We hope that you all are staying safe during the pandemic. As many of us are shut in, there are several newer books that the SPI would like to recommend. One of the first steps to resisting campaigns and the ploys of organizations and institutions that seek the elimination of government and religion separation is education. 

The first is a book that we highlighted a few months back. I generally don't often garnish praise at this level on a book written in a popular style (my heart belongs to denser academic work), but Katherine Stewart's Power Worshippers (2020) is truly a public service. Stewart details different organizations actively undermining Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation." Power Worshipers is a worthy successor to Jeff Sharlet's 2009 sub rosa Christian Beltway network exposé. While the first eleven chapters are specific to the United States, Stewart sounds the warning call against the globalist aspirations of said white Christian nationalists.  

One month prior to the journalist Stewart's impressive piece, two sociologists (Clemson's Andrew Whitehead and the University of Oklahoma's Samuel L. Perry) examines Christian nationalism through an academic lens. Taking America Back For God: Christian Nationalism in the United States (2020, Oxford University Press). 

Another work from Oxford University Press that I am looking forward into tearing into this weekend is Olivier Roy's Is Europe Christian?  (2020) as well as Laurence Louér's Sunnis and Shi'a: A Political History (2020). 

Knowledge is power and reading these four books will galvanize and refine our efforts to advocate and secure secular governance and society. 

We are also going to hold a special conference call on the waning secularism in India and Turkey for the first Thursday in September (3rd at 1pm EDT, GMT -4). Two autocrats are hard at work solidifying particular religious supremacy.

Have a great week. 



Jason Frye, CEO
Secular Policy Institute                             
International Update:

Humanists International
Humanists International, of which we are a member organization, released a new report detailing discrimination against nonbelievers. "Humanists at Risk" is available to view. 

Hagia Sophia, originally a Christian church, then mosque, and most recently a museum, has become a mosque again. 

HUD Rule Would Dismantle Protections for Homeless Trans People
An article in the New York Times highlights how a change in policy at the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development would give a wider latitude for homeless shelters to turn away transgender individuals. 

We are returning to our monthly conference call on secular policy and human rights. 

Our first regular call will be held on Thursday 3rd September at 1 pm EDT (GMT -4). We will be taking August off for phone calls as per our old schedule.  

The topic will be the waning secular state in India, the circumstances related to the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the human rights crisis in Kashmir. 

A zoom link will be shared soon in this newsletter as well as a bulletin sent out to the member organizations of our coalition. 

Update on SPI Fellows: Drs. McWhorter, Nasrin, al-Tamimi

John McWhorter
Dr. McWhorter reviews the book White Fragility, making a reasoned argument about a certain level of condescension and infantilism within its pages. McWhorter was also interviewed by National Public Radio's Morning Edition

Taslima Nasrin
The latest book from Dr. Nasrin (Shameless) received a review in the Indian news site The Wire

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi
Dr. al-Tamimi was interviews by Voice of America on the potential effectiveness of a military campaign by the United States against Daesh holdouts in Syria.


Science News

Beluga Whales Form Friendships Beyond Family Ties
A new study by researchers at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute found that beluga whales form enduring social bonds beyond dyadic inner family relationships. 

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