An Inquisition By Any Other Name

iheu-1So… The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) published their Freedom of Thought Report (A Global Report on the Rights, Legal Status and Discrimination Against Humanists, Atheists and the Non-religious) a couple of days ago.

And my goodness, but it makes for a fascinating read… And a frightening one as well!

fot14-report-bookletIt states that in many countries around the world, non-religious people are  being discriminated against, brutalised and even murdered simply because they do not believe in the outdated religious teachings of the various religions that plague humanity.

I know if the state takes your life then it is legitimised by calling it a legal execution, but murder is murder no matter how you try to pretty it up. Roll a turd in glitter and it still stinks!

Now we have come to expect this sort of thing from the religious extremists, after all there is no escaping the horrific images, especially from the Middle East.  You may remember that I wrote a blog post detailing the various atrocities committed in the name of religion throughout history.

But allow me to draw your attention to the following quote:

“They call it human rightism, where the core beliefs are based on humanism and secularism as well as liberalism. It’s deviationist in that it glorifies the desires of man alone and rejects any value system that encompasses religious norms and etiquettes. They do this on the premise of championing human rights. We will not tolerate any demands or right to apostasy by Muslims.”

Sound like something from the ISIS Handbook?  Actually it’s a quote of Prime Minister Najib of Malysia.  That’s right, a political leader not a religious leader said that.

And we all know what Islam means when vile words like these are spewed, and what it leads to.

death-by-stoning-in-iran-994406737

A nineteen year old girl stoned to death for adultery.  She didn’t offer blow jobs to passing strangers for money.  She didn’t have a boyfriend on the side.  No… She committed adultery by walking next to a man who was unrelated to her in the street.

Now, atheists have always been a target for the religious, from the Spanish Inquisition to the evil ISIS organisation of the 21st Century.  That’s right, in this, the beginning of the eighth millennium of recorded human history, we are still having to deal with the sort of brutality and inhumanity that should have died out hundreds of years ago.

Come on, we should have evolved past this by now!

However, even in the face of the evil posed by organised religion, the numbers of atheists worldwide are growing.  The current estimate puts us at approximately 30% of the world population.  But clearly that isn’t enough.  We need to get up to 100% if we are ever going to start achieving anywhere near the potential we have to grow and advance as a species.

But the religions are fighting back, trying to stem the tide, in order to keep the stranglehold they have on humanity.   In Saudi Arabia for instance, a new law has been created that equates atheism with terrorism.

You have got to kidding me!

Tell me Saudi Arabia, how many Muslims have been murdered in the name of atheism?  How many secular suicide bombers have blown themselves and others up in the name of Hitchens?

Nuamat Sati of Egypt’s Ministry of Youth announced a campaign to spread awareness of “the dangers of atheism” and why it is “a threat to society”, so that young atheists in particular, who are increasingly vocal on social media would be given “a chance to reconsider their decisions and go back to their religion.”

Really?

Atheism is only a danger to the political power that is undeservedly wielded by religious organisation throughout the world.

Atheism is only a threat to the coffers of religious organisations throughout the world as more and more people come away from their churches and no longer tithe to keep a useless, backwards looking and inherently dangerous ideology from funding terrorist attacks all over the fucking planet!

Clearly, independent thought is the enemy of religion, how else can we explain:

  • The rise in attacks against atheists.
  • Increasing use of apostasy laws to punish those who leave Islam.
  • More draconian application of laws covering blasphemy.

That’s right.  People are being imprisoned, given hundreds of lashes and even killed for the crime of blasphemy.

I’ve said it before and sadly I will probably have to say it again:

Blasphemy is not a victimless crime, but anyone found guilty of blasphemy is a crimeless victim.

Religion, that paragon of virtue and compassion also enjoys many rights and privileges that are denied to every secular organisation.  For instance, churches don’t pay taxes. Why do you thing that the Scientologists insist they’re a religion?  How come the Catholic Church is one of the richest organisations in the world?  How can ISIS and Boko Haramet al pay for all their arms and ammunition?

It’s all about the bottom line.

Now I know that I have concentrated on the neolithic backwater that is the Middle East, but even the allegedly advanced western states are just as guilty of giving religion a free pass.  Here are just a few examples (excerpted from Freedom of Thought Report):

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

CANADA

  • Preferential treatment is given to a religion or religion in general
  • Discriminatory prominence is given to religious bodies, traditions or leaders
  • Religious groups control some public or social services
  • State-funding of religious institutions or salaries, or discriminatory tax exemptions
  • Legal or constitutional provisions exclude non-religious views from freedom of belief
  • Religious schools have powers to discriminate in admissions or employment

In some provinces, the government provides funding to Catholic schools but denies such funding to any other religion or belief. For example, Ontario province funds Catholic religious education and provides no funding for other religious schools. One third of Ontario’s public schools (around 1,400) are Catholic schools receiving 100% of their funding from the government.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

  • Anomalous discrimination by local or provincial authorities, or overseas territories
  • Official symbolic deference to religion
  • Localised or infrequent but recurring and widespread social marginalisation or prejudice against the non-religious

Although the Constitution is secular, there are significant anti-secular issues at the state level. Despite the constitutional prohibition (Article 6) of any “religious test” for public office, there are currently 8 states where the laws directly block those who deny the existence of God or “a supreme being” from holding public office. This can even extend to the banning of atheists from testifying in court.

An example of this is the State constitution of Arkansas which explicitly mentions atheists:

Atheists disqualified from holding office or testifying as witness. No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court.

Similar laws exist in Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, both Carolinas, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

A 2006 law in Kentucky requires the state Office of Homeland Security to post plaques acknowledging that Almighty God has been integral to keeping the state safe on penalty of up to 12 months in prison (the Kentucky state Supreme Court has refused to review the constitutionality of the law); While there are no laws pertaining to this, through tradition both houses of Congress, most state legislatures, and most city and local council meetings begin with prayer.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AUSTRALIA

  • Preferential treatment is given to a religion or religion in general
  • Religious groups control some public or social services
  • State-funding of religious institutions or salaries, or discriminatory tax exemptions
  • There is state funding of at least some religious schools
  • Criticism of religion is restricted in law or a de facto ‘blasphemy’ law is in effect

Although the government is officially secular, it continues to favour Christianity for many public ceremonies. For example, each session of parliament begins with a joint recitation of the Lord’s Prayer. Religions institutions enjoy long-standing privileges in being exempted from paying tax and from complying with laws, such as the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act against discrimination and Australian Charities & Not-for-profits Commission Act for transparent governance. Details of religious tax exemption are given in Max Wallace’s polemic, The Purple Economy: supernatural charities, tax and the state (Aust. National Secular Association, 2007).

The privileged status of religion in society has allowed government to cede control of various social services to religious institutions. In January 2013 the federal government appointed a Royal Commission “to inquire into institutional responses to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse and related matters”. The great majority of complaints have involved abusive clergy who were protected by their church, which was in turn accorded unwarranted deference by state authorities.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

UNITED KINGDOM

  • There is systematic religious privilege
  • Preferential treatment is given to a religion or religion in general
  • Discriminatory prominence is given to religious bodies, traditions or leaders
  • Religious groups control some public or social services
  • State-funding of religious institutions or salaries, or discriminatory tax exemptions

The Church of England (C of E) is granted privileged access to the UK Parliament. The 26 most senior C of E bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They acquired this right solely by virtue of their position in the hierarchy of one particular denomination of one particular church. They are unaccountable to the public.

34% of state-funded schools in England, 14% in Scotland, 15% in Wales and 94% in Northern Ireland are designated with a religious character, and in Great Britain their proportion is increasing.

These schools are typically allowed to discriminate against students in their admission policies, favouring those of the faith over those of other faiths and of no faith, or even favouring those of other faiths over those of no faith.

In December 2013 the Fair Admissions Campaign mapped this problem and established that 16% of state-funded places in England and Wales, or 1.2 million, are subject to religious selection, when the schools concerned are oversubscribed.

Such schools are also allowed to discriminate against teachers in hiring, discipline and firing, even in subjects that do not relate to the religious mission of the school—based on their religion (either because they are not religious or belong to a different religion or denomination than the school authorities).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Bear in mind that this is just a very small selection of countries mentioned in the report which covers issues in every country in the world!

Religion is a poison that has pervaded every facet of every modern government to a greater or lesser degree.

Surely the time is now to say enough is enough and remove political power from religious organisation that have done nothing… Nothing… To improve any part of human existence.

The most galling thing about all of this in my opinion, is that even in the face of outrageous discrimination and increasing vilification of atheists by individuals, terrorist organisations and even sovereign states, the theists still have the fucking nerve to say that atheist are oppressing them!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Christianity, Human Rights, Islam, Religion and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s