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Lauryn Seering

Lauryn Seering

Contact your U.S. senator, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, today!

FFRF helped make history last year when it successfully lobbied to add atheism as a protected class in Madison, Wis. Now, the U.S. Congress is considering adding language to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 that would include nontheists, humanists and atheists under its protective umbrella. This would be a momentous signal to the international community that the "Nones" (those of us free from religion) are deserving of equal protection under the law and that discrimination against nonreligious people abroad will not go unnoticed. 

H.R. 1150 passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously on May 16. You are receiving this action alert because at least one of your state's senators is on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, where H.R. 1150 has been referred. You can make a difference by contacting your senator now! 

The legislation would amend the definition of "violations of religious freedom" to include protections for those "not professing a particular religion, or any religion." It would also specifically recognize the act of "forcibly compelling nonbelievers or nontheists to recant their beliefs or to convert" as a violation.

These changes are all greatly needed, since violence against the nonreligious has recently become a serious international issue.

In Saudi Arabia, atheist blogger Raif Badawi has been in prison since 2012, and was sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes during his 10-year sentence, for professing his nonbelief online. In February of this year, another atheist in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for the same "thought crime."

Since 2013, at least 16 different prominent atheist bloggers and publishers in Bangladesh have been killed or seriously injured by Islamist extremists, simply because they dared to publicly declare their lack of religious belief. In the past year alone, six Bangladeshi nonbelievers who have spoken out have been hacked to death on the streets of Bangladesh in broad daylight.

(Please be aware that Nonbelief Relief, a charity of which FFRF is sole member, is working at this very moment to help enable seven endangered Bangladeshi bloggers leave the country. More information on this soon.)

CONTACT

H.R. 1150 has been referred to the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, which must vote favorably on the resolution if it is to get to a floor vote and become law. Your senator sits on this committee. Speaking points follow. Below are the committee members by state:

Arizona: Jeff Flake

California: Barbara Boxer

Colorado: Cory Gardner

Connecticut: Chris Murphy

Delaware: Chris Coons

Florida: Marco Rubio

Georgia: David Perdue & Johnny Isakson

Idaho: Jim Risch

Kentucky: Rand Paul

Maryland: Ben Cardin

Massachusetts: Ed Markey

New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen

New Jersey: Bob Menendez

New Mexico: Tom Udall

Tennessee: Bob Corker

Virginia: Tim Kaine

Wisconsin: Ron Johnson

Wyoming: John Barrasso

TALKING POINTS

Please contact your senator at the link above to voice your support for H.R. 1150. Personalize your statement if possible, or feel free to cut and paste the wording below.

I am writing as your constituent and a nonreligious American. H.R. 1150, which is currently in the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, would amend the International Religious Freedom Act to include protections for those "not professing a particular religion, or any religion." This change is incredibly important and comes at a time when violence against nonbelievers like me has become a serious human rights issue abroad.

The House passed this legislation unanimously, and now the Senate has a chance to make history and ensure this bill becomes law.

Since 2013, at least 16 different prominent atheist bloggers and publishers in Bangladesh have been killed or seriously injured by Islamist extremists, simply because they dared to publicly declare their lack of religious belief. In Saudi Arabia, atheist blogger Raif Badawi has been in prison since 2012, and was sentenced to receive 1,000 lashes during his 10-year sentence, for professing his nonbelief online. In February of this year, another atheist in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for the same "thought crime."

I urge you to take up H.R. 1150 in your committee and ensure that the amendments to add protections for the nonreligious are passed.

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