The Woman Saudi Arabia Tried to Shut Up: An Interview with Josephine Macintosh

Last month, I wrote about the remarkable events at the UN Human Rights Council, where Saudi Arabia attempted to shout down Josephine Macintosh, a representative of my employer the Center for Inquiry, as she delivered a forceful statement condemning Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses, specifically the persecution and imprisonment of Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair (who just this week was sentenced to 15 years in prison).

The Saudi representative was desperate to quiet her, demanding that the council president “shut that woman up!”, but delegations from the U.S., Ireland, Canada, and France stood up for Josephine’s right to deliver her statement. (You can read my full writeup here.)

I finally managed to actually make contact with the hero of the whole story, Josephine herself, who’s been busy traveling and without regular Internet access. I took the opportunity to ask her about the whole episode and to learn a little about what motivates her, too. What follows is an edited transcript of our conversation. I’ve emphasized some key portions.

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Mother and Daughter Claim Christian Sex Ed Classes in Edmonton Public School District Infringe Upon Their Rights

Usually, when we discuss sex education classes in public schools, controversy arises because it’s either not taught at all or it’s taught very poorly. Think abstinence-only sex education — which is hardly educational at all.

It’s not very different in Canada. Emily Dawson, a recent graduate from Edmonton, Alberta, took mandatory sex education classes at her high school and was shocked by what she heard:

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In the Middle East, Some Atheists Fake-Fast During Ramadan To Avoid Detection

We know it’s not easy to be an atheist in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, for example, vocal atheism is on par with terrorism. But I didn’t realize to what extent atheists are trying to avoid detection.

According to a report at Vocativ by Inna Lazareva and Noam Binshtok, some atheists are even fasting during Ramadan just so no one will catch on.

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Humanist Group to Hold Congressional Briefing on the Need for Non-Religious Military Chaplains

On Tuesday, July 22, the American Humanist Association will hold a congressional briefing about the need for Humanist chaplains in the military. Speakers include Jason Torpy (President of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers), Stephen Boyd (retired colonel and military chaplain), and Major Ryan Jean (current military member).

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It’s Basic Christianity, People!

I guess conservative Christians really are following the Bible

Cartoonist Matt Bors has plenty more of what Jesus said at Medium.

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