Press Releases  

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PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

October 21, 2016

Toni Van Pelt Speaks To The Tallahassee Democrat Newspaper

 

"Rubio’s Social Security views would hurt women most"

 

Social Security has been around since 1935 and for 81 years it has strengthened the middle class and enabled working Americans to retire with dignity and financial security.

Social Security has been especially helpful to groups that have faced discrimination, including the LGBT community, people of color and women. Overwhelmingly, across political party lines, Americans strongly value Social Security, and want to see the program’s benefits expanded, not cut.

Senator Marco Rubio doesn’t agree. He believes that Social Security has “weakened us” as a people, and that the program, along with Medicare, are “bankrupting this country.” He’s proposed gutting Social Security benefits, even going as far as to say the program should be put in the hands of private Wall Street investors.

(Read More)


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

March 23, 2016

On March 23, 2016, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for Zubik v. Burwell, seven consolidated cases brought by nonprofit religious organizations that claim that the employee contraceptive coverage benefit in the Affordable Care Act violates their religious freedom.

 

 

The petitioners in these cases, including Priests for Life, Southern Nazarene University and Little Sisters of the Poor, assert that filing a form or another declaration indicating their objection to the contraceptive coverage violates their religious freedom under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In effect, they want a complete exemption, which means leaving their thousands of employees and students without access to critical health services entirely. It is clear that this litigation is actually about imposing one set of moral views on others, even if it disregards the will of individuals who work for and study at those institutions.

We, the undersigned members of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, express our support for the right of all workers, students and their dependents to access contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act. They have the right to make personal decisions based on their own beliefs. Religious freedom is not a weapon to carve out rights for some while imposing beliefs on others. Broad exemptions from laws—meant to protect the rights, health, dignity and equality of individuals—interfere with the exercise of personal conscience and religious liberty and harm people by preventing them from obtaining services. We reject the petitioners’ attempts to impose their ideas about religion on others, as well as their attempts to block employees’ and students’ health benefits under the Affordable Care Act. Such exemptions undermine equality, impede personal decision making and jeopardize students’ and workers’ well being.

(Read More)


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

September 22, 2015

                     "Statement on Women’s Rights and Non-State Terrorist Groups"

 

I am amazed at the lack of outrage and movement against the men, and now the women of ISIS who are unabashedly enslaving, sexually and physically assaulting women, girls and no doubt boys, on a daily basis.

As the world witnessed the social media onslaught against a dentist who traveled to Africa to slay a lion, (and I am one of those) I ask where is the onslaught in social media and elsewhere against an army of men who can barely be referred to as human beings using the name of their religion and their god to mistreat women in this way?

The only action I have seen taken to date has been by the United Nations women's non-governmental organization (NGO) Zonta International (ZI) . Zonta International is an organization pledged to empower women at the global and local levels, and to promote justice and universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. ISHV is proud to work in coalition with ZI. ISHV has become a signatory to the statement and the background that follows:

As we have heard in news reporting and reports from UN special rapporteurs and special representatives, including those of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sexual Violence in Conflict, about the abduction, rape, torture and murder of women and girls, which has become a method of terrorizing people and forcing them to leave their homes to survive the atrocities faced specifically by women and girls run rampant.

(Read More)


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

September 20, 2015

                The Institute for Science and Human Values Stands with Planned Parenthood

                                             

Planned Parenthood health centers play an important role in helping women meet their sexual and reproductive health needs. Although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of all publicly funded family planning centers, they serve 36% of all clients who obtain care from the clinic network. Similarly, Planned Parenthood health centers serve a disproportionate share of clients in the Title X system, comprising 13% of Title X clinics but serving 37% of clients. Each Planned Parenthood health center on average serves nearly 3,000 contraceptive clients per year—far more than other clinic types.

(Read More)


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

September 20, 2015

                  Toni Van Pelt, President of Institute for Science and Human Values to Speak on the

             "Religious Freedom Restoration Act and its Dangers to Secular Society and Government"

                                         Sponsored by the Humanists of North Puget Sound

When: Nov. 10, 2015 6:00PM-8:00PM

Where: Everett Public Library activities room 2702 Hoyt Avenue, Everett, WA

With increasing frequency, we are seeing individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions claiming a right to discriminate – by refusing to provide services to and hire freethinkers, women and LGBT people based on religious objections. These are the same arguments that were used in the 1960s to oppose laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate. We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. Now the radical right is working to expand allowance of this discrimination for ‘moral’ reasons. Imposing beliefs on others who do not share them goes against the very fiber and core of not just secular humanists values and principles but American family values. Ms Van Pelt will share the history of RFRA and outline the damage it has done to date and very likely into the future.

For more information contact: Robert Ray (360) 722-9900


PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

September 10, 2015

                  Toni Van Pelt, President of Institute for Science and Human Values to Speak on the

             "Religious Freedom Restoration Act and its Dangers to Secular Society and Government"

                                         Sponsored by the Central Florida Freethought Community

When: Sep. 20, 2015 1:00PM-3:00PM

Where: University Club, 841 North Park Ave, Winter Park

With increasing frequency, we are seeing individuals, businesses, organizations and institutions claiming a right to discriminate – by refusing to provide services to women and LGBT people and (those who will be next) – based on religious objections. These are the same arguments that were used in the 1960s to oppose laws requiring integration in restaurants because of sincerely held beliefs that God wanted the races to be separate.

We saw religiously affiliated universities refuse to admit students who engaged in interracial dating. Now the radical right is working to expand allowance of this discrimination for ‘moral’ reasons. Imposing beliefs on others who do not share them goes against the very fiber and core of not just Secular Humanists Values and Principles but American Family Values. Ms Van Pelt will illuminate the history of RFRA and outline the damage it has done to date.

For more information contact: David Williamson (321) 804-3373


The Institute for Science and Human Values Stands With

Planned Parenthood

 

Planned Parenthood health centers play an important role in helping women meet their sexual and reproductive health needs. According to the Guttmacher Institute although Planned Parenthood health centers comprise 10% of all publicly funded family planning centers, they serve 36% of all clients who obtain care from the clinic network. Similarly, Planned Parenthood health centers serve a disproportionate share of clients in the Title X system, comprising 13% of Title X clinics but serving 37% of clients. Each Planned Parenthood health center on average serves nearly 3,000 contraceptive clients per year—far more than other clinic types.

"In other words, women vote with their feet, and about one-third of women who rely on safety-net health centers for their family planning care get that care from Planned Parenthood." Guttmacher 29Jul15 memo Data on the role of PP health centers in women's reproductive needs

If Planned Parenthood health centers were defunded, it is impossible to know what would happen to the several million clients currently relying on these centers for their family planning services. There is no way to predict whether other health care providers throughout the country could step up—how quickly they could fill the gap or for how many clients. Guttmacher 29Jul15 memo Data on the role of PP health centers in women's reproductive needs

Led by rabid pro-birth militants and radical religious fanatics, politicians are passing state and federal laws restricting or simply denying access to abortion, birth control and maternal health care at the expense of women and their families. Pregnancy is dangerous for women. Defunding Planned Parenthood will make matters much worse. The callous disregard for women, their healthcare, their happiness and their very lives is both immoral and disgraceful

(Read More)


RE: The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV), a member organization of NCPE Opposes Reauthorization of the D.C. School Voucher Program

Dear Chairman Chaffetz and Ranking Member Cummings:

The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) writes to voice opposition to the reauthorization of the District of Columbia private school voucher program. We oppose this and all private school voucher programs because public funds should be spent on public schools, not private schools. It is the view of ISHV that two major goals drive voucher programs. One, is to simply destroy the public school system in the United States, replacing it with corporate owned and religious schools, displacing tax dollars and forcing taxpayers to support the profits of big business and the income of religious schools thereby favoring those religions, a clear violation of democratic principle. The public school system is an important component of the U.S. democracy.

(Read More)


Institute for Science and Human Values: Symposium on Dying without Deity

When: April 10 · 6:30 PM

Where: Columbia University Faculty House

The Institute for Science and Human Values is holding a national symposium on Dying without Deity at Columbia University beginning Friday evening, April 10, 6:40-9:00 PM, and going through the day, Saturday, 8:45 AM through 6 PM.

The full program, available on Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium, includes "The Broad Range of Humanisms" by Robert Tapp; "The Human Prospect: A Neohumanist Perspective" by Charles Murn; as well as "ISHV Programs and Progress." by Toni Van Pelt; " 'Stay' and the Secular Argument Against Suicide" by Jennifer Michael Hecht; "Coping Styles of Believers and Nonbelievers and a Role for Secular Humanist Chaplaincy" by Ralph Lewis; a panel on "Legal Issues Around Death and Dying"l and others.

There are separate rates for those attending only Friday or only Saturday. There are also special rates for students, for early registration and for SHSNY members. See the link above for details.


 

The Institute for Science and Human Values Presents Dying Without Deity-Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium

Even though the Pew Research Center has found that one-fifth (20%) of the USA public and a third (33 1/3%) of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated, most hospitals and hospices insist on having religious Chaplains available while ignoring the needs of non-theistic, secular humanist, atheist and agnostic patients.

 

While a September 2014 Pew Research report indicated that 72% of the American public has concluded that religion is losing influence in American life, the CEO's of America's hospitals and hospices continue to ignore this reality.

 

The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) has been approached by nursing home directors explaining secular patients are not being provided for, by either the facility or the patients' families. Is there a way to help?

 

"I have comforted those who are frightened to identify as non-theist for fear that proper medical care will be denied them when they find themselves requiring hospital and hospice stays," states Toni Van Pelt, ISHV President. "We know many secular humanists' wishes are denied by their families concerning burial and funeral services," she continues.

 

To date there has been little discussion and less research as to how widespread these problems are and what can be done to provide support for non-theists in this greatest time of need. Join ISHV's cadre of experienced speakers: Anne Klaeysen, Massimo Pigliucci, Final Exit president elect, Janis Landis, DJ Grothe, Jennifer, Michael Hecht, Jamila Bey, Ana Lita, Margaret Downey, Joseph Beck, Robert Tapp, Lois Uttley, Ralph Lewis, Marcia Cohen and more as the issues and suggested solutions are explored and shared.

 

"Dying Without Deity"

Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium,

Faculty House, Columbia University, New York, NY

April 10 and 11th, 2015.

 

Check www.ishv.net for future details and to register.

 

Abstract::

To date there has been little discussion and less research as to how self believers experience the dying process and death. What are some of the problems and discrimination Secular Humanists face during one of life’s most difficult journeys? How does one access support when it is needed? How widespread are these problems and what can be done to alleviate them? Join ISHV's cadre of experienced speakers as the issues and suggested solutions are explored and shared.

 


The Institute for Science and Human Values Presents Dying Without Deity-Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium

To date there has been little discussion and less research as to how self believers experience the dying process and death. What are some of the problems and discrimination Secular Humanists face during one of life’s most difficult journeys? How does one access support when it is needed? How widespread are these problems and what can be done to alleviate them? Join ISHV's cadre of experienced speakers as the issues and suggested solutions are explored and shared.

Tampa, FL, March 26, 2015 --(PR.com)-- Even though the Pew Research Center has found that one-fifth (20%) of the USA public and a third (33 1/3%) of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated, most hospitals and hospices insist on having religious Chaplains available while ignoring the needs of non-theistic, secular humanist, atheist and agnostic patients.

While a September 2014 Pew Research report indicated that 72% of the American public has concluded that religion is losing influence in American life, the CEO's of America's hospitals and hospices continue to ignore this reality.

The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) has been approached by nursing home directors explaining secular patients are not being provided for, by either the facility or the patients' families. Is there a way to help?

"I have comforted those who are frightened to identify as non-theist for fear that proper medical care will be denied them when they find themselves requiring hospital and hospice stays," states Toni Van Pelt, ISHV President. "We know many secular humanists' wishes are denied by their families concerning burial and funeral services," she continues.

To date there has been little discussion and less research as to how widespread these problems are and what can be done to provide support for non-theists in this greatest time of need. Join ISHV's cadre of experienced speakers as the issues and suggested solutions are explored and shared.

 

"Dying Without Deity"
Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium,
Faculty House, Columbia University, New York, NY
April 10 and 11th, 2015.

 

Check www.ishv.net for future details and to register.

Contact Information

Institute For Science and Human Values, Inc
Toni Van Pelt
727-391-8459
Contact
ishv.net
727-278-8446


From

RNS

Religion News Service

The Institute for Science and Human Values Presents Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium

March 27, 2015

Dying Without Deity

Even though the Pew Research Center has found that one-fifth (20%) of the USA public and a third (33 1/3%) of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated, most hospitals and hospices insist on having religious Chaplains available while ignoring the needs of non-theistic, secular humanist, atheist and agnostic patients.

 

While a September 2014 Pew Research report indicated that 72% of the American public has concluded that religion is losing influence in American life, the CEO’s of America’s hospitals and hospices continue to ignore this reality.

 

The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) has been approached by nursing home directors explaining secular patients are not being provided for, by either the facility or the patients’ families. Is there a way to help?

 

“I have comforted those who are frightened to identify as non-theist for fear that proper medical care will be denied them when they find themselves requiring hospital and hospice stays,” states Toni Van Pelt, ISHV President. “We know many secular humanists’ wishes are denied by their families concerning burial and funeral services,” she continues.

 

To date there has been little discussion and less research as to how widespread these problems are and what can be done to provide support for non-theists in this greatest time of need. Join ISHV’s cadre of experienced speakers: Anne Klaeysen, Massimo Pigliucci, Final Exit, president elect, Janis Landis, D.J. Grothe, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Jamila Bey, Ana Lita, Margaret Downey, Joseph Beck, Robert Tapp, Lois Uttley, Ralph Lewis, Marcia Cohen and more as the issues and suggested solutions are explored and shared.

 

“Dying Without Deity”

Perspectives on Death and Dying Symposium,

Faculty House, Columbia University, New York, NY

 

April 10 and 11th, 2015.

 

Reduced Rates and Student Rates available.

Check www.ishv.net for future details and to register.

 

Contact:

Toni Van Pelt
tvanpelt@ishv.net
(727) 391-8459

 

DJ Grothe
djgrothe@ishv.net
(323) 229-7771

 


Institute for Science and Human Values

Perspectives on Dying and Death Symposium

“Dying Without Deity”

Hospitals and Hospices ignore the needs of more than 20% of their patients.

Tampa, FL - Oct. 24, 2014 - Even though the Pew Research Center has found that one-fifth (20%) of the USA public and a third (33 1/3%) of adults under 30 are religiously unaffiliated, most hospitals and hospices insist on having religious Chaplains available while ignoring the needs of non-theistic, secular humanist, atheist and agnostic patients.

While a September 2014 Pew Research report indicated that 72% of the American public has concluded that religion is losing influence in American life, the CEO’s of America’s hospitals and hospices continue to ignore this reality.

According to Joe Beck, Florida’s first Humanist Chaplain and Founder of Florida’s Humanists of the Treasure Coast, "hospital and hospice literature mention the existence of non-denominational theistic chaplains but fail to mention the existence of supportive services from an openly secular humanist perspective.”  Mr. Beck believes that medical facilities providing a clearly identified secular support person helps to validate the secular patient's life stance and brings comfort to those patients.

The Institute for Science and Human Values (ISHV) has been approached by nursing home directors explaining that their secular patients are not being provided for, by either the facility or the patients’ families. They wonder how they can help. “I have comforted those who are frightened to identify as non-theist for fear that proper medical care will be denied them when they find themselves requiring hospital and hospice stays,” states Toni Van Pelt, ISHV President. “We know many secular humanists’ wishes are denied by their families concerning burial and funeral services.” she continues.

To date there has been little discussion and less research as to how widespread these problems are and what can be done to provide support for non-theists in this, their greatest time of need. To this end ISHV is sponsoring “Dying Without Deity” Perspectives Dying and Death Symposium, at Columbia University, on April 10 and 11th, 2015 Visit www.ishv.net for further details and to register.

###


On March 25, 2014, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in lawsuits brought by Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a national arts-and-crafts chain, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., a cabinet manufacturer. The cases challenge the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance plans include coverage for contraception with no co-pay, which was designed to advance women’s health and equality. We, the undersigned members of the Coalition for Liberty & Justice, express our support for the right of all workers and their dependents to access contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act and to make personal decisions about using contraception based on their own beliefs. We oppose the corporations’ attempts to invoke their owners’ religious beliefs to undermine women’s health and equality and interfere in their personal decision-making. Corporations should not be permitted to impose religious views on their employees. We represent a diverse cross-section of communities, including faith-based and secular groups as well as those dedicated to LGBT rights, women’s rights, separation of church and state, civil rights, and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice. We are united in our belief that public policies should both respect religious liberty and protect against the use of religious beliefs to discriminate or undermine equality. We believe that true religious liberty respects individuals, supports the common good and reflects the foundational principles of our nation. We therefore strongly support the rights of female workers and their dependents to follow their consciences, moral codes and beliefs when making a decision about contraception and oppose the plaintiffs’ attempts to interfere in this personal decision-making. We hope the Supreme Court will reject the corporations’ challenges to the contraceptive coverage regulations.

Americans for Religious Liberty,  Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Call To Action, Catholics for Choice, Center for Inquiry, Center for Reproductive Rights,  Coalition of Labor Union Women, Concerned Clergy for Choice, CORPUS, DignityUSA, Faith Aloud, GetEQUAL Action, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America, Inc., Human Rights Campaign, Ibis Reproductive Health, Institute for Science and Human Values, Interfaith Alliance,  Keshet,  Law Students for Reproductive Justice, Medical Students for Choice, Metropolitan Community Churches Public Policy Team, MergerWatch, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, Muslims for Progressive Values, National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum,  National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Women's Organizations, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force,  National Latina for Reproductive Health, National Organization for Women (NOW) Foundation, National Women's Health Network, Nehirim,  New Ways Ministry,  Religious Reproductive Choice, Religious Institute, Reproductive Health Technologies Project, Secular Coalition for America,  Sexuality Information and Education Council of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, Women's League for Conservative Judaism.


 

Subject: Press Conference at Senator Nelson's Tampa Office

On April 8, 2014, also known as Equal Pay Day, AAUW members and fellow fair pay advocates will gather outside Sen. Bill Nelson’s Tampa office to advocate for the Paycheck Fairness Act and to deliver a cake with a 23 percent “bite” taken out of it to represent the 23-cent gap between men’s and women’s earnings.

Why Senator Nelson's office? The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is expected to hold a hearing on the Paycheck Fairness Act in early April. Soon after the hearing, we expect the full Senate to vote on whether to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act – and Sen. Nelson will be key to this effort. Sen. Nelson was the only Democratic senator who had not committed to co-sponsoring the Paycheck Fairness Act and TODAY he signed on to the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), which would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and bar retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers. In the face of this new development, which is a win for all women in Florida, we need Sen. Nelson to take the lead on getting the PFA passed.

When: April 8th at 5 p.m.

Where: Federal Courthouse in downtown Tampa Sam Gibbons Federal Court House 801 N. Florida Ave., Tampa,

What: Press Conference, Rally and Cake Delivery

Why:  Members of ISHV and other allied organizations have repeatedly asked Sen. Nelson to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act and will ask again on Equal Pay Day.

Who: American Association of University Women, Institute for Science and Human Values, Florida NOW, and The Feminist Student Alliance

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 5, 2014

CONTACT: Jill Maxick

800-853-7545

jmaxick@prometheusbooks.com

IN MEMORIAM: VICTOR J. STENGER

New York Times-bestselling author leaves a rich intellectual legacy

Prometheus Books is deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected loss of one of our most prolific and important authors, Victor J. Stenger. This Tuesday (September 9, 2014) marks the publication of his thirteenth Prometheus book, God and the Multiverse: Humanity's Expanding View of the Cosmos, and we can’t believe he isn’t here to see it off into the world and to engage the public in lively discourse on its topic at personal appearances or on his Huffington Post blog, as he would for any other book.

Jonathan Kurtz, publisher, Prometheus Books, says, “Victor Stenger was a visionary thinker. He had the rare ability to write for the academic reader as well as the layman. He was the ultimate professional and a close friend of Prometheus, with a relationship going back many years. We will miss him greatly.”

An adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado and professor emeritus of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii at the time of his death, Victor Stenger was an extraordinary scholar with the unique ability to make dense concepts in science both meaningful and intelligible to the general public while at the same time maintaining their scientific integrity.

In 2007, he achieved New York Times-bestseller status with God: The Failed Hypothesis, a book praised by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, the prominent "New Atheists" of that time

Like many skeptics, Stenger valued the need to bring reason and critical thinking to a public desperately searching for understanding and clarity amid the many claims made by religion and the supernatural masquerading as science or insisting that where science has yet to discover answers some mysterious psychic force could fill the void. He took this obligation to the public at large very seriously, dedicating himself to confronting the pseudoscientific, the paranormal, and the supernatural with solid, evidence-based arguments that any careful reader could follow and gain significant insight from.

“The books Victor authored leave a rich intellectual legacy,” says Steven L. Mitchell, editor in chief, Prometheus Books. “His works broaden the public’s knowledge about science and the thoughtful method it uses to explore claims of all stripes in an objective, rational way that will ultimately lead to answers grounded in the best available evidence rather than baseless assertions, unfounded conjecture, or blind faith.”

Victor Stenger will be missed by those of us who had the privilege of knowing him. But we who cherish critical thinking, a positive skeptical attitude, and the uplifting of the human spirit through the light of reason are fortunate that his vast body of work remains to encourage and challenge us as we face an always uncertain future.

# # #

BOOKS BY VICTOR J. STENGER:

  • God and the Multiverse

  • God and the Atom

  • God and the Folly of Faith

  • God: The Failed Hypothesis

  • The Comprehensible Cosmos

  • The New Atheism

  • Has Science Found God?

  • The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning

  • Physics and Psychics

  • Not by Design

  • Quantum Gods

  • The Unconscious Quantum


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