We will meet on June 4, 2008, in Washington DC
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On July 4, 2005, in Paris, during the «World Congress of the Freethought, for Atheism, and the Freethought» we jointly founded the International Liaison Committee of Atheists and Freethinkers (ILCAF/CILALP).
What have we seen in the last three years?
On the one hand, Western societies have never been so secularized. Millions of men and women are rightly worried by the world being torn apart by wars, where people are identified only by their religion and segregated because of this, and where barbarity and oppression reign.
Those who want to tackle these problems long to free themselves completely from the outdated weight of religions, which, while propagating all sorts of obscurantism, have modelled the social order against the universal aspiration to happiness, which the French revolutionary Saint-Just said «was a new idea in Europe».
Everywhere the first liberty conquered or yet to be conquered is the freedom to think for oneself, without dogma or revealed truth. Everywhere the struggle for complete freedom of conscience has still not been achieved, precisely because oppression needs dogmas to establish or maintain its power.
The democratic imperative for a clear distinction between public and private spheres has never been so profound, the ambition to reject religions in the private field been so wide. In his recently published book on public funding of religion, “The Purple Economy, Supernatural Charities, Tax and the State”, our colleague Max Wallace - a founding member of ILCAF/CILALP, and Director of the Australian National Secular Association – argues:
“Democracies should be republics based on the separation between religions and the state. The separation between temporal and spiritual authority should be understood as the first separation of powers in a democracy, prior to, and equivalent to, the separations between the executive, the legislature and judiciary. The failure of democracies to fully realize this distinction constitutionally has allowed churches to become exceedingly wealthy as charity legislation allowing their tax-exempt status as organizations that ’advance religion’, is not seen as unconstitutional in secular democracies.”
Founding members : Agostinelli Alejandro (Argentina) - Baron Juan Francisco Gonzalez (Spain) - Besson Philippe (France) - Cloutier Bernard (Quebec) - Donayre Gamarra José Antonio (Peru) - Estrella Hugo (Argentina) - Eyschen Christian (France) - Herrick Jim (United Kingdom) - Hodgkinson Jean (Canada) - Igwe Léo (Nigeria) - James Ann (Ireland) - Johnson Ellen (USA) - Labrégère Charlette (France) - Labrégère René (1915-2006) (France) - Lafouge Jacques (France) - Lepeix Roger (France) - Masson Henri (Esperanto-France) - Mateus Luis (Portugal) - Mbille Martin (Cameroon) - Dr Mueller Volker (Germany) - Nkunzimana Paul (Burundi) - Dr Onuoha (Nigeria) - Dr Opreti Gopi (Nepal) - Rand David (Quebec) - Riba Albert (Spain) - Robyn Johannès (Belgium) - Salamero Joachim (France) - Thain Richard (Canada) - Titze Ulrike (Germany) - Wallace Max (Australia) - Whitehead Fred (USA) - Wood Keith Porteus (United Kingdom)
We will meet on June 4, 2008, in Washington DC
But the complete freedom of conscience actually requires that major steps be made towards the strictest separations of religions and government, church and state, globally, and in ways peculiar to nations with their own historical trajectories.
We will meet on June 4, 2008, in Washington DC, at the time when the campaign for the presidential election is deliberately marked by the display of religious bigotry and obscurantism against science and reason.
We will meet on June 4, 2008 in Washington D.C., a few days after the visit to France of Josef Ratzinger - «Pope Benedict XVI» - to reaffirm his aversion of the principle of separation and to try to impose a «Christian Europe» against the humanist and universal legacy of the Enlightenment.
We will meet on June 4, 2008, in Washington D.C., at the time when in Great Britain the increasing onslaught of the Churches is demanding their presence, in their official capacity, in all the public services, from health services to schools…
We will meet on June 4, 2008, in Washington D.C., as the International Liaison Committee of Atheists and Freethinkers, to exchange some necessary information for a free debate to develop and promote the secular struggle, rationalism and the free criticism of religions.
We will meet on June 4, 2008, in Washington D.C., as the International Liaison Committee of Atheists and Freethinkers, to discuss the three following keynotes (Proposal):
Ellen Johnson (President of American Atheists) “The fight against the religious onslaught”
Jacques Lafouge (Vice-President of the French Libre Pensée) “The issue of the Separation in Latin America”
Keith Porteus Wood (Director National Secular Society - UK) “Universal Human Rights in danger from religious attacks”
We will meet on Wednesday, June 4, 2008, in Washington D.C., as the International Liaison Committee of Atheists and Freethinkers, to prepare the ground in the organized international fight to re-establish an International of the Freethought and Atheism, a World Union of the Freethought.
International Liaison Committee of Atheists and Freethinkers Meeting
4 June 2008 - 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Quorum Room, L’Enfant Plaza Hotel
480 L’Enfant Plaza, SW Washington, D.C.