Abolish Blasphemy Laws

by | June 7, 2014

Religious blasphemy should be a human right not a punishable act.  8,183 atheists, agnostics and secularists agree and have signed a petition initiated by the Australian organization, Human Rights For Atheists, Agnostics and Secularists addressed to Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, because

Blasphemy laws are used to infringe upon human rights.  They frequently lead to arbitary arrest, detention, poor treatment in custody including torture, dubious legal procedures and poor application of justice.  The definition of the offence can be in the hands of police and judicial authorities.  Governments have used blasphemy laws to silence political opponents.  Individuals have fabricated blasphemy charges against others in communal disputes.  Religious extremists have used blasphemy laws to attack opponents.  Religious authorities have used blasphemy laws to impose orthodoxy on members minority religious groups with the sanction of the state.  And people accused of blasphemy have been subject to violence by unofficial mobs.

Numerous Canadians have signed the letter:

We the signers humbly ask you to consider both a human rights petition and concern shared by a growing number of people persecuted for non-belief in religious dogma, including millions of atheists and agnostics around the world. Both the petition and the concern regard the proposed enactment and enforcement of so-called blasphemy laws and their offshoots such as defamation of religion and religious-insult “hate speech” legislation, in member states. The reality is that these blasphemy laws and “hate speech” legislation violate the cornerstone rights of freedom of expression, thought and conscience, tenuously upheld by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1976), Articles 18 and 19 in particular. . . .

Add your name to theirs; please sign the petition to ensure human rights for atheists, agnostics and secularists.



8 thoughts on “Abolish Blasphemy Laws

  1. Pingback: Petition to the UN to protect freedom from religion and barbaric blasphemy laws | Freethought Nation

  2. Indi

    I’m generally wary about signing change.org petitions, because they harvest email addresses and sell them. But this one is worth it.

  3. Michel Ethier

    La Liberté d’Expression est Vitale pour Moi…

  4. Wayne Plimmer

    Even Canada still has a Blasphemy Law! Section 296 of the the Criminal Code of Canada states blasphemous Libel is an indictable offence, and gives a punishment for a term up to two years in prison. Before we criticize other countries, we should look within! Blasphemy is a victimless crime!

    1. Indi

      I doubt most longtime readers of this blog are not already well aware of our own blasphemy law problems, but what is this nonsense about “Before we criticize other countries, we should look within!”? There is nothing hypocritical or irrational about realizing our own federal government is utterly uninterested in listening to secular concerns, and instead focusing on getting the international community at large to take the problem seriously. Once they do, we can then turn around use that fact to shame our useless politicians into taking action.

      We don’t need to fix ourselves before we fix other countries. We need to fix the problem everywhere – doesn’t really matter if Canada is proudly ahead of the curve or shamefully behind it.


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