The U.S. House has overwhelmingly passed a groundbreaking resolution calling for blasphemy and related laws to be revoked worldwide, much to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s delight.
House Resolution 512 , which passed 385-3, specifically notes that “secularists” are frequent victims of such laws.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., co-chair of the Congressional Freethought Caucus, spoke on the floor of the House in support of “the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy and apostasy laws” that often target freethinkers across the planet. “With House Resolution 512, we act today to stand up for religious and intellectual freedom, in a world gone mad with religious discrimination, religious oppression and religious violence,” Raskin noted.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is elated at the resolution’s lopsided passage.
FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarks, “Today the House took an important step to put countries that imprison freethinkers, such as Nigeria, especially with the case of Mubarak Bala, on notice.” Bala, who is the head of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, was seized by the police and has disappeared in police custody.
Blasphemy laws are still astonishingly common. More than 70 countries across many regions maintain these archaic rules, punishable by life imprisonment and death, as well as often violent extrajudicial retribution from other citizens. As FFRF has long pointed out, and Raskin echoed in today’s comments, blasphemy is a victimless crime — with blasphemy laws ironically creating many innocent victims.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation celebrates this achievement, but notes that the fight against blasphemy laws is far from over. FFRF will continue to work to repeal such laws around the globe until they are confined to the dustbin of history, where they duly belong.