AHA News |  

Religious Freedom on the Brink

by Roy Speckhardt, executive director American Humanist Association

It's time to reconsider recent reasons for optimism regarding worldwide religious freedom. In September I wrote about how the Libyan embassy attack taught the world that true religious freedom requires not just that people are able to believe as they so choose, but it also demands the ability to be free from imposed belief and be able to question beliefs as one sees fit. Some leaders like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon capitalized on the teachable moment to show humanity that while words can hurt, they never justify violence or oppression. But unfortunately, violence in the Middle East and elsewhere continues the long-running tendency to link blood and blasphemy. We haven't outgrown the outdated attitudes from ancient civilizations where people like Anaxagoras were condemned to death for denying or questioning the existence of gods and a law was adopted that denounced " those who do not believe in the divine beings or who teach doctrines about things in the sky."

It seems as though many in the world are far more eager to use religion as a tool for consolidating power than are interested in protecting religious freedom and free speech. Countries such as Pakistan, Greece, and Egypt are imprisoning those who dare to speak their mind about religion and belief in general. This undemocratic crackdown on speech is worrying not only because it threatens the concept of religious freedom, but because real human beings around the world are suffering from the effects of this renewed tyrannical campaign that goes on where the attempts to impose blasphemy laws at the UN left off in 2011.

To read the rest of this Huffington Post article, click here.

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist Hour Podcast, AHA Legal Director Dave Niose talks abou...

6 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Do you or your family have any holiday traditions?

8 hours ago

American Humanist Association

What are you thankful for?

10 hours ago

American Humanist Association

Yet again, Neil deGrasse Tyson breaks down a movie we love! Neil, your'e are su...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

We all have a "dark side" but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Psychologist...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

UCoR proudly announces the official launch of the Rhode Island CoR with a bus ad...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

It is wonderful to see so many skeptics, atheists, humanists, and non-theists co...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

How the AHA and local Colorado humanists helped to defeat the anti-choice person...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Suspended for a week for defending evolution? That is a bit of an over-reaction...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

What if you could win $1,000 for telling the world what is important to you? Al...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason, the new b...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Things that make you go hmmm....

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a cool new Kickstarter campaign to create a children's book for non-bel...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA board member Howard Katz is at Skepticon representing! Make sure to stop by...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

December 2nd is Giving Tuesday. This holiday season, while you are buying gifts...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, It's our favorite science guy! Clay Farris Naff talks with past AHA humanis...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who is ready for Skepticon 2014?! If you are attending the event, make sure to s...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is National Transgender Day of Remembrance. Today we remember transgenders...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Many people don't believe that a person can be good without a god. What are thos...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Yesterday, AHA's David Niose presented his argument that the phrase "under God"...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

A Congressional hearing on religious accommodations in the armed services is hap...

7 days ago