Guest post: To make sure the girls in category 2 don’t end up in category 3

Originally a comment by Anne Fenwick on FGM in the US.

It is frustrating that neither society nor the statistics seem good at separating 1) women who arrive as immigrants having undergone FGM in their previous countries; 2) their daughters who may be considered at risk; 3) those daughters who actually undergo FGM in a western country or ‘on vacation’. I’m glad this article seemed to get the problem – though I do wonder about their choice of age range, I think we would use a different one in the UK. [Read more…]

But never in the face

Pope sweety says it’s ok for adults to hit children, provided it’s done with dignity.

Pope Francis has backed parents who smack their children, providing the child’s “dignity” is maintained.

He made the remarks during his weekly general audience at the Vatican, which was devoted to the role of fathers in the family.

How does an adult hit a child while maintaining the child’s dignity? Is it that the adult doesn’t abort the child in the process? [Read more…]

FGM in the US

Nina Strochlic at the Daily Beast reports that FGM numbers in the US have skyrocketed despite strong federal and state laws against it.

In 1997, the CDC estimated that 168,000 girls and women were at risk or had undergone FGM—at the time of the last national census in 1990. A few years later, in 2000, the African Women’s Center upped the number at 227,000.

But according to estimates released on Friday, there currently are around 507,000 girls living in the U.S. who are either at risk of being cut or who have already been cut. That’s more than triple the figure from the very first nationwide count.

These are estimates, not counts. [Read more…]

We’ve got leverage

The New Statesman said something interesting in a piece on January 15th on why protesting the flogging of Raif matters.

Under recent Saudi law, anything from “calling for atheist thought” to “inciting protests” or organizing petitions is now punishable as an act of terrorism.

Despite the crackdown at home, however, Saudi Arabia is angling to present itself as a supporter of free expression abroad.

Oh is it. Is it really. [Read more…]

Another Friday

For the fourth week, the Saudis have refrained from hitting Raif Badawi with a stick 50 times.

Saudi Arabia has again delayed a planned flogging of a blogger, according to a report from Amnesty International.

The Twitter account of the organization’s press office said Raif Badawi was spared a flogging today for reasons not yet known.

Not being able to get away with it without a lot of yelling and shouting, would be one big reason. The embassies would prefer a quiet life. [Read more…]

Feminism is a core humanist value

Greg Epstein later did another series of tweets in order to make clear his attitude to feminism and its more acrimonious opponents.

I’ll start with this one.

Greg Epstein @gregmepstein · 4 hours ago
This Sunday, the organization I direct– the @HarvardHumanist @HumanistHub will present an award to feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian.

Ms. Sarkeesian and other online feminist leaders have been the target of an extraordinary amount of harassment by anti-feminists, MRA’s etc.

I want to address those individuals, and anyone else with questions about why we chose this awardee.

Feminism is a core Humanist value. This isn’t something I decided-it’s the consensus view over ~100 years of a “good without God” movement

[Read more…]

His child is pure

Here’s a “doctor” who should be struck off.

“I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being of my child. My child is pure,” Dr. Jack Wolfson said in the interview. “It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child.” [Read more…]

Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000

Mary Wisniewski at Reuters tells us there’s a measles outbreak in Chicago.

Five babies at a suburban Chicago daycare center have been diagnosed with measles, adding to a growing outbreak of the disease across the United States, Illinois health officials said on Thursday.

Officials are investigating the cluster of measles cases at KinderCare Learning Center in Palatine, said a statement from the Illinois and Cook County health departments. All the children are under 1 year old and would not have been subject to routine measles vaccination, which begins at 12 months.

[Read more…]

Baby, darling

Check out Greg Epstein on Twitter.

A couple of days ago, the crowd of anti-feminist atheists on Twitter zoomed in on him because…Anita Sarkeesian is Harvard Humanist of the Year. She will accept the award at an event next Sunday.

Well you know that can’t be allowed. So the shouting began.

Chas Stewart ‏@BirdTerrifier Feb 3
.@gregmepstein baby, darling… Why are you watering down humanism? Surely there were more deserving HotY recipients. How’s she a humanist? [Read more…]