While nominally protecting any religion, blasphemy laws pander to the current wave of Islamic protest. As people in some countries are already being imprisoned and killed for blasphemy as well as apostasy we should all be reminded of the terrible religious inquisitions of the past and stridently defend the hard won right of free speech in modern society.
The Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) in the strongest possible terms opposes the United Nations moving to a stance where blasphemy will be made a crime. David Nicholls president of the AFA responded today with “It should be emphasised to the UN how irrelevant blasphemy is in a democratic secular society such as Australia and other western countries. We would do well to strongly remind those that propose worldwide blasphemy laws that our opinion of the idea of blasphemy is that it is just a tool to stifle criticism of religion, and in this country we welcome criticism and discussion. Ban Ki-Moon is making a grave error of judgment on this matter and appears to be pandering to the Islamic world.”
Nicholls continued, “Blasphemy laws are essentially religious laws, and will always impose upon people in other religions and the non-religious. Blasphemy laws serve to deny people the right to question, to explore the possibilities or to come to their own conclusions. To artificially restrict the marketplace of ideas only to those imposed by fear and force is to deny people the right to decide for themselves.”
The Atheist Foundation of Australia calls upon the leaders and people of the free world to make their voices heard in defending the right of free speech and expression for all of humanity.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
Private Mail Bag 6
Maitland SA 5573
Phone: (08) 8835 2269