Washington, D.C., 23rd May, 2017)—The American Humanist Association (AHA) welcomes the introduction of H.Res. 349, a resolution designed to protect religious minorities by encouraging the repeal of blasphemy laws around the world. Blasphemy laws put thousands of lives at risk, with many offenders serving long jail sentences or being executed for “insulting” a specific religion. 

The American Humanist Association worked with Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Alex Mooney (R-WV), David Cicilline (D-RI), and John Culberson (R-TX) to reintroduce the legislation, which calls for a repeal of blasphemy laws worldwide. The legislation, which was introduced in the last session of Congress by Reps. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), encourages the President and the State Department to make the worldwide repeal of these laws a priority, while also opposing any attempts at the United Nations to support blasphemy laws.

In many countries, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, non-theists, and other religious minorities are imprisoned, tortured, sentenced to death, and executed for blasphemy offenses. The resolution urges countries that still maintain such laws to “amend or repeal such laws, as they provide a pretext and impunity for vigilante violence against religious minorities.”

“The introduction of this resolution is a step forward for protecting theists and non-theists alike. Freedom of belief is a fundamental human right that is being infringed upon around the world,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “This resolution goes a long way to ensure that these individuals have their religious freedom rights restored.”

“Blasphemy laws target marginalized religious minorities and leave them vulnerable to attacks and imprisonment,” said Matthew Bulger, legislative director of the American Humanist Association. “This resolution can help end the unnecessary threat to religious freedom and basic human dignity that blasphemy laws pose.”

The Resolution can be found here, and the AHA’s press release on the subject can be found here

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AuthorPeter Bjork

For Immediate Release

Contact: Ron Millar, 202-238-9088 ext. 201, rmillar@cfequality.org

(Washington, D.C., Apr. 27, 2016) —Yesterday, Jamie Raskin, humanist candidate endorsed by the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF), won a very competitive race in a crowded field of candidates in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. In this heavily Democratic district, Raskin is expected to handily win the general election on Nov. 8, 2016.

“If successful in the general election, Raskin will be the only open humanist serving in the U.S. Congress, the first ever to win an open seat, and just the second humanist to serve in Congress. Raskin’s election is a significant event for the secular community and will help to dispel the baseless bias against this rapidly growing segment of America” said FEF Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “Raskin has earned this victory with his highly respected public service and effective grassroots campaigning.” 

The American Humanist Association defines humanism as a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Raskin plans to advance his progressive policies in the U.S. Congress as he did as a Maryland State Senator. In Annapolis he led floor fights to recognize same-sex marriage, repeal the death penalty, ban the shackling of pregnant prisoners in labor and legalize medical marijuana.

As a renowned professor of Constitutional law and member of the American Humanist Association, Raskin is also one of the nation’s leading advocates for reason in government, science-based public policy and the separation of church and state. Raskin received national notice from the progressive and the secular community in 2006 when he testified in favor of marriage equality.  State Senator Nancy Jacobs said the Bible reserved marriage for a man and a woman.  Raskin responded, “When you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”  The Freethought Equality Fund PAC will continue to endorse Raskin in the general election to further its mission to increase the acceptance of progressive nontheists.

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The mission of the Freethought Equality Fund (FEF) is to change the face of American politics and to achieve equality by increasing the number of open humanist and atheists, and their allies, in public office at all levels of government. FEF supports progressive candidates who are strong advocates for the separation of religion and government and the protection of American's civil liberties. FEF is affiliated with the Center for Freethought Equality, which is the advocacy and political arm of the American Humanist Association. To learn more about the Freethought Equality Fund, visit Facebook and Twitter

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AuthorPeter Bjork
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