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 We haven't outgrown the outdated attitudes from ancient civilizations where people like Anaxagoras were condemned to death for denying or questioning the existence of gods and a law was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

Today is Openly Secular Day! Show others in your community that they know a huma...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Victory! A public school in Colorado will no longer be allowed to partner with O...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

How are you celebrating Earth Day? Here is how some of our chapters are celebrat...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The latest issue of the Humanist magazine features SMART Recovery USA, a secular...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

“A freshman student was required to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, despite...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Who was Leo P. Thornton?

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

National Day of Reason is two weeks away! If you think reason, not prayer, shoul...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

For more information about The Humanist Institute, please visit: http://humanist...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

The AHA is excited to present The Onion with the 2015 Humanist Media Award. This...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Only 5 more days until ReAsonCon 2015. Get your tickets today! Visit the link be...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Seculars have been quiet and invisible as a demographic for too long, but Openly...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss the upcoming annual BSIC panel discussion entitled “Imagining the Fut...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

We’re featuring new comics this week by Polyp Cartoonist! For more great comics...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

What would Molly Ringwald say about privacy? Should a student attending a privat...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Luis Granados explains why Ayaan Hirsi is wrong about Islamic reform in his revi...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

AHA legal director David Niose, author of Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming Am...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week, AHA staff member Jessica Xiao interviewed Lynn Rothschild, senior sci...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is Ask an Atheist Day! Have a question about atheism, humanism, or non-bel...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Could we see an open Humanist in Congress in 2016? It seems Maryland Senator Jam...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on The Humanist Hour #146: A Conversation with Lisa Montoya, Seminary...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Mother's Day is right around the corner! If you are shopping for that special la...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

The world's most and least religious countries.

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Shortly after we ensure that teachers won't pass out Bibles to their students at...

13 days ago

American Humanist Association

Robert Ray, President of Humanists of North Puget Sound, delivered a humanist in...

13 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss Kelly Carlin, daughter of atheist comedian George Carlin, at AHA's 74...

13 days ago

American Humanist Association

What should the humanist response to terrorism be? Clay Farris Naff has some pro...

13 days ago