15 June meeting: Blasphemy and freedom of expression – a matter of life and death, by Paul Sturges

Professor Paul Sturges OBE, Emeritus Professor of Library Studies at Loughborough University

Professor Sturges’ talk will range over the history of the offence of blasphemy in relation to freedom of expression, with examples from some different parts of the world. The examples of blasphemy will include some that would seriously offend religious believers. There will also be accounts of hangings, lashings and horrible murders by people enraged by blasphemy. He will contrast blasphemy laws and their consequences, with laws and international statements on freedom of expression.  In the process he will attempt to draw useful distinctions between critical comment, satire, offensive speech and publication, and incitement to hatred, whilst stressing the value of good manners and consideration for others.

University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ, at 7.30 pm on Thursday 15 June.

18 May: Alison Patrick of the Unitarian Church in Shrewsbury: Unitarian? What’s that?

On Thursday 18 May, Alison Patrick will tell us about Unitarianism.

Unitarianism is a faith with no creed or doctrine. It has its roots in the Judaeo Christian tradition and has evolved to encompass a range which spans liberal Christianity to religious humanism and earth centred spirituality. The first identified Unitarian churches and meeting houses, including Shrewsbury, emerging in the 18th century but the origins of the faith go back further. We’ll look at the history of the Unitarian movement which includes historic figures Iike Joseph Priestley, Josiah Wedgwood and Elizabeth Gaskell, at the interesting stories of Shrewsbury Unitarian Church, and at some of the beliefs and activities of Unitarians today. I look forward to discussing and comparing with Humanist approaches.

University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Frankwell Quay, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ at 7.30 pm

Ludlow and Marches Humanists, 18 April: The crisis in Shropshire’s NHS

Gill George, Chair of the campaign to defend our local NHS, will talk about the issues and what can be done to combat the threat to our much valued and needed health services.

Tuesday 18 April 2017, 7.30pm, at The Friends Meeting House, St Mary’s Lane, Ludlow SY8 1DZ. All welcome. For more information call 01568 770282 or email: rocheforts@tiscali.co.uk.

Simon Nightingale on BBC Radio 3, 2 April: listen

Simon Nightingale did a short talk on distributive justice, referring to John Rawls, in Shropshire Radio’s Sunday morning “Faith and Ethics” program.

To hear it go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04wtj7c#play and listen on the time line from 1.18.15 to 1.23.50.

He then talked about the recent problems of the neurology service at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital until 1.27.00

April 20 meeting: Feeding Britain – issues, challenges and ethical dimensions, by Prof Ralph Early, Harper Adams University

Thursday 20 April at 7.30pm in University Centre Shrewsbury

Professor Ralph Early, Professor of Food Industry and Head of Department of Food Science and Agri-Food Supply Chain Management at Harper Adams University, and a member of Shropshire Humanist Group.

Britain is not food secure and since WWII successive governments have done little to deal with the problem. While the country’s self-sufficiency has fallen from over 80% some 60 years ago to approaching 50% today the nation’s waistline has increased and so has the burden of food related poor health on our medical system. This is bad news for the country, but good news for the corporations that profit from selling unhealthy food and treating symptoms of diet related disease. So what can be done to solve the problems? Ideas will be floated and the audience will be invited to suggest solutions.

Please note: The time of this may appear incorrectly on the Upcoming Events. This is caused by time changes between Google and the UK. The correct time is 7.30 pm BST.

Re-booting technology to impact on poverty and the environment: public meeting 13 March

Please note this is not sponsored by SHG or BHA, but may be of interest:

A free public meeting, Re-booting  technology to impact on poverty and the environment. Simon Trace CBE has 35 years of experience working in the international development sector, for Wateraid and then as CEO of Practical Action.

Our society is more likely to direct research funding into a cure for male baldness than a malaria vaccine, or into exploring new methods of extracting shale gas than finding solutions for storing renewable energy. In this powerful talk, Simon Trace argues that we need a new approach, one of technology justice, to put things right.

Monday 13th March 2017 at 7.30pm at the United Reformed Church Lecture Hall, English Bridge, Shrewsbury. All Welcome. Refreshments

16 March meeting: Shelley – a Humanist out of Time, by John Webster

John’s multi-faceted presentation gives an unrivalled insight into Shelley, and reveals the extent to which humanist ideals animated his work. With Shelley verses presented in a cycle of songs (‘an interesting and enjoyable way to encounter the lyrics’), a narration voiced by Benjamin Zephaniah, and images from Shelley locations in Italy, this is an special opportunity to discover the scope and ambition of the poet who looked forward to a democratic, pluralist and secular future. There is a review of John’s talk here. Information about John’s DVD is here.

Thursday 16 March, 7.30pm in University Centre Shrewsbury, Guildhall, Shrewsbury SY3 8HQ.

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