'Atheist Muslim' and 'Secular Faith' Among Winners of Council for Secular Humanism's Forkosch Awards

The Council for Secular Humanism has announced the recipients of the 2015/2016 Forkosch Awards, recognizing the books and magazines that have made the greatest contributions toward the advancement of secular humanism. The Council for Secular Humanism is a program of the Center for Inquiry, and publisher of Free Inquiry magazine.

For 2015, the Morris D. Forkosch Award for Best Book goes to University of Washington professor of political science and comparative religion Mark A. Smith for Secular Faith: How Culture Has Trumped Religion in American Politics, in which he argues that religion has been compelled to adapt to changing social norms more than it has dictated those norms.

For 2016 the award goes to Ali A. Rizvi for The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason. Rizvi, a physician with roots in Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, tells of his early struggles with religious doubt and his hopes for a “cultural Islam” that embraces progressive values and rejects extremism.

The Selma V. Forkosch Award for Best Article for 2015 goes to Leah Mickens for her August/September 2015 piece in Free Inquiry, “Theology of the Odd Body: The Castrati, the Church, and the Transgender Moment,” in which she contrasts the Catholic Church's current rigid notions of gender conformity with its reliance on castrated male singers in the sixteenth century.

The 2016 Best Article Award goes to Pitzer College secular studies professor Phil Zuckerman for “Secularism and Social Progress,” which appeared in the April/May 2016 issue of Free Inquiry. Zuckerman, a pioneer in the study of nonreligious society, looks toward a future where secularization leads to increasing respect for reason, tolerance, and human rights.

Established in 1988, the Morris D. Forkosch Award recognizes the best humanist book of the year and carries an honorarium of $1,000. The Selma V. Forkosch Award recognizes the year's outstanding article in Free Inquiry magazine, the Council's flagship journal, and carries a prize of $250.

Previous winners have included such luminaries as Rebecca Newberger Goldstein for Plato at the Googleplex (2014), Susan Jacoby for The Great Agnostic Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought (2012), Daniel C. Dennett for Breaking the Spell (2006), and Stephen Jay Gould for Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History (1989).

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The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization headquartered in Amherst, New York, with executive offices in Washington, D.C. It is also home to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. Visit CFI on the web at www.centerforinquiry.net.