgency and moral necessity of asylum claims made by humanists, atheists and secularists who are being persecuted for daring to express those views.

We’ve been in contact with several Bangladeshi humanists, in particular since Avijit Roy was killed in February. These writers are not hateful, not intolerant; they write about science and politics, they are proponents of secularism, they voice skeptical and rationalist arguments, they call for justice and for humanism. They are desperately and increasingly concerned that they, too, have been named on the Islamist death lists.

Their murderers are assassinating writers in an attempt to terrify a nation against voicing humanist and secularist values and ideas, and to deter any criticism of religious beliefs or religious authorities. Their vile campaign of intimidation and terror must be met — not with hollow words and appeasement — but with strenuous, rigorous justice.

 

 

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OHS supports Friends of Maiti Nepal

The Ontario Humanist Society is an active supporter of the charity Friends of Maiti Nepal; through our affiliation with IHEU, we have also supported the Society for Humanism Nepal for earthquake relief. In the face of the terrible human toll in the recent earthquake, humanism helps make a difference.

More information from Friends of Maiti Nepal below.

 

AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE

Maiti Nepal Cares for the Vulnerable

MN0

On the occasion of Mother’s Day (in the US) we send you our thanks for your interest, support and concern.

We have all seen the photos and videos of the catastrophe in Nepal. Remote villages are hardest hit. Of course, as soon as the TV cameramen go home, we stop hearing about the destruction and tragedy. Nepal is devastated, human trafficking is exacerbated, and the work of Maiti is more important than ever. Anuradha’s experienced team knows how to deal trauma, with children and women in crisis. They do it every day. There are systems in place, and cool heads keep things operating smoothly.

MN1

Dolma is 2 years old. She was orphaned by the earthquake and sustained severe head and orthopedic injuries. After a week’s treatment in the hospital, she was ready to be discharged. But where could she go? Maiti Nepal has taken her in. Dolma will receive all the motherly care, good nutrition, and educational opportunities that Maiti Nepal has to offer.

MN2

She just gave birth yesterday. She is 18. Her baby is underweight. Her arm was injured in the earthquake. She is in pain. Her husband has not been heard from in six months. Her home was buried in a landslide. Where can she go? She and her baby now have a safe haven at Maiti Nepal.

These are a few of the soon-to-be 200 new residents at Maiti Nepal. Like the country itself, Maiti Nepal is operating under a state of emergency. We are not sure where the funds will come from. We hope we can rely on your support.

Donate here.

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Enlightenment Issue 67 Now Available

The latest edition of Enlightenment, the newsletter of the Humanist Association of London and Area, is now available. This edition includes:

  • Who is right and who is wrong about rights?
  • Proselytizing
  • Some revealing world statistics
  • Lexophilia provides a few laughs

You can download this edition of Enlightenment here. For previous issues, visit the HALA website.

Correction: HALA has sent the following update.

An Enlightenment reader has sent me a link to a web site called “Truth or Fiction” that claims the article in the May Enlightenment entitled “Way to go Quebec” is fiction. The article is about the mayor of Dorval PQ stating that school canteen will not remove pork from their menus as requested by a group of Muslims. The mayor’s name is not mentioned and on reflection it seems odd that a mayor rather than a school board would be involved in this matter. Apparently a similar article appeared in Belgium in 2013. The Truth or Fiction web site where their claim about the Dorval article can be seen here.

Obviously, articles like this that continually come over the internet need to be checked out before printing in a HALA document. Sorry for the error.

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HAT Monthly Speaker, May 9: Peter Jones of For Our Grandchildren

4RG-LOGO-e1414279257161All are invited to the Humanist Association of Toronto Monthly Speaker Event at OISE, Room 3-311. Peter Jones, representing the For Our Grandchildren Association, will be speaking on the following the topic “We Must Act Now on Climate Change — For Our Grandchildren.”

Details:

Humanist Association of Toronto Monthly Speaker Event
Saturday, May 9, 2015
1:30 – 3:00 pm
OISE, 252 Bloor St. west, Room 3-311

Speaker: Peter Jones, lawyer (retired), chairperson For Our Grandchildren

Topic: We Must Act Now on Climate Change – For Our Grandchildren

“I don’t want my grandchildren to see the earth die.” These poignant words introduce the video on the home page of For Our Grandchildren (4RG), a web-based organization whose vision is to connect and empower grandparents and prospective grandparents who are concerned about the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, and to enable them to join a movement to counter and prepare for these effects on behalf of all our children and grandchildren.

4RG offers opportunities for grandparents to learn, comment and to come together with others to discuss initiatives such as contacting their decision-makers with their concerns. The website www.forourgrandchildren.ca features an extensive blog with insightful posts on all aspects of climate change, videos, a monthly newsletter, tips on writing letters to the editor, and posters and other documents for use at events. 4RG is endorsed by honorary members Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki and Bishop Desmond Tutu. If you are concerned about the impending effects of climate change and want to help ensure that there is a world for our grandchildren to inherit, join us for this inspiring and informative presentation and discussion.

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Supreme Court Ruling on Prayers in Council

The Ontario Humanist Society welcomes yesterday’s Supreme Court decision that “prayer at council meetings infringes on freedom of conscience and religion.”  We agree that the state must remain neutral with regards to religious beliefs, or lack thereof, and to begin meetings with a prayer is to show a preference for belief over non-belief. The Supreme Court has, unanimously, decided that non-believers have as much right to freedom from religion as believers have to freedom of religion.

We are glad to see that several councils have reacted to this decision by removing prayers from their meetings and we call upon the councils that vow to continue the practice to try and understand the need for change.

Further information on this story can be found at:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-town-cant-have-prayers-at-council-meetings-top-court-rules/article23966290/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/quebec-town-cant-have-prayers-at-council-meetings-top-court-rules/article23966290/

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Humanist Association of Toronto AGM – Saturday, April 18

The Humanist Association of Toronto will have its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, April 18th, 11:00-1:00 at OISE (252 Bloor St. W. – map here), Room 5-170.

All HAT members are encouraged to attend. Members who cannot attend can designate a proxy with a form found on the HAT blog/website.

The meeting will include the election of the Steering Committee for 2015-16.

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Enlightenment 66 now available

The latest edition of Enlightenment, the newsletter of the Humanist Association of London and Area, is now available. This edition includes:

  • Ten Commandments for Humanists
  • Comments on spirituality
  • More on Spirituality – Awe and Wonder
  • The Interdependent Web – on the health of our ecology
  • Starting to Get Realistic about Radical Islam

You can download this edition of Enlightenment here. For previous issues, visit the HALA website.

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OHS Spring Newsletter now available

The 2015 spring newsletter from the Ontario Humanist Society is now available!

There is plenty of Humanist news to report to you in this issue of the OHS newsletter, including an update from Dying with Dignity and details on our upcoming AGM. We also have a fascinating interview, by Cortney Pasternak, with the creator of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign – well worth a read!

As always, we are thinking forward to our next issue and we welcome suggestions, contributions, and new volunteers. Comments and submissions can be sent to info@ontariohumanists.ca and we look forward to hearing from you!

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