Year 2017
Calendar
By Month...  JAN ~ FEB ~ MAR ~ APR ~ MAY ~ JUN ~ JUL ~ AUG ~ SEP ~ OCT ~ NOV ~ DEC
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Year 2017
Calendar
By Tradition...
Jewish - Kabbalah
Holidays - 2017
Christian -
Ecumenical Mysticism /
Wisdom Tradition

Holidays - 2017
Unitarian Universalist
Holidays - 2017
Muslim - Sufi
Holidays - 2017
Baha'i Holidays - 2017
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Hindu Holidays - 2017
Jain & Sikh
Holidays - 2017
Buddhist Holidays - 2017
Taoist & Shinto
Holidays - 2017
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African &
Middle-Eastern
Holidays:
Ancient Egyptian,
Santeria, Zoroastrian - 2017
Native American
(Iroquois, Navajo

& Pueblo)
& Meso American
(Inca, Mayan & Aztec)
Holidays
- 2017
Pagan Holidays:
Old Religions of Europe

(Greek, Roman, Slavic,
Celtic, Anglo-Teutonic
& Norse) - 2017
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Deep Ecology /
Environmentalist
Dates
- 2017
Social Justice /
Human Rights /

Feminist
Dates
- 2017
Peace /
Disarmament
Dates
- 2017
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Solar & Lunar Cycles,
Eclipse & Helions
- 2017
Meteor Showers - 2017
Visible Planets - 2017
Astrological Periods - 2017
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Experiential Meditations
(for lunar cycles

throughout the year)
Empowering Meditations
Action Offerings
(to help the environment 
& further social justice)
Art as Meditation
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2017 Social Justice /
Human Rights / Feminist Dates

* 1/1: Ethics Day--Day to commit to cultivating personal honor. [Using reason and compassion to determine what is right and what is wrong, choose to do right: do what is right despite pressure/orders to do otherwise; do what is right even when no authority would require it; do what is right even when no one would know of it; do what is right even when it would cost money, take time, require effort, or exact sacrifice; do what is right even when wrongdoing will not be punished; and make atonement for harm done even when it is not required. Take responsibility for your words and actions (and silence and inaction). And demand the same from your government and religious leaders.] [Neither temptation, perceived need, past wrongs, the compulsion of addiction, nor the impaired judgment of intoxication excuse wrongdoing.]

* 1/1: Day the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect freeing Confederate slaves (1863); day to mourn African victims of slavery and racism (past and present), make peace, and celebrate empowerment of African Americans. [President Abraham Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation on 9/22/1862.] [Text of Emancipation Proclamation] [While some Europeans (with the help of Africans) enslaved Africans in the past, not all Europeans at the time approved of slavery or the slave trade. Some actively opposed it. And no ethnic European alive today participated in slavery or the slave trade. While it is appropriate to expect atonement from the governments of the countries that participated, it is immoral to blame all ethnic Europeans today for the evil committed by some Europeans in the past.]

* 1/1: Day the first woman was ordained an Episcopalian priest in the U.S. (1977). [Rev. Jacqueline Means]

* 1/1: Day the World Trade Organization (W.T.O.) was created (1995). Day to peacefully demonstrate to ensure that international trade complies with international and domestic standards concerning human rights, environmental protection, consumer protection, and labor practices. [See W.T.O. website. See also analysis of the W.T.O. and human rights generally: by Caroline Dommen, by Ernst-Ulrich Petersmann, by Gabrielle Marceau, and by Steve Charnovitz; and by 3dThree (Trade-Human Rights-Equitable Economy in the context of agriculture. See also analysis of the W.T.O. and the environment: the W.T.O.'s perspective; Public Citizen's perspective; and Greenpeace's perspective. See also analysis of the W.T.O. and consumer protection: by Public Citizen. See also analysis of the W.T.O. and labor rights: by the W.T.O. and by Foreign Policy in Focus.]

* 1/4: Day ethnic discrimination was outlawed world-wide (1969); day to mourn all manifestations of racism. [Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: signed/adopted 3/7/1966; entered into force 1/4/1969.] [Text of Convention] [The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) monitors implementation of the Convention. For more information, see Human Rights Watch website.] [Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 2 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also prohibit discrimination on account of race.] [The U.N. has designated 3/21 to 3/27 Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination.]

* 1/5: Birthday of Guru Gobind Rai Singh Sahib, tenth Sikh guru (1666). He believed that only those who love find Deity, and exhorted Sikhs to show compassion for humanity. [Sikhs visit gurdwaras (temples), where the Adi Granth is read, hymns are sung, and a communal meal is shared.] [Guru Gobind Singh lived 1666-1708; guru 1675-1708.] [a/k/a Guru Gobind Singh Parkash]

* 1/7: Beginning of 3 days of Islamic terrorists attacks, killing 17 people at the office of Charlie Hebdo magazine, at a Jewish market, and elsewhere in/near Paris, France (2015). [A Muslim police officer was among those who were killed at the office, and a Muslim man secreted patrons at the market to protect them.] [Following the attacks, Muslim governments and organizations condemned the attacks. Also following the attacks, 50+ anti-Muslim incidents occurred in France.] [While 4 Muslims participated in these attacks, and while some Muslims have participated in and supported other acts of Islamic terrorism, most Muslims are horrified by such acts done in the name of their religion. It is immoral to hold all Muslims responsible for the acts of a few.] [It is moral and laudable to condemn those who commit evil acts, including killings, torture, persecution, and discrimination. However, using "freedom of speech" as a justification for inciting hatred or violence against all Muslims (or Jews or Christians), or for bullying Muslims (or Jews or Christians) by ridiculing non-harmful aspects of their religion or culture, particularly when they are a disempowered minority group in one's country, is immoral, even if it is legal. Though legally-protected speech should not be censored or the source punished, when such incitement or bullying occurs, all moral people should use "freedom of speech" to reveal the hate speech for what it is and publicly condemn it. But regardless of the provocation, violence against noncombatants is illegal and immoral.] [See Wikipedia article on Charlie Hebdo Shooting and RT News article on the anti-Muslim aftermath.]

* 1/8: Death day of Galileo (1642), astronomer; day to mourn the persecution of scientists by religious authorities. [Birthday 2/15/1564]

* 1/12: Day genocide was outlawed world-wide (1951); day to mourn all victims of genocide. [Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: signed/adopted 12/9/1948; entered into force 1/12/1951.] [Text of Convention] [For more information, see Prevent Genocide International website.]

* 1/13: Death day of George Fox (1691), founder of the Quakers. Quakers experience Deity within and practice egalitarianism, social activism, and peacefulness. [Born 7/1624: exact date unknown]

* 1/15 (Obs. 1/16): Birthday of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929), Baptist preacher and non-violent advocate for the rights of African Americans. [Death day 4/4/1968]

* 1/16: Day El Salvador's 12-year civil war ended (1992); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Central America. [The 12-year civil war between leftist rebels and the military government of El Salvador ended 1/16/1992.] [See Wikipedia article on the Salvadoran Civil War. For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: El Salvador.]

* 1/21: Day the Central Council of Ex-Muslims was founded to advocate for the human rights of those who convert from Islam (2007). [Though some interpret the Qur'an to guarantee the freedom to choose one's religion, others interpret Islamic law (Sharia) to authorize the killing of converts. Apostasy laws are used to persecute members of minority Muslim sects and Muslim dissidents as well as converts.] [The Qur'an says: "Let there be no compulsion in religion." See Qur'an Surah 2 Vs. 256. For scholarly discussions of freedom of religion in Islam, see "Freedom of Religion in Islam" by Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt; "Freedom of Religion" by Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Professor of Islamic law; "Freedom of Religion and Belief in Islam" by Mohsen Kadivar; "Religious Liberty: A Muslim Perspective" by Mohamed Talbi; and "Freedom of Religion in Islam" by Brig. Gen. (Retd.) Syed Ashrafuzzaman.] [Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee the freedom to choose one's religion.]

* 1/21: Day the Supreme Court (5-4) struck down the federal campaign finance reform law, finding that it violated corporations' right to free speech (2010). By equating money with speech, and corporations with people, the Court undermined our democratic system of government and authorized a pay-to-play political system, enabling wealthy individuals and corporations to have disproportionate influence on politicians, the political process, legislation, and government decision making. [Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 50 (2010)] [Text of case] [See also Wikipedia article on campaign finance reform; Common Cause website; Democracy Matters website.]

* 1/22: Day the Supreme Court recognized women's right to reproductive autonomy (1973). [Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)] [Text of case]

* 1/24: Day a police officer in Toronto, Canada, told women to not dress like sluts to avoid sexual assault, expressing a common misperception about sexual assault (2011). Since then, "SlutWalk" has endeavored to raise consciousness world-wide against the attitude that women provoke sexual violence by the way they dress. [Men are solely responsible for their actions; they cannot blame women for their sexual violence. Immodest dress does not justify sexual assault.]

* 1/25 eve to 1/26 eve: Celebration day for Muhyi ad-Din Ibn El-Arabi (d. 1240), Sufi saint who honored Deity as a unity manifested in all Nature, both genders, and countless forms. He theorized about divine immanence ("Allah is Nature, and Nature Allah"), divine transcendence ("Allah is above Nature, which Allah created"), and the unity of being. [El-Arabi lived in Spain and wrote "Bezels of Wisdom" and "Meccan Revelations".] [See article on Muhyi ad-Din Ibn El-Arabi.] [a/k/a Muhyi ad-Din Ibn El-Arabi Wissal] [Rabi' al-thani 28] [Birthday & death day unknown]

* 1/26: Vigil for the protection of women in India from dowry killings, female infanticide, "honor killings", domestic violence, rape, acid attacks, and other gender-based violence. [See Wikipedia articles on Dowry Deaths, Female Infanticide in India, "Honor Killings" in India, Domestic Violence in India, Rape in India, and Acid Throwing. See also Human Rights Watch report: India; Amnesty International: Violence Against Women.] [1/26 is India's Republic Day. India's Constitution came into effect on 1/26/1950.]

* 1/26: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Somalia. [The Somali civil war has been ongoing since the socialist government of Siad Barre was ousted on 1/26/1991. (Barre had ruled since a 10/21/1969 military coup d'etat.) Somaliland declared its independence on 5/18/1991 and has been autonomous since. Multiple rebel groups vied for power over the remainder of Somalia. The U.N.'s peacekeeping mission from 1992-1995 attempted to provide order and humanitarian relief, but was unsuccessful. On its withdrawal, factions consolidated control over different parts of Somalia. A federal transitional government was formed on 5/5/2000 and an internationally-recognized government was inaugurated on 8/20/2012.] [In 2006, the Islamic Courts Union, an Islamist organization, occupied the south, but were ousted by the end of the year. Al-Shabaab (a/k/a Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen) formed when the Islamic Courts Union splintered. Al-Shabaab has been fighting government troops since that time. It has occupied parts of southern and central Somalia since 2007, imposing a severe form of Islamic law (Sharia) on those under its control. Al-Shabaab is grounded in Sunni Islam, while Somalis are largely Sufi Muslims. Al-Shabaab has attacked Sufi clerics, mosques, and shrines. Al-Shabaab has also attempted to eliminate "western" influences and has banned the teaching of science in schools. People caught not attending the mandatory prayers have been flogged. Women have also been flogged for wearing traditional Somali clothing (instead of expensive imported abayas), for engaging in commerce, and for mixing with men. Those accused of some crimes have had limbs amputated or been executed.] [In 2012, Al-Shabaab Emir Mukhtar Abu Zubair (Ahmed Abdi Godane) announced a merger with Al-Qaeda and planned international attacks. However, Al-Shabaab Deputy Emir Mukhtar Robow (Abu Mansur) opposed this alliance and wanted Al-Shabaab to focus on the Islamization of Somalia. Following Ahmed Abdi Godane's death in 2014, Emir Abu Ubaidah (Ahmad Umar) confirmed the alliance with Al-Qaeda.] [Somali government troops have been aided by Ethiopian troops (2006-2009), African Union troops (since 2007), and U.S. airstrikes. During the course of the war, thousands of civilians have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced.] [See Wikipedia articles on Somali Civil War, Somaliland, Transitional Federal Government, Federal Government of Somalia, and Al-Shabaab (Militant Group).] [For information on the human rights situation in Somalia, see Human Rights Watch report: Somalia; Amnesty International report: Somalia.] [Al-Shabaab violates Islam's prohibition against taking innocent life, violates Islam's mandate to tolerate Muslims who hold other views, violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect, and violates Islam's mandate to promote the pursuit of knowledge.]

* 1/27 eve: Rosh Chodesh--Jewish women gather to worship the Shekhinah, the feminine manifestation of Elohim, the one universal Deity; and to pray and act for peace, social justice, and environmental healing, to bring about Tikkun Olam (reparation of the world and reunification of the Divine). [For discussion of the Shekhinah as the feminine Divine Presence honored at Rosh Chodesh, see Wikipedia article on Shekhinah and "Women and Rosh Chodesh" from My Jewish Learning.] ["Elohim" is a masculine plural of a feminine Hebrew word that refers to a singular Deity whose unity incorporates both masculine and feminine elements. See Wikipedia article on Elohim. Kabbalists believe that estrangement between the Divine masculine and feminine elements has resulted in violence, injustice, and environmental destruction, but human action can bring about reparation and reunification. See "The History of 'Tikkun Olam'" by Jill Jacobs. While Kabbalists, Jewish feminists, the Jewish Renewal Movement, and many Reconstructionist and Reform Jews perceive Elohim as gender-inclusive, other Jews do not. Some Jews of all denominations perceive Elohim as genderless, but most Orthodox and Conservative Jews perceive Elohim as exclusively male. See "The Divine Feminine in Kabbalah: An Example of Jewish Renewal" from My Jewish Learning.] [a/k/a Rosh Chodesh Sh'vat, Rosh Chodesh Shivat, Rosh Chodesh Shivath, Rosh Chodesh Shevat, beginning of the Jewish month of Shevat]

* 1/29: Birthday of Thomas Paine (1737), Deist who recognized the inherent rights of all men and women, and opposed non-democratic government. Deists believe Deity to be consistent with Nature and reason. [Death day 6/8/1809] [See Wikipedia article on Thomas Paine. See also "Common Sense". And see Wikipedia article on Deism; World Union of Deists website.] [a/k/a Common Sense Day]

* 1/29: Day the Federal Trade Commission found "revenge porn" to be an unfair business practice and banned it (2015). ["Revenge porn" is the practice of purchasing women's nude photos and identifying information from ex- boyfriends, posting them on a website without the women's consent, and making the women pay money to remove them.] [The F.T.C. issued an order banning Craig Brittain from the practice. Ironically, Brittain later objected to the posting of his own (clothed) images on the internet linking him to his own "revenge porn" website.] [See Federal Trade Commission news release and Washington Post articles on the F.T.C. order and the filing to have Google remove his image from the internet.] 

* 1/31 eve to 2/1 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Aphrodite--Day to honor peace and compassion. [Gamelion 4]

* 2/1: Day President Abraham Lincoln approved the U.S. Constitution's 13th Amendment, outlawing all slavery (1865). [The 13th Amendment was approved by Congress on 1/31/1865 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 12/18/1865.] [a/k/a National Freedom Day]

* 2/1 to 2/7: World Interfaith Harmony Week--Time to learn about the faiths of others and celebrate diversity in spiritual beliefs and practices. [See U.N. website on World Interfaith Harmony Week.]

* 2/1 to 2/28: Ethnic Equality Month--Time to honor all peoples and their positive traditions; time to meditate on the equality of all peoples, on the respect due to them, and on God-Goddess manifesting as African, Asian, Oceanic, Middle Eastern, European, Hispanic, and Native American. [Expands idea of African-American History Month a/k/a Black History Month.]

* 2/3: Day B'Tselem was founded to raise consciousness about the plight of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (1989). [B'Tselem (the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories) is an organization that seeks to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories by confronting the Israeli government and people with accurate information about human rights abuses and injustices perpetrated by Israelis on residents in the Occupied Territories.] [See B'Tselem website.]

* 2/6: Day to mourn all the women and children who have been subjected to female genital mutilation. [Female genital mutilation is also known as "F.G.M." and "female circumcision". F.G.M. results in severe pain, bleeding, disfigurement, urine retention, recurrent infections, painful menstruation, sexual dysfunction, infertility, and complications in childbirth.] [International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting established on 2/6/2003 by the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (I.A.C.).] [See World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Fact Sheet on F.G.M.] [See also Gender Equity in Islam (which indicates F.G.M. predates Islam, is not mentioned in the Qur'an, and is not mandated by any hadith) and an Islamic fatwa condemning the practice of F.G.M. (ruling that F.G.M. is inconsistent with Islam because it causes harm to women) by Professor Ali Gom'a, Grand Mufti of Egypt (11/24/2006).] [For more information about F.G.M., see Female Genital and Sexual Mutilation - Bibliography.]

* 2/7: Birthday of Frederick Douglass (1817), non-violent advocate for the rights of African Americans. [Death day 2/20/1895]

* 2/10: Day the Supreme Court concluded that the First Amendment Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, in conjunction with the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause, prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another and prohibits the government from favoring or disfavoring religion (1947). [Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township, 330 U.S. 1 (1947)] [Text of case] [Text of First Amendment and Text of 14th Amendment] [Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 2 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) similarly prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 2/11: Day the first woman was consecrated an Episcopalian bishop in the U.S. (1989). [Bishop Barbara Harris]

* 2/15: Birthday of Susan B. Anthony (1820), non-violent advocate for the rights of women and African Americans. [Death day 3/13/1906] [a/k/a Susan B. Anthony Day]

* 2/18: Nazi Resistance Day--Day to honor those who resisted Adolph Hitler's Nazi government during World War II. Members of the resistance attempted coups, rescued Jews, committed sabotage, encouraged work slow-downs, published anti-Nazi leaflets and newspapers, and conveyed information to the Allies. [The Nazis (aided by European collaborators) committed genocide, and invaded and occupied most of Europe and North Africa. Despite brainwashing of the population and execution of political dissidents, there were resistance movements (both organized and unorganized) in Germany and in all of the occupied countries. They were particularly active in Yugoslavia, Poland, France, Norway, Greece, and the Netherlands. See Wikipedia articles on the German Resistance and Resistance During World War II.] [2/18/1943 was the day leaders of the White Rose, Hans and Sophie Scholl, were arrested for distributing leaflets at the University of Munich that advocated active opposition to the Nazi regime. Both were executed four days later. See Wikipedia article on the White Rose.] [Though many Germans supported the  Nazis, some Germans gave their lives in resistance. As did other Europeans. And virtually all Germans (and Europeans) alive today disapprove of the Nazis' actions. While it is appropriate to expect atonement from the German government, it is immoral to blame all Germans (or Europeans) today for the evil committed by the Nazis in the past.]

* 2/18: Day Iranian police destroyed the shrine of the 14th-century Sufi poet and dervish Naser Ali, the holiest site of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Sufi community (2009). Vigil for the end of persecution of Sufis by Shi'as and for religious tolerance of all Muslims by all Muslims. [Some Shi'a Muslims consider Sufi Muslims to be heretics. In addition to desecrating and destroying Sufi holy sites, Iran detains, flogs, and exiles Sufi leaders.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 2/19: Day President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the internment of loyal Japanese Americans during World War II (1942); day to mourn Asian victims of internment and exclusion (past and present), make peace, and celebrate empowerment of Asian Americans. [The internment was authorized by Executive Order 9066.] [While Emperor Hirohito's Japanese government attacked the U.S., Japanese Americans did not authorize or approve of the attack. While it was appropriate to blame the Japanese government for the war against the U.S., it was immoral to blame all ethnic Japanese for the acts of the Japanese government.]

* 2/20: Social Justice Day--Day to affirm that social justice is a moral imperative, encompassing equal rights, freedoms, and protections under law. [A peaceful world is a world in which social justice is realized, where there are no barriers or mistreatment because of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, culture, nationality, age, or disability.] [See U.N. website on World Day of Social Justice.] [a/k/a World Day of Social Justice, World Social Justice Day]

* 2/22 (Obs. 2/20): Birthday of George Washington (1732), first president of the U.S. [Though he was a revolutionary war general, he ensured that the military was subordinate to the civilian government and that the transition of power from one administration to the next was peaceful and orderly.] [Death day 12/14/1799] [a/k/a President's Day] [As Presidents' Day, Abraham Lincoln's birthday (2/12/1809) is also celebrated.]

* 3/1 to 3/31: Gender Equality Month--Time to honor both genders; time to meditate on the equality of women and men, on the respect due to both women and men, and on Goddess-God manifesting as woman and man. [Expands idea of Women's History Month.]

* 3/2: Day to mourn the assassination of Shahbaz Bhatti for proposing reform of Pakistan's blasphemy law (2011). Blasphemy laws have been used as a pretext to persecute members of minority Muslim sects, non-Muslims, dissidents, academics, and journalists. Even unintentional offense is considered blasphemy. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan; and is punishable by imprisonment in Egypt and Indonesia. The religions of others should be respected, but freedom of speech should be respected, too.] [Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 19 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of expression.]

* 3/4: Civics Education Day. Democracy can exist only with an educated electorate. [Only an educated electorate will demand free and fair elections and participate in the process. Only an educated electorate will demand a transparent, non-corrupt, responsive government. Only an educated electorate will demand checks on government powers. Only an educated electorate will demand rule of law and uniform enforcement of law. Only an educated electorate will know their rights, freedoms, and protections under domestic and international law. Only an educated electorate will demand equality and justice for all.] [The U.S. government first became operational on 3/4/1789, following ratification of the U.S. Constitution.] [See Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's Civics Education website.]

* 3/4 eve to 3/5 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Artemis (Roman Diana/Slavic Diwitsa) - as creatrix, midwife of birthing creatures, protector of the young, and punisher of child abusers. [Anthesterion 6]

* 3/5: Day commemorating the birth of Taoist Lao-Tzu (570? BCE). Taoists live simply and tranquilly, respect life, and recognize the equality of all. [570?-490? BCE; alternate dates 604-531 BCE]

* 3/5: Day the Pakistani Taliban destroyed the shrine of the 17th-century Sufi poet-saint Abdur Rahman Baba (2009). Vigil for the end of persecution of Sufis by Sunnis and for religious tolerance of all Muslims by all Muslims. [Some Sunni Muslims consider Sufi Muslims to be heretics. Sufis are persecuted in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Somalia.] [Rahman Baba advocated love and tolerance: "Sow flowers, so your surroundings become a garden. Don't sow thorns; for they will prick your feet. We are all one body. Whoever tortures another, wounds himself."] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 3/8: International Women's Day--Day to mourn victims of gender-based oppression and misogyny (past and present), make peace, and celebrate women's empowerment. [See U.N. website on International Women's Day; A history of International Women's Day.]

* 3/8: Vigil for peace, democratic government, and respect for the human rights of all in Syria. [The 2011 unrest that grew out of the "Arab Spring" revolution became a civil war between the government and various factions, including both pro-democratic and Sunni Islamist groups. In the course of this war, the Syrian government has committed human rights abuses and used chemical weapons against civilians. See Wikipedia article on Syrian Civil War.] [Following subjugation of areas in Iraq and Syria, on 6/29/2014, the organization that now calls itself the "Islamic State" (p/k/a Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad/Organization of Monotheism and Jihad), led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri), declared a world-wide Islamic caliphate. However, it has not been recognized as a government or an Islamic caliphate. (To be recognized as an Islamic caliphate, it must be recognized by Islamic clerics and the Muslim populace throughout the world. The caliph must be chosen by Allah and elected by the Muslim people.) "Islamic State" has committed human rights abuses against civilians (primarily against Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks, Mandeans, and Shi'a Muslims). Thousands have been massacred, tortured, and forced to convert. Non-Muslim women and girls have been raped and sold into sexual slavery (forced "marriages"). It has imposed an extreme form of Islamic law on those under its control and has killed civilian Sunni Muslims who refuse to pledge allegiance to it. And it has committed war crimes against Syrian and Iraqi combatants.] ["Islamic State" has allied itself with militant groups, and claimed territory, in Libya, Sinai, Algeria, and elsewhere. It has also threatened international attacks.] ["Islamic State" violates Islam's prohibition against taking innocent life, violates Islam's mandate to tolerate Muslims who hold other views, violates Islam's mandate to protect "People of the Scripture", and violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect.] [See Wikipedia article on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. For information on the human rights situation in Syria, see Human Rights Watch report: Syria; Amnesty International report: Syria.] [3/8 is Syria's national holiday. March 8 Revolution Day celebrates the day the Baath Party seized power by coup d'etat in 1963.]

* 3/9: Day slavery was outlawed world-wide (1927); day to mourn its continued existence. [Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery: signed/adopted 9/25/1926; entered into force 3/9/1927.] [Text of Convention] See also the Protocol Amending the Slavery Convention. [Text of Protocol] [Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 8 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also guarantee freedom from slavery.] [The U.N. has designated 3/25 Slavery Remembrance Day. The U.N. has designated 8/23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. The U.N. has designated 12/2 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.]

* 3/10: Death day of Harriet Tubman (1913), who risked her life to guide slaves to freedom. [Birthday unknown]

* 3/12: Day Pope John Paul II, in the name of the Catholic Church, asked Deity's forgiveness and apologized: to Christians of other denominations for intolerance to them, to Jews for anti-Semitism, to peoples of all non-Christian religions for intolerance and contempt for their religious traditions, to women for their humiliation and marginalization, and to the poor and the powerless for indifference to them (2000). [On the first Sunday in Lent in the Jubilee Year, as a part of the liturgy of the Mass inside St. Peter's Basilica, at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II made this public confession with the aid of seven cardinals and bishops. See Transcript of Confession and Request for Forgiveness.] [While the Catholic Church instigated the Crusades, forcibly converted non-Christians, and killed Christian dissidents, ordinary Catholics at the time had no say in it. Nor did any Christian alive today. While it is appropriate to expect atonement from the Catholic Church, it is immoral to blame all Catholics/Christians for the past abuses committed by the Church.]

* 3/16: Chinese Buddhist festival of Bodhisattva Kuan Yin (Tibetan Tara/Japanese Kannon); celebrates Her "birth." She declared women the spiritual equals of men. [2nd Chinese month, 19th day]

* 3/16: Day Pope John Paul II expressed remorse for the failure of Christians to prevent the murder of six million Jews during World War II (1998). [This was expressed in "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah".] [Pope Pius XII, who became Pope in 1939, was silent about the Nazi persecution of Jews, other than a 1942 Christmas message that acknowledged that "hundreds of thousands of persons...because of nationality or race, have been consigned to death".] [However, Pope John Paul II planned to beatify Pope Pius XII, until protests dissuaded him. And, in spite of protests, on 9/3/2000, he beatified anti-Semitic Pope Pius IX (who, on 7/14/1555, revoked Jews' previously-recognized rights and required Jews to live in a walled ghetto).]

* 3/16 to 3/20: Zoroastrian celebration of Divine Spirit Spenta Mainyu (Holy Spirit), creator and protector of humans. [a/k/a Hamaspathmaedaya, All Souls, Parsi Muktad, Irani Farvadigan] [Fasli calendar]

* 3/18: Day the first bat mitzvah occurred - in Reconstructionist Judaism (1922). [In order to mark her religious coming-of-age, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan had his daughter, Judith Kaplan, read the Torah and recite the blessings before the congregation. He wanted to recognize the equality of Jewish girls to boys, to recognize girls' obligation to fulfill the commandments, and to encourage girls to study the Torah. Bat mitzvahs are now universally practiced in Reconstructionist Judaism, Reform Judaism, and Conservative Judaism. Some congregations of Orthodox Judaism also conduct them.]

* 3/18: Day the first woman served as imam, leading a public, mixed-gender, Muslim congregation in Jum'ah prayer, and delivering the sermon (2005). [Dr. Amina Wadud is an Islamic scholar, feminist, and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Wadud is the author of "Qur'an and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman's Perspective," the first interpretive reading of the Qur'an by a woman. Dr. Wadud says that the Prophet Muhammad approved the practice of women leading mixed-gender prayer.] [See BBC News article.] [Since 3/18/2005, other women have served as imams for mixed-gender congregations.]

* 3/20: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Iraq. [The Iraq War officially lasted from 3/20/2003 to 12/18/2011.] [About the invasion of Iraq] [See Wikipedia article on the Iraq War.] [Following subjugation of areas in Iraq and Syria, on 6/29/2014, the organization that now calls itself the "Islamic State" (p/k/a Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad/Organization of Monotheism and Jihad), led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri), declared a world-wide Islamic caliphate. However, it has not been recognized as a government or an Islamic caliphate. (To be recognized as an Islamic caliphate, it must be recognized by Islamic clerics and the Muslim populace throughout the world. The caliph must be chosen by Allah and elected by the Muslim people.) "Islamic State" has committed human rights abuses against civilians (primarily against Christians, Yazidis, Druze, Shabaks, Mandeans, and Shi'a Muslims). Thousands have been massacred, tortured, and forced to convert. Non-Muslim women and girls have been raped and sold into sexual slavery (forced "marriages"). It has imposed an extreme form of Islamic law on those under its control and has killed civilian Sunni Muslims who refuse to pledge allegiance to it. And it has committed war crimes against Syrian and Iraqi combatants.] ["Islamic State" has allied itself with militant groups, and claimed territory, in Libya, Sinai, Algeria, and elsewhere. It has also threatened international attacks.] ["Islamic State" violates Islam's prohibition against taking innocent life, violates Islam's mandate to tolerate Muslims who hold other views, violates Islam's mandate to protect "People of the Scripture", and violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect.] [See Wikipedia article on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. For information on the human rights situation in Iraq, see Human Rights Watch report: Iraq; Amnesty International report: Iraq.]

* 3/20: Day Pope Francis urged members of all religions and those who have no religion to unite to defend peace, justice, and the environment (2013). [He said: ''We must do much for the good of the poorest, the weak, and those who are suffering, to favor justice, promote reconciliation, and build peace." We must recognize our joint responsibility "to our world, to all of creation, which we have to love and protect."]

* 3/23: Day the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1889). Ahmadi Muslims preach love for all, hatred for none. [See the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community website.] [Ahmadis are persecuted by Sunni Muslims in Pakistan and Indonesia; they are harassed in Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Egypt. See Ahmadi website documenting their mistreatment. Vigil for the end of persecution of Ahmadis by other Muslims and for religious tolerance of all Muslims by all Muslims.]

* 3/23: Vigil for the protection of women in Pakistan from "honor killings", dowry killings, female infanticide, domestic violence, rape, acid attacks, and other gender-based violence. [See Wikipedia articles on "Honor Killing" in Pakistan, Dowry Deaths in Pakistan, Female Infanticide, Domestic Violence in Pakistan, Rape in Pakistan, and Acid Throwing. See also Human Rights Watch report: Pakistan; Amnesty International: Violence Against Women.] [3/23 is Pakistan Day.]

* 3/26: Birthday of Leonard Nimoy (1931), who played Spock in "Star Trek". He taught the importance of thinking, learning, and logic. [He showed that the psyche needs more than courage (Captain James Kirk/William Shatner) and caution (Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy/DeForest Kelley) to overcome the challenges of life; it needs logic. He showed that logic can make the ego impervious to mistreatment and bullying. He showed that logic can help determine justice and resolve conflict. And he showed that compassion is logical.] [Death day 2/27/2015]

* 3/28: Death day of Scott Cunningham (1993), who taught a reverent, ethical, egalitarian, and ecological form of Wicca. Wiccans create sacred space by calling on the powers of the four directions, invoke the Lord and Lady in their various guises, and raise power (through drumming, dance, and chant) to realize a positive purpose. [Birthday 6/27/1956]

* 3/28 eve to 3/29 eve: Remembrance day for Sufi saint Haji Bektash (d. 1337). He initiated women into his order equally with men and advocated gender equality in Islamic society. [The Bektashi order is also open to all ethnicities, nationalities, and classes. See Bektashi Sufi Order website. The Qur'an says: "All are equal, regardless of gender or ethnicity; nobility is shown by conduct alone." See Qur'an Surah 49 Vs. 13.] [Rajab 1] [Birthday & death day unknown]

* 3/29: Birthday of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise (1819), who founded Reform Judaism in 1873. He advocated reforms in the service, including family pews, a mixed choir, and counting women in forming a minyan (religious quorum). [Death day 3/26/1900] [Reform Judaism affirms personal autonomy and the fundamental right of the individual to determine beliefs and practices. It is committed to social justice and inclusion of women equally with men.] [See Union for Reform Judaism website.]

* 3/30: Day the U.S. Constitution's 15th Amendment went into effect, recognizing the right of all ethnic peoples to vote (1870). [The 15th Amendment was approved by Congress on 2/26/1869 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 3/30/1870.] [Text of amendment]

* 3/30 eve to 3/31 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Athena - as protector and defender. [Elaphebolion 3]

* 3/31: Transgender Visibility Day--Day to mourn the discrimination, harassment, and persecution that transgender people are subjected to. [Transgender people should be treated with respect and compassion. Laws should recognize "transgender" as a third gender and prohibit discrimination, harassment, and violence against transgender people. Public accommodations should provide transgenders their own restroom and locker room.] [Some countries allow identification as a third gender instead of "male" or "female": Australia "indeterminate" (2003) & "other" (2013), Nepal "indeterminate/intersex/unspecified" (2007), India "eunuch" (2009) & "hijra" (2014), Pakistan "third gender" (a/k/a "khawaja sara") (2009), Bangladesh "hijra" (2013), Germany "no gender identified" (2013), and New Zealand "gender diverse" (2015).] [In humans, a female is biologically determined by XX chromosomes and a male is biologically determined by XY chromosomes. However, some individuals have 3 or more X chromosomes, only 1 X chromosome, XXY chromosomes, or XYY chromosomes.] [There are (at least) 3 distinct types of transgender people. Some are born with both male and female genitalia (a/k/a "intersex"). Some are born with the genitalia of one gender, but during adolescence reject their gender, along with the patriarchal stereotypes and expectations associated with their gender, in order to live the life they want to live. And some, even after living as one gender until middle age, embrace the gender stereotypes of the opposite gender and take hormones and/or undergo surgery in order to live as that gender.] [Though the latter (a/k/a "transsexual") equate gender stereotypes with gender (and should be free to do so), many progressive people refuse to equate gender stereotypes with gender. They consider those stereotypes to be sexist, find it offensive for their gender to be defined in terms of those stereotypes, and do not want those stereotypes imposed on them. See commentary by former Women Studies Professor Elinor Burkett "What Makes a Woman?"] [a/k/a International Transgender Day of Visibility]

* 3/31: Birthday of Cesar Chavez (1927), who won recognition of migrant workers' rights through organization and non-violent protest. [Death day 4/23/1993]

* 3/31: Vigil to mourn China's annexation of Tibet (1959) and the killings, torture, and religious persecution of Tibetan Buddhists. [Day the Dalai Lama fled into exile following the Chinese invasion of Tibet.] [For information on the human rights situation in Tibet, see International Campaign for Tibet website; Human Rights Watch report: China and Tibet; Amnesty International report: China and Tibet; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: China; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Tibet.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 4/1: Vigil for freedom of religion in Iran. [Shi'a Islam is the official religion. While some other Muslim sects and non-Muslim religions are officially recognized, some are not. Those that are not recognized (particularly Baha'is) and even some that are recognized (particularly Sunni Muslims, Sufi Muslims, Zoroastrians, and evangelical Christians) are discriminated against, harassed, or persecuted. Jews are vilified.] [See U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2014: Iran.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.] [4/1 is Islamic Republic Day, the day the Iranian people voted in 1979 to become an Islamic Republic.]

* 4/1: Day that same-sex marriage was first legally recognized (2001). [The first countries to legalize same-sex marriage were: Netherlands (2001), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Mexico (Mexico City marriages are recognized throughout Mexico) (2010), Denmark (2012), Brazil (2013), France (2013), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), the U.K. (except Northern Ireland) (2014), Luxembourg (2015), and Ireland (2015). The first U.S. states to legalize same-sex marriage were: Massachusetts (2004), Connecticut (2008), Iowa (2009), Vermont (2009), New Hampshire (2010), Washington, D.C. (2010), New York (2011), Washington (2012), Maine (2012), California (2008/2013), Maryland (2013), Delaware (2013), Minnesota (2013), Rhode Island (2013), New Jersey (2013), Hawaii (2013), New Mexico (2013), and Utah (2013). Thereafter, some states legalized same-sex marriage through court orders finding the state bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The remaining states were forced to legalize same-sex marriage on 6/26/2015, when the Supreme Court recognized that the right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and that same-sex couples cannot be deprived of that right.] [Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. _ (2015)] [Text of case] [The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, banned same-sex marriage under federal law and allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages contracted elsewhere. However, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA on 6/26/2013, finding that barring tax benefits to a surviving lesbian spouse violated the spouse's equal protection and liberty interests under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.] [United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. _ (2013)] [Text of case] [Some countries have long recognized same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships instead.] [For more information, see Wikipedia article on same-sex marriage.] [Christian denominations that perform same-sex marriage ceremonies include the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Metropolitan Community Church, and the Ecumenical Catholic Church. Congregations of Reconstructionist Judaism and Reform Judaism also perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. Some Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) meetings, and congregations of Conservative Judaism also perform same-sex marriage or blessing ceremonies.]

* 4/4: Day Tibetan Buddhists meditate on Bodhisattva Deities Avalokitesvara and Green Tara, consciousness and empowerment of Compassion. Buddhists recognize the equality of all sentient beings. [See Avalokitesvara Mantra and Green Tara Mantra.] [a/k/a Tara Puja] [8th Tibetan day]

* 4/6: Day the Hutus began genocidal massacres of Tutsis in Rwanda (1994); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Africa. [Over 800,000 were killed.] [See U.N. website on  remembrance of the Rwanda genocide.] [For more information, see BBC report; Peace Pledge Union article on the Rwanda Genocide. For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: Rwanda.]

* 4/7: World Health Day--Day to pray for healing of all those chronically and seriously ill; day to advocate for adequate health care for all. [Day the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) was founded in 1948.] [For information on World Health Day, see World Health Organization website.] [For information on the World Health Organization, see World Health Organization website.]

* 4/7: Birthday of William Ellery Channing (1780), Unitarian who believed all concepts of Deity to be aspects of the one Deity, and preached religious tolerance. [Death day 10/2/1842] [See Wikipedia article and UU World article on William Ellery Channing. See also Wikipedia articles on Unitarianism; Unitarian Universalism. And see Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 4/10 eve to 4/18 eve: Passover/Pesach--Jewish festival recalling their deliverance from slavery in Egypt and celebrating freedom from oppression. [Observed with dietary restrictions, the seder meal (representing their hardships), and recitation of the Haggadah (relating the Exodus).] [See "How is This Haggadah Different?" (reviews of various Passover Haggadot) from My Jewish Learning.] [And see "Judaism and Human Rights" by Rabbi David Rosen and Declaration on Judaism and Human Rights. See also Rabbis for Human Rights website. Rabbis for Human Rights (Shomrei Mishpat) is the rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel, giving voice to the Jewish tradition of human rights. It advocates for justice, equality, and recognition of the human rights of all in Israel and in the Occupied Territories. But see Human Rights Watch report: Israel.] [Reform Jews and Reconstructionist Jews celebrate 7 days instead of 8 days; the first and last days are holy.] [Passover Truce: Time to cease all forms of conflict (at least temporarily), extend a greeting to your adversary, and share a seder for peace.] [a/k/a Pesah, Feast of Unleavened Bread] [Nisan 15-22]

* 4/11: Day Pope John XXIII called for world peace, recognition of human rights, and justice under law (1963). He recognized that peace will only be realized when social justice is realized. [The Pope believed that it is the function of government to create a juridical order, in harmony with the moral order. He recognized that each person is vested with rights and duties that are universal, inviolable, and inalienable. The Pope said that each person has: the right to live, the right to the means necessary for life, the right to freedom of speech, the right to pursue the profession of choice, the right to an education and to receive information about public events, the right to religious freedom, the right to found a family, the right to work, the right to a just and living wage and work conditions conducive to family life, the right to own property, the right of meeting and association, the right to emigrate and immigrate, the right to participate in public life, and the right to legal protection of these rights. He indicated that government, with due regard for the equality of all, has a duty to accommodate the rights and duties of all, preventing the rights of some to impede the rights of others. Government must be particularly concerned with the welfare of the weak, minority groups, and refugees. The Pope believed that governments should, in their international relations, also act with truth, justice, and respect. He also believed that wealthier countries should aid the poorer ones. He encouraged countries to work together through the United Nations and other international entities. The Pope condemned the arms race and the development of nuclear weapons, and said that disarmament is necessary for world peace. He disapproved of war, recognizing that weapons of mass destruction could not serve justice.] [This is expressed in Pope John XXIII's Encyclical on Peace on Earth.]

* 4/11: Day France banned Islamic face coverings, undermining Muslim women's autonomy and freedom of religious expression (2011). Day to mourn all laws that mandate a dress code in the name of religion or secularism. [Banning the covering is no different than mandating it: The face covering (niqab) is banned in Syria's universities as well as in France, but is mandated in Saudi Arabia. The full-body covering (burqa) is banned in Syria, but is mandated in Afghanistan under the Taliban. The scarf (hijab) is banned by Tunisia and Turkey in public universities and government offices, but is mandated throughout Iran and Kuwait.] [The Qur'an asks women to "guard their modesty". See Qur'an Surah 24 Vs. 31. It also says women should "cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad)". See Qur'an Surah 33 Vs. 58-59. But the Qur'an does not specify what women must wear, and Muslim women in different countries have traditionally, and in modern times, interpreted Qur'anic requirements differently.] [Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religious expression.]

* 4/12: Day Saudi Arabia's Islamic authority condemned forced marriage as un-Islamic and banned the practice (2005). [Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, who heads Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Ulema (Scholars), said forced marriage is against Islamic law and those responsible for it should be jailed. He said: "Forcing a woman to marry someone she does not want and preventing her from wedding that whom she chooses...is not permissible" under Islamic law. "Anyone who insists on forcing a woman...to marry against her will is disobeying God and His Prophet (Muhammad)."] [See BBC News article.] [See also fatwa against forced marriage by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.]

* 4/12: Day the first woman was ordained a rabbi in Orthodox Judaism (2006). [Rabbi Haviva Ner-David] [While some Orthodox Jews recognize the ordination, most do not. Orthodox Judaism still retains gender distinctions that prevent women from fully participating in Jewish ritual. See Wikipedia article on Women in Judaism, "American Jewish Feminism: Beginnings" from My Jewish Learning, and Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance website.]

* 4/14: Day the Sikh Khalsa was created (1699). Men and women initiated into the Khalsa seek harmony with the Divine through introspection and service to the dispossessed.

* 4/15: Tax Day--Day to give back to the community for the benefits of community. [Give from your own abundance for the betterment of all: to pay for schools, libraries, hospitals, community centers, and parks; roads, bridges, and transit; fire, police, and military protection; health and safety requirements; food and drug inspections; regulation of financial institutions; equal rights enforcement; and environmental protection.] [To whom much is given, much is expected.]

* 4/17: Day Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge, who caused the deaths of more than a million civilians (1975); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in East Asia. [For more information, see Yale Cambodian Genocide Study; Peace Pledge Union article on the Cambodian Genocide. For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: Cambodia.]

* 4/19: Day Nicaragua's 9-year civil war ended (1990); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Central America. [The 9-year civil war between rebels and the government of Nicaragua ended 4/19/1990.] [See Wikipedia article on History of Nicaragua (1979-1990). For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: Nicaragua.]

* 4/22: Day the world's nations guaranteed asylum to those persecuted in their homelands on account of their ethnicity, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group (1954). [Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees: signed 7/28/1951; entered into force 4/22/1954.] [Text of Convention] [For more information, see United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (U.N.H.C.R.) website; Human Rights Watch website.]

* 4/24: Day the genocidal massacres of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians began in Ottoman Turkey (1915); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Greater Anatolia. [During and after World War I, 1.5 million Armenians, 500,000 Greeks, and 300,000 Assyrians were killed. Able-bodied males were summarily executed or conscripted into forced labor. Women, children, the elderly, and the infirm were forced on death marches into the Syrian desert. The Ottoman government and the "Young Turks" were motivated primarily by ethnic nationalism to rid Turkey of non-Turks, but they also used religion to foster hostility against the Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians. Most Turks were Muslim, while most Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians were Christian.] [The government of Turkey refuses to acknowledge the deaths to have been an "ethnic cleansing", genocide, or a crime against humanity.] [On 4/24/1915, 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders were detained in Constantinople; they were later executed.] [a/k/a 1915 Genocide, Armenian Genocide, Medz Yeghern, Greek Genocide, Assyrian Genocide, Seyfo] [See Genocide 1915 website; Wikipedia article on Armenian Genocide; Wikipedia article on Greek Genocide; Wikipedia article on Assyrian Genocide; BBC article "Q&A: Armenian Genocide Dispute".] [Defining a country by its ethnicity or religion is contrary to international law. Using mass deportations or systematic murder to rid a country of another ethnic group or religion is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Muslims, Christians, Jews, or another religious group.]

* 4/24: Holocaust Remembrance Day--Day to mourn Jewish victims of genocide and anti- Semitism, make peace, and celebrate empowerment of Jewish Americans -- and Jews everywhere. [Motivated by ethnic nationalism, the Nazi government attempted to rid Germany and other areas under its control of "non-Aryan races". 6 million Jews were killed by the Nazis because of their ethnicity and religion. Another 5 million Slavs and Roma were also killed because of their ethnicity.] [See Wikipedia article on the Holocaust; BBC Analysis: "Genocide Under the Nazis".] [Defining a country by its ethnicity or religion is contrary to international law. Using mass deportations or systematic murder to rid a country of another ethnic or religious group is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Christians, Jews, Muslims, or another religious group.] [a/k/a Yom Hashoa, Yom Hashoah, Yom HaShoah] [Nisan 27]

* 4/27: Day to take your children to work to teach them the value of self-sufficiency. [a/k/a Take Our Daughters to Work Day]

* 4/27: Death day of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1882), Transcendentalist Unitarian who believed in equality, self reliance, and the immanence of Deity in humans and in all Nature. [Birthday 5/25/1803] [See Wikipedia article and UU World article on Ralph Waldo Emerson. See also Wikipedia articles on Transcendentalism; Unitarianism; Unitarian Universalism. And see Transcendentalists website; Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 4/28: Birthday of Oskar Schindler (1908), who protected 1200 Jews during the Nazi occupation of Poland by employing them in his factory and convincing the Nazis that they were necessary for the war effort. [Death day 10/9/1974] [Many Germans and other Europeans in Nazi-occupied countries risked their lives to protect Jews by hiding them or transporting them out of Nazi-occupied territory.]

* 4/28: Day publication of photos taken at Abu Ghraib prison revealed the physical abuse, sexual abuse, and humiliation of prisoners by the U.S. military, in violation of international law (2004). [All mistreatment of detainees everywhere should be investigated, prosecuted, and punished.] [See CBC News Timeline; Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross.] [See Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: adopted 12/10/1984; signed 2/4/1985; entered into force 6/26/1987.] [Text of Convention] [Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 7 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also guarantee freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.]

* 4/29 eve to 4/30 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Aphrodite--Day to honor peace and compassion. [Mounikhion 4]

* 5/1: Law Day--Day to celebrate rule of law (and freedom from rule by force - rule of men). Where there is rule of law, the military, the police, civilian government officials, and the people are all subject to the law, and enforcement of the law is uniform. [It is through rule of law that we have justice and equality: law enacted by the legislative branch of government, interpreted by the judicial branch of government, administered/enforced by the executive branch of government, and always subject to the rights, freedoms, and protections of the U.S. Constitution.] [President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed 5/1 to be Law Day in 1958. Its observance was codified into law in 1961 by P.L. 87-20, 75 Stat. 43, 36 U.S.C. 113.]

* 5/1: Day Pope John Paul II affirmed that capitalism must be tempered by social justice and restrained by human rights and environmental laws (1991). [Pope John Paul II rejected communism and totalitarianism, as well as consumerism and unbridled capitalism. He reaffirmed the fundamental rights of workers to their own labor, to dignity in work, to reasonable working conditions, to humane working hours, to a just and living wage, to a family life, to associate with other workers for their collective good, and to participate in a democratic process of governance under the rule of law. He indicated the government has an obligation to seek full employment of all workers through its economic policies, to provide social security for those unable to work, and to provide unemployment insurance and retraining for the unemployed. He also reaffirmed the right to private ownership of property, including technology, but cautioned that the government should not favor the wealthy over the poor. Rather, it is the responsibility of the government to protect all people, but especially the poor and the vulnerable, from exploitation by rich and powerful companies, particularly in times of economic and industrial change. He also indicated that governments should not allow companies, in the name of capitalism, to exploit the natural resources of the Earth irresponsibly and destroy the environment.] [Expressed in Pope John Paul II's Social Encyclical, issued on the 100th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum, the Social Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII, which it strives to reinterpret.]

* 5/3: Tara Puja--Tibetan Buddhist fast of Bodhisattva Goddess Tara. Day to meditate on and emulate Green Tara's compassion for the sick, the poor, and the persecuted. [All are equal in Her circles; She is worshipped with meditations on mandalas and chanting of mantra.] [See Green Tara Mantra.] [8th Tibetan day]

* 5/3: World Press Freedom Day--Day to recognize the importance of a free, independent, pluralistic media world-wide, as a fundamental human right and essential to democracy. [Democracies are dependent on the media: to ensure that government processes are transparent, fair, and non-corrupt; to educate the electorate concerning the facts of important issues and to reveal misstatements of fact; and to ensure that the people are conscious of their rights, freedoms, and protections under domestic and international law. It is important that the media monitor government, industry, and other media. Media includes both news and entertainment: print media, internet-based media, radio, television, and film.] [See U.N. website on Press Freedom Day.] [Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 19 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of the press.] [For information about freedom of the press, see Freedom House website and World Press Freedom Committee (WPFC) website. For media monitoring U.S. politicians, see FactCheck website. For media monitoring the U.S. media, see Media Watch website (challenging racism, sexism, and violence in the media); Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) website (challenging media bias and censorship of minority and dissenting viewpoints); Media Matters for America website (challenging conservative misinformation in the media); Tyndall Report website (comparing the coverage and slant of the nightly broadcast news).]

* 5/4: National Day of Prayer--Day to pray for freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and separation of religion and government throughout the world. [Freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and separation of religion and government is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. For text and information on the First Amendment, see Cornell University's Legal Information Institute website. For domestic organizations that advocate for freedom of religion, see Americans United for Separation of Church and State website; American Civil Liberty Union website. For information on religious freedom in countries around the world, see U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report; Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief website.]

* 5/4: Birthday of Horace Mann (1796), advocate for universal nonsectarian education. [Death day 8/2/1859]

* 5/5: Cinco de Mayo--Day celebrating Mexico's victory over occupying French forces; day to mourn Hispanic victims of exploitation (past and present), make peace, and celebrate empowerment of Hispanic Americans. [On 5/5/1862, 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated 8,000 better-equipped French soldiers at the Battle of Puebla.]

* 5/7: Day the mandate of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions was established to investigate, report on, and dialogue with governments to prevent, extrajudicial killings (1982). [Any killing carried out, or acquiesced, by any government official without due legal process is illegal and immoral, and should be investigated, prosecuted, and punished. Neither war nor civil strife nor emergency justifies extrajudicial killing of a noncombatant.] [See Fact Sheet on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; website for the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions; and website for Project on Extrajudicial Executions.]

* 5/10: Death day of Theodore Parker (1860), Unitarian slavery abolitionist and social justice activist. [Birthday 8/24/1810] [See Wikipedia article on Theodore Parker and UU World articles: Radical Theologian & Heretical Prophet. See also Wikipedia articles on Unitarianism; Unitarian Universalism. And see Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 5/12: Day the first woman was ordained a rabbi in Conservative Judaism (1985). [Rabbi Amy Eilberg] [Conservative Judaism now fully embraces the ordination of women and has abolished most gender distinctions that limit women from full participation in Jewish ritual. See Wikipedia article on Women in Judaism. See also United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism website and Women's League for Conservative Judaism website.]

* 5/14 (Obs. 5/2): Israel's Independence Day (1948). [The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel of 5/14/1948 asserts that Israel: "will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations." The Declaration also promises the Arabs living there "full and equal citizenship". But the Declaration also declares Israel to be a "Jewish state".] [See Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel.] [Since its establishment, Israel has laudably provided citizenship to Jews everywhere to enable them to "return" to Israel to avoid persecution and discrimination. See Wikipedia article on Law of Return. But it has denied the right of return to the Palestinian Muslim inhabitants who fled during the conflict at its founding in 1948. Many of those refugees and their descendants continue to be stateless. This exclusion is a source of ongoing conflict. See Wikipedia article on Palestinian Right of Return.] [Defining a country by its ethnicity or religion is contrary to international law. Excluding or disempowering another ethnic or religious group is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Jews, Muslims, Christians, or another religious group.] [a/k/a Yom Ha'atzmaut] [Observed Iyar 5]

* 5/15: Peace Officers Memorial Day--Day to honor all police officers who served honorably and died in the line of duty, enforcing the law and protecting the people from criminals.

* 5/17: Day the Supreme Court concluded that ethnic-based segregation of schools violates the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution (1954). [Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)] [Text of case] [Text of Fourteenth Amendment] [Articles 1, 2, and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2, 3, and 26 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also recognize the equal rights and freedoms of all and prohibit discrimination.]

* 5/17: Day Sri Lanka's 26-year civil war ended (2009); vigil for true peace, religious tolerance, and equal rights for all in Sri Lanka. [Sri Lanka's civil war arose out of the legal preference given to the Sinhala people, the Sinhalese language, and the Buddhist religion over the Tamil people, the Tamil language, and the Hindu religion. The Sri Lankan civil war lasted from 7/23/1983 to 5/17/2009, when the Sinhalese-dominated government defeated the LTTE/Tamil Tigers, which had sought a separate Tamil state.] [See Wikipedia article on the Sri Lankan Civil War. For a timeline on the conflict, see BBC News website. For information on the peace process, see Sri Lankan government peace process website; National Peace Council of Sri Lanka website. For information on the human rights situation, see Human Rights Watch report: Sri Lanka; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Sri Lanka.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion, language, and ethnicity.]

* 5/19: Day the first woman was ordained a rabbi in Reconstructionist Judaism (1974). [Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso] [Reconstructionist Judaism fully embraces the ordination of women and rejects gender distinctions that limit women from full participation in Jewish ritual. It also has developed gender-inclusive prayer books. See Wikipedia article on Women in Judaism and "American Jewish Feminism: The Movement Matures" from My Jewish Learning. See also Kolot: Center for Jewish Women's and Gender Studies.]

* 5/20: Armed Forces Day--Day to honor all soldiers who serve our country honorably (consistent with the Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the U.S. Constitution) in war and in peace.

* 5/20: Day the Supreme Court concluded that, under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, freedom of religious belief is absolute, but the freedom to act on that belief is subject to nondiscriminatory laws intended to promote public safety, health, or general welfare of the community (1940). [The religious character of a regulated entity is not a legitimate basis for non-compliance with those laws.] [Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U.S. 296 (1940)] [Text of case] [Text of First Amendment] [Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) similarly guarantee freedom of religion.]

* 5/20: Day the Supreme Court recognized that discrimination against lesbians and gays violates the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution (1996). [Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996)] [Text of case] [Text of Fourteenth Amendment] [Articles 1, 2, and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2, 3, and 26 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also recognize the equal rights and freedoms of all and prohibit discrimination.]

* 5/21: Dakinis' Day--Day Tantric Buddhists make offerings to the Dakinis (female embodiments of enlightened energy) and Mother Tantra; day to unite will and power to manifest positive social change and environmental healing. [Observed primarily by Tantric initiates.] [a/k/a Dakini Puja, Mother Tantra Puja, Tsog, Tsok] [25th Tibetan day]

* 5/21: Cultural Diversity Day--Day to celebrate cultural differences (including positive traditions, language, art, song, dance, food, and clothing) of African, Asian, Oceanic, Middle Eastern, European, Hispanic, and Native American peoples. [See U.N. website on Cultural Diversity Day.]

* 5/21: Death day of Jane Addams (1935), social worker, feminist, and peace advocate. [Birthday 9/6/1860]

* 5/22: Day to mourn Pope John Paul II's edict barring women from the priesthood in the Catholic Church (2004). [See Pope John Paul II's Apostolic Letter on Holy Ordination. On 11/18/1995, the Vatican declared that the Church's ban on women's ordination was an infallible teaching. See New York Times article. However, Catholic women still advocate for women's ordination. See the Women's Ordination Conference website and the Women Priests website.]

* 5/22: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Yemen. [President Ali Abdullah Saleh had been president of Yemen since its unification in 1990, and had been president of North Yemen since 1978. Saleh's government had been opposed as corrupt since 1994. The minority Shi'a Muslims (in the north) felt discriminated against by the predominant Sunni Muslims (in the south). Saleh's government had been fighting Shi'a Houthi militants in North Yemen since 2004. Saleh's government had been fighting separatists in South Yemen since 2009. Yemen is the stronghold of Sunni Islamic terrorist organization Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (a/k/a AQAP), and Saleh's government had been fighting them since 2010. Saleh was forced to resign in 2011, following mass protests over his attempt to become president for life. Vice President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi took over and was subsequently elected president in 2012. Hadi was ousted by Houthi militants in 2015.] [See Wikipedia articles on the Yemeni Revolution, Houthi Insurgency in Yemen, South Yemen Insurgency, and Al-Qaeda Insurgency in Yemen.] [5/22 is Yemen's Unity Day, marking the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen in 1990.]

* 5/23: Birthday of Margaret Fuller (1810), Transcendentalist and feminist who argued that women, as well as men, have immortal souls. [Death day 7/19/1850] [See Wikipedia article and UU World article on Margaret Fuller. See also Wikipedia article on Transcendentalism; Transcendentalists website.]

* 5/29: Memorial Day--Day to honor all soldiers who fought honorably and died in war, to mourn all of war's victims, and to contemplate all the horrors of war.

* 5/29: Vigil for peace, freedom of religion, and respect for the human rights of all in Nigeria. [Secular law protects freedom of religion in central and southern Nigeria, where the population is Muslim, Christian, and traditional Yoruba. But in northern Nigeria, where Muslims predominate and Christians are a minority, despite constitutional protections, Islamic law (Sharia) has been imposed in 12 states, beginning in 2000.] [Islamist terrorist organization Boko Haram (a/k/a Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad/People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad), has also been attempting to overthrow the secular Nigerian government and impose its extreme form of Islam on the population since 2009. Boko Haram was founded by Mohammed Yusuf and, since his death in 2009, has been led by Emir Abubakar Shekau. Boko Haram opposes the "westernization" of Nigeria. It has taken control of many northern Nigerian towns. It has destroyed churches, mosques, and schools. It has abducted and killed thousands of civilians, both Christians and moderate Muslims, many of whom are children. Non Muslims under their control have been forced to convert. Unmarried women and girls have been sold into sexual slavery (forced "marriage"). Since 2013, Boko Haram has also made incursions into Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. In 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to "Islamic State".] [See Wikipedia articles on Sharia in Nigeria and on Boko Haram Insurgency. See also Human Rights Watch report: Nigeria; Amnesty International report: Nigeria.] [Boko Haram violates Islam's prohibition against taking innocent life, violates Islam's mandate to tolerate Muslims who hold other views, violates Islam's mandate to protect "People of the Scripture", violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect, and violates Islam's mandate to promote the pursuit of knowledge.] [5/29 is Nigeria's Democracy Day. Military rule was replaced with constitutional democracy on 5/29/1999.]

* 6/1 to 6/30: June dedicated to Old Roman Goddess Juno - partner of Jove (God of Happiness), protector of marriage and family, and punisher of abusive and adulterous spouses.

* 6/1 to 6/30: Coming Out Month--Time to celebrate all forms of love and family; time to express opposition to discrimination, harassment, and persecution on account of sexual orientation and gender identity. [a/k/a Gay and Lesbian Coming Out Month a/k/a Gay Pride Month a/k/a Gay and Lesbian Pride Month a/k/a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month a/k/a LGBT Pride Month a/k/a LGBTQIA+ Pride Month]

* 6/2: Tara Puja--Tibetan Buddhist fast of Bodhisattva Goddess Tara. Day to meditate on and emulate Red Tara as protector of self and others against evil and harm. [All are equal in Her circles; She is worshipped with meditations on mandalas and chanting of mantra.] [See Red Tara Mantra.] [8th Tibetan day]

* 6/3: Day the first woman was ordained a rabbi in Reform Judaism (1972). [Rabbi Sally Priesand] [Reform Judaism now fully embraces the ordination of women and has abolished all gender distinctions that limit women from full participation in Jewish ritual. It also has developed gender-inclusive prayer books. See Wikipedia article on Women in Judaism and "American Jewish Feminism: The Movement Matures" from My Jewish Learning. See also Women of Reform Judaism website.]

* 6/4: Day to mourn the massacre of the peaceful pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China (1989); vigil for democracy and respect for the human rights of all in China. [For information on the human rights situation in China, see Human Rights Watch report: China; Amnesty International report: China.]

* 6/4 eve to 6/5 eve: Remembrance day for Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (d. 619 or 623), Mother of Islam - first convert to Islam, partner of Prophet Muhammad in monogamous marriage, mother of Fatimah, and liberated businesswoman. [The Prophet Muhammad did not take a second wife during Khadijah's lifetime. Khadijah was intelligent and compassionate. She was known for her financial support of Islam, for her generosity to the poor, for her protection of orphans, and for freeing slaves.] [See Wikipedia article on Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.] [For scholarly discussions of gender equality in Islam, see "Members, One of Another: Gender Equality & Justice in Islam" by Riffat Hassan and "Gender Equity in Islam" by Jamal Badawi Ph.D. For an examination of the feminist movement in Islam, see "Inside the Gender Jihad: Women's Reform in Islam" by Amina Wadud.] [a/k/a Khadijah al-Kubra (the Great)] [Ramadan 10] [Born in 555, 564, or 565. Some sources say she died on the 10th or 11th day of Ramadan.]

* 6/5: Baha'i feast honoring the one Deity as Nur - Light. Baha'is recognize ethnic equality.

* 6/6: Day the U.S. government's massive surveillance of Americans' emails and phone calls, without probable cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, was revealed (2013). The existence of surveillance programs targeting foreign governments, including long-term allies, was also revealed. [The National Security Agency is believed to have been aided by the governments of the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Internet and phone companies have also cooperated. The purpose of N.S.A.'s domestic and foreign spying programs is to detect terrorist plots. But the surveillance has been indiscriminate. It is not limited to those suspected of plotting terrorism. See Wikipedia article on 2013 Mass Surveillance Disclosures. And see the Guardian newspaper's NSA Files.] [There is no effective oversight. Between 1979 and 2012, 33,842 surveillance warrants were approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (a/k/a F.I.S.C., F.I.S.A. Court); only 11 were rejected. See Wikipedia article on the F.I.S.C.] [But even the F.I.S.C. ruled that the N.S.A. surveillance program was unconstitutional - in 2011. See N.Y. Times article. The surveillance programs are also being challenged in federal court as violative of constitutional rights by the American Civil Liberties Union and by other organizations. See Text of Fourth Amendment and Wikipedia article on the Fourth Amendment.] [The existence of the surveillance programs was classified "secret" to prevent their discovery. However, use of secrecy classifications to prevent discovery of a constitutional violation or other abuse of governmental power is illegal and immoral. See Brennan Center for Justice website concerning the problem of overclassification and the need for government transparency and accountability.] [The Guardian newspaper and other media revealed the surveillance programs. Former N.S.A. contractor Edward Snowden told the media of the surveillance in order to stop the government abuse. Snowden has vowed to not reveal any information that could harm any government agent, or any other person, even under torture. The U.S. government has charged Snowden with espionage, even though he did not collude with any foreign government or seek any benefit from any foreign government. Because this charge could result in disproportionate punishment for a political action, Snowden has requested asylum from numerous countries. He has been granted asylum by Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua (conditionally), and Russia (temporarily). 55% of Americans consider Snowden to be a whistleblower and a hero. Human rights organizations also support him.]

* 6/10: National Hoodie Day--Wear a hoodie to remember all victims of vigilante "justice". [6/10/2013 was the first day of George Zimmerman's trial for the murder of Trayvon Martin. It is undisputed that Zimmerman was the aggressor (he pursued and confronted Martin), that Zimmerman was armed (with a gun) and Martin was not, and that Zimmerman could have waited for the police to intervene (he spoke to the police before the confrontation). Zimmerman does not even allege that Martin committed a felony (or any other crime) in his presence. But he was found not guilty due to Florida's "stand your ground" law, which allows an aggressor to use deadly force against someone who had not posed an imminent threat before the aggressor acted. "Stand your ground" is not consistent with traditional principles of "self defense". "Self defense" only allows a non-aggressor to use force to prevent imminent injury or repel an attack by an aggressor when law enforcement is not present. It requires use of the least amount of force necessary, and requires retreat, where possible, outside of one's home or car. Deadly force is not allowed unless there is a reasonable fear of serious injury or death.]

* 6/11: Birthday of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1881), founder of Reconstructionist Judaism. He perceived Deity to be a genderless Cosmic Force of Nature, and promoted a Judaism that recognizes gender equality and rejects violence and social injustice. [Death day 11/8/1983] [See article on Mordecai Kaplan.] [Rabbi Kaplan wrote "The Meaning of God in Modern Jewish Religion" and "Judaism as a Civilization".] [Reconstructionist Judaism values personal autonomy and democratic decision-making as well as religious law and tradition. It embraces science and diverse views of Deity. It exhorts Jews to work for progressive ethical and social evolution in Judaism and society. See "Who is a Reconstructionist Jew?" by the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation. See also Jewish Reconstructionist Federation website.]

* 6/12: Vigil for respect for the human rights of all in Russia. [For information on the human rights situation in Russia, see Human Rights Watch report: Russia; Amnesty International report: Russia.] [6/12 is Russia Day, commemorating the day the Russian parliament declared Russian sovereignty from the U.S.S.R. in 1990, creating the Russian Federation.]

* 6/13: Christian feast of St. Anthony (d. 1231), guardian of the poor and the powerless, and guide of social justice activists.

* 6/13: Day the leaked "Pentagon Papers" were first published in the New York Times (1971). Day to consider the compelling interest in revealing secret information -- that does not pose a threat to national security and should be easily accessible in a transparent system -- to serve as a check on government powers and preserve democracy. Using secrecy classifications to hide such information is both illegal and immoral. [Defense Secretary Robert McNamara commissioned the Vietnam Study Task Force to draft the officially entitled "United States -- Vietnam Relations, 1945 1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense". The papers revealed that President Lyndon Johnson had lied to the public about an alleged North Vietnamese attack on U.S. ships and used that as a basis for starting the war in Vietnam. The press published the lie without investigating the facts. The papers also showed that the government was using secrecy classifications to hide information that constituted no threat to national security. See Daniel Ellsberg, "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers". See also website on America's War in Vietnam.] [The Nixon administration attempted to stop publication of the papers, but the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment guaranteed the right to publish them.] [New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971)] [Text of case]

* 6/14 (A 7/25): Beginning of Old Egyptian Shomu/Harvest month of Mesut-Ra/Mesori, dedicated to Neteru Ra and Rait. Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be security and protection for all. [Kemetic calendar] [Alexandrian calendar 7/25] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Mesut-Ra day 1]

* 6/16: Birthday of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov (1871), Orthodox Christian mystic who believed the one universal Deity to be Father and Mother, Spirit and Matter. [Death day 7/12/1944]

* 6/17: Day to celebrate Starhawk's work in reclaiming the Goddess and raising Goddess-consciousness. She teaches an eco-egalitarian form of Wicca. Wiccans advocate for environmental protection and gender equality out of reverence for Goddess, who controls, and is manifested in, Nature. [The Wiccan rede is: Do what you will, but harm none.]

* 6/17: Day a fatwa condemned "honor killings" as un-Islamic and banned the practice (2002). [An "honor killing" is the killing of a woman by her relatives because she has been raped, is suspected of sexual activity outside of marriage, is pursuing unauthorized courtship, has refused an arranged marriage, or is seeking a divorce.] [Sheikh Atiyyah Saqr, former head of the al-Azhar University Fatwa Committee said "Islam strictly prohibits murder and killing without legal justification. Allah, Most High, says, 'Whoso slayeth a believer of set purpose, his reward is Hell for ever. Allah is wroth against him and He hath cursed him and prepared for him an awful doom.' (An-Nisa': 93) The so-called 'honor killing' is based on ignorance and disregard of morals and laws, which cannot be abolished except by disciplinary punishments...[P]eople are not entitled to take the law in their own hands, for it's the responsibility of the Muslim State and its concerned bodies to maintain peace, security, etc., and to prevent chaos and disorder from creeping into the Muslim society."] [Islamic fatwa condemning "honor killings"] [See also "Honor Killings in the Name of Religion" by Mohamad K. Yusuff (Islamic Research Foundation International); United Nations Report on Honor Killings.]

* 6/17: Day Pakistan disenfranchised Ahmadi Muslims by requiring them to declare themselves to be non-Muslim in order to vote (2002). Vigil for the end of persecution of Ahmadis by other Muslims and for religious tolerance of all Muslims by all Muslims. [The Sunni Muslim majority in Pakistan persecutes Ahmadis because they consider them to be heretics. See Ahmadi website documenting their mistreatment.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion (and freedom from coercion that would impair freedom of religion) and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 6/17: Day Saudi Arabian women (and men dressed as women) protested the ban on women driving by driving around Saudi cities (2011). [See Guardian news article.] [Because clerics have banned women from driving, women are required to rely on male relatives or hire male drivers to go to work, school, the market, and the doctor. Women in Saudi Arabia are also required to have a male guardian and are prohibited from mixing with men. Some Muslim scholars say these limitations on women's rights and freedoms are cultural, not religious: they have no basis in the Qur'an. See Wikipedia article on Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.]

* 6/18: Day Pope Francis challenged the world to make the necessary changes in lifestyle, consumption, and production to avoid climate change and its expected harm (2015). [Pope Francis issued this challenge in his encyclical on climate change: "Laudato Si'" (a/k/a "On Care for Our Common Home").] [See Pope Francis' encyclical on climate change: "Laudato Si'".]

* 6/19: Day the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution in support of the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals, condemning violence and discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity (2011). [See Wikipedia article.]

* 6/20: World Refugee Day--Day to recognize the plight of the millions of people who, because of persecution, war, or environmental disaster, have become refugees: forced to leave their homes, their jobs, and their countries. [See U.N. website on World Refugee Day.]

* 6/21: Taoist festival honoring Shang-Ti/Heavenly Emperor, Father of Justice and Law, and manifestation of the Te (Virtuous Inner Power). Also celebrates the peak of the masculine Yang half of the year and the Shen of Fire, South, and Summer; prayers are made for strength and maturity, and offerings are made to the ancestors.

* 6/21: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Babalu Aye, Guardian of the Disabled.

* 6/21: Day Unitarian Universalists adopted seven unifying Principles (1985). U.U.s affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. [See Unitarian Universalist Principles. See also Wikipedia article on Unitarian Universalism. And see Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 6/21 eve: Laylat al-Qadr/Night of Power--Commemorates the first revelation of the Qur'an to Muslim Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel in 610 CE. The Qur'an says: "Let there be no compulsion of religion." [See Qur'an Surah 2 Vs. 256. For scholarly discussions of freedom of religion in Islam, see "Freedom of Religion in Islam" by Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt; "Freedom of Religion" by Dr. Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Professor of Islamic law; "Freedom of Religion and Belief in Islam" by Mohsen Kadivar; "Religious Liberty: A Muslim Perspective" by Mohamed Talbi; and "Freedom of Religion in Islam" by Brig. Gen. (Retd.) Syed Ashrafuzzaman. But see U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabia is the center of Sunni Islam); and U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Iran (Iran is the center of Shi'a Islam).] [a/k/a Lailatul-Qadr] [night following Ramadan 26]

* 6/25: Day the first woman was ordained a Universalist minister in the U.S. (1863). [Rev. Olympia Brown] [See Wikipedia article and UU World article on Olympia Brown. See also Wikipedia articles on Universalism; Christian Universalism; Unitarian Universalism. And see Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 6/25: Day the Supreme Court recognized that government-sponsored prayer in public schools imposes religion on students and violates the First Amendment Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution (1962). [Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962)] [Text of case] [Text of First Amendment] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also guarantee freedom from coercion that would impair freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 6/26: Day torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment were outlawed world-wide (1987); day to mourn their continued existence. [Torture is an illegal, immoral, and ineffective means of interrogation and punishment. All officials have a legal duty and moral obligation to refuse an order to commit torture and to prevent it from occurring. Anyone who attempts, conspires, or commits torture is legally culpable. All acts of torture should be investigated, prosecuted, and punished. Neither war nor civil strife nor emergency justifies torture.] [Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: adopted 12/10/1984; signed 2/4/1985; entered into force 6/26/1987.] [Text of Convention] [The Committee Against Torture monitors implementation of the Convention. For more information, see U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights website; Human Rights Watch website.] [Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 7 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also guarantee freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.] [See U.N. website on Torture Victims' Day.] [a/k/a International Day in Support of Victims of Torture]

* 6/26 eve to 6/27 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Athena - as protector and defender. [Skirophorion 3]

* 6/27: Day to meditate on the obscenity of violence, on its corruptive influence on children and adults, and on its adverse impact on our families, communities, country, and world. [Violence includes child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, and animal abuse. Violence includes robbery, assault, rape, torture, dismemberment, and murder. Violence includes hate crimes and terrorist attacks.] [Day the Supreme Court ruled that children have a right to access violent video games over their parents' objection, giving violent "speech" the same protection as political "speech" instead of recognizing it as "obscenity" which is accorded no protection.] [Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, _ U.S. _ (2011)] [Text of case]

* 6/27: Day the International Criminal Court indicted Libya's Moammar Gaddafi for crimes against humanity for ordering the imprisonment and killing of hundreds of dissidents and demonstrators against his regime (2011). Also indicted were Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, and Gaddafi's chief of military intelligence, Abdullah Senussi. [Gaddafi ruled Libya from 1969 (when he ousted King Idris) until he was overthrown and killed on 10/20/2011. He was never elected leader of Libya.] [All who detain or harm peaceful dissidents or demonstrators should be investigated, prosecuted, and punished.] [Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of expression and assembly.]

* 6/28: First day of the Stonewall riot (1969); day to mourn victims of homophobia (past and present), make peace, and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender empowerment. [Rioting occurred June 28-29, 1969. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders participated in the riots, following a raid on the Stonewall Inn, an LGBT hang-out in Greenwich Village, New York.]

* 6/28: Day the Supreme Court concluded that, to avoid violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the law (1) must have a legitimate secular purpose, (2) its primary effect must neither advance nor inhibit religion, and (3) it must not result in excessive entanglement with religion (1971). [The Establishment Clause was intended to prevent any religion from using governmental powers to impose its beliefs or practices on nonadherents.] [Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)] [Text of case] [Text of First Amendment] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also guarantee freedom from coercion that would impair freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 6/28: Day the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts (2004). [Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 (2004)] [Text of case] [Subsequently, the Supreme Court ruled that the military commission lacked authority to proceed with trials of detainees because its structure and procedures violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention.] [Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006)] [Text of case] [As of that date, over 500 men, including juveniles and elderly men, had been held at the U.S. prison since 1/2002 without being accorded the rights due to them under international law, including access to legal counsel and a trial heard by a neutral judge. Though many were taken prisoner in the conflict in Afghanistan, they have not been recognized as prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention.] [For more information, see CBC analysis: Guantanamo Bay History.] [The UN Rapporteur on Torture is investigating claims of arbitrary detention  and torture.] [See Center for Constitutional Rights website concerning efforts to protect the rights of the Guantanamo Bay detainees.] [President Barack Obama announced his intention to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp on 1/21/2009, but has yet to do so.]

* 6/30: Vigil for peace, religious freedom, the end of slavery, and respect for the human rights of all in Sudan. [About the Darfur crisis] [For more information on the Darfur conflict, see Global Security website and Wikipedia article on War in Darfur. And for information on the conflict between north and south Sudan, see Wikipedia article on the Second Sudanese Civil War (which ultimately resulted in the secession of South Sudan on 7/9/2011). See also BBC News Sudan Profile. For information on the human rights situation, see Human Rights Watch report: Sudan; Amnesty International report: Sudan; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Sudan.] [6/30 is Sudan's Revolution Day, the day in 1989 when Colonel Omar al-Bashir led a military coup d'etat against Prime Minister Sadiq al Mahdi. The military government suspended political parties and introduced Islamic law.]

* 7/1: Canada Day--Day to celebrate the union of diverse peoples, languages, cultures, and religions into one nation. [On 7/1/1867, the British Parliament united the British North American colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada (Ontario and Quebec) into a federation.] [Canada includes 50 distinct indigenous peoples, in addition to those of English and French descent and more recent immigrants, each with its own language, culture, and religion.] [a/k/a Fete du Canada, Dominion Day, Le Jour de Confederation]

* 7/1: Day the International Criminal Court came into being to prosecute those who commit acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, international terrorism, and war crimes (2002). [Anyone who plans, orders, or carries out such an act (even if ordered to) is legally culpable. The I.C.C. is a politically neutral tribunal, governed by international (and U.S.) standards of due process.] [The I.C.C. Statute was adopted on 7/17/1998; it entered into force on 7/1/2002.] [The U.S. has refused to ratify the statute creating this Court. Day to lobby for U.S. ratification.] [For more information, see Website of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; Coalition for the International Criminal Court website; USA for the International Criminal Court website; Human Rights Watch website; Amnesty International website.]

* 7/2: Day discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, and religion was prohibited in public accommodations, employment, and education (1964). [The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.] [Pub. L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, 42 U.S.C. 2000a et seq.] [Text of statute] [Title II prohibits discrimination in public accommodations, Title III and Title VI prohibit discrimination by local governments, Title IV and Title IX prohibit discrimination in education, and Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment.] [For information on fighting discrimination based on "race" and "color", see U.S. E.E.O.C. website, and for information on fighting discrimination based on national origin, see U.S. E.E.O.C. website. For information on fighting discrimination based on gender (including sexual harassment), see U.S. E.E.O.C. website. For information on fighting discrimination based on religion, see U.S. E.E.O.C. website.]

* 7/4: U.S. Independence Day--Day to celebrate the right of all peoples to exercise peaceful, democratic self-determination. [Day the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in 1776.] [Text of Declaration of Independence] [Day to celebrate the union of diverse peoples, languages, cultures, and religions into one nation. The U.S. includes 561 distinct indigenous tribes, in addition to people of European, African, Asian, Oceanic, Hispanic, and Middle Eastern descent, each with its own language, culture, and religion.]

* 7/4: Death day of Thomas Jefferson (1826), who ensured that the U.S. Constitution would protect basic rights and liberties. A Deist, he practiced a religion that was based on Nature, reason, and ethics. [Birthday 4/13/1743] [See Wikipedia article on Thomas Jefferson and Library of Congress article on Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. See also Wikipedia article on Deism; World Union of Deists website.]

* 7/9: Vigil for peace, justice, democratic government, and respect for the human rights of all in South Sudan. [For a long time, the Nuer and Murle tribes have been killing each other, abducting each other's women and children, and taking each other's cattle. Because of mutual attacks in 2011, the Nuers have threatened to kill all the Murles.] [South Sudan President Salva Kiir is ethnic Dinka; former Vice President Riek Machar is ethnic Nuer. On 7/23/2013, Kiir dismissed Machar, along with the rest of the cabinet. Machar accused Kiir of attempting to establish a dictatorship. On 12/15/2013, Kiir ordered all non-Dinka government soldiers disarmed. When they realized that the Dinka soldiers were not being disarmed, the Nuer soldiers rearmed themselves and began fighting the Dinka soldiers. Kiir claimed this to be an attempted coup d'etat by Machar, but Machar denied that. Dinka soldiers attacked Nuer government officials and began killing Nuer civilians. After fleeing an attack on his residence, Machar led troops against Kiir's Dinka army. Machar's army has also targeted Dinka civilians. 10,000 civilians have been killed; a million have been displaced. Children have been abducted and forced to fight. Both sides have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Though a ceasefire was agreed to on 1/23/2014, it was frequently violated. A peace plan was agreed to on 2/1/2015.] [See Wikipedia articles on Ethnic Violence in South Sudan 2011-Present and South Sudanese Civil War.] [For information on the human rights situation in South Sudan, see Human Rights Watch report: South Sudan; Amnesty International report: South Sudan.] [7/9 is South Sudan's Independence Day, when it seceded from Sudan in 2011.]

* 7/10: Day the World Union for Progressive Judaism was founded (1926). It was formed to promote progressive values within Judaism, including modernism, pluralism, equality, and social justice, and to serve Reform, Reconstructionist, and Liberal Jews around the world. [Its headquarters was moved from the U.K. to Israel in 1973, enabling it to found Progressive Jewish congregations, kibbutzim, and settlements there.] [See World Union for Progressive Judaism website and Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism website.]

* 7/10: Day Pope John Paul II acknowledged the evil of sexism and apologized for the Catholic Church's past oppression of women (1995); day to mourn the continued subordination of women by the Church. [See Letter to Women.] [See also Catholic Perspective on: Women in Society and in the Church. And see the Catholic feminist response: "Feminist Christology" by Elizabeth Johnson; "Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men" by Joan Chittister O.S.B.; "Equality: A Radical Democratic Ekklesial Vision" by Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza; "Feminist Theologians Speak Encouragement to Women"; and the Catholic Network on Women's Equality website.]

* 7/11: Baha'i Rights Day--Vigil for the end of persecution of Baha'is in Iran. In Iran, Baha'is are prohibited from practicing or teaching their religion, are arbitrarily arrested and detained for long periods, are excluded from universities, and have their property confiscated. [The Baha'i Faith was founded in Iran by an Iranian, and many Baha'is are Iranian and reside in Iran. Some Muslims consider Baha'is to be Muslim apostates and refuse to recognize their religion.] [See Baha'i website and Muslim Network for Baha'i Rights website documenting mistreatment of Baha'is in Iran.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 7/11: Day Srebrenica, Bosnia, fell to attacking Serbs (1995), beginning a massacre of thousands of civilians because of their ethnicity and religion; vigil for true peace, justice, religious tolerance, and respect for the human rights of all in the Balkans. [Though it was declared a U.N. "safe haven," Srebrenica, Bosnia, was attacked and fell to Orthodox Christian Serb aggressors on 7/11/1995. 8,000-15,000 civilian Muslim Slavs were killed there from 7/12-7/17/1995 because of their ethnicity and religion. On 8/2/2001, Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic was convicted of genocide for his part in the massacre.] [For more information, see Report of the Secretary General Pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 53/35 (1998).] [Between 1992 and 1995, motivated by ethnic nationalism, the Bosnian Serb government attempted to rid all areas under its control of non-Serbs, targeting both Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats in a campaign of "ethnic cleansing". See Wikipedia article on the Bosnian Genocide; Peace Pledge Union article on the Bosnian Genocide.] [Defining a country by its ethnicity or religion is contrary to international law. Using mass deportations or systematic murder to rid a country of another ethnic group or religion is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Christians, Muslims, Jews, or another religious group.] [While some Orthodox Christians participated in the massacre and the "ethnic cleansing" campaign, most Orthodox Christians then and now were horrified by it. It is immoral to hold all Orthodox Christians (or all Christians) responsible for the acts of a few.] [For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: Serbia; Human Rights Watch report: Bosnia-Herzegovina; Human Rights Watch report: Croatia; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Serbia; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Bosnia-Herzegovina; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Croatia.]

* 7/12: Anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne (1690); vigil for true peace, justice, religious tolerance, and equal rights for all in Northern Ireland. [The Battle of the Boyne, which marked the defeat of Catholic James II by Protestant William III, occurred on 7/12/1690. Following this defeat, the law discriminated against Catholics.] [Protestants annually celebrate their victory over Catholics on this date, providing an impetus to civil strife. Day to demand the end of hostility between Protestants and Catholics and for religious tolerance of all Christians by all Christians.] [While some Protestants oppressed Catholics, others actively opposed it. While some Catholics participated in terrorism against Protestants, others actively opposed it. It is immoral to hold all Protestants/Catholics responsible for acts committed by some Protestants/Catholics.] [Protestants and Catholics committed to peaceful coexistence, power-sharing, and disarmament by signing the Good Friday Peace Agreement on 4/10/1998.] [For a history of the conflict, see CAIN Web Service: The Northern Ireland Conflict 1968 to the Present; BBC News website: The Troubles.]

* 7/14: Day covert CIA agent Valerie Plame was outed by Washington Post columnist Robert Novak (2003). Day to consider the compelling interest in keeping information secret that would make the country (or those who work for the government) vulnerable to attack. Revealing such information is both illegal and immoral. [Because Ms. Plame's identity was revealed, some of her foreign contacts are believed to have been killed. 3 Bush administration officials gave the secret information to Novak, likely in retaliation against Plame's husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, for revealing in a New York Times article that the Bush administration had lied about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction to justify invasion of Iraq.] [See Robert Novak's article; an article about Novak's sources; Ambassador Wilson's article. See also Valerie Plame Wilson, "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House".]

* 7/14 to 7/25 (Icelandic 7/20, Old Icelandic 7/13): Old Norse/Icelandic Mid-Summer Althingi--Community gathering for democratic decision making. Forseti and Tyr, Gods of Justice and Self-Sacrifice, were honored. Toasts of mead and ale were made in honor of the Deities. [See Norse Nine Noble Virtues] [a/k/a Mid-Summer Blot, Midsumar, Midsumardag, Midsommerdag, Forsetiblot, Tyrblot, Almannathing, Althing]

* 7/17: Day to mourn the excessive use of force by police officers; day to mourn racism in law enforcement. [Eric Garner was resisting arrest for illegal resale of cigarettes on 7/17/2014, but a video of the confrontation shows that the African-American man was not armed and was not a threat to police officers when officer Daniel Pantaleo used an illegal chokehold on him and killed him. Garner repeatedly told the officers he could not breathe, but they did not apply CPR after he stopped breathing. Inexplicably, on 12/3/2014, a grand jury did not indict Pantaleo.] [A supervising officer at the scene was also African-American, but many believe that racism is the reason why excessive force was used, why medical aid was not rendered, and why Pantaleo was not indicted. If racism was a factor, it constituted a hate crime. But even if racism was not a factor, it was criminal because excessive force was used and necessary medical aid was not rendered. The fact that the other officers present did not intercede to stop the chokehold or to render medical aid may indicate that the policies and practices of the entire police department are criminal.] [See Wikipedia article on Death of Eric Garner.] [Other 2014 incidents in which police officers have been accused of killing people who have not posed a threat (most of whom were African-American men): Rumain Brisbon (on 12/2/2014, in Phoenix, AZ); Tamir Rice (on 11/22/2014, in Cleveland, OH); Akai Gurley (on 11/20/2014, in Brooklyn, NY); Kajieme Powell (on 8/19/2014, in St. Louis, MO); Dante Parker (on 8/12/8014, in Victorville, CA); Ezell Ford (on 8/11/8014, in Los Angeles, CA); Michael Brown (on 8/9/2014, in Ferguson, MO); John Crawford III (on 8/5/2014, in Beavercreek, OH); Tyree Woodson (on 8/2/2014, in, Baltimore, MD); Victor White III (on 3/22/2014, in Iberia Parish, LA); James Boyd (on 3/16/2014, in Albuquerque, NM); Yvette Smith (on 2/16/2014, in Bastrop, TX); McKenzie Cochran (on 1/28/2014, in Southfield, MI); Jordan Baker (on 1/16/2014, in Houston, TX).] [See List of Unarmed People of Color Killed by Police 1999-2014 and ProPublica article Deadly Force in Black and White.] [Police are authorized only to use the least amount of force necessary to control the situation, make an arrest, or protect themselves or others from harm. And police are responsible for ensuring that those who are injured receive medical aid.] [Use of lethal force should always be closely scrutinized, and when the victim is a member of a disempowered minority, its use should be scrutinized for bias.]

* 7/18: Day South Africa's apartheid was internationally outlawed (1976); birthday of Nelson Mandela, non-violent anti-apartheid activist (1918). [Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid: signed/adopted 11/30/1973; entered into force 7/18/1976.] [Text of Convention] [See Wikipedia article on Apartheid in South Africa. For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: South Africa.]

* 7/19: Day women demanded recognition of their equality to men in the legal, political, economic, religious, and domestic spheres (Seneca Falls, New York 1848). [Declaration of Sentiments drafted by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and other Founding Mothers at the Women's Rights Convention 7/19-7/20/1848.] [Text of Declaration]

* 7/20: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Colombia. [Colombia is embroiled in a long-lasting civil war fueled by drug-trafficking. Civilians are being caught between the military, paramilitaries, and guerrillas. Colombia's Independence Day was on 7/20/1810.] [See Wikipedia article on the Colombian Armed Conflict (1964-present). For information on the human rights situation, see Human Rights Watch report: Colombia.]

* 7/23: Vigil for peace, democratic government, freedom of religion, and respect for the human rights of all in Egypt. [The unrest that grew out of the "Arab Spring" resulted in the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi was democratically elected president in 2012. Protests against Morsi's authoritarianism led to a 2013 military coup d'etat, and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected president in 2014. Mubarak and Morsi supporters have been prosecuted and many have been executed.] [See Wikipedia article on Egyptian Revolution of 2011.] [For information on the human rights situation in Egypt, see Human Rights Watch report: Egypt; Amnesty International report: Egypt.] [Sunni Islam is the official religion. Christianity and Judaism are also legally recognized. However, Christians are subjected to attacks, harassment, and discrimination. Shi'a Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims, and Baha'is are not recognized; they are also subjected to harassment and discrimination.] [See U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Egypt.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.] [Though it is officially unlawful, most women in Egypt have been subjected to female genital mutilation. See U.N.I.C.E.F. data.] [7/23 is Egypt's Revolution Day. It celebrates the 1952 revolution that overthrew and abolished the Egyptian monarchy, ended British occupation, and established a republic.]

* 7/26: Day discrimination against the disabled was prohibited in public accommodations and employment (1990); day to celebrate empowerment of the disabled. [The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law by President George H. Bush.] [Pub. L. 101-336, 104 Stat. 327, 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.] [Text of statute] [For more information on fighting discrimination in employment based on disability, see U.S. E.E.O.C. website.]

* 7/26 eve to 7/27 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Aphrodite--Day to honor peace and compassion. [a/k/a Aphrodesia] [Hekatombaion 4]

* 7/28: Day the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment went into effect, guaranteeing due process and equal protection of the law to all (1868). [The 14th Amendment was approved by Congress on 6/13/1866 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 7/28/1868.] [Text of amendment]

* 8/2: Dakas' Day--Day Tantric Buddhists make offerings to the Dakas (male embodiments of enlightened energy) and Father Tantra; day to unite will and power to manifest positive social change and environmental healing. [Observed primarily by Tantric initiates.] [a/k/a Daka Puja, Father Tantra Puja, Tsog, Tsok] [10th Tibetan day]

* 8/2: Day the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that an illegal Jewish settlement on Palestinian private property in the Israeli-occupied West Bank must be removed (2011). The Migron settlement was first built in 1999, and has been disputed since then. [There are 120 Israeli settlements in the West Bank, housing about 300,000 settlers. 80 are built on the private property of Palestinians. 21 have been officially authorized by Israel. All are illegal under international law.]

* 8/5: Death day of Rabbi Isaac Luria (1572), Kabbalistic mystic. He taught of the Shekhinah, the feminine manifestation of Ein Soph, the unknowable infinite being that created the Universe. Because the Shekhinah has become separated from Ein Soph, there is chaos and injustice in the world. But the Shekhinah will restore cosmic order with the reunification of the Godhead. [See Kabbalistic Reunification Blessing/Beracha Tikkun.] [See articles on Isaac Luria and Lurianic Kabbalah. See also "Window of the Soul: The Kabbalah of Rabbi Isaac Luria," Translated by James David Dunn.] [Born 1534: exact date unknown]

* 8/5: Day that six women were excommunicated for failing to renounce their claims to the priesthood (2002). They had been ordained Catholic priests without Vatican authority on 6/29/2002. [See Declarations issued by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.]

* 8/6: Day to mourn those harmed by the atomic bomb attacks on Japan (1945); day to advocate for world-wide prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction. [Hiroshima was bombed on 8/6/1945; Nagasaki was bombed on 8/9/1945: over 270,000 civilians died from the bombs and radiation.] [Use of weapons of mass destruction is now recognized to constitute a crime against humanity and cannot be justified under any circumstances.] [While the U.S. government bombed Japanese cities, few Americans authorized it. Virtually all Americans alive today disapprove of the disproportionate use of force, and many Americans at the time disapproved as well. While it is appropriate to expect atonement from the U.S. government, it is immoral to blame all Americans today for the acts of the U.S. government in 1945.]

* 8/6: Day the Voting Rights Act became law (1965) - register to vote! [The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.] [Pub. L. 89-110, 79 Stat. 437, 42 U.S.C. 1973 et seq.] [Text of statute] [The purpose of the Voting Rights Act is to prevent state and local governments from using voting requirements, voting district boundaries, voting locations, and other election laws to disenfranchise African-Americans.] [Sadly, on 6/25/2013, the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the Voting Rights Act, finding that those governments, whose discrimination against African-Americans in the past served as the impetus for the law, would no longer have to get prior federal approval when changing their election laws.] [Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. _ (2013)] [Text of case]

* 8/8: Vigil for continuing progress in Burma's democratic evolution, religious tolerance, and respect for human rights. [On 8/8/1988, a pro-democracy demonstration opposing the authoritarian military government was attacked by government troops.] [Burma (a/k/a Myanmar) became independent in 1948. However, a military ruler dominated Burma from 1962 to 1988, and a military junta took control in 1988. Despite her National League for Democracy party being elected in 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi was never allowed to serve in office. Instead, she was held under house arrest for almost 15 years. And for 20 years, the military junta suppressed democratic efforts and violated human rights. However, since 2008, the military junta has been making efforts towards reform. In 2010, the first elections since 1990 were held. Though that election was not considered to be free and fair, the military-supported civilian government that was elected has been instituting reforms. In an election on 4/1/2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house of the Burmese Parliament) and the National League for Democracy party won most of the vacant seats.] [90% of the population is Theravadan Buddhist. Christians and Muslims constitute the primary religious minorities. The government has favored Buddhism. Non-Buddhists are subjected to discrimination and pressure to convert.] [Rohingya Muslims are being persecuted because of their ethnicity and religion. Though they are indigenous to Rakhine State (Burma), they have been treated as foreigners and denied citizenship since 1982. Mobs, sometimes aided by the military or police, have targeted them with violence since 2012. Defining a country by its ethnicity or religion is contrary to international law. Excluding an ethnic or religious group from a country is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Buddhists, Muslims, or another religious group.] [For information on the human rights situation in Myanmar/Burma, see Human Rights Watch report: Burma; Amnesty International report: Myanmar; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Burma.]

* 8/9: World's Indigenous Peoples' Day--Day to celebrate the empowerment of indigenous peoples world-wide; vigil for justice and respect for the social, cultural, and political rights of all indigenous peoples. [See U.N. website on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.] [a/k/a International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, International Indigenous Peoples' Day]

* 8/13: Birthday of Lucy Stone (1818), social worker and non-violent advocate for women's rights. [Death day 10/18/1893]

* 8/15: Day Emperor Hirohito announced Japan's surrender to the Allies, ending World War II in the Pacific (1945). [In the Pacific, World War II was caused by Japan's expansionism. Japan colonized Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931 and invaded China in 1937 (resulting in the Second Sino-Japanese War). In 1940, Japan invaded Indochina. In 1941, Japan attacked/invaded Pearl Harbor, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaya. In 1942, Japan invaded Burma and attacked Ceylon. And in 1944, Japan attacked India. During the war, millions of noncombatants were killed, including 20 million Chinese. 200,000 Chinese and Korean women were forced into sexual slavery. Noncombatants were also used for forced labor and for experimentation.] [The surrender was formally signed on 9/2/1945.] [Pursuant to the peace treaty signed on 9/8/1951 (in force 4/28/1952), Japan paid war reparations between 1955 and 1977 to countries harmed. In 1972, China waived the reparations.] [On the 50th anniversary of the surrender, Japan's Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said his country had caused "tremendous damage and suffering" through its "colonial rule and aggression" and expressed "deep remorse" and stated his "heartfelt apology". He used a formal Japanese expression of guilt: "owabi". On the 60th anniversary of the surrender, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi also used the term "owabi". On the 70th anniversary, Emperor Akihito expressed "deep remorse" over Japan's role in World War II. But, while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe noted past expressions of guilt, he indicated that further apologies are not necessary. However, China, South Korea, and North Korea do not believe that sufficient atonement has been made.] [Vigil for true peace and justice for all.]

* 8/15: Day India was partitioned into India and Pakistan, and Kashmir joined India over Pakistan's objection (1947); vigil for true peace, justice, and religious tolerance for all in South Asia. [Following partition, over 7 million Hindus and Sikhs migrated to India and over 7 million Muslims migrated to Pakistan. Hindus and Sikhs remaining in Pakistan are subjected to persecution, including forced conversion and violence (particularly by the Taliban). Muslims remaining in India have suffered discrimination and periodic mob violence. Defining a country by its religion is contrary to international law. Excluding a religious group from a country is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, or another religious group.] [For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: India; Human Rights Watch report: Pakistan; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: India; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Pakistan.] [About the Indo-Pakistani conflict] [For information on the history of the conflict, see Jammu & Kashmir: The Complete Knowledge Base.] [For information on the nuclear problem, see Federation of American Scientists (F.A.S.) website: Indo-Pakistani Conflict; India's nukes; Pakistan's nukes.]

* 8/17: Birthday of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (1924), founder of the Jewish Renewal Movement. [Rabbi Schachter-Shalomi broke with the Lubavitcher Hasidic sect of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism to found the Jewish Renewal Movement in 1969. The Jewish Renewal Movement seeks to fully embrace modernism, egalitarianism, environmentalism, pacifism, and deep ecumenism. It incorporates Kabbalistic and Hasidic theology and practices, traditional prayer, meditation, joyous chant, and ecstatic dance. Both personal spiritual practice and social action are emphasized. See Wikipedia article on Jewish Renewal and ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal website.]

* 8/17: Vigil for peace, justice, religious tolerance, and respect for the human rights of all in Indonesia. [The Indonesian constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government officially respects the religious freedom for 6 recognized religions: Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. However, other religions are not recognized (Sikhism, the Baha'i Faith, Judaism, and the traditional Aliran Kepercayaan), and some are deemed "deviant" (Ahmadiyya Islam and Shi'a Islam). In addition, the government allows members of the majority Sunni Muslim religion to persecute minority religious groups, including Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, and Shi'a Muslims. Members of minority groups are targeted for forced conversion to Sunni Islam, their places of worship are destroyed, and they are prosecuted for "blasphemy".] [See Human Rights Watch report: Indonesia; Amnesty International report: Indonesia; U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Indonesia.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.] [8/17 is Indonesia's Independence Day.]

* 8/18 (A 9/28): Beginning of Old Egyptian Akhet/Inundation month of Menkhet/Paopi, dedicated to Neteru Amen-Ra-Atem and Amenet-Rait-Mut. Priests and priestesses made offerings to the Neteru (Gods and Goddesses) to ensure that there would be strength and freedom for all. [Kemetic calendar] [Alexandrian calendar 9/28] [Ancient Egyptian calendar: Menkhet day 1]

* 8/19: World Humanitarian Day--Day to honor humanitarian workers world-wide, particularly those who have lost their lives in service to others; day to aid those in need of food, medicine, and shelter due to natural disaster, disease outbreak, civil unrest, or poverty. [See U.N. website on Humanitarian Day.]

* 8/19: Birthday of Gene Roddenberry (1921). He created the thought-provoking utopian universe of "Star Trek". [Death day 10/21/1991] [In the United Federation of Planets, all life forms were respected; rule of law, human rights, and democracy were primary; social equality was expected; and honor was the norm. Contrast this with the conflict-driven anti-utopian universe of Battlestar Galactica. In the post-holocaust Twelve Colonies of Kobol, military rule was primary; rule of law, human rights, and democracy were expeditiously disregarded; torture and nonjudicial killing were common; guilt was based on identity instead of actions; and honor was virtually nonexistent.]

* 8/23: Feast of the Furies--honoring Nemesis and the Erinyes, Old Greek Goddesses who punish murderers, abusers, and exploiters of others. [Roman calendar]

* 8/24: Vigil for peace, democratic government, freedom from external interference, and respect for the human rights of all in Ukraine. [In 2/2014, the democratically-elected pro-Russian president was ousted and a pro-European interim president took his place. Thereafter, pro-Russian Ukrainians, with support from Russia, have fomented unrest and armed insurgency. In Crimea, following a referendum for independence (that did not comport with international norms) and Russian military intervention, Russia annexed it. In the Donbass region, a separatist insurgency, armed by Russia, is being countered by the Ukrainian government. See Wikipedia article on Pro-Russian Unrest in Ukraine.] [For information on the human rights situation in Ukraine, see Human Rights Watch report: Ukraine; Amnesty International report: Ukraine.] [8/24 is Ukraine's Independence Day.]

* 8/25: Day to mourn the Iraqi attacks on civilian Kurds because of their ethnicity (1988); vigil for justice and respect for the human rights of the Kurdish people. [On 8/25/1988, Saddam Hussein's Iraqi government began the fourth Anfal campaign against the Kurds in Northern Iraq using chemical weapons. The first attack occurred on 3/16/1988. 60,000-100,000 Kurds were killed during these campaigns.] [See Human Rights Watch report: Genocide in Iraq.]

* 8/26: Day the U.S. Constitution's 19th Amendment went into effect, recognizing women's right to vote (1920). [The 19th Amendment was approved by Congress on 6/4/1919 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 8/26/1920.] [Text of amendment] [For more information, see Wikipedia article on the 19th Amendment.] [a/k/a Women's Equality Day]

* 8/26: Day Saudi Arabia first criminalized domestic violence (2013); day to mourn the continuing abuse of Saudi women. Domestic violence violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect. [See Human Rights Watch article on Saudi Arabia's domestic violence law; Wikipedia article on Domestic Violence in Saudi Arabia. See also Wikipedia article on Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.]

* 8/27: Vigil for the recognition of equal rights for women in Iran. [Day the modern women's rights campaign "One Million Signatures" was launched in Iran (2006). The campaign aims to end legal discrimination against women in Iranian laws. Campaign activists have been attacked and jailed. See Wikipedia articles on One Million Signatures; Women's Rights Movement in Iran.] [Women's rights in Iran have risen and fallen with political change. Following the Persian Constitutional Revolution in 1906, women were educated in greater numbers and participated in public affairs. But following the coup d'etat by Reza Shah Pahlavi in 1925, women's rights were generally truncated. Following Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi's White Revolution in 1963, women were granted the right to vote and accorded some marriage protections. Though women participated in the Iranian Revolution in 1979 that toppled the shah, their rights were thereafter curtailed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The marriage protections were eliminated, inheritance rights were undermined, women were barred from certain employment, sex-segregation was imposed, and an Islamic dress code was mandated. Since 1989, under Supreme Leader Seyyed Ali Khamenei, women's rights have improved somewhat, but legal inequalities continue, and domestic violence and child marriage continue to be problems. Despite legal limitations, women attain university education and employment in large numbers. See Wikipedia article on Women's Rights in Iran. See also Wikipedia article on Domestic Violence in Iran; Justice for Iran article on Early and Forced Marriages in the Islamic Republic of Iran.]

* 8/27: Birthday of Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) (1910), Catholic nun who served the poorest of the poor and saw Deity in each person. She witnessed her faith by example, rather than by proselytizing, and respected those of other faiths. ["We are supposed to preach without preaching, not by words, but by our example, by our actions." Quoted from "Mother Teresa, Words to Live By" p. 72 (Ave Maria Press, 1983).] ["There is only one God and He is God to all ... everyone is seen as equal before God. I've always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim.... I have never found a problem with people from different religions praying together." Quoted from "Mother Teresa: A Simple Path" pp. 31-32, 59, xix (Ballantine Books, 1995).] [Death day 9/5/1997]

* 8/27 eve to 8/28 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Artemis (Roman Diana/Slavic Diwitsa) - as defender of rights and liberties, and punisher of rapists and oppressors. [Metageitnion 6]

* 8/28: Day of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s peaceful march on Washington, D.C., for recognition of the rights of African Americans (1963). [Rev. King made his inspiring "I have a dream" speech at this rally.]

* 8/28: Opening of the Second World Parliament of Religions (1993), attended by members of all the world's religions. A Global Ethic was adopted that condemns hatred, aggression, oppression, and environmental abuses committed in the name of religion. [Text of Global Ethic] [See also website for the Parliament of the World's Religions.]

* 8/31: Remembrance day for Tahirih (d. 1852), feminist, poet, scholar, and preacher of the nascent Baha'i Faith. Baha'is recognize gender equality. [Born in 1917; died in 1852 between 8/16 & 8/31.]

* 9/2 eve to 9/3 eve: Old Greek festival honoring Athena Polias and Zeus Polios as protectors of city and state. [Metageitnion 12]

* 9/3: Day gender discrimination was outlawed world-wide (1981); day to mourn all manifestations of sexism. [Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: adopted by U.N. General Assembly 12/18/1979; signed 3/1/1980; entered into force 9/3/1981.] [Text of Convention] [The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) monitors implementation of the Convention. For more information, see U.N. Women: United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women website; Feminist Majority Foundation website; Human Rights Watch website.] [Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 2 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) also prohibit discrimination on account of gender.]

* 9/3: Day Pope John Paul II beatified symbols of progressive religious authority (Pope John XXIII) and autocratic religious authority (Pope Pius IX) (2000). [Pope John XXIII instigated the reforms of the Vatican II Council in 1962, and advocated freedom of religion, peace, and social justice. Pope Pius IX adopted the doctrine of papal infallibility at the Vatican I Council in 1870, and rejected the doctrines of separation of church and state, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech in his Syllabus of Errors in 1864.] [See articles by American Catholic (about Pope John XXIII) and National Catholic Reporter (about Pope Pius IX).]

* 9/4: Labor Day--Day to reflect on the sacredness of all work and the value of ethical, meaningful employment. [Day to organize and advocate for a living wage, health insurance coverage, retirement benefits, and family-friendly benefits for all.] [Articles 23 to 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Article 22 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee just and favorable pay and working conditions and guarantee the right to form/join trade unions to advocate for them.]

* 9/6: Birthday of Efua Dorkenoo, African women's rights activist and mother of the global movement to end female genital mutilation (1949). [Death day 10/18/2014] [See Wikipedia article on Efua Dorkenoo.]

* 9/6: Day Latin American Catholic Bishops espoused Liberation Theology (1968). They believed that the Gospel requires Christians to aid the poor and oppressed in the struggle for economic and social justice. [The Second Latin American Bishops Conference was held in Medellin, Colombia on 9/6/1968.] [See "A Concise History of Liberation Theology" by Leonardo and Clodovis Boff, "Liberation Theology: Religious Response to Social Problems. A Survey" by Marian Hillar, and Liberation Theology website.]

* 9/8: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Oshun, Orisha of Love and Compassion.

* 9/9: Vigil for respect for the human rights of all in North Korea. [For information on the human rights situation in North Korea, see Human Rights Watch report: North Korea; Amnesty International report: North Korea.] [9/9 is North Korea's National Independence Day, commemorating its founding in 1948.]

* 9/11: Day terrorists killed over 3,000 innocent civilians of many ethnicities and religions from 86 nations (2001); day to mourn all victims of terrorism. [Al-Qaeda terrorists, using passenger planes, struck the World Trade Center (in New York, N.Y.) and the Pentagon (outside Washington, D.C.). Because passengers on a fourth plane resisted, to prevent it from being used as a weapon, it was crashed near Shanksville, P.A.] [For statements by Muslims around the world condemning the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001 as horrific and un-Islamic, see Muslim Voices Against Extremism and Terrorism; Islamic Statements Against Terrorism; Muslims Condemn Terrorist Attacks.] [Fatwas (religious edicts) condemning terrorism have been issued by Muslim clerics. Saudi Arabia's leading Islamic authority (the Permanent Committee of Religious Research and Ifta) issued a fatwa against terrorism on 6/7/2004, contending that terrorism is forbidden under Islam and constitutes a severe form of injustice. The Spanish Islamic Commission issued a fatwa condemning terrorism on 3/11/2005, and called Osama bin Laden an apostate. The U.K.'s Sunni Council issued a fatwa against terrorism on 7/17/2005, indicating that killing others is a sin and that suicide bombers will go to hell. The British Muslim Forum issued a fatwa condemning terrorism on 7/18/2005, indicating that terrorist acts are contrary to Islam. The Fiqh Council of North America issued a fatwa against terrorism on 7/28/2005, indicating that all terrorist acts targeting civilians are forbidden in Islam.] [Al-Qaeda terrorists have struck other targets. See list of Al-Qaeda's terrorist attacks.] [For international efforts against terrorism (which constitutes a crime against humanity), see U.N. Action to Counter Terrorism.] [For incidents in which governments have used the fight against terrorism as an excuse to suppress civil liberties, see Human Rights Watch website.] [While some Muslims commit terrorist acts, most Muslims do not; and most Muslims do not authorize or approve of the terrorist acts committed. While it is appropriate to hold accountable the individuals, organizations, and governments that commit or fund the terrorists acts, it is immoral to blame all Muslims for the acts of a few.]

* 9/12: Day presidential candidate John Kennedy said to religious leaders: absolute separation of church and state is a necessity; no religious leader should be allowed to dictate to a President, to other public officials, or to voters concerning public policy; no religious institution should be given political power; no religious school should be given public funds; and no one should be subject to religious intolerance or discrimination (1960). [President Kennedy was the first non-Protestant President of the U.S.] [Transcript of speech]

* 9/13: Day Israelis and Palestinians committed to peaceful coexistence (1993); vigil for true peace, justice, religious tolerance, and human rights for all in the Middle East. [Declaration of Principles (a/k/a Oslo Accords) was signed by Israel & the P.L.O. on 9/13/1993.] [See Wikipedia article on the Oslo Accords. See also The History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.]

* 9/13: Day to mourn the subjection of women and girls in the U.S. to rape, domestic violence, and other gender-based violence. [The Violence Against Women Act (V.A.W.A.) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on 9/13/1994.] [Pub. L. 103-322, 108 Stat. 1902, 42 U.S.C. 13701 et seq.] [Text of statute ] [For more information on violence against women in the U.S., see Feminist.com website. For help surviving violence, see WomensHealth.gov website.]

* 9/14: Birthday of Margaret Sanger (1883), non-violent advocate for education, autonomy, and responsibility concerning sexuality, reproduction, and birth control. [Death day 9/6/1966]

* 9/15: International Day of Democracy--Day to celebrate democratic systems of government throughout the world, bound by rule of law, principles of human rights, and civilian control. Day to affirm democracy's compatibility with all peoples, all cultures, and all religions. [In a democracy, both military and police are subject to rule of law and subordinate to civilian government. The military exists to protect the lawful civilian government and civilians; the police exists to enforce the law and protect people from criminals.] [See U.N. website on International Day of Democracy.] [a/k/a Democracy Day]

* 9/15: Day the first woman was ordained a Congregational/Unitarian minister in the U.S. (1853). [Rev. Antoinette Brown Blackwell] [See Wikipedia article and UU Biography on Antoinette Brown Blackwell. See also Wikipedia articles on Unitarianism; Unitarian Universalism. And see Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 9/16: Mexican Independence Day--Day to celebrate the union of diverse peoples, languages, cultures, and religions into one nation. [Grito de la Independencia (Cry of Independence) a/k/a. Grito de Dolores (Cry of Dolores) a/k/a El Grito (the Cry) marked the beginning of Mexico's War of Independence from Spain, which was ultimately won on 9/27/1821. This pronouncement, asserting freedom from corrupt government and freedom of religion, was made on 9/16/1810 by Fr. Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in the town of Dolores.] [Mexico includes 62 distinct indigenous peoples, in addition to those of Spanish descent and more recent immigrants, each with its own language, culture, and religion.]

* 9/17: Constitution Day--Day the U.S. Constitution was signed at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1787), ensuring that the U.S. would be a democracy governed by the rule of law. [Under the U.S. Constitution, each branch of government serves as a check on the powers of the other branches to prevent any one branch from abusing its power and undermining the rule of law.] [See Constitution Center website on Constitution Day.]

* 9/17: Day the populist "Occupy Wall Street" movement began (2011). It spread to cities throughout the U.S. and around the world. [The peaceful "occupiers" are protesting the undue and corrupting influence of wealthy corporations on government officials and the bail-out of failing financial institutions whose CEOs continue to be rewarded exorbitant salaries. They are also demanding regulation of financial institutions and greater taxation of the ultra-rich.] [All who detain or harm peaceful dissidents or demonstrators should be investigated, prosecuted, and punished.] [The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and assembly. ] [Text of First Amendment] [Articles 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 19 and 21 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) similarly guarantee freedom of expression and assembly.]

* 9/20: U.S. Military Coming-Out Day. [The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 was signed into law by President Barack Obama on 12/22/2010. (Pub. L. 111-321, 124 Stat. 3515, 10 U.S.C. 654.) It ended the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, which has prevented openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the U.S. military since 1993. Following sensitivity training, the law came into full effect on 9/20/2011.]

* 9/20 eve to 9/30 eve: Muharram/Muslim New Year (Year 1439) & A'ashurah. The Five Pillars of Islam are confession, prayer, alms-giving, fasting, and pilgrimage. [The Qur'an says: "O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct." See Qur'an Surah 49 Vs. 13. And see the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights and the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. For scholarly discussions of human rights in Islam, see "Religious Human Rights in the Qur'an" by Riffat Hassan, "Human Rights in Islam" by 'Allamah Abu al-'A'la Mawdudi, and "Universal Human Rights and 'Human Rights in Islam'" by David Littman. See also the Islamic Human Rights Commission, an organization that advocates for justice for all. But see Human Rights Watch report: Saudi Arabia  (Saudi Arabia is the center of Sunni Islam) and Human Rights Watch report: Iran  (Iran is the center of Shi'a Islam).] [a/k/a Islamic New Year] [Muharram 1-10]

* 9/21: International Day of Peace--Day to demonstrate for peace with justice throughout the world. [Peace can be realized where there is recognition of sovereignty/autonomy, compliance with just law, respectful behavior, responsible sharing of resources, cooperation to attain common goals, and reasonable compromise to enable all to meet lawful goals.] [See International Day of Peace website; International Day of Peace Vigil website.]

* 9/21 to 9/30: Navaratri/Durga Puja--Hindu festival of Great Goddess Maha Devi as Durga, Protector of the Powerless; celebrates Her destruction of evil and restoration of cosmic order. Tantric Hindus recognize gender equality and reject caste. [See Mantra to Durga.] [a/k/a Sharad Navaratri, Sharad Navratri, Ashwin Navaratri, Ashwin Navratri, Maha Navaratri, Navratras, Navaratra, Vijaya Dashami, Dussehra, Dasara, Dasehra, Devi Puja, Devi Vrat] [Ashwin Shukla 1-10]

* 9/22: Death of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib, first Sikh guru, commemorated. [Guru Nanak rejected caste and believed in the equality of all people.] [Guru Nanak Dev 1469-1539] [a/k/a Guru Nanak Dev Jyoti Jot]

* 9/22: Day Congress affirmed freedom of religion by prohibiting discrimination against religious institutions in the context of zoning laws and guaranteeing free exercise of religion in prisons (2000). [The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.] [Pub. L. 106-274, 114 Stat. 803, 42 U.S.C. 2000cc, et seq.] [Text of statute] [For more information on RLUIPA, see U.S. D.O.J. website; Wikipedia article on RLUIPA.]

* 9/22 eve to 9/23 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Athena - as protector and defender. [Boedromion 3]

* 9/23: Vigil for freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia. [Sunni Islam is the official religion. Members of other Muslim sects (Shi'a, Sufi, and Ahmadi Muslims) and non-Muslim religions cannot publicly practice their religions; private worship is also subject to punishment. Most non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia are guest workers. They include Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Sikhs. While many countries have official religions, most allow minority religions some rights and freedoms.] [See U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Saudi Arabia.] [Defining a country by its religion is contrary to international law. Excluding or disempowering another religious group is also contrary to international law. It is also immoral, regardless of whether it is committed by or against Muslims, Christians, Jews, or another religious group.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.] [9/23 is Saudi Arabia's National Day.]

* 9/24: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Obatala, Orisha of Peace and Justice.

* 9/25: Day Saudi Arabian women were granted the right to vote and run for office (2011); day to celebrate the beginning of Saudi women's empowerment. [See Wikipedia article on Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.]

* 9/28: Birthday of Confucius (K'ung Fu-Tzu) (551 BCE). He taught that societal harmony could be realized when individuals acted with loving care for family, concern for friends and neighbors, benevolence to strangers, and respect for all. [Founder of Confucianism.] [Death day 11/29/479 BCE]

* 9/29: Feast of Michael, Angel of Protection, and Uriel, Angel of Justice.

* 9/30: Birthday of Elhanan Winchester (1751), Universalist who exhorted people to lives of personal ethics and social reform. [Death day 4/18/1797] [Trinitarian Baptist Universalist Restorationist] [See Wikipedia article and UU Biography on Elhanan Winchester. See also Wikipedia articles on Universalism; Christian Universalism; Unitarian Universalism. And see Unitarian Universalist Association website.]

* 10/1: Vigil for freedom of religion in China. [China only recognizes 5 official religious organizations and controls their religious expression. Though its intensity waxes and wanes, persecution of independent Christians has been ongoing. China also persecutes Tibetan Buddhists, Uyghur Muslims, and Falun Gong practitioners.] [See U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: China. See also U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Tibet.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.] [10/1 is China's National Day.]

* 10/1: Day Russia enacted the Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Associations (1997); vigil for the end of persecution of Protestants and Catholics by Orthodox Christians and for religious tolerance of all Christians by all Christians. [Though the law endorses freedom of religion and separation of religion and government, it also requires religious groups to register with the government and allows government officials to decline to register disfavored groups.] [The Russian Orthodox Church was persecuted under Communism, but it has been made the de facto official religion of post-communist Russia, and has been instrumental in the persecution of non-Orthodox Christians. Russia has forced some non-Orthodox churches to close and given their property to the Russian Orthodox Church. Though Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism are identified as "traditional" religions, adherents of these faiths are also targeted for discrimination and harassment. Adherents of religions deemed "non-traditional" (e.g., Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology) are persecuted or harassed.] [See U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Russia.] [Articles 2 and 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Text of Declaration) and Articles 2 and 18 of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) guarantee freedom of religion and prohibit discrimination on account of religion.]

* 10/1 eve to 10/2 eve: Demokratia--Old Greek festival celebrating democracy, constitutional government, and justice under law. Zeus Agoraios, Athena Agoraias, and Themis were honored. [Boedromion 12]

* 10/2: Non-Violence Day--Day to assess your exposure to violence in all its forms and to purge it from your life. Avoid mean aggressive people and conflict-driven "entertainment". [Exposure to violence fosters acceptance of violence. Violence is immoral and is justified only when absolutely necessary in defense of self or others, with minimum force. Violence is not an effective means for dealing with differences, disagreement, or conflict. Violence breeds violence.] [See U.N. website on International Day of Non-Violence. See also Nonviolence International website. (Nonviolence International works to foster peace and reduce violence world-wide and advocates non-violent activism to promote positive social change.)] [a/k/a International Day of Non-Violence, World Non-Violence Day]

* 10/2: World Habitat Day--Day to recognize the necessity of sanitary, non-toxic, and environmentally-sustainable shelter; day to advocate for adequate shelter for all. [See U.N. website on World Habitat Day; U.N. Habitat website.] [a/k/a Human Habitat Day]

* 10/2: Birthday of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi (1869), Hindu advocate for human rights and self-reliance, who practiced active non-violent resistance to injustice. [Gandhi envisioned a world where women and untouchables would be empowered and respected. Gandhi envisioned a world where members of all faiths (including Hindus, Muslims, and Christians) would live harmoniously together.] [Death day 1/30/1948] [a/k/a Gandhi Jayanti]

* 10/4: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orunmila, Orisha of Wise Counsel and Protection.

* 10/4 to 10/7: Tewa Deer Dance--celebrating the cosmic duality of feminine and masculine. The Tewa recognize gender equality and honor both male and female ancestors.

* 10/7: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Afghanistan. [The Afghanistan War officially lasted from 10/7/2001 to 12/28/2014 (when the U.S./N.A.T.O. formally transferred full security responsibility to the Afghan government).] [The Taliban, a Pashtun Islamist terrorist organization led by Mullah Mohammad Omar, controlled much of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. They were supported by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. They were allied with Al-Qaeda, and hosted Osama Bin Laden until he relocated to Pakistan. They systematically massacred civilians when taking control of an area. They imposed an extreme form of Islamic law on Afghanis under their control, some of it not based on the Qur'an or Sharia. Women and girls were barred from education and employment and were required to wear burqas and be accompanied by male relatives when they left home. Women were treated with brutality when they did not obey. Non-Pashtun women were sold into sexual slavery (forced "marriages"). The Afghan Northern Alliance (a/k/a the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan) opposed the Taliban. The U.S./N.A.T.O. intervened in 2001. Though ousted from power in late 2001, the Taliban continued to fight the Afghan government and allies. The war has continued since the allies' official withdrawal.] [See Wikipedia articles on the Taliban, the Taliban Treatment of Women, the War in Afghanistan (1996-2001), the War in Afghanistan (2001-2014), and the War in Afghanistan (2015-present).] [For information on the human rights situation in Afghanistan, see Human Rights Watch report: Afghanistan; Amnesty International report: Afghanistan.] [The Taliban violates Islam's prohibition against taking innocent life, violates Islam's mandate to tolerate Muslims who hold other views, violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect, and violates Islam's mandate to promote the pursuit of knowledge.]

* 10/9: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Uganda. [Following the military coup d'etat by Yoweri Museveni and his National Resistance Army (N.R.A.) in 1986, the N.R.A. attacked ethnic groups in northern Uganda. The Lord's Resistance Army (L.R.A.), was founded by Alice Lakwena in 1987 to defend the Acholi people there. It has been led by Joseph Kony since 1987. The L.R.A. is a Christian extremist organization that wants to overthrow the Museveni government and install a "Christian" government in Uganda. (Christianity is the predominant religion in Uganda, though there is a significant Muslim minority.) In addition to attacking the Ugandan military, the L.R.A. has attacked Ugandan villages, killing and mutilating civilian adults, raping and forcing women into sexual slavery, and forcing children to serve as soldiers. In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and his top commanders. They were charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes, including murder, rape, sexual slavery, and recruiting child soldiers. However, Kony has eluded capture. Between 2006 and 2008, peace talks occurred, but failed. The L.R.A. was weakened by coordinated attacks on its camps in late 2008 and forced to relocate to the remote border areas of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.), the Central African Republic (C.A.R.), and South Sudan. Though fewer in number, attacks continue.] [See Wikipedia articles on the National Resistance Movement and on the Lord's Resistance Army.] [For information on the human rights situation in Uganda, see Human Rights Watch report: Uganda; Amnesty International report: Uganda.] [Though the Lord's Resistance Army purports to be Christian and wants to enforce the 10 Commandments as law in Uganda, it violates the commandment "thou shalt not kill" and Jesus' commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself".] [10/9 is Uganda's Independence Day. Uganda became independent from Britain in 1962, and became a republic in 1963. Milton Obote took control following independence. He was deposed by Idi Amin in 1971, who committed many atrocities. Milton Obote returned to power in 1979, but was deposed by General Tito Okello in 1985, who was in turn deposed by Yoweri Museveni.]

* 10/9: Day to mourn the Pakistani Taliban's attempted assassination of a 15-year-old girl because she advocated for the education of girls (2012). [Malala Yousufzai's parents run schools in the northwest part of Pakistan where the Pakistani Taliban (a/k/a Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan and T.T.P.), has been fighting Pakistani forces and has sometimes been in control. The Pakistani Taliban are opposed to the education of girls. Malala blogged for the BBC about life under the Pakistani Taliban and opposed the closure of schools by them. See Wikipedia articles on Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani Taliban, and the War in Northwest Pakistan.] [The Pakistani Taliban violates Islam's prohibition against taking innocent life, violates Islam's mandate to tolerate Muslims who hold other views, violates Islam's mandate to treat women with respect, and violates Islam's mandate to promote the pursuit of knowledge.]

* 10/11: Birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt (1884), advocate for world-wide recognition of the rights of all. [Death day 11/7/1962]

* 10/11: Opening of Vatican II Council, during which the Catholic Church committed to ecumenism, freedom of religion, and social justice (1962). [The Council met from 10/11/1962 to 12/8/1965.] [For information about the Vatican II Council and its aftermath, see Wikipedia article and National Catholic Reporter articles. See also Documents of the Vatican II Council.]

* 10/12 (Obs. 10/9): Columbus Day--Commemorates Europeans' colonization of America (1492); day to mourn Native American victims of conquest and oppression (past and present), make peace, and celebrate empowerment of Native Americans. [While some Europeans brutally subjugated the indigenous peoples of the Americas (North and South) in the past, not all Europeans at the time approved of that subjugation. And no ethnic European alive today participated in that subjugation. While it is appropriate to expect atonement from the governments of the countries that participated, it is immoral to blame all ethnic Europeans today for the evil committed by some Europeans in the past.] [a/k/a Native Americans' Day, Dia de la Raza (Mexico), Thanksgiving Day (Canada)]

* 10/12: Day the first woman was ordained a Methodist minister in the U.S. (1880). [Rev. Anna Howard Shaw]

* 10/16: World Food Day--Day to recognize the necessity of affordable, healthy, and environmentally-sustainable food; day to advocate for adequate food for all. [Day the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization was founded in 1945.] [See U.N. website on World Food Day; U.N. World Food Programme website.]

* 10/21: Day military attacks on civilians were outlawed world-wide (1950); day to mourn all civilian victims of war. [All soldiers have a legal duty and a moral obligation to refuse an order to attack a noncombatant. Anyone who plans, orders, or carries out such an act is legally culpable. All attacks on noncombatants should be investigated, prosecuted, and punished.] [Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War a/k/a Fourth Geneva Convention: signed 8/12/1949; entered into force 10/21/1950.] [Text of Convention] [See Wikipedia article on Fourth Geneva Convention.]

* 10/23: Vigil for peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Libya. [Moammar Gaddafi was ousted from power following a civil war that commenced on 2/17/2011. Since Gaddafi's death on 10/20/2011, a transitional government was formed, and the General National Congress (GNC) was elected in 2012. Another election was held in 2014 to replace the GNC with the Council of Deputies. The validity of this election was challenged because voting did not occur in some areas due to fighting. The members of the Islamist Justice and Development Party who were not re-elected declared a "New General National Congress" on 8/25/2014. The Islamists, supported by the Libya Dawn (Fajr Libya) militias have been fighting the elected government. On 10/5/2014, other militias pledged allegiance to "Islamic State" and have since occupied Libyan territory and committed terrorist attacks and atrocities.] [See Wikipedia articles on the Libyan Civil War (2011) and the Second Libyan Civil War (2014-Present).] [10/23 is Libya's Liberation day, which was declared following Moammar Gaddafi's death.]

* 10/23 eve to 10/24 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Aphrodite--Day to honor peace and compassion. [Pyanepsion 4]

* 10/24: Day the first woman was ordained a Presbyterian minister in the U.S. (1956). [Rev. Margaret Ellen Towner]

* 10/31: Day to mourn the women tortured and killed as "witches" because of their independence, wealth, wisdom, or religion.

* 11/2: Day the first openly gay man was consecrated an Episcopalian bishop (2003). [Bishop Gene Robinson]

* 11/3: Christian feast of St. Martin of Porres (d. 1639), healer and advocate of social equality and inter-ethnic harmony; guide of healers and human rights activists.

* 11/3: World Community Day--Day for celebrating the unity behind diversity and remembering we are all one people - all children of the one universal Deity of many names and aspects.

* 11/6: Day a Muslim woman first defied a ban on women entering the mosque by the front door and praying in the main hall (2003). [In the Morgantown, West Virginia, mosque, as in many mosques in the United States and elsewhere, women are required to enter by a back door and pray in a separate room. Asra Nomani, the author of "Standing Alone in Mecca", began a movement to desegregate mosques throughout the United States. See media accounts of Asra Nomani's efforts.] [For scholarly discussions of gender equality in Islam, see "Members, One of Another: Gender Equality & Justice in Islam" by Riffat Hassan and "Gender Equity in Islam" by Jamal Badawi Ph.D. For an examination of the feminist movement in Islam, see "Inside the Gender Jihad: Womens Reform in Islam" by Amina Wadud.]

* 11/7: Election Day--remember to vote! The only way to ensure a healthy democracy is to have full participation by the electorate in choosing government decision makers. [A democratic government can be lawful only where there is a free and fair election and all adult citizens can vote and run for office.]

* 11/7: Anniversary of the first Re-Imagining Conference, where worship of Holy Spirit Wisdom was introduced to mainstream Christianity (1993). [This conference was organized by the Women's Ministry Unit of the Presbyterian Church USA. 24 other Christian churches and organizations also participated. 2200 Christian leaders, scholars, clergy, and laity attended the conference between 11/4/1993 and 11/7/1993 to address the problem of patriarchy in the church and in society. Following the conference, there was backlash against its organizers, who were accused of heresy.] [See Wikipedia article on the Re-Imagining Conference.]

* 11/7 eve to 11/10 eve: Apaturia--Old Greek festival in which newcomers and children were welcomed into the community. [Pyanepsion 19-21]

* 11/8: Birthday of Dorothy Day (1897), activist for peace, economic justice, and workers' rights. [Founder of the Catholic Worker Movement.] [Death day 11/22/1980]

* 11/9 eve: Krystallnacht--Night of the Nazi attacks on Jewish homes, synagogues, and shops in Germany, beginning the persecution that would end with the deaths of six million Jews (1938); night for meditating on the evil of all religion-based hatred.

* 11/11: Veterans Day--Day to honor all warriors who have defended us against evil of all kinds.

* 11/11: Death day of Lucretia Mott (1880), Quaker preacher and non-violent advocate for the rights of women and African Americans. [Birthday 1/3/1793]

* 11/12: Birthday of Sr. Juana Ines de la Cruz (1651), Catholic nun and feminist poet. [Death day 4/17/1695]

* 11/12: Birthday of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815), non-violent advocate for women's rights. [Death day 10/26/1902]

* 11/16: Tolerance Day--Day to promote harmony in diversity through mutual respect and understanding of all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, nationality, or economic status. [Despite international and domestic laws providing for equal rights, freedoms, and protections, members of minority groups are still harassed and discriminated against because of societal intolerance arising from fear and ignorance.] [Intolerance often results from projection of "collective guilt": it is immoral to blame an entire group for the acts of a member unless the entire group empowered the member who acted or endorsed the acts.] [See U.N. website on International Day for Tolerance; Wikipedia article on Declaration of Principles on Tolerance.] [a/k/a International Day for Tolerance]

* 11/20: Transgender Remembrance Day--Day to mourn those killed because of their transgender identity. [Transgender people should be treated with respect and compassion. Laws should recognize "transgender" as a third gender and prohibit discrimination, harassment, and violence against transgender people. Public accommodations should provide transgenders their own restroom and locker room.] [Some countries allow identification as a third gender instead of "male" or "female": Australia "indeterminate" (2003) & "other" (2013), Nepal "indeterminate/intersex/unspecified" (2007), India "eunuch"(2009) & "hijra" (2014), Pakistan "third gender" (a/k/a "khawaja sara") (2009), Bangladesh "hijra" (2013), Germany "no gender identified" (2013), and New Zealand "gender diverse" (2015).] [a/k/a Transgender Day of Remembrance]

* 11/25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women--Day to raise awareness of the immorality (and illegality) of violence against women and girls world-wide; day to encourage all the women and girls in your life to get training in self-defense. [Women and girls are subject to physical and sexual violence by loved ones, acquaintances, and strangers: at home, at school, at work, at places of worship, and in the street.] [See U.N. website on Elimination of Violence Against Women Day. See also W.H.O. Fact Sheet on Violence Against Women; Amnesty International: Violence Against Women.]

* 11/26: Death day of Sojourner Truth (1883), Christian preacher and non-violent advocate for the rights of women and African Americans. [Born 1797: exact date unknown]

* 11/28: Day the Women's Ordination Conference opened, advocating for ordination of women priests in the Catholic Church (1975). [See Women's Ordination Conference website.]

* 11/29: International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People--Vigil for recognition of the state of Palestine, for recognition of all human rights of all its citizens (whether Muslim, Jewish, or Christian), and for peaceful coexistence with the state of Israel. [See U.N. website on Solidarity with the Palestinian People Day. See also The History of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. And see U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: the Occupied Territories.] [The Palestinian Authority formally requested full membership in the U.N. -- and recognition of statehood -- on 9/23/2011.]

* 11/29 eve to 11/30 eve: Mawlid al-Nabi--Day commemorating the birth of Muslim Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) (570). He conceived Deity to be a compassionate, genderless unity. [The Prophet's full name was Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim.] [While many Sufis consider Allah to be gender-inclusive and some Muslims of all denominations consider Allah to be gender-neutral, most Muslims consider Allah to be exclusively male.] [a/k/a Mawlid an-Nabi, Milad-un-Nabi, Miladun-Nabi] [Rabi' al-Awwal 12]

* 12/1: World AIDS Day--Day to pray for healing of all those suffering with AIDS and HIV. [For information on World AIDS Day, see World AIDS Day website. For information about the global fight against AIDS, see UNAIDS website.]

* 12/2: Mindfulness Day--Zen Buddhist day for mindfully seeing and acting with compassion for the poor and oppressed.

* 12/4: Yoruba/Santeria feast of Orisha Shango, Defender Against Evil.

* 12/6: Day the Babri Mosque was destroyed by a Hindu mob in Ayodhya, India (1992); day to mourn willful destruction of any place of worship. Places of worship of all religions should be respected by all. [Prior to its construction in 1528, the mosque had been a Hindu temple that marked the birthplace of the God Rama. That temple had been destroyed by Babur as part of his effort to conquer and Islamize the area. 2000 Hindu temples were allegedly destroyed by him. The Indian government has since divided the land to allow construction of both a mosque and a temple.]

* 12/9: Anti-Corruption Day--Day to peacefully demonstrate for government transparency, checks on government powers, and uniform enforcement of law. [Abuse of governmental powers for private gain (including bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, patronage, graft, and embezzlement) undermines democracy, the rule of law, and fairness. Corruption only exists because government and industry allow it to exist.] [See U.N. website on International Anti-Corruption Day. See also Wikipedia article on corruption and Transparency International website. See list of which countries are considered the most and least corrupt. (Though the U.S. fares well on the list, corruption has undermined democracy in some cities/counties/states in the U.S.)] [a/k/a International Anti-Corruption Day]

* 12/10: Day the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted, and fundamental rights were recognized world-wide (1948). [The U.N. General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (U.D.H.R.) in Resolution 217 A(III).] [Text of Declaration] [For information on the history of the U.D.H.R., see Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute website. The U.D.H.R. is generally recognized as binding customary international law: all countries are required to respect the rights within it. In 1966, the concepts of the U.D.H.R. were expanded and drafted into two binding international treaties with enforcement mechanisms. The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Text of Covenant) is enforced by the Human Rights Committee. The Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (Text of Covenant) is enforced by the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. For more information, see U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights website; Human Rights Watch website; Amnesty International website.] [a/k/a International Human Rights Day]

* 12/10: Day the Catholic Church prohibited Catholics from attempting to convert Jews, concluding it is "theologically unquestionable" that Jews have been granted salvation by God without belief in Jesus (2015). Jews are to be considered the elder brothers and sisters of Christians. Catholics (and other Christians) should respect their religion and fight their persecution. [Up until modern times, Jews were persecuted by Catholics (and other Christians) in Europe. One aspect of the persecution was their forced conversion to Christianity.] [See "The Gifts and Calling of God are irrevocable: a Reflection on Theological Questions Pertaining to Catholic-Jewish Relations on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of ‘Nostra Aetate' (No.4)" issued by the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews.]

* 12/11: Day to mourn the harm done by the Mexican drug cartels. [The cartels are at war with each other. And the Mexican military and federal police are at war with the cartels. Innocent bystanders are often killed. Some are targeted to terrorize the population. The cartels commit murder, robbery, extortion, abduction for ransom, and abduction for forced labor. In addition to trafficking drugs, the cartels traffic firearms and women for forced prostitution. Many corrupt local police and government officials work for them.] [See Wikipedia article on the Mexican Drug War.] [The cartels bring 70% of all drugs into the U.S. If you buy marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamines, you are funding this violence and allowing drugs to ruin many lives in addition to your own.] [12/11/2006 was the day that the Mexican government declared "war" on the drug cartels.]

* 12/12: First appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of God and Mother of the Oppressed, at the former shrine of Aztec Moon Goddess Coatlicue (Mexico 1531).

* 12/12 eve to 12/20 eve: Hanukkah/Festival of Lights--Jewish festival commemorating a victory in their struggle for religious freedom and rededication of the second Temple in Jerusalem to Elohim. Menorah candles are lit. [See Hanukkah Prayers.] [Though there was only enough oil for one day at the rededication, it miraculously burned for eight days.] [For articles on freedom of religion and Judaism, see "Religious Freedom as a Basic Human Right: The Jewish Perspective" by Asher Maoz and "Freedom of Religion in Israel" by Prof. Shimon Shetreet. See also U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report for 2015: Israel and the Occupied Territories.] [a/k/a Chanukah, Channukah] [Kislev 25-Tevet 2]

* 12/15: Day the Bill of Rights became part of the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing fundamental rights to all (1791). [Text of Bill of Rights] [For more information about the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, see U.S. National Archives & Records Administration website and the Bill of Rights Institute website. For information on organizations that advocate for enforcement of rights and liberties in the Bill of Rights, see Center for Constitutional Rights website; American Civil Liberties Union website.] [a/k/a Bill of Rights Day]

* 12/17: Death day of Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1273), Sufi saint who believed all people to be part of Deity and, consequently, believed all should be respected. [Members of his Mevlevi order whirl in his remembrance on this night annually.] [See article on Jalal ad-Din Rumi. And see Mevlevi Order website, Mevlevi Order of America website, and Threshold Society website.] [Birthday 9/30/1207] [Wissal on Jumada al-thani 5.]

* 12/17: Day fruit vendor (and university graduate) Mohamed Bouazizi immolated himself to protest police extortion and harassment of small businesses (2010). [This began the "Arab Spring" revolutions that toppled corrupt autocratic governments in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, which recognized few legal rights, freedoms, or protections. In response to protests, governments in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Algeria, Iraq, and Lebanon, have made some political reforms or leadership changes. See Wikipedia article on Arab Spring.]

* 12/18: Day the U.S. Constitution's 13th Amendment went into effect, outlawing all slavery (1865). [The 13th Amendment was approved by Congress on 1/31/1865 and, after ratification by the states, was proclaimed in effect on 12/18/1865.] [Text of amendment]

* 12/18: Day the United Nations General Assembly proposed the Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2009). It condemns violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization, and prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity. [The declaration has not been signed by a majority of United Nations members, and some countries have signed an opposing declaration.] [See Wikipedia article.]

* 12/20 eve to 12/21 eve: Feast of Old Greek Goddess Athena - as protector and defender. [Poseideon 3]

* 12/22: Birthday of Lily Montagu (1873), who co-founded Liberal Judaism in the U.K. in 1902. She was the first Jewish woman to serve as lay minister, both officiating and preaching. [Death day 1/22/1963] [She advocated reforms in the service, including use of English as well as Hebrew, use of musical instruments, and allowing men and women to sit together. Liberal Judaism stresses ethical conduct above ritual observance, affirms each individual's freedom to act in accordance with conscience, and recognizes the full equality and participation of men and women.] [See Jewish Women's Archive article on Lily Montagu.]

* 12/23: Birthday of Joseph Smith (1805), founder of the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). He promoted a religion that was egalitarian and communitarian, and worshipped Deity as a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. [Death day 6/27/1844]

* 12/27: Day multiple Jewish denominations, human rights groups, and the Israeli government objected to an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish group's attempts to impose gender segregation and "modest dress" on women on public buses and city streets (2011). Day to mourn all religious mandates that undermine women's autonomy; day to condemn the abuse of women who refuse to comply with them.

* 12/28: Day the first woman was ordained a Catholic priest - without Vatican authority (1970). [Mthr. Ludmila Javorova was ordained by Catholic Bishop Felix Maria Davidek in Czechoslovakia. Her ordination is not recognized by the Vatican.] [See Wikipedia article on Ludmila Javorova. See also "Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman Catholic Priest" by Miriam Therese Winter.]

* 12/28: Day an Islamic court ruled female genital mutilation to be un-Islamic and banned the practice (1997). [The State Council, Egypt's highest administrative court, also ruled that F.G.M. is illegal unless medically necessary. See BBC News article.] [Egypt's government also criminalized F.G.M. in 2008. See U.N.F.P.A. article. However, F.G.M. continues. More than 90% of Egyptian women under age 50 have been subjected to it. See U.N.I.C.E.F. data.] [See also World Health Organization (W.H.O.) Fact Sheet on F.G.M.] [And see Gender Equity in Islam (which indicates F.G.M. predates Islam, is not mentioned in the Qur'an, and is not mandated by any hadith) and an Islamic fatwa condemning the practice of F.G.M. (ruling that F.G.M. is inconsistent with Islam because it causes harm to women) by Professor Ali Gom'a, Grand Mufti of Egypt (11/24/2006).] [For more information about F.G.M., see Female Genital and Sexual Mutilation - Bibliography.]

* 12/29: Day Guatemala's 36-year civil war ended (1996); vigil for true peace, justice, and respect for the human rights of all in Central America. [The 36-year civil war between leftist rebels and the government of Guatemala ended 12/29/1996. During the war, the military killed or "disappeared" 200,000 people, targeting Mayan communities and civilians. The U.S. government was complicit in these atrocities.] [See Wikipedia article on the Guatemalan Civil War. And see Peace Pledge Union article on the Guatemalan Genocide. For information on the human rights situation today, see Human Rights Watch report: Guatemala.]

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Permission to use and distribute these excerpts is granted for non-commercial purposes, provided the following information is included:

Excerpted from
THE MYSTIC'S WHEEL OF THE YEAR 2017
A Multifaith Calendar Reflecting Eco-Egalitarian Spirituality
© 2016 Marija Miovski
www.WheeloftheYear.com