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Hello, 

As secularists we seek a division between governing and religious authorities. Many of us demand the same in the realm of society aspiring to a realm of pluralism in our daily lives in which the commands of particular religion doctrine does not infringe upon our personal, family, and intellectual pursuits. Thankfully we have outstanding research performed by scholars of religion and politics who examine the data, reporting their findings on not only the changing demographics of religious affiliation and offering insights onto the foundations for this change. 

One of my favorite books on this subject is Sacred and Secular (Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart, 2012) in which Professors Norris and Inglehart reexamine the secularization thesis. Previously the work Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber suggested the modernity would diminish reliance on and affiliation within religious institutions. In Sacred and Secular, Norris and Inglehart offer the explanation of distance from existential security threats as the critical secularizing factor. Inglehart has published a new book analyzing the sharp decline in religiosity across the globe (Religion's Sudden Decline: What's Causing it, and What Comes Next?, 2021). Inglehart gives a brief synposis of the work in Foreign Affairs

And while there has been a marked success in the secularization of the globe, there are areas of critical concern where a formerly deeply entrenched secularism finds itself under direct assault. With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and through Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we see Hindu nationalism gain an authoritarian, governing edge. This has stoked repression and fanned the flames of sectarian violence. This demands the response of affirmed secularists. 

We are going to be addressing the Desecularisation of India through our (returning) monthly call on the future of the secular movement. We will be on Zoom on the Tenth of September (see section below) to discuss the desecularizaiton of India, the role taken by Modi and the BJP, the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Jammu and Kashmir. We will also be announcing an upcoming one day Zoom conference on these matters. 

Humanist Association of Nigeria (HAN) President Mubarak Bala is still incommunicado, with an increasing likelihood that the municipal authorities have disappeared him. We are brining on the help of HAN founder, Dr. Leo Igwe, to help investigate issues such as this in Central Africa. We are also tapping a long term member of our organization, Hugo Estrella, to aid in our efforts of expansion and global efficacy. We are also bringing on the assistance of Carmen Grosu and Manoj White John.

Mark your calendars for the 10th of September for our monthly conference call, and as always:

Have a great week. 

 

 
sincerely, 



Jason Frye, CEO
Secular Policy Institute                             
 
 
International Update:

Afghanistan
Peace talks with the Taliban begin with apprehension of increased pressure from the United States.  
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Ireland
Atheist Ireland presented a 21-page legal opinion to the Department of Education stating that compulsory religious classes violates the Irish constitution.
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Scotland
Humanist Society of Scotland co-authored a letter (signed by SPI Fellow A.C. Grayling) condemning a recent "Hate Crime and Public Order" bill for its " unintended consequences" on free expression.
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Tunisia
In the decade following the democratic reforms of the Arab Spring, economic stagnation and downturn frustrate those in the revolution's birthplace. 
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UNITED STATES UPDATE: 

"Can the Religious Left Flip the Bible Belt?"
An essay by Emma Green in The Atlantic asks this question.
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Ethics Panel Rejects Fetal Tissue Research Proposals
A new ethics panel in the Trump Administration has recommended the rejection of 13 out of 14 research proposals involving human fetal tissue.
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West African Violence U.S. Response
The Trump Administration is creating a special task force in order to respond to the escalating violent situation regarding Islamist insurgency in the Sahel which have doubled annually since 2015.
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The Nones are steadily increasing in numbers
The numbers of those who ascribe to a religious affiliation or regularly attend religious services continues to decrease.
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Update on SPI Fellows: Drs. Klein and al-Tamimi

Marty Klein
Marty Klein discusses the recent sex scandal involving Jerry Falwell Jr. in Mercury News.  
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Aymenn Jawa al-Tamimi
Dr. al-Tamimi was quoted in Voice of America on who the Syrian National Defense Forces are. 
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Science News

10 Times More Plastic Pollution Than Thought
Researchers studied the amount of plastic pollution and published their results in Nature Communications. The researchers have estimated that there is more than ten times the amount than previously thought. 
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The Flamboyant Cuttlefish
A new paper details when cuttlefish go from camouflaged to vibrant displays. 
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Growing Magnetic Field Dent
Scientists are monitoring a developing anomaly in the earth's magnetic field: the "South Atlantic Anomaly.:"
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7,000-Year-Old Stone Monuments
An article on the "mustatil" stone structures  in the Arabian Desert was published in The Holocene by researchers at the Max Planck Institute. 
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MONTHLY ZOOM CONFERENCE

Our monthly international call on the Future of the Secular Movement returns: Thursday, 10 September, 10 am – 11 am US Eastern (NYC, GMT -4), 19:30 –  20:30 India Standard Time


On this call we will highlight:
• The rise of Hindu nationalism in Indian government.
• The Citizenship Amendment Act and its implications. 
• The ongoing situation in Jammu and Kashmir. 
• Announcing an upcoming online conference on these matters. 


To Join the Call: 

Jason Frye is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: SPI Monthly Call 9/10/2020
Time: Sep 10, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87309228495?pwd=SENGRXFBZ2FTSjA4UlkrRVphZUJIQT09
Meeting ID: 873 0922 8495
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