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Dozens of Countries Punish Lack Of Religion As A Crime

A new report from Humanists International warns that blasphemy or apostasy is a crime in over 80 countries, and in 13 of these countries, the punishment for violating laws against insulting religion or living a non-religious life is death.

“There are legal restrictions against expressing blasphemy, defaming or insulting religion or religious beliefs, or offending religious feelings in dozens of countries,” the Freedom of Thought Report states.

In a preface to this year’s report, Andrew Copson of Humanists International comments, “This year’s Report provides evidence of clear and systematic discrimination against humanists and non-religious people, and this discrimination is most prevalent in countries with less state secularism. State secularism appears to be a prerequisite for the full enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.”

According to the report, only 4% of human beings live under a truly secular government.

http://blasphemies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/image-2-300x146.png 300w, http://blasphemies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/image-2-768x374.png 768w, http://blasphemies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/image-2-1536x749.png 1536w, http://blasphemies.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/image-2.png 1854w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" />

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Comment was by Doug Hanlon on December 16, 2022 at 6:20pm

There seem to be, recently, more and more people pushing the idea that 'all cultures are equal' -- although some of these people make an exception for the culture of the West, which they see as especially awful.  Similarly, we hear the term 'white supremacy' used to describe the idea that the culture of Europe and its offshoots  -- roughly, the culture that has grown up out of the Enlightenment -- that this culture is more advanced than, or superior to, cultures which cut the clitorises off young girls, or execute blasphemers.

I think this is wrong. One culture CAN be more advanced, more civilized, than another.  However, it's NOT a genetic, inherent thing: for geographic/material reasons, some human tribes advanced faster than others -- and historic accident played a big role. (What would have been achieved by the Native Americans of Meso- and South America, had they not been destroyed by the Spanish?)  And a materially advanced society, with great achievements in science and engineering, can slide into barbarism ... as witness the Nazis.

Nevertheless, I think it's obvious that a society which throws gay people off tall buildings, or leaves twins in the jungle to die, or kills albino babies, is inferior to one which does not do these things.

Comment was by Loren Miller on December 9, 2022 at 7:24am

Sadly, that pleasant looking green on the portion of the map representing the United States is deceiving.  Our federal government is secular ON PAPER, but its secularity is constantly being attacked by those who would map their Christian faith onto its laws, and at the extreme end, turn the US into a Christian theocracy. Add to that areas like the Deep South, where religion isn't just part of the warp and woof of their societies, but frequently encoded into their laws, some of which state that no one may run for public office without expressing a belief in their particular god. Add to that the rampant Christian Nationalism which became more virulent with the coming of Donald John Trump and was on full display on January 6th, 2021, and the problems the US has with religion doing its best to try and run amok are blatantly obvious.

On the other side of the argument, first and foremost, is our secular Constitution, its insistence that there shall be no religious test for public office (Article VI, paragraph 3), and that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (First Amendment). Also, in reaction to the attempted religious incursions on our laws, there have arisen such organizations as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, and many others, who actively push back against State / Church violations and have won their share of engagements.

More recently, we have seen the creation of the Congressional Freethought Caucus. It's purpose, as expressed on its website is to:

  • Promote public policy formed on the basis of reason, science, and moral values.
  • Protect the secular character of our government by adhering to the strict Constitutional principle of the separation of church and state.
  • Oppose discrimination against atheists, agnostics, humanists, seekers, religious and nonreligious persons, and to champion the value of freedom of thought and conscience worldwide.
  • Provide a forum for members of Congress to discuss their moral frameworks, ethical values, and personal religious journeys.

Just how effective the CFC will be has yet to be determined, but it certainly can't hurt. The fact is, though, that this has become a major struggle for control of the nature of our government, one that is not at all trivial, and which will require serious action to protect and maintain the religion-independent nature of our government.

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