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Chronology of the most important events

The Giordano Bruno Stiftung (gbs) was officially recognized as a "legally responsible public foundation according to civil law", on April 15 2004. Since then, the gbs has accomplished a great deal in terms of establishing the central themes of humanism and enlightenment in society. This “chronology of the most important events” should help understand the foundation’s development.


Direct link to the events 2004-2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017


2004-2005: "Religion-free zone", the Manifesto and fowid

The foundation made its first public appearance in May 2004, when it hosted an impressive ceremony on the 80th birthday of the author and church critic Karlheinz Deschner (“Criminal History of Christianity”/”Kriminalgeschichte des Christentums”) in Haßfurt. In the following September, a first scientific conference in co-operation with the International League of the Non-Religious and Atheists (IBKA) took place in Cologne, titled “Knowledge Instead of Belief!”, in which the American “debunker” James Randi was awarded the IBKA-prize for his educational achievements.

In the following year 2005, the climax of media coverage surely belonged to the series of events “Heathen fun rather than Hell’s torture” (“Heidenspaß statt Höllenqual”), in a religion-free zone in Cologne, the gbs antidote to the Catholic ‘World Youth Day’. The pope-dinosaur float made by Jacques Tilly and a cheeky grinning black sheep (“picture of the day” on NTV) caused an international stir.

The year 2005 also included the conference “Humanism and Enlightenment as the Mainstream Culture” (in co-operation with the IBKA), in which the foundation explained its position “beyond fundamentalism and ‘anything goes’”. Also very important for the foundation were the publication of the “Manifesto of Evolutionary Humanism” in October 2005, which summarizes the basic positions of the gbs and has now been sold more than 40,000 times, as well as the launch of the “Research group: world views in Germany” (fowid: Forschungsgruppe Weltanschauungen in Deutschland), which can be found at www.fowid.de and provides reliable data on the social acceptance of religious and secular world views

2006: Cartoon controversy, Ursula von der Leyen and the hpd

In 2006, the foundation reacted to the controversy surrounding cartoons of Mohammed with a petition campaigning for the protection of free speech and artistic expression, against attempts to limit these rights out of deference to religious narrow-mindedness. Furthermore, the gbs opposed Ursula von der Leyen’s “Alliance for Upbringing”, which attempted to bring a stronger religious element into the raising and educating of children.

In June 2006, the foundation supported the International Committee against the Death Penalty in its attempts to save people sentenced to death under Sharia law. In the case of Nazanin Fatehi, a 17-year-old Iranian woman, this was successful.

The most important event of the year was doubtlessly the launch of the Humanist News Service (hpd: Humanistischer Pressedienst) in October 2006, when the gbs and the German Humanist Society (HVD: Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands) officially presented the service in Berlin’s Red City Hall. Because of its broad coverage, the hpd rapidly evolved into the most important voice of the secular scene in the German-speaking countries, with several million site views per year.


2007: Ex-Muslims, Dawkins and the “New Atheism”

In 2007, the gbs presented the “Central Council of Ex-Muslims” at the Federal Press Conference in Berlin. The campaign provoked headlines worldwide, as ex-Muslims had never before openly admitted to having forsworn Islam – an act for which, according to the Koran, they face the death penalty.

Apart from that, 2007 was influenced by the somewhat bewildering slogan “The New Atheism”. On television, on the radio, as well as in the print media there were extensive debates on the alleged “Crusade of the New Atheists”.  Here, gbs-representatives were frequently given a platform, in particular Michael Schmidt-Salomon and Carsten Frerk. The considerable media storm, which led to an article on the gbs in the “Spiegel” magazine, was unleashed by the successful book “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, who was awarded the Giordano Bruno Stiftung’s “Deschner Prize” in October 2007 in Frankfurt.

The last highlight in 2007 was an event on December 1 in Cologne considering the possibilities of a progressive criticism of Islam with Mina Ahadi, Günter Wallraff and Ralph Giordano, which made it into the review of the year’s events in the ARD.


2008: Giordano Bruno, the little piglet and the New Humanism

2008 began as tumultuously as 2007 had ended. Ursula von der Leyen’s Federal Ministry for Families filed for a blacklisting of Michael Schmidt-Salomon and Helge Nycke’s children’s book “Which way leads to God? asked the little piglet” (“Wo bitte geht’s zu Gott? fragte das kleine Ferkel”), the impulse coming from the Catholic Church. The gbs then started the campaign “Save the Little Piglet!” in co-operation with the Alibri publishing house.

A few days before the successful defence of the book before the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons in Bonn, the foundation was a joint organizer with the Deutsche Bundesbahn (German Federal Railways), the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Humboldt University Berlin and the Central European University Budapest, of the “Giordano Bruno Days” in Berlin, whose main event was the erection of Alexander Polzin’s “Giordano Bruno Memorial” at Potsdamer Platz, in the heart of the capital.
Also in 2008 the gbs made efforts to redirect public attention from “New Atheism” towards “New Humanism”. It co-operated with the Humanist Academy Berlin in hosting the conference “New Atheism and Modern Humanism” in Berlin as well as the symposium “New Humanism – A Scientific View of Man  and Secular Ethics” (with the “tower of senses”: turmdersinne) in Nuremberg. Furthermore, the gbs was one of the initiators of the “Critical Islam Conference”, which distinctly distances itself from xenophobic right-wing populists, and promoted a liberal-minded, humanistic Islam critic using the motto: “Enlighten Rather Than Obscure!”


2009: Darwin, the bus campaign and the wondrous world of religiots

2009 was characterized by Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his groundbreaking book “On the Origin of Species”. In order to promote a public discussion on evolution theory, the foundation initiated the most comprehensive Internet portal on the Darwin Year: www.darwin-jahr.de, in co-operation with the project group Evolution Biology in the “Association Biology, Bioscience & Biomedicine” (“Verband Biologie, Biowissenschaften & Biomedizin”). The foundation also celebrated Germany’s biggest Darwin birthday Party in the German National Library in Frankfurt to honour the founder of modern evolution theory. The gbs-campaign “Evolution Day, not Ascension Day”, launched shortly afterwards, also attracted much attention. And at the same time,Ricarda Hinz’s videos “Children of Evoluton” and “Susie Smartypants Explains Evolution” (a humourous trailer promoting Michael Schmidt-Salomon’s and Helge Nyncke’s recent children’s book), which she produced for the gbs, were presented to the public.

Besides the big theme “evolution”, there were of course other issues addressed by the gbs in 2009. For example, at the end of March with the gbs-advisors Ralf König and Esther Vilar, and in co-operation with the film distributor Central, the foundation presented the film “Religulous” by the director of “Borat”, Larry Charles, in the “Babylon” in Berlin. Michael Schmidt-Salomon recommended the film as an “adventurous expedition into the wondrous world of religiots”. The gbs also supported the secular bus campaign, which caused a stir in the media.


2010: Institutionalized children’s protest, state subsidies and the “Dominant Jewish-Christian culture”

In 2010, the gbs took part successfully in various  political debates. The foundation was able to contribute to bringing the fate of the sexually abused and maltreated institutionalized and boarding school children to public attention. The gbs organized, among other things, the big rally of formerly institutionalized children in Berlin, “It’s Our Turn to Talk!” (“Jetzt reden wir!”), for which gbs-advisor Jacques Tilly contributed the medially highly effective “Beating Nun”, and gbs-advisor Ingrid Matthäus-Maier conducted the ex-institutionalized children’s press conference, which took place at the Federal Press Conference in December and sparked international media response.

The KORSO-campaign (“Co-ordinating Council of Secular Organizations”/ “KORSO: Koordinierungsrat säkularer Organisationen”) for the repayment of the state subsidiaries to the churches, where the fundamental new work of gbs-trustee Carsten Frerk “Violettbuch Kirchenfinanzen” (“Purple Book of Church Finances”) was sent to more than 1,000 politicians and journalists, also proved successful. Similarly effective was the campaign co-initiated by the gbs “Refuge for Ex-Muslims”: Siamak Zare, one of the co-founders of the Central Council of Ex-Muslims, received the status of a refugee, thus becoming the first person officially recognized for being religiously persecuted as a non-believer.

Last but not least, the gbs intervened in the freshly kindled “Dominant Culture Debate”, by making it clear that a plural society must be based on secular values, and that the talk of the “Jewish-Christian West” amounts to a dubious distortion of history.


2011: Fundamental rights for great apes, debate on bioethics and protests against the Pope

At the beginning of 2011, the “Ethics Commission of the Giordano Bruno Stiftung” published a widely noted evaluation on the admissibility of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PID). The paper received positive attention in expert circles, whereas conservative politicians and church officials vehemently criticized the statement that we should support the ill and disabled with all available means – but not encourage illness and disability as such.

In the middle of the year, the same debate arose once again, when the gbs awarded its ethics prize worth €10,000 to the two initiators of the “Great Ape Project”, Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer. The German Federal Commissioner for the disabled, Hubert Hüppe (CDU, a radical anti-abortionist who supports the annual “Walk for Life”) even tried to prevent the award event in the German National Library in Frankfurt, but failed.

After the celebration of the award, the gbs began a relaunch of the Great Ape Project in co-operation with several animal rights associations, calling for certain fundamental rights (the right to life, the right to individual liberty, and the prohibition of torture) for our nearest animal relatives. To accompany the campaign, the gbs published the brochure Brother Chimp, Sister Bonobo, in which, among other things, it is explained why chimpanzees and bonobos should become members of the species “homo”.

In 2011, the gbs and its co-operation partners achieved two victories in court: In the lawsuit Schmidt-Salomon vs. Bishop Müller, the Federal Administrative Court ruled that bishops too must every now and then stick to the truth in their sermons, at least that they may not vilify their ideological competitors with invented citations. Furthermore, it was possible to at least temporarily stop the appointment of a professor to a concordat chair at the University of Erlangen..

A final highlight of the year was undoubtedly the manifold activities during Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Germany. Some 15,000 people attended the demonstration in Berlin, “No Power to Dogmas!” – the largest event critical of the church ever to take place in Germany.


2012: Religious discrimination at the workplace, circumcised children’s rights and the “seculars’” change of image

In previous years the gbs was often described by the media as “the voice of a social marginal group”, but in 2012 it was increasingly styled as a spokesperson of a “secular majority that wants to aggressively suppress the rights of religious minorities”. This remarkable change of image was triggered not least by the discussions surrounding the controversial video of Mohammed, “Innocence of Muslims”, and also by the debate on the circumcision of boys.

In both cases the gbs adopted a clear position: Concerning the Mohammed video it argued that freedom of the arts also has to apply to bad films, and that it would be fatal for the state to restrict civil rights and liberties in deference to the sensitivities of violent, religious fundamentalists. A corresponding commentary by the gbs-speaker Michael Schmidt-Salomon on the web portal of the periodical ZEIT was among the most read, commented and recommended articles of the year.

The gbs intervened in the debate on the circumcision of boys with their spectacular children’s rights campaign “My Body Belongs to Me!” (www.pro-kinderrechte.de, FAQ also in English) The campaign was supported by many individuals and initiatives (i.e. the Deutsche Kinderhilfe and the Israeli children’s rights organization “Protect the Child”). But it also provoked hefty personal attacks, against which the gbs defended itself with clear words. 

The campaign “Against Religious Discrimination at the Workplace” (“Gegen religiöse Diskriminierung am Arbeitsplatz”, GerDiA), launched in spring, and demanding freedom of religion and ideology in all publicly financed social institutions, also caused a stir. Several verdicts (e.g. concerning the right to strike in church-run institutions, or the iniquitous discrimination of non-denominationals) as well as media reports (e.g. the documentary “Gott hat hohe Nebenkosten” – “God Has High Additional Costs” or the satirical comments on the tv programme “heute-show”) showed just how well the campaign hit the nerve of the times.

The Great Ape Project, revived by the gbs in 2011, also received great media attention in 2012. After the National Geographic had presented the project in a cover story of 34 pages (July 2012) nearly every German newspaper (even “BILD am Sonntag”) reported on the poor conditions under which great apes are kept in German zoos.

The regional and university groups of the gbs who conducted more than 50 local events in 2012, such as the “religion-free zone” during the church congress in Mannheim or the alternative programme for pilgrims “Heilig’s Röckle!” (“Holy Little Coat!”) during the “Holy Coat Pilgrimage” in Trier, also made a big contribution to the success of the foundation. The “World Skeptics Congress” in Berlin as well as the “2012 European Atheist Convention” in Cologne (which were both supported by the gbs) likewise attracted significant media interest.


2013: Self-determination rather than group pressure, fatwa in Egypt, evolution in primary schools, gbs at the Salzburg Festival and assistance by the Limburg Bishop

The year 2013 offered some surprises: For instance, the Bavarian Bishops' Conference announced on 31 January that it intended in the future to refrain from the privilege of participating in appointing the concordat chairs (chairs outside theological faculties in the field of philosophy, pedagogy and sociology) – not least a success of the lawsuit begun in 2008 (supported by the gbs) against the appointment of a concordat chair at the University of Erlangen and the great commitment of the gbs advisories Ulla Wessels (plaintiff) and Theo Ebert (campaign coordinator).

In February/March the concurrence of the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the completion of the "Criminal History of Christianity" by Karlheinz Deschner ensured that numerous media paid tribute to the two so different men in double portraits. The ceremony for Karlheinz Deschner at the foundation's headquarters in Oberwesel attracted additional attention. In April/May the Giordano Bruno Stiftung was significantly involved in two major events, the Humanist Day in Hamburg and the Critical Islam Conference in Berlin, which for the first time enabled a common positioning of Islam critics, ex-Muslims and liberal Muslims against racism/xenophobia and reactionary defense of Islam and opened new perspectives for the so-called "integration debate" according to the motto "self-determination instead of peer pressure" (see www.kritische-islamkonferenz.de).

A few weeks later (June 2013), a fatwa was pronounced against one of the participants of the Critical Conference on Islam, gbs Advisory Hamed Abdel-Samad, who had to go into hiding in Cairo after Sheikh Assem Abdel-Maged (leader of the militant movement "Jamaa Islamiya" and ally of the president-at the time Mursi) had called for his assassination on Egyptian television. At Abdel-Samad's request, the gbs internally contacted German media representatives and politicians, and also issued a public appeal to Foreign Minister Westerwelle to protest against the fatwa, as well as to Facebook to immediately block a much-frequented page with the call for murder. After the media broadly took up the topic, Guido Westerwelle condemned the fatwa "in the strongest possible terms", while Facebook blocked the page with the call for murder. A short time later, President Mursi was overthrown by the Egyptian military.

In June/July the publication of the book "Urmel saust durch die Zeit", written by gbs advisory board member Max Kruse in cooperation with Michael Schmidt-Salomon, marked the start of the first phase of the Evokids project, which aims to bring the theory of evolution to German primary schools. Shortly after the launch of the website www.evokids.de, "Die Zeit" began printing the book, and at the same time the NDR broadcast the episodes of the audiobook read by Rufus Beck. At the end of November, the gbs organised the "Evokids - Evolution in Primary School" congress in cooperation with the Institute for Biology Didactics at the University of Gießen and the Working Group on Evolutionary Biology in the Association of Biology, Biosciences and Biomedicine (Arbeitskreis Evolutionsbiologie im Verband Biologie, Biowissenschaften & Biomedizin), which provided many new impulses for the project.

In 2013 the gbs participated for the first time in one of the most renowned cultural festivals in the world, for the Salzburg Festival 2013 began and ended with contributions by the gbs: In July Michael Schmidt-Salomon gave a lecture on "Rationality and Mysticism" as part of the "Ouverture spirituelle" (excerpts published on the German gbs website), on 31 August the world premiere of the "Passion Giordano Bruno" for bass baritone, speaker, choir and orchestra by gbs-advisor Gerhard Wimberger took place in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum Salzburg. The second performance of the work, celebrated with standing ovations, was broadcast live by the ORF on September 1, with the Giordano Bruno Stiftung and its causes being expressly mentioned.

With the scandal surrounding the Limburg bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in October interest in the backgrounds of church financing in Germany increased. Several representatives of the foundation were interviewed on this topic, in particular Ingrid Matthäus-Maier, who was a guest in the television show "Anne Will", and Carsten Frerk, whose analyses ("Violettbuch Kirchenfinanzen") were well received in the media (see also FAZ, Focus, Spiegel online,Tagesschau).


2014: 10 year gbs anniversary, the right to last aid, personal rights for great apes, C2C, PEGIDA and the 11th commandment

The year 2014 began with a bang: On 6 January, Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe announced his plans to ban organised assisted suicide in Germany. On 7 January, the gbs reacted to this with a fierce response, which made clear that seriously ill persons must be granted a right to last aid. In March, the gbs presented the "10 Guidelines for Assisted Suicide" together with the "Alliance for Self-Determination until the End of Life". In October, in cooperation with the German Society for Human Dying (DGHS, "Deutsche Gesellschaft für Humanes Sterben) and with prominent supporters (including Konstantin Wecker, Ralph Giordano, Udo Reiter and the actresses Eva Mattes, Gudrun Landgrebe and Petra Nadolny), the foundation launched the sensational "Campaign for the Right to Last Aid" ("Kampagne für das Recht auf Letzte Hilfe), which was jointly presented with the campaign book "Last Aid - A Plea for Self-Determined Dying" ("Letzte Hilfe - Ein Plädoyer für das selbstbestimmte Sterben") on 10 October at the House of the Federal Press Conference.

A few months before, the gbs had already presented the constitutional initiative "Fundamental Rights for Great Apes" at the same place, which seeks to establish personal rights for our closest animal relatives in the German constitutional law. The press conference as well as the study "Lifelong behind bars" ("Lebenslang hinter Gittern") by gbs-adviso Colin Goldner (head of the Great Ape Project Germany ) received a large media response (e.g. title story in Die ZEIT), but the petition committee of the German Bundestag refused to publish the petition. (The procedure is still pending at the moment.)

The campaign "The 11th commandment" for the Catholic Day in Regensburg, in which gbs regional group spokesperson David Farago presented an "archaeological sensation", was well received: a Moses sculpture about three metres high with a stone tablet stating the "11th commandment": "Thou shalt pay for thy church days thyself". The annual events for the "Bunny Festival" ("Hasenfest") 2014 in Dusseldorf, where the "Dusseldorf Enlightenment Service" (DA) celebrated with the events for the "Secular Spring" ("Säkularer Frühling") the empirical fact that meanwhile half of the inhabitants of the Rhine metropolis are denomination-free, met with a great response from the media.

On 7 November, the gbs celebrated its 10-year anniversary at the German National Library in Frankfurt. The 45-minute film "In Humanity We Trust" by Ricarda Hinz on the history of evolutionary humanism and the Giordano Bruno Stiftung was shown for the first time during the ceremony. One week later, the gbs took part in the grand "Cradle to Cradle" congress in Lüneburg, which aimed to clear the way for a "humanistic ecology" with C2C.

In December, the foundation reacted to the PEGIDA ("Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident") demonstrations in Dresden by publishing the brochure " Self-Determination instead of Group Pressure" and taking a stand against "Islamism AND Xenophobia".


2015: Terror in France, Church Republic of Germany, Evolution in primary schools

The year 2015 began dramatically: on 7 January Islamist terrorists made a bloody attack on the editorial staff of the French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo" in Paris. In order to make it unmistakably clear that the freedom of art in an open society is much more important than the "hurt feelings" of religious fundamentalists, the gbs shortly afterwards demanded to abolish the outdated "blasphemy paragraph" 166 StGB in German criminal law in a much-noticed petition. While this was rejected by the Petitions Committee of the German Bundestag as expected, it steered the public debate on freedom of art and opinion in a more liberal direction from the outset.

The ban on professional suicide assistance passed on 6 November 2015 was a sign of inadequacy by the German constitutional state. Unfortunately, this decision was to be expected in the "Church Republic of Germany" (title of a study by Carsten Frerk, gbs Advisory Council, on the influence of Christian lobbyists). At least, however, the campaign "My end belongs to me! - For the Right to Last Aid" ("Mein Ende gehört mir! - Für das Recht auf Letzte Hilfe"), achieved that only within the Christian-conservative CDU/CSU faction a clear majority voted in favour of the new "Euthanasia Prevention Act", while the majority of the members of all other factions (including the SPD) supported the right to self-determination at the end of life.

The response to our "Evokids" project was very positive all around. After protracted preparatory work, the project presented an extensive collection of teaching materials at the end of 2015, which enable even primary school children to tackle the complex topic of "evolution". We believe this is not only essential for reasons regarding educational policy, since the theory of evolution is the foundation of the modern world view, but also for reasons regarding political integration: Especially for migrant children, who often come from regions where the theory of evolution is rigorously rejected, it is important that they have access to scientific knowledge as early as possible in order to navigate their way in a modern knowledge society. (Many more topics of the year can be found in the gbs Activity Report 2015.)


2016: The defense of the open society, Raif Badawi & Ensaf Haidar, Evolution in primary schools, a new forum for future questions and achievements in court

Like the previous year, 2016 began turbulently: The New Year's Eve riots at Cologne's central train station led to heated debates about refugees and Muslims in Germany, which were further fuelled over the course of the year by various terrorist attacks. This revealed a familiar pattern: while some dishonestly played down existing problems, others dramatised them in an equally dishonest way, which ultimately contributed to the strengthening of right-wing populist forces.

In 2016, the Giordano Bruno Stiftung made various efforts to promote a rational debate and to defend the open society against its enemies (see also the book "Die Grenzen der Toleranz" - "The Limits of Tolerance", published in 2016). As such, it addressed the lack of sexual enlightenment among Muslims as well as the Christian fundamentalist orientation of leading AfD (the newly emerged right-wing populist party in Germany) functionaries. Above all, however, it repeatedly stressed the dangerous mutual building up of Islamism and right-wing populism, for instance after the electoral success of Trump/Pence in the USA or after the Islamist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

A special highlight in 2016 for the foundation was undoubtedly the presentation of the Deschner Prize to the blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1000 lashes in Saudi Arabia, and his wife, the human rights activist Ensaf Haidar,  at the German National Library in Frankfurt. The event, which was attended by Ensaf Haidar and gbs-advisor Hamed Abdel-Samad, could only take place under the strictest security measures.

Similarly important, albeit less dangerous, were the activities of the "Evokids" project, which in 2016 succeeded in inspiring several hundred teachers in Germany to address the theory of evolution in primary school teaching - from our point of view an essential cornerstone not only for modern education, but also for a more successful integration strategy.

In October, the first "Frankfurt Future Symposium" took place at the University of Frankfurt, organized by the Giordano Bruno Stiftung in cooperation with the German Business Ethics Association. At the symposium, numerous renowned experts discussed the dangers and opportunities of digitization and new biomedical processes. The " Future Symposium " intends to be held every two years and contribute to a more rational assessment of future technologies.

The successes achieved by the gbs and its supporters in the field of secular politics in 2016 were pleasing. Ingrid Matthäus-Maier, gbs advisory board member, was the first woman to be appointed to the WDR (West-German Broadcast) Media Council as a representative of the confession-free groups (shortly afterwards she was even elected deputy chairwoman of the WDR Finance Committee). A gbs statement contributed to prevention of the planned inclusion of a reference to God in the constitution of Schleswig-Holstein. In addition, the Federal Constitutional Court followed the argumentation of a gbs expert report in its ruling on the "dance ban on Good Friday", which had shown that an unrestricted dance ban was unconstitutional. It is therefore to be hoped that the BVerfG will also follow the gbs statement on "assisted suicide in a liberal constitutional state" submitted in 2016, which pleads for the abolition without replacement of the "Euthanasia Prevention Act" (§ 217 StGB) passed in 2015, since it diametrically violates the "principle of ideological neutrality" of the state.


2017: The Naked Luther, secular legal policy, heathen fun on Good Friday, March for Science, the fight against political Islam and help for secular refugees

In the so-called "Luther Year 2017" the gbs was able to counterbalance the often uncritical Luther reports with the art campaign "The Naked Truth about Martin Luther" (Die nackte Wahrheit über Martin Luther), the brochure "Martin Luther: People's Hero - Anti-Semite - Preacher of Hate" (Martin Luther: Volksheld - Antisemit - Hassprediger) and the exhibition "From Golgatha to Auschwitz" (Von Golgatha nach Auschwitz). No less significant was the founding of the Institute for World View Law (Institut für Weltanschauungsrecht, ifw), an organization consisting of many renowned lawyers who are committed to reinforcing the principle of the "ideological neutrality of the state" in legislation and jurisprudence.

In order to reinforce the ruling of the German Federal Constitutional Court on the (partial) lifting of the dance ban from the previous year, the gbs, in cooperation with the Bund für Geistesfreiheit München, organised a "Heidenspaß-Party" ("Heathen Fun Party") in Munich on Good Friday 2017 (14 April), in which Michael Schmidt-Salomon gave the "Wort zum Karfreitag" ("Wisdom Words on Good Friday") and the "humanistic dance blessing" to the audience. A week later, the "March for Science" took place in 22 German cities, with 37,000 participants (including many gbs supporting members) demonstrating for greater attention to scientific arguments in politics and society. The gbs supported the March for Science not only ideologically but also financially by bearing the cost risk for the local organisers of the marches.

In November 2017, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the "Ex-Muslims", the gbs hosted an international ceremony in Cologne, during which the Iranian musician Shahin Najafi performed, who is threatened by a death fatwa, and an impressive film by Ricarda Hinz was shown, which illustrates the extraordinary courage that ex-Muslims like Mina Ahadi or Maryam Namazie demonstrate day after day in their resistance against political Islam. In addition, the new association "Secular Refugee Aid" was presented for the first time at the ceremony. Its aim is to support non-religious refugees with practical help and to improve their living situation through political work.


The complete activity reports of the Giordano Bruno Foundation can be found in this archive (in German). See also the richly illustrated gbs chronology 2004-2017, which can be downloaded here as a pdf document: