The Freedom From Religion Foundation is cheering the U.S. Senate’s approval by unanimous consent of a resolution seeking the global repeal of blasphemy and related laws.
The Senate passed SR 458 on Saturday, Dec. 19. The U.S. House approved a similar resolution earlier this month, HR 512, which passed 385-3. Both resolutions specifically note 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: “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.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is pleased that both houses of Congress have recognized the importance of the issue.
“Blasphemy laws around the world have been relentlessly used to curb freedom of thought — and we freethinkers have borne the brunt,” FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor remarks. “These anti-blasphemy resolutions by Congress will put theocratic regimes on notice.”
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, 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.