Believing the wrong things = prison or even death


Blasphemy is not just an archaic relic but is in reality a very real issue for many who live within nations that have a strong theocratic mindset, so much so, that there exists an ongoing campaign to end blasphemy laws worldwide.

The following map illustrates this current reality …

blasphemy-laws-map16

Why is Blasphemy absurd?

As explained on the campaign site …

All laws which criminalize critical discussion or “insult” to religion:

  • by their nature violate the human rights to freedom of thought and freedom of expression and contravene international treaties on these rights (see The international human rights consensus against “blasphemy” laws)
  • are sometimes used to suppress and punish people who offer criticism of religious ideas, thereby shielding religious practices, institutions and authorities from criticism
  • are sometimes used to suppress and punish people who advocate secularism, liberal ideas, humanist values, or human rights in general
  • are sometimes used to suppress people for exercising their own specifically religious freedoms; to practice, preach, or worship without contravening anyone else’s human rights
  • are sometimes used to otherwise silence, marginalize, or persecute religious minorities and non-religious people, even when they haven’t “insulted” anyone, but just because they are different from the rest of society

Read more about What’s Wrong With Blasphemy.

In essence, from the viewpoint of every single belief, all other variations of belief are “blasphemy”, and so if there was indeed going to be a truly universal blasphemy law then the net effect would be jail for everybody, no exceptions. The reality is of course one where the prevailing belief is empowered to oppress other beliefs and continue to dominate, and so perhaps the entire blasphemy concept is simply a survival mechanism for religious beliefs.

So how should we respond?

Personally I think the most appropriate response is not simply robust criticism, but also satire and mockery, hence one of my favourite clips is this one …

Latest News

The Blasphemy campaign website issues a weekly update on what has been happening, and so their latest update reports …

This our twenty-fifth weekly round-up of “blasphemy” news and views:

 

  • Two new laws, in United Arab Emirates and in Kuwait, sneak in new “blasphemy” bans.
  • Charlie Hebdo‘s new editor says they won’t be publishing Muhammad cartoons anymore, and Salman Rushdie says we’ve “learned the wrong lessons” from violence.
  • Meanwhile in Pakistan, “justice” comes very, very slowly! Six years after her arrest and detention, Asia Bibi’s death sentence is suspended and an appeal over her conviction is pending, while another “blasphemy” convict, who had also been jailed for six years, has been acquitted and his life sentence overturned. But you win some you lose some: two Christian brothers are facing a brand new “blasphemy” trial. Will Pakistan’s courts never learn to just throw these stupid malicious charges out?!
  • Plus… more Malta abolition debate, the Saudi ambassador to the UN’s surprising statement on Raif Badawi, and “homosexual” rainbows in Saudi Arabia…

But that is of course just a quick summary, to read the details of the above click here.

If interested in getting on their email list, then click here.

Who exactly is running this campaign against Blasphemy?

As listed on their website …

The End Blasphemy Laws campaign is a joint undertaking by the International Coalition Against Blasphemy Laws (ICABL). We believe that in this struggle, we are stronger together. If your organization — whether religious or secular, human rights-based or otherwise advocating freedom of expression — supports the aims and strategy of the End Blasphemy Law Campaign and endorses the ICABL charterthen please get in touch and join us.

[Side Note: Yes, that really is the World Muslim Congress at the very end, they are with us on this]

Transnational coalition partners

IHEU
International Humanist and Ethical Union
EHF-logo European Humanist Federation

aai-logoAtheist Alliance International

 

National coalition partners

Organizations campaigning in countries that have laws against “blasphemy” or similar restrictions

Atheist IrelandAtheist Ireland CFI-Canada-Logo-horizontal CFI Canada
 Humanist Canada Association humaniste du Québec Association humaniste du Québec
Siðmennt IcelandSiðmennt (Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association) HSNZ-Logo-New-150201-3T-SMALLHumanist Society of New Zealand
uaar-italyUnion of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics (UAAR, Italy) HAIHumanist Association of Ireland
DFW-Logo-blauUmbrella Organization of Secular Associations (DFW, Germany) HVDHumanistischer Verband Deutschlands (German Humanist Association) 
HUG logoHumanist Union of Greece

 

Supporting coalition partners

Organizations supporting the campaign operationally, or through international lobbying

British Humanist AssociationBritish Humanist Association CFI USACenter for Inquiry (USA)
aha-logo-w250American Humanist Association logo-CAL-smCentre d’Action Laïque (Belgium)

 

Affiliated coalition partners

The following groups and organisations are all members of one or more of our Transnational Partners: Atheist Alliance International (AAI), the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) or the European Humanist Federation (EHF).

Afghan Atheists Organization
Alliance of Humanists; Atheists and Agnostics – Luxembourg
American Atheists Inc.
American Ethical Union
American Islamic Forum for Democracy
Andha Shraddha Nirmulan Samiti
Asian Rationalist Association Britain
Asociación Humanista Etica Argentina “Deodoro Roca” (Argentine Ethical Humanist Association)
Asociatia Secular-Umanista din Romania (Romanian Secular Humanist Association)
Asociatia Umanista Romana (Romanian Humanist Association)
Associación de Ateos y Agnósticos del Atlántico
Association for Secular Humanism (ASH) (Malawi)
Association Francaise pour l’Information Scientifique
Association Humaniste du Quebec (Humanist Association of Quebec)
Associazione del Libero Pensiero “Giordano Bruno”
Ateistisk Selskab
Atheism UK
Atheist Alliance of America
Atheist Association of Czech Republic
Atheist Association of the Czech Republic
Atheist Centre
Atheist Community of South East Queensland
Atheist Foundation of Australia
Atheist Freethinkers (Canada)
Atheist Union of Greece
Atheistisch Verbond (Atheist Union)
Belfast Humanist Group
British Columbia Humanist Association
Buddhiwadi Samaj
Bund Freireligiöser Gemeinden Deutschlands
Burundi Humanist Charity
Canadian Humanist Publications
Capital District Humanist Society
Center for Civil Courage
Center For Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
Central London Humanists
Centre D’Action Laique
Cercle Gaston-Crémieux
Colombia Atheist Organisation – ORCA
Conway Hall Ethical Society
Coordinamento Nazionale delle Consulte per la Laicità delle Istituzioni
Council for Secular Humanism
Council of Australian Humanist Societies
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain
Coventry & Warwickshire Humanists
Danish Humanist Society
De Vrije Gedachte
Devon Humanists
Dorset Humanists
Égale
ETHOS- Etika Tolerancia Humanizmus Občianstvo Sekularizmus
Europa Laica
European Humanist Professionals
Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA)
Free Society Institute
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Freethought Lebanon
Freethought Society
Freidenker Vereinigung der Schweiz
Freidenkerbund Österreichs (Freethinkers Organisation of Austria)
Freidenker-Vereinigung der Schweiz FVS/ASLP
Fundación Ferrer Guardia
Fundatia Centrul Pentru Constiinta Critica (CCC)
Galha – LGBT Humanists
Gambia Secular Assembly
Giordano Bruno Stiftung 
Good Sense
Guatemalan Secular Humanist Association
Harambee Ya Uutu Mnajili Wa Jahwar Amber
Hofesh – Freedom from Religion NPO
Human Etiska Föreningen (Human Ethical Association)
Human-Etisk Forbund (Norwegian Humanist Association)
Humanismo Secular Portugal
Humanist & Atheist Alliance of Uganda
Humanist Alliance Philippines, International
Humanist Association for Leadership, Equity and Accountability (HALEA)
Humanist Association of Ghana
Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
Humanist Empowerment of Livelihoods in Uganda
Humanist Fellowship of San Diego
Humanist Historical Center (formerly Het Humanistisch Archief) 
Humanist Institute (formerly North American Committee for Humanism)
Humanist Society (Singapore)
Humanist Society of Scotland
Humanisterna (Swedish Humanist Association)
Humanistic Association Netherlands (Humanistisch Verbond Nederland)
Humanistisch Historisch Centrum
Humanistisch Instituut voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking (HIVOS)
Humanistisch VormingsOnderwijs
Humanistisch Vrijzinnige Vereniging
Humanistischer Verband Deutschlands (German Humanist Association)
Humanistisk Samfund
HUUmanists – Friends of Religious Humanism
Indian Humanist Union
Indian Radical Humanist Association
Indonesian Atheists
Iniciativa Atea
Institute for Humanist Studies
International Humanist and Ethical Youth Organisation (IHEYO)
Internationaler Bund der Konfessionslosen und Atheisten
Iranian Atheists & Agnostics
Israeli Association of Atheists
Italian Pastafarian Church
Kasese United Humanist Association
Kenyan Humanist Association (KHA)
Kerala Yukhtivada Sanghom
La Ligue de l’Enseignement
Lagos Humanists and Skeptics
Leicester Secular Society
Ligue de l’Enseignement (Education League)
Malta Humanist Association
Manavatavadi Vishwa Sansthan (The International School of Humanitarian Thoughts and Practice)
Manavbadi Samaj (Society for Humanism Nepal) (SOCH)
Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers (MAAF)
Minnesota Atheists
Mouvement de la jeunesse pour la liberté de la pensée en Haiti
Mouvement Europe et Laïcité
National Secular Society
Netradana Protsahaka Sangham (Society for Promotion of Eye Donation)
New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists
Nigerian Humanist Movement
North East Humanists
North London Humanist Group
Norwegian Humanist Association / Buskerud County
Ontario Humanist Society
Open Community Initiative
Organización Colombiana de Ateos
Pakistani Atheists and Agnostics
PERUVIAN ASSOCIATION OF ATHEISTS
Philippine Atheists and Agnostics Society (PATAS)
Pink Triangle Trust
Polish Humanist Association
Polish Rationalist Association
Progressive Atheists
Prometheus Books
Prometheus Society of Slovakia (Spoločnosť Prometheus)
Quinte Secular Humanist Association
RIBZ (Raad voor Inspectie en Begeleiding niet-confessionele Zedenleer)
Romanian Secular-Humanist Association (ASUR)
Russian Humanist Society
Satya Shodak Sabha (Truth Seeker Society)
Secular Humanist League of Brazil
Secular Humanist Society of New York
Secular Humanists of Puerto Rico
Siðmennt (Icelandic Ethical Humanist Association)
Social Development Foundation
Society of Modern Atheism and Humanism
Solidaritatea pentru libertatea de constiinta (Solidarity for Freedom of Conscience) (Romania)
South West London Humanists
Spolocnost Prometheus (Prometheus Society of Slovakia)
Stichting HSHB
Suomen Ateistiyhdistys
Suomen Humanistiliitto (Humanist Union of Finland)
Sutton Humanist Group
Sydney Atheists Incorporated
Tarksheel Society Punjab (Rationalist Society Punjab) (TSP)
The Heathen Society
The Woman and the Free World Organisation
Uganda Humanist Association
Uganda Humanist Schools Trust
Unie Vrijzinnige Verenigingen
Union des Familles Laïques
Union Radical-Humaniste Luxembourgeoise
Union Rationaliste (Rationalist Union)
Universiteit voor Humanistiek
Vapaa-ajattelijain liitto ry (the Union of Freethinkers of Finland)
Viveka Vidyalayam
Vrijzinnig Studie, Archief en Documentatie Centrum “Karel Cuypers”
Youth Movement for Freedom of Thought in Haiti
Zdravomislie (Good Sense) Public Fund

The following organisations and groups have independently affiliated with the coalition.

Active Youth Group, Pakistan
Atheist Coalition (Poland)
Bread and Roses TV
Equal Rights Now (Iran)
Ex-Muslims of France
Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA)
Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation
Ghana Atheist Alliance
Initiative Liberaler Muslime Österreich (Austria)
Ligue du Droit International des Femmes
Muslim Canadian Congress
North American Tarksheel (Rationalist) Society
One Law for All (UK)
Pakistani Freethinkers
Universalist Muslims
World Muslim Congress

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