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.”