It is always heartening to see secular groups working together and this is a perfect cause. A new coalition announced yesterday, called the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign, will aim to (you guessed it) eliminate blasphemy laws everywhere. And, as you can see in the map below, those laws are in effect in much of the world:
Spearheaded by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) and the European Humanist Federation, the End Blasphemy Laws Campaign will represent 200 humanist and secular organizations worldwide. Together, the groups plan to advocate for those prosecuted under blasphemy laws and call for the repeal of such laws, which are still on the books even in many Western countries.
There’s no reason for this to be a non-theistic coalition, but I can understand why. Atheists, no matter where we live, are the ones questioning established dogma. We stand to lose the most if these laws stand.
“This is the largest and best co-ordinated anti-blasphemy law coalition and campaign in history,” CIC head Eric Adriaans said. “IHEU has issued reports on blasphemy laws in the past, but this is the first time that I’ve seen organizations around the world actively co-operate and merge initiatives in this way.”
While many of the groups in the coalition were working to fix this problem in their own countries, the Charlie Hebdo attacks gave them plenty of reason to work together.
“… if democratic countries repeal their blasphemy laws, they would send the rest of the world a message that there is broad support for freedom of conscience,” says Michael De Dora, director of the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy in Washington.
[Centre for Inquiry Canada head Eric] Adriaans agrees. “We defend and promote everybody’s right to discuss, criticize and ridicule ideas and beliefs, even when this offends other people,” he said. “We have rights, our beliefs do not.”
If you’d like to help, the simplest way for now is to sign up on the coalition’s action list.