Thursday, 24 November 2011

New Humanist Podcast November 2011: featuring FGM, religion in schools, atheism in foxholes and Bad Faith

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In our bumper November podcast, we bring you interviews with three of the contributors to our November/December issue, plus a discussion of the runners and riders in the compelling contest for our 2011 Bad Faith Award.

In the first segment (00:58), I talk to journalist Alice Onwordi, who writes in our current issue about the horrific scandal of girls from Britain being taken abroad to undergo Female Genital Mutilation. Alice explains what the practice entails, why it is considered necessary within certain African and Asian cultures, and why more needs to be done to prevent it (taking a girl abroad for FGM is illegal in Britain, but no one has ever been prosecuted for it).

Next, comedian Rob Deering tells editor Caspar Melville why he's frustrated by the lazy default Christianity being taught at his kids' primary school (08:37). The school is secular and non-religious, yet Rob has found that the teachers seem to frequently fall back on religious answers to some of the children's questions, usually, he suspects, simply as a way of sidestepping the need to offer a more complex answer.

In the third part, Caspar speaks to Royal Navy Petty Officer Chris Holden, who recently returned from a six-month posting with the Commandos in Afghanistan (16:30). During his time there, Chris says he lost count of the number of religious memorial services to fallen colleagues that he attended, and he tells us about the complex questions and emotions these services prompted for an atheist such as himself. Chris wrote about this for our November issue.

Next, Caspar and I discuss the race for our 2011 Bad Faith Award (23:00). After running through the shortlist, they explain why the Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has stormed into the lead with a staggering 52 per cent of the vote, having taken note of her nomination and gone public with her views on the matter. There's still time to vote in the poll until 28 November.

Finally (29:46), we end the podcast with a sneak preview of the newly-released audio CD of last year's Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, which is available for a mere £12 from the excellent mirth-merchants at Go Faster Stripe (the perfect Christmas present for those special heathens in your life, surely?). Sit back and listen to the incomparable Stewart Lee, a 3-year veteran of the shows, explains why he has actually grown to hate them.

To listen to the podcast, which is just over 30 minutes long, use the player below, subscribe via RSS or email, or download the full file via our podcast page, where you can also find the full archive of all our podcasts. We're also on iTunes - just search for "New Humanist" in the store and select the podcast subtitled "The podcast for godless people".

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