International Blasphemy Day has always been intended to highlight the fact that religions are sometimes afforded more rights than people. The traditional observation of the day–public blasphemy–can be a good way to do that. It isn’t hard to blaspheme. Depending on your background, it can feel freeing and fun. And yet it is sobering to realize that those small, silly blasphemies can be punishable by fines, imprisonment, and even death in many parts of the world.
International Blasphemy Day has drawn eyes to the cause of religious freedom, but it hasn’t always done more. This year, it can.
For the past several months, the Center for Inquiry’s Office of Public Policy has been lobbying members of the U.S. House of Representatives to co-sponsor or support a new resolution that calls for the repeal of blasphemy laws around the world. We’ve also been lobbying members of the Senate to introduce a companion resolution. So far, the resolution has gained only one additional co-sponsor in the House, and has still not been proposed in the Senate.
Today, on International Blasphemy Rights Day, you have a chance to make the critical difference, and help us get this resolution through.
H. Res 290, which was proposed by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) and currently has nine co-sponsors, would promote the right to free expression in several important ways.
- It reaffirms U.S. support of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that everyone has the rights to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion;
- It outlines that the solutions to blasphemy-related violence are increased education, outreach, and counter-speech; and
- It calls upon the President and the State Department to make the repeal of blasphemy laws a key component in U.S. relations with countries that have them.
The passage of H. Res 290 would send a strong signal to the more than 50 countries with blasphemy laws that the U.S. rejects such law s and that they must be repealed.
That’s where you come in. You can stand up for the rights of all people, religious and nonreligious, to express their views on religion by using our pre-written form to contact your members of Congress today and tell them to co-sponsor, sponsor, or support H. Res 290!
If you’re in the U.S., CFI is making it easy for you to go beyond International Blasphemy Day to defend international blasphemy rights. If you click through to their post, they’ll make it very easy for you to contact your Representative and both your Senators to urge them to support this bill or a companion bill in the Senate. They make it about as easy as blasphemy itself, in fact.
This year, let’s step our celebrations up a little so we have more to celebrate next year.