International Association of Free Thought

The International Association of Free Thought (IAFT) held its IVth congress in London, England on August 11th. David Rand. president of Atheist Freethinkers (AFT) and IAFT spokesperson has posted a brief report on the AFT website. Rand’s report focuses on the efforts of Christianity, in particular Roman Catholicism, to undermine secularism:

The first talk of the day, given by Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society (UK), addressed a major theme of the day: crimes committed by Catholic clergy and hierarchy, i.e. child rape and sexual, physical and psychological violence against children. He explained that his organization is particularly interested in cases of abuse from within the Catholic Church simply because, for decades, the number and importance of such cases discovered there far exceed those in all other religions combined. . . . [Wood] made two recommendations to be implemented in each country: (1) encourage groups of abuse survivors to submit formal complaints to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child; and (2) adopt legislation that criminalizes inaction if one has a reasonable suspicion that child abuse has occurred; in other words, make it mandatory to report such cases to civil authorities.

Subsequent speakers stressed the negative effects of the Catholic Church’s influence in Poland, Spain and Argentina.

Rand reports that David Silverman, president of American Atheists, discussed

his association’s strategy for coalition-building [which] is to deliberately act as “pushy,” more radical atheists in order to make it easier for other associations of atheists, humanists, secularists, etc. with very similar goals to present themselves as more moderate and “nicer” and thus achieve those goals.

and that Silverman pointed out

Islam is not yet a threat in his country because it is always Christianity which tries to impose itself as the only legitimate viewpoint. The significance of his statement is concentrated in those two little words “not yet.” Indeed, the Congress might have paid more attention to the thorny issue of Islamofascism and how to respond to it.

Rand concludes his report by acknowledging

This summary of the event is very brief, touching only a sample of interventions. The transcript of all talks given at the congress will be available shortly on the IAFT website, in all three association languages to the extent that resources permit.

However, Rand’s report is excellent and is worth reading in its entirety.

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