Welcome to Spring 2015! 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 welcome any suggestions, contributions and new volunteers. Comments and submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and we look forward to hearing from you!
Masih Alinejad, My Stealthy Freedom
by Cortney Pasternak
My Stealthy Freedom is a Facebook page and online movement that posts photographs of Iranian women without their headscarves.
Founded by Masih Alinejad, a journalist now living in New York, the Facebook page has more than 760,000 likes and has attracted attention from worldwide media. It has also generated much debate over compulsory veiling.
Cortney Pasternak spoke to Masih Alinejad to find out more about her, the movement, and the irony of ‘stealthy freedom’.
OHS AGM – Register Now!
The next OHS Annual General Meeting will be taking place on Sunday, April 12th at the University of Toronto’s Multifaith Centre. All members are welcome to attend and further details are available on the Registration Form.
We have invited Greg Rogers, Executive Director of the John Howard Society in Toronto, to speak to us about his organization, the services they offer to adults in conflict with the law, and some of the challenges they face in their work.
There should also be some time to celebrate OHS 5th anniversary and socialize with your fellow Humanists. We are looking forward to seeing you all there!
Dying With Dignity: Update
by Cortney Pasternak
It has been a busy time for the organization Dying with Dignity in Toronto. In our last newsletter, we interviewed an employee about what they did and how they worked. At that time, the group was awaiting the Supreme Court decision on whether to uphold the ban on doctor-assisted suicide. Since then, it has received notice that the federal government will cancel its charitable status. And later, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned the ban on doctor-assisted suicide. So one setback and one success. I ask John Warren, Vice-Chair of Dying with Dignity to clarify and respond to these developments.
Tales From the Field
A Humanist wedding reflects the unique personalities of the couple getting married and allows them to express themselves to their friends and families. As one of our Officiants discovered, this can lead to some less traditional exchanges…
We were standing on the shore of Lake Ontario, on the Toronto Islands overlooking the city. I had just pronounced the couple and out of no where, the bride says “DOES THIS MEAN WE CAN WE HAVE SEX NOW?”
After the laughter subsided a bit, I said, “Well, not exactly now!”.
Although weddings are the most common ceremony performed by OHS Officiants, some of our most rewarding experiences come from performing funeral celebrations of life. Julia shared this story of a recent ceremony she officiated…
From Ontario and Beyond
Rowan Williams: Teach About Non-Belief in School Religious Studies Classes The former Archbishop of Canterbury joins clerics and academics calling for the inclusion of secular beliefs in the new curriculum.
Rise in Number of Irish Humanist Ceremonies More than 100,000 people attended such events last year.
Turkey’s Atheists and Religious Minorities Join Forces to Protest Religious Instruction in Schools Technically a secular republic, critics say that Turkey is becoming a more conservative, Islamic society.
IHEU Launches a New Campaign to end Blasphemy Laws Cases like that of Raif Badawi’s have thrown the spotlight on laws that criminalize free speech.
From the OHS Social Media Files
The OHS Facebook group has grown to over 300 members and encourages posting and discussion of any topic of interest to Humanists. Take a look at some of these recent posts and join in the conversation:
Hamilton Chapter Calls for Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women
Prince Charles Raises Raif Badawi Case with Saudi King
Malawi Sets Legal Minimum Age of Marriage at 18
Comics and Puzzles!
Take a break and enjoy a laugh with comics like this one from bird and moon.Then test your puzzle-solving skills with our Humanist themed brainteasers!