AHA News |  

Take an Utterly Religulous Stand for Free Speech!

September 25, 2008

The American Humanist Association, in partnership with Lions Gate Entertainment, is getting the word out about the forthcoming release of Bill Maher's provocative comedy documentary, Religulous . We are organizing group viewings and hosting discussions after advance screenings to talk about the compelling issues raised by the film and to let people know that if they like Religulous they should take the next step and explore humanism.

Efforts are afoot worldwide to limit the right of people to publicly criticize religion. Laws exist and are being proposed to prohibit "religious defamation." Can it happen here?

Not if we stand up right now for the freedom of speech. And that includes going to see Bill Maher's Religulous . It is set to hit theaters October 3rd in "limited release." This means only major cities and cineplexes will get it right now. But it may come to a theater near you--if not immediately then in a number of weeks. 

An extension of Maher's irreverent humor, the film ridicules some of the extremes and some of the absurd sideshows of organized religion. Although a backlash is anticipated, we see the value and importance of the freedom of expression and social satire. We want to encourage a current American trend toward greater questioning of dogmas and superstitions in the face of those who want to close the lid on rational inquiry. 

So we encourage you to not only see the film but be willing to counter those in your area who might promote censorship. You may also want to organize group activities around the film, perhaps in connection with a local chapter or affiliate of the American Humanist Association. A complete list of local groups is available online at http://www.americanhumanist.org/chapters/.

Your activities could include any of the following:

1. Attend a viewing as a group.

2. Build a local meeting around discussing the film.

3. If there is a picket against the film, launch a pro-free speech counter picket.

Please share information about the film with your friends, allies, local group members, and others so that more people become interested and perhaps involved. Also, as part of this partnership with Lions Gate Entertainment, many local AHA groups are receiving free tickets to distribute to their members to generate interest and word-of-mouth promotion. We encourage you to contact your local chapter or AHA affiliate for more information on how you can get involved in neighborhood efforts.

To learn more about the film, go to the Religulous website to watch a preview and get updates: http://www.lionsgate.com/religulous/ . Then check your local theater listings to see when and where it is showing in your area!

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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

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