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Leicester Secular Society

(January–March & April–June & July & August)

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Meetings for January to March 2005
Most lectures are on Sundays at 6:30 pm
at Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester
All welcome — Free refreshments available.

Sunday 23rd January, 6.30. Helen Pearson: “Young People's Voices”. Helen, known to Leicester Secular Society for her talks on Central America, is co-director of Soft Touch, the co-operative community arts workshop for young people in Leicester. The talk will be illustrated. With CD and video, and she invites comments and discussion from the audience.
FRIDAY 28th January, 7.00. Ziauddin Sardar: “Islam and Secularism”. Broadcaster and columnist Ziauddin Sardar is one of the world's foremost Muslim intellectuals, and author of more than forty books on science, religion and contemporary culture, amongst them his latest book: Desperately seeking Paradise: journeys of a sceptical Muslim, and the international bestseller: Why Do People Hate America?
Sunday 30th January, 6.30. Emily Madamombe: “The Movement for Democratic Change and the Fight for Justice in Zimbabwe”. Emily is chairperson of the Leicester Branch of the MDC. She is a refugee and teaching in Leicester, however her spare time is devoted to working for change in her country.
Sunday 6th February. 6.30. Fred Lee, former President of the Leicester Secular Society will give an address and lead discussion.
Sunday 13th February. 6.30. Sham Rajyagun: “Youth Revolution and the Future”. There are many things that need changing in the ways the world is run. Come and hear this organisation's vision for the future.
Sunday 20th February. 6.30. Celia Barden & Alan Gledhill: “Salt of the Earth and the Tsunami”. Salt of the Earth is Leicester's fund raising organisation supporting Social Change and Development (SCAD), a non-governmental organisation in Tamil Nadu in South India. Some villages in Southern India were devastated with the loss of several thousand lives and SCAD have plunged resources into providing relevant assistance. Two Salt of the Eath trustees give an account of what is happening there.
Sunday 27th February. 6.30. Steve Score: “Local Privatisations and Save Our Schools”. Steve has been involved in many campaigns with the aim of saving education for the people. He looks at the creeping privatisations of public resources.
Sunday 6th March. 6.30. Jessie Fleming: “International Youth Camp: Peru, Summer 2004”. Jessie went to Peru with The Woodcraft Folk and encountered extraordinary landscapes and people; she illustrates her talk with a slide presentation.
Sunday 13th March. 6.30. John O'Higgins: “The Scepticism of David Hume”. Some of the works of the great 18th century Scottish philosopher were considered so dangerous that even now it is hard to find them in print. John reveals their contents to us.
Sunday 20th March. 6.30. James Hinton: “Citizenship and the Intimate Self: reading the Mass-Observation war diaries”. Mass-Observation, set up in 1937 to organise "an anthropology of ourselves", recruited a panel of volunteer observers. During the war 200 of them kept diaries, often on a daily basis. These provide the historian with a wonderfully rich picture of how individuals balanced public and private imperatives during the defining crisis of the last century. James Hinton, a professor of history at Warwick University, is author of books on various social movements in twentieth century Britain. He is currently working on the construction of selfhood as documented in the Mass-Observation diaries.
TUESDAY 22ND March 11.45 a.m. NOAM CHOMSKY LIVE, by direct Videolink from Edinburgh, speaks on: “The Fateful Triangle: The US, Israel and the Palestinians”. Linguistics, Politics and Social Justice are a few of areas which Chomsky has covered in his writings. Find out why people listen to him.

Unfortunately the technical people were unable to establish the link so this meeting had to be cancelled.

Meetings for April to June 2005
New Summer Series

Most lectures are on Sundays at 6:30 pm
at Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester
All welcome — Free refreshments available.

Sunday 17th April, 6:30 pm: Scott Freer on Bob Dylan.
Sunday 24th April, 6:30 pm: Half-Annual General Meeting (½AGM) for members and intending members. (Wine, cheese, soft drinks. Ensure your sub is of good standing or pay on the day.)
Sunday 1st May, 6:30 pm: May Day Special in association with Frontline Books — Richard Johnson on: "Blairism and the World of Persuasion". Richard Johnson, formerly of Birmingham University and recently retired from a professorship at Nottingham University, completed his book on Blairism in 2004 and his talk is partly drawn from it. It has been published by Lawrence and Wishart. This is its Leicester launch. Bearing in mind the nearness of an election this is the right time for his address.
Sunday 8th May, 5:30 pm (Note early start): Lisa Watts — Story Telling Workshop. Lisa is an experienced practitioner of the art of group storytelling. We can learn how it is done, and with luck follow and assist into our own adventure.
Sunday 15th May, 6:30 pm: Michael Dunning on Project Financing. So necessary for getting things off the ground. With luck we will be able to learn what pitfalls to avoid and how to turn an idea into a reality.
Sunday 22nd May, 6:30 pm: Peter Jones on Environment and Threats to Wildlife. Peter works for the RSPB in Wales and well knows the connections between environment and life.
Sunday 29th May, 6:30 pm: "Headstrong" Meeting. It is a sort of open forum. Named after the Headstrong Club in 18th Century Lewes (Sussex) where the members gathered to discuss the unthinkable. Thomas Paine was a prominent member. All are welcome.
Sunday 5th June, 6:30 pm: Ned Newitt — Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of The Leicester Unemployed March. Ned has studied this remarkable event, which took place in June 1905, and will illustrate his account of the march and its significance with contemporary accounts and pictures.
Sunday 12th June, 6:30 pm: Tansy Newman-Turner — An Experience of Guatemala. Tansy returned recently from two months of voluntary work in an orphanage in Guatemala City. She tells us of her experiences, and her views on what she found out about social provision in a Third World country. She illustrates her talk with photographs.

Special Talk, Thursday 28 July 2005 at 7:00 pm

Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester

“Only Human, or God in Us?”
Humanists, Quakers and others

by David Boulton

Beginning as a Plymouth Brother, David Boulton is now a humanist and a Quaker and a leading member of the Sea of Faith Network.

He has argued in his book The Trouble with God that humanism and a reasonable faith are not the enemies and opposites they are often imagined to be. Modern humanism, the wider humanitarian movement and western concepts of human rights are all rooted in Christian and religious values. We need both a humanism which cherishes the religious values of "mercy, pity, peace and love", and religion which has freed itself from supernaturalism to acknowledge that every faith-system is a wholly human creation.

His forthcoming book The Trouble with God: Building the Republic of Heaven takes the argument further.

David is the author of over a dozen books and is a man of wide practical experience: former Editor of the award winning investigative television series 'World in Action' and former Head of Current Affairs, Arts and Religion at Granada television company. He was awarded the Royal Television Society medal ‘for creative services to broadcasting’ and is a member of the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Details from Allan Hayes.

Special Members Meeting, Sunday 14 August 2005 at 6:30 pm

Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester

All LSS members* are invited to attend this meeting to debate the Society's response to the London bombings.

It is important that we try to agree a strategy / policy at the time of such a watershed, when the direction of British society may be decided for many decades. Will it be the wide, plural secular world this Society has campaigned for, for over 120 years, or are we to witness a return to the dark ages?

As a starting point to this debate, please note the response The London Bombings - A Secular View written by member George Jelliss, that the committee think gives an excellent starting point to help us formulate an agreed strategy / policy.

If you disagree with the statement, and have different views and ideas, please, please, bring them to the meeting, it is important that the rationalist, free-thought and secular perspective is added to the national debate. At the present time only the fundamentalists, and reactionaries of all types are dictating the agenda.

Sadly the bus bomb killed one of our own comrades, BHA member, Giles Hart of Havering Humanists.

Lyn Hurst, President of Leicester Secular Society.

* I'm sure non-members will also be welcome to join the debate.

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