Humanist Perspectives: issue 180, Spring 2012

Issue 180, Spring 2012

cover of issue 180
Humanist Perspectives is a high-end, satisfying read, for those who appreciate excitement with thought-provoking information and opinion. If you don't see Humanist Perspectives at your magazine store, please ask for it. Of course, you may also subscribe.

Editorial

by Carl Dow
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Features

Secularist Crusade Frees Three Municipalities From the Lord’s Prayer by Dagmar Gontard-Zelinkova
Dagmar Gontard-Zelinkov takes us inside the successful battle to free three Ontario municipalities from the Lord's Prayer. She describes the will to win, combined with sense of humour, that was displayed by such fellow Humanists as Bill Broderick and Bill Kilpatrick, who helped her carry the day.

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The River of Life by John K. Nixon
A full-blown river, proud and confident, carves its course through mud and sandstone, speeding up through chasms and then churning in tumult and frenzy....

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Stephen Harper and the Caging of Canada by Sheryl Jarvis
Sheryl Jarvis provides us with a chilling in-depth report on how Stephen Harper plans the Caging of Canada. As we went to press, Bill C10, the Safe Streets and Communities Act, was given Royal Assent. The Bill combines nine of the former bills that had failed to pass into law due to opposition and repeated prorogues of parliament. Still other criminal law bills that failed to pass previously have been introduced that focus on restricting online and human rights freedoms.

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COUNTERATTACK: Sham Democracy: The right to live in dignity as free citizens is being threatened by Henry Beissel
This new column is a Humanist's response to the attacks on the right to live in dignity as free citizens. As an ongoing series, Counterattack will shine a light on problems that must be recognized, and solutions that are vital to preserving and expanding freedom against the threats of a sham democracy.

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Dutch Government Abandons Multiculturalism by Soeren Kern
The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands and will place more demands on immigrants to conform to core values of Dutch society.

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A Poet’s Voice poems by Dave Margoshes
Dave Margoshes is a Saskatoon-area writer whose work has appeared widely in Canadian literary magazines and anthologies. He’s published over a dozen books – the most recent, Dimensions of an Orchard, won the Saskatchewan Book Awards’ Poetry Prize in 2010; The Horse Knows the Way was short-listed for that award the previous year. His poetry has won a number of other awards, including the Stephen Leacock Prize for Poetry in 1996. A collection of linked short stories, A Book of Great Worth, will be published this spring.

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Christopher Hitchens: An Intellectual With the Instincts of a Street Brawler by Salman Rushdie
In this piece, Salman Rushdie recounts the last days of Christopher Hitchens.

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Two Shocking Attacks on Atheism by Religious Bigots and how American Atheists fought back and won by Greta Christina
From the trenches, Greta Christina gives us an exciting blow-by-blow report on how mid-Ohio atheists fought back against two shocking attacks by religious bigots and won with all colours flying. Atheists are getting organized and are proving they are formidable opponents with whom bigots should fear messing.

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How the US Private For-profit Prison System Works: The booming business of American slavery by Kyle Lovett
A companion piece (to Sheryl Jarvis’ article) by Kyle Lovett reveals how private for-profit prisons in the US sets the stage for 21st century slavery in the Land of the Free.

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Book Reviews

Seasons of Blood by Henry Beissel by Garry Geddes
Garry Geddes compares Henry Beissel with Joseph Conrad in reviewing Henry Beissel's new book of epic poetry, Seasons of Blood. "Historically, Seasons of Blood has no shortage of tragic material to explore, including the holocaust, the Falklands War, death squads in Guatemala and El Salvador, the bombing of Hiroshima, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict that resulted in the September 1982 massacres at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon, These conflicts are mostly attributed to vested interests dividing the world into "hemispheres of power."

With all that, says Garry Geddes, "…it is grace that abounds in this book, the grace of loving attention riveted to a dying world and the grace of language so finely tuned it breaks the heart while it nests in the ear."

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With Malice Aforethought: The execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti by Theodore W. Grippo by Mel Massey
Reaching back about 100 years, Ottawa lawyer Mel Massey reviews With Malice Aforethought: The execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti by Theodore W. Grippo, also a lawyer, who makes a convincing case that two hapless Italian immigrants were framed for robbery and murder and were eventually sentenced to death by electrocution. The case drew international attention. Mel Massey writes that With Malice Aforethought is an ‘advanced reader’ for someone who is already conversant with the basic facts of the trial or who wishes to dive into a notorious example of injustice.

It is all high drama, says Mel Massey, and a terrible shame that the story should involve a wholesale subversion of justice and the execution of two possibly innocent men.

With all that, says Garry Geddes, "…it is grace that abounds in this book, the grace of loving attention riveted to a dying world and the grace of language so finely tuned it breaks the heart while it nests in the ear."

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In addition, Humanist Perspectives, offers a lively "Letters-to-the-Editor" exchange. This issue contains a challenge by a reader to Madeline Weld for her article about Feeding the Raging Monster (Issue 178, Autumn 2011) and her response. Another reader says Editor Carl Dow's Humanitarian Bombing? (Issue 179, Winter 2011/2012) should not compare Stalin to Hitler.

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