While we see numbers of corona casualties begin to soar, and as we find ourselves in seclusion, this is a good time to think about the world that we want to see beyond this pandemic. 

Robert Muggah and Steven Pinker penned an essay in Foreign Policy providing a fair amount of optimism at the aggregate reduction in violence around the globe and how a commitment to further reducing violence is achievable: "The goal of preventing people from killing each other in large numbers is not just desirable but achievable. The goal of reducing the global homicide rate by 50 percent by 2030—about 6.5 percent a year—has been embraced by Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a coalition of governments, national and international organizations, and foundations and private sector partners."

When we look at higher levels of religiosity vs. higher levels of secularism, Pipa Norris and Ronald Inglehart's Sacred and Secular demonstrates that shocks from existential threats relate to increased religiosity. People cling to what bolsters feelings of safety and the steady hand of core ideological beliefs and celebrated histories (often at the heart of major religions). 

This is a prime moment to reevaluate what kind of world that we would like to see after the last new corona case of this outbreak finds themself recovered. We will more than likely see a great pull toward conservative and or Evangelical religious expression, the type that offers us the kind of resistance to secular society and governance we continually work against. It's a good time to prepare a more prosocial and convincing response than offered from our presumed ideological opponents. 

Meditate on this. 

Have a great week. Wash your hands, don't touch your face, wear a mask, and stay safe, 


Jason Frye, CEO
Secular Policy Institute                             
International Update:

Recently acquitted from a sex abuse conviction, George Pell is under investigation for new sexual abuse allegations. 

The Indian Supreme Court ordered the release of detainees declared "foreigners" in the Assam detention centers. 

As the coronavirus heavily attacks ultra-Orthodox communities, the generally secluded enclaves are opening for aid. 

Pope Francis said that the corona virus is "testing our whole human family." 

US: Law & Policy
Attorney General of the United States William Barr gave directives at a recent White House coronavirus press conference in which he said that the government may not impose special restrictions on religious gatherings: “But even in times of emergency, when reasonable and temporary restrictions are placed on rights, the First Amendment and federal statutory law prohibit discrimination against religious institutions and religious believers. Thus, government may not impose special restrictions on religious activity that do not also apply to similar nonreligious activity." 

US: Social Attitudes:
While lawmakers across the various states and at the federal level have been sponsoring so-called "religious liberty" bills, a Public Religion Research Institute poll of 40,000 Americans said that 72 percent of the population favor non-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians.  

The Chief of Police for Davie, FL was placed on administrative leave after he had said that a sheriff's deputy who recently succumbed to the coronavirus had expired of the disease because he was a "homosexual who attended homosexual events."

Update on SPI Fellows: Drs. Al-Tamimi and McWhorter

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
Dr. Al-Tamimi and two collaborators published a policy study through the Washington Institute for Near East Policy on an Iraqi-militia network. Dr. Al-Tamimi also examines the "Jihadist Perspectives on Coronavirus Pandemic: Primary Sources."
Read more....

John McWhorter
Including the new episode of his entertaining podcast Silicon Alley, Dr. McWhorter comments in The Atlantic on criticism directed on social and traditional media toward the United States Surgeon General, and African American, Jerome Adams for directives that the Surgeon General gave toward the African American community. In the United States African Americans are being hit especially hard by the covid-19 pandemic. 
Read more....

Science News

Space News
Scientists are getting closer to discovering why the Big Bang produced something rather than nothing. 

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