Women’s Freedom Requires Secularism, Declares Global Rights Activist in Free Inquiry

For Immediate Release: January 8, 2015
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.net - 207-358-9785

In the February/March issue of Free Inquiry, human-rights advocate Taslima Nasrin leaves no room for compromise as she declares religion’s utter incompatibility with the rights and well-being of women globally. Plus, investigative journalist Carrie Poppy shines a spotlight on the unethical and dangerous deceptions perpetrated on women by antiabortion “Crisis Pregnancy Centers.”

“Secularism is necessary for women’s freedom simply because religions—all religions—are opposed to women’s freedom,” writes Nasrin, in a piece adapted from her presentation at the 2014 “Women in Secularism” conference. “No woman can have the rights and freedoms she deserves under any religion’s laws.” In the1990s, Nasrin was exiled from Bangladesh for her religious dissent, hundreds of thousands Islamists marched to demand her execution, and a bounty was placed on her head. Having seen firsthand the persecution women suffer under regimes that justify themselves through religion, Nasrin now calls for an absolute form of secularism, as opposed to one that means “respecting the barbarisms of all religions equally.”

“People need to get angry,” she writes. “I would love to see hundreds of thousands of angry, passionate young people with a secular vision rise against the insanity of Islamists and offer guideposts toward real change, toward a new era.”

Women face a different brand of religiously motivated threat to their rights in the United States, in the form of crisis pregnancy centers, where desperate women seeking to end their pregnancies are fooled into enduring haranguing on the evils of abortion. Carrie Poppy discovers that not only are these centers disguising themselves as abortion providers and setting up shop in the same locations, but they are also giving medical misinformation and even providing fake ultrasounds that show prerecorded fetuses, complete with “beating hearts.” Poppy calls out these centers’ “bait-and-switch” strategy and notes that they have now become easier to find than actual abortion services.

Also in this issue: Free Inquiry Editor Tom Flynn, Center for Inquiry President Ronald A. Lindsay, and CFI Legal Director Nicholas J. Little compellingly rebut the recent court ruling that declared secular humanism to be a religion. They state firmly that secular humanism is in no way a religion and worry that the decision “will likely resonate like a cannon-shot,” undoing much of the work done over the past generation on behalf of secular humanism.