Month: October 2012

Study: More Secular People, But Few Support Language Critical of Religion

The Center for Inquiry examined this month blasphemy and incitement laws around the globe in a new survey called “Dissident Denied.”

Despite the fact that more people around the world admit to being secular, many people from places around the globe don’t necessarily support language that’s critical of religious belief or feeling.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Michael De Dora, author of the survey, about the findings and what they mean for religious tolerance, blasphemy laws and more.

Remembering the Last of the Truly Moderate Republicans, Sen. Arlen Specter

Former Pennsylvania senator and moderate Arlen Specter died on Sunday at 82 years old of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, officials said.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Voice of Russia political affairs correspondent Carmen Russell-Sluchansky about the life and legacy of Specter.

New Play Examines President’s Spirituality in ‘Lincoln and God’

In a new play, playwright Anthony Gallo dives into the spirituality of the one American president who did not claim church membership, Abraham Lincoln.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Gallo about “Lincoln and God” and the president’s conflict with men and God during the Civil War.

How Far Will the US Go Before The Student Loan Debt Bubble Bursts?

The student loan debt bubbling is growing exponentially in the United States and it may very well burst soon enough. More people are enrolled in two- and four-year universities than ever before and many of those are relying on Uncle Sam in order to pay for that education.

However, these students have been graduating into the worst economy since the Great Depression and without jobs, many are finding tremendous challenges in paying back those loans–loans that total more than $1 trillion, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of and Finaid, and Dr. Zakiya Muwwakkil, filmmaker behind “Degress of Separation,” which tells the stories of underemployed and unemployed student loan debtors, to learn more about the state of student loan debt in the United States.

NAACP Launches Campaign Advocating For Same-Sex Marriage

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has stepped up its efforts to support same-sex marriage in Maryland, launching a radio advertising campaign on Tuesday in anticipationof the state’s referendum next month.

The campaign will ask voters to do what the NAACP believes is “the right thing to do” and vote for Question 6 in the election. The NAACP has said that the 14th Amendment gives homosexual Americans the right to marry.

Opponents of same-sex marriage launched a television ad campaign on Monday and another same-sex supporter group, Marylanders for Marriage Equality, will launch a television ad campaign of their own on Wednesday.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland Conference of the NAACP, to discuss why the organization now supports same-sex marriage and what they’re doing in preparation for the election.


Black Males Need 50 Years to Reach Whites’ Grad Rates, Study Shows

For the first time ever, in 2011, more than half of the nation’s ninth grade black males went on to finish high school with a regular diploma on time. Despite this achievement, a recent study says much more remains to be accomplished.

The Schott Foundation for Public Education published in late September a study that revealed that it would take nearly 50 years for black males to achieve the same graduation rates at white males.

“The Urgency of Now: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males” found that only 52 percent of black male and 58 percent of Latino male ninth-graders went on to graduate from high school four years later. Meanwhile, 78 percent of white male ninth-graders went on to graduate four years later.

Host Jamila Bey talked with author and columnist Amy Alexander about calls to get this topic before the Commission on Presidential Debates so that the topic can be address by President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney before Election Day.

Gov’t. Censorship of Offensive Speech Doesn’t Work, Expert Says

If there’s one thing the past three weeks have revealed, it’s the difference in which the United States and countries across the world handle free speech and more specifically religious speech.

The anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” produced in the United States by a Coptic Christian set off a chain reaction of protests across the Muslim world and many nations’ leaders called for the arrest of the filmmaker. In the United States, leaders condemned the video for its attack on one of the major world religions but said that nothing could be done to punish the filmmaker, who was under the protection of the First Amendment.

The film and the subsequent call for his arrest have prompted many of those nations to begin discussing anti-blasphemy laws.

Coincidentally, this discussion began just in time for Sunday’s Blasphemy Rights Day, an annual day “to promote the rights to freedom of belief and expression and stand up in a show of solidarity for the liberty to challenge reigning religious beliefs without fear of murder, litigation, or reprisal,” according to its Facebook page.

To discuss the debated blasphemy laws, free religious speech and more, host Jamila Bey spoke with Dr. Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center.

New Law Allows Women Facing Murder Charges To Bring Abuse Evidence To Court

A new documentary helped prompt California legislators into signing a new bill on Sunday that would allow women who are being tried or are already convicted and incarcerated for killing their abusers to bring evidence of abuse into court.

That documentary, “Sin by Silence” by Investigation Discovery, tells the story of spousal abuse and domestic violence and how the California justice system handles those types of cases. The film also dives into the history of Convicted Women Against Abuse, an organization created by Brenda Clubine, who spent 11 years in prison for the murder of her husband before abuse evidence revealed she acted in self-defense.

Host Jamila Bey spoke with documentary creator Olivia Klaus and Clubine about the film and the new law.