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Hello Humanists!

I hope everyone had a great summer and is enjoying the fall so far. We are pleased to bring you a new edition of the OHS Newsletter with a few updates on our society and Humanist issues around the world. Continue reading for our feature interview and to find out what’s happening in our Facebook group, but first…

OHS is pleased to announce that we have joined Kiva and created a team to lend money to entrepreneurs around the world. We have made our first loan to a village group in Myanmar to help them purchase farming equipment. If you lend via Kiva, we’d love to have you join our team!

  • Board Nominations

Interested in serving on the OHS Board of Directors? Board Elections take place in December and application information will be made available in the coming weeks. Watch our website and your inbox for further details.

  • Volunteers Needed for OHS Chats

OHS Chats are monthly, virtual meetings for OHS members where we can socialize and talk about Humanism and Humanist issues. We are looking for volunteers to host and facilitate these chats and would love to hear from anyone who is interested. We can supply the topics and the meeting platform, all you need to do is start the meeting and keep the conversation going! For more info, please contact Cathy Oliver. Thanks!

Feature Interview – Catherine Dunphy

by Cortney Pasternak

Catherine DunphyCatherine Dunphy says the Roman Catholic faith was an intricate part of her life growing up. She was raised in a “very catholic home”. They attended church weekly and daily during lent. They prayed the rosary, novenas etc., and their home was filled with religious statues and art. She approached a nun at one point about entering the convent and was advised to study theology. After finding that she enjoyed this area of study, she decided to become a chaplain rather then enter the convent. It was during this time that she realized her ideas and belief system were beginning to change. In this online interview, Catherine Dunphy speaks of her evolution, her experiences and her current philosophies on faith, non-faith and what it means to be human.  Read More…


Officiant Notebook

Tales from the Field
An Edwardian Wedding on Manitoulin Island.

“I officiated at a surprise Edwardian wedding in a stunning English garden. The couple also have a boat at my marina and are theatre lovers. I decked myself out in a long floral sundress and made a large brim Edwardian hat of net, flowers and plumage – picked the pieces up at a garage sale. Entertainment ensued, then I was introduced as the next event. What fun seeing the guests absolutely dumbfounded as I proceeded with…”Welcome family and friends to this day of celebration”… A good time was had by all and the wedding was the talk of the town.”


Humanist News

From Ontario and Beyond

Church Members Stand by Atheist Minister
Despite United Church ruling, Gretta Vosper’s congregation remains supportive.

Shenanigans in Texas
The Board of Education is dealing with new threats to the teaching of evolution.

Free Church Minister Accuses Humanists of “Fundamental Dishonesty”over religious observance opt-out campaign.

Future Shock
Historian Yuval Noah Harari releases a new book looking at the future of humanity.


International Blasphemy Rights Day & Banned Books Week

Since 2009, September 30th has marked International Blasphemy Rights Day which encourages us to criticize religion as well as the many blasphemy laws around the world. The point is not to offend believers, but to highlight the right – that we should all have – to question and examine religious beliefs. Given the prison sentence just handed to teen blogger, Amos Yee, in Singapore, this right is clearly not universal.

This year, the B.C. Humanist Association has succeeded in their quest to have the Victoria City Council proclaim this day in the city which will draw greater attention to the fact that blasphemous libel is still punishable in Canada by up to two years in prison.

We also celebrate the freedom to read with Banned Books Week this week. Check out this video to find out the top ten most challenged books of 2015 and explore the Banned Books Week Channel to see how people are speaking out against censorship.


From the OHS Social Media Files

The OHS Facebook group has over 540 members, all of whom are welcome to post and discuss subjects of interest to Humanists. Take a look at some of these recent posts and join in the conversation:

Writer Charlotte Harrison of TheHumanist.com is looking for Humanist women to participate in a survey.

For those in the Barrie/Simcoe area of Central Ontario, there is a new Facebook group called BAASH: Barrie Atheists, Agnostics, Skeptics and Humanists

I Miss Carl Sagan…

The David Suzuki Foundation is making a call to strengthen Ontario’s Environmental Bill of Rights, consider signing the letter to the Minister of the Environment