-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
The U.S. State Department recently released its 2012 International Religious Freedom Report. The report acknowledges the rights of non-believers: “Whether it be a single deity, or multiple deities, or no deities at all, freedom to believe–including the freedom not to believe–is a universal human right.” The report also notes that the “use of blasphemy and apostasy laws continued to be a significant problem, as was the continued proliferation of such laws around the world.”
Kerry gave a speech at an event marking the release of the report wherein he repeated that the freedom not to believe is a “birthright of every human being.” Kerry goes on to say that another troubling trend is:
the increasing use of laws governing blasphemy and apostasy. These laws are frequently used to repress dissent, to harass political opponents, and to settle personal vendettas. Laws such as these violate fundamental freedoms of expression and religion, and we believe they ought to be repealed.
We have previously criticized the Obama Administration’s support of efforts by Muslim countries to criminalize anti-religious speech. Kerry’s speech seems to be in direct contradiction of the Administration’s previous efforts.
Kerry’s remarks were certainly approved by the White House. Is this a departure from the administration’s previously declared policy or a political ploy to appease civil libertarians? The Obama administration has shown little respect for the principle of free speech in the past and it will take more than a speech from the Secretary of State to overcome a long absent commitment to those liberties that represent the soul of our country.
The number of non-believers has increased as the arguments supporting the existence of God have been shown to be logically inconsistent. Those wishing to maintain their religious privilege are faced with easy access to devastating counter-apologetic arguments. The quality and quantity of counter-apologetics correlate with the upsurge in blasphemy and apostasy laws, which may be the last avenue available to those who wish to preserve the religious status quo.
One country notably absent from the report is the United States. The universal human right not to believe is under attack in schools across our land. An individual’s right not to believe is violated every time a Ten Commandments monument is placed on government, the people’s, property.