Government Faith-Based Programs & Church/State Realities


Toni Van Pelt to speak at


8th Annual 'Freethought' Party, Orlando Florida

Saturday, December 10, 2011, 6:00 PM


Obama's Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships marked its first anniversary last

week. Unfortunately there has been little change from the Bush created program, "Faith-based

and Community Initiatives". Join Toni Van Pelt, Policy Director of the Institute for Science and

Human Values, for an update on the current state of the current administration’s programs.

Lack of accountability, job discrimination, tax dollars flowing to religious groups,’s enough to make one question if we truly do live in secular, democratic




Toni Van Pelt to be recognized by The Veteran Feminists of America


The Veteran Feminists of America (VFA) is celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Modern Feminist Movement in Orlando, Florida on October 28 – 29, 2011. The event is being hosted by Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida (near Orlando and many of its attractions).

At this celebration, VFA will be awarding prominent feminist leaders such as Terry O’Neill, NOW president; Dr. Rita Bornstein, president emerita of Rollins College; Sherill Redmon, director of Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College; Barbara Love, editor of “Feminists Who Changed America”; Eleanor Pam, the recipient of the 2011 Kate Millett Award; and our very own ISHV leader Toni Van Pelt. All of these awards are being presented by Gloria Steinem, a pioneer of the feminist movement and co-founder of Ms. Magazine.

The VFA Awards Dinner is being held on October 29, 2011 from 5:30 -7:30 PM at the Rollins College Campus at the Maclean Gymnasium. Tickets are selling out fast but are still available for $120 per person which includes reserved seats for a Guerilla Girls performance at 8 PM



Louise Antony to deliver 2011 Paul Kurtz Lecture

Louise Antony will be delivering the 2011 Paul Kurtz Lecture on Thursday, October 20. Her talk is entitled “Materialism, Naturalism, and Nihilism.” Although Professor Antony is an acedemic philosopher at UMass Amherst and has been invited by the University at Buffalo Philosophy Department, her address is intended for the broader acedemic community. She will deliver her paper at 4 pm in Clemens 120. The talk is open to the public and will be followed by a question and answer period in which the audience can engage the speaker.

Professor Antony’s talk is the second of the annual lectures in a series endowed by Paul Kurtz, UB emeritus professor of Philosophy, author and editor of over 50 books, founder of Prometheous Books, The Institute for Science and Human Values, and the Center for Inquiry.

Antony has had a huge impact across the philosophical landscape, in part because she brings research in one field to bear on others. She has repeatedly reinvigorated epistemology and philosophy of mind with insights drawing upon feminist philosophy. One of her better known papers: “Quine as a Feminist – The Radical import of Naturalist Epistemology” has been cited nearly a 100 times. Her current research is in perception and intentionality, autonomy, psychology, issues in feminist epistemology, and human nature.

Antony is a co-editor and contributor of some highly and controversial anthologies: A Mind of One’s Own: Issues in Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity in 1993, 2002, and Philosophers without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and Social Life in 2007 Philosophers without God sought to contribute to a fuller understanding of those who have rejected religious belief. It collects original essays by twenty leading philosophers from Great Britain and the United States, all of whom are secular. The first section, “Journeys,” includes many very autobiographical pieces, and reveals how the authors came to develop their own positions on issues like the existence of God and the basis of moral value. Authors in the second section,  “Reflections,” discuss in a more general way philosophical questions that arise in connection with religion and theology: Is religious faith really a form of belief? Can an atheist affirm the meaningfulness of human existence? Without God, is anything sacred? The most prestigious source of philosophical reviews, The Notre Dame Philosophical Review, lauded it as ?an excellent source of how comprehensive philosophical writing can be at its best.”

A Mind of One’s Own is a collection of essays by women who are prominent in philosophy who address some recent feminist criticisms of philosophy. They ask: Are we right to feel, as we do, that reason and objectivity, the traditional “tools of our trade” have important contributions to make to the lives of women who seek full equality? Martha Nussbaum, in her New York Review of Books piece claimed “The collection is important because women in philosophy have too long been silent about the question it poses, embarrassed by the shortcomings of some feminist philosophical work but reluctant to criticize people with whose politics they have much sympathy. The book is also distinguished by the quality of its contributors. On no previous occasion have so many of the most interesting female thinkers in philosophy contributed to a single book dealing with feminist issues.” Committed to philosophy contributed to a single book dealing with feminist issues.” Committed to transforming the role of women in academia, Antony began the Mentoring Project for pre-tenure women in philosophy in 2011. The program involved a three day workshop and the formation of networking groups.

Professor Antony’s articles and lectures are known not just for the philosophical insights of her work and her commitment to social justice, but her style and wit, that latter which is even evident in such titles as “Back to Androgyny: What Bathrooms can tell us about Equality”, Equal Rights for Swamp People,” “Empty Heads,”“Whose Afraid of Disjunctive Properties,” and “Atheism as Perfect Piety.”

Before joining the UMass Amherst philosophy department in 2006, Antony taught at Ohio State University from 2000-2006 and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1993-2000. She received her Ph.D in philosophy from Harvard in 1981.




G-3, Plot 617, Shalimar Garden Extn. I, Sahibabad,

Ghaziabad (UP) 201005. Ph: 0120 -2648691, (M) 09811099532.

25th Sept.2011





By Prof. Ghanshyam Shah

National fellow, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla

Shri Praful Bidwai, eminent journalist to preside

4.30 PM, Thursday, the 29th September, 2011


Indian Law Institute, (In front of Supreme Court)

Bhagwan Dass Road, New Delhi-110001.

Tea between 4.30 to 5 PM.

Question-answer session for 15 minutes after the lecture.

All are cordially invited to attend.





Tampa Area Groups to Mark "Equal Pay Day" Tuesday to Push Progress on New Law

Tampa, FL (April 8, 2014) - On Tuesday, April 8, members of five community organizations promoting equitable pay for American workers will gather outside Florida U.S. Senator  Bill Nelson’s Tampa office to advocate passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA) now before Congress. 

A cake will be delivered to the senator's staff on this national "Equal Pay Day" in recognition of Nelson's decision to become one of 55 co-sponsors of the bill, S.84. The cake will feature a 23-percent “bite” taken out to

represent the national average 23-cent gap between men’s and women’s earnings.

Organization representatives will also be available to discuss their groups' perspectives on issues addressed by the

proposed law.

The legislation is designed to close loopholes in the current Equal Pay Act and bar retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee held hearings on the Paycheck Fairness Act April 1. A vote on the bill could come as early as today.  President Obama is also expected to deliver a speech on pay inequity today.

The House version of the bill, H.R. 377, has 207 co-sponsors, but under that body's rules, 11 more are needed before the measure can be considered.

When: Tuesday, April 8, at 4:30 p.m. (Cake will be delivered before 5:00 p.m.)

Where: Sam Gibbons Federal Court House, 801 N. Florida Avenue, Tampa, 33602

What: News Conference and Cake Delivery

Who: American Association for University Women, Organizing for Action, Institute for Science and Human Values, Florida NOW, and The Feminist Student Alliance of USF



American Association of University Women (AAUW) : Char Singleton , 727-495-3553 or

Institute for Science and Human Values, Inc. : Toni Van Pelt,  727-278-8446 or

Florida National Organization for Women (NOW) :  Bonni Axler,

Feminist Student Alliance of USF :  Adri Spoto , 407-756-7874 or

Organizing for Action (OFA) Tampa Bay : Roger Crescentini,  813-298-9225 or




Atheists and Agnostics convention in the Philippines


Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Norm R. Allen Jr., editor of THE HUMAN PROSPECT, will be a speaker at the first atheists

and agnostics convention in the Philippines. The conference will be held on April 21, 2012 from

6:00am-8:00 pm. The location is the Bayview Parks and Hotels, United Nations Avenue,

Manila, Philippines. It will be sponsored by the Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society

(PATAS), an affiliate of the Institute for Science and Human Values. For more information,

visit their site at



Humanists to Meet in Abuja

Friday & Saturday, September 23 to 24, 2011

All is now set for the historic convention of the Nigerian Humanist Movement to be held on September 23 to 24 at Vines Hotel Durumi in Abuja. The event will be the first meeting of the county’s growing community of atheists, agnostics, freethinkers,secularists and skeptics at the

Federal Capital of Nigeria. Many friends of humanists and supporters of humanism and freethought including university teachers and students will attend. The theme of the convention is HUMANISM AS THE NEXT STEP.

This convention marks the 15th  anniversary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement(NHM). The event is taking place at a crucial time Nigeria is grappling with the problems of religious extremism, superstition and related human rights abuses.

Some years ago Nigeria was polled as one the most religious nation on earth. It may still remain the case today. The fact is that most Nigerians, at least nominally, profess one religion-mainly Christianity or Islam- or the other. Most Nigerians identify with the faith of their families, communities and tribes. Few Nigerians are openly and expressly non religious. All Nigerians are pressured socially and politically to be religious and to remain religious. So most Nigerians who are non religious and who renounce religion remain in the closet. NHM provides a sense of community to all non religious and non theistic Nigerians and strives to bring a humanist perspective to issues of national importance.

Religion has not always been a force for good, peace and harmony in the country. In fact religion has caused a lot of division, hatred, intolerance and conflict. Religion has been used to sanctify and justify evil, harm and atrocious acts. Divided into a largely muslim North and a Christian south, adherents of the two faiths often clash and kill one another. There is widespread discrimination on the basis of religion across the country. Religious indoctrination is prevalent in Nigerian families, schools, colleges and universities. In the past few years, religious violence in the North central city of Jos has left at least 1000 people dead and several thousands injured. Not less than 10,000 Nigerians have lost their lives to sectarian violence since Independence.

The religious bloodletting is perpetrated mainly by islamists and jihadists in Northern Nigeria who want to enforce sharia law and enthrone an Islamic state by force.

In August, a bomb blast allegedly carried out by a local islamist group, the Boko Haram, at the

UN building in Abuja left at least 23 people dead. Hundreds of people have been shot and killed by suspected members of this dreaded sect. The Nigerian government has proved incompetent and incapable of handling and resolving the protracted religious crisis in the country.

Many Nigerian children who are branded witches or wizards by pastors, prophets and witch doctors are beaten, tortured and sometimes killed. Most penticostal churches are prosecuting witch hunts across the country. They subject innocent Nigerians particularly elderly persons, women, children, and people with disabilities to torture, inhuman and degrading treatment in the name of exorcism. Many Nigerians have lost their lives to ritualists who harvest their body parts for sacrifice. The belief that human beings can harm others through witchcraft is still very strong. The practice of witchcraft accusations and ritual sacrifice is widespread. Lack of political will and corruption in the police and justice system continue to hamper efforts to address these problems. Will Nigeria be able to take the rational step of humanism? Will Nigerians abandon superstition and embrace science, reason and critical thinking? Will the secularists be able to stop the advance of islamists and their Christian counterparts? Will Nigerians allow theocrats to overun their democracy? Or will Nigerians be able to sustain the constitutional wall separating religion and state?

For two days, participants will be brainstorming on these questions and issues. They will be

articulating a humanist response to the challenges facing Nigeria early in this 21st century. Prof

Uzodinma Nwala of the Nassarawa State University, will keynote the Opening while Prof Steve Okecha and Dr Jide Akeredolu will make lead presentations. Humanist rights activists working and campaigning against witchcraft accusation and ritual killing will share their thoughts and experiences. There will be interventions from representatives of the Albino Foundation, World Coalition against the Death Penalty, anti caste campaign and sexual minority groups. The convention will be concluded with a World Humanist Day Lecture, titled The Challenge of Humanism, to be delivered by Graham Knight.




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Government Faith Based Programs & Church/State Realities

Toni Van Pelt to be recognized by The Veteran Feminists of America

Louise Antony to deliver 2011 Paul Kurtz Lecture



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