Here in the U.S., there are places where being openly atheist can cost you your job or bring on harassment by your neighbors. If you speak against the dominant religion, someone might go to the newspapers or even on television to shake a heavy finger of disapproval in your direction. In extreme cases, you may face violence from individuals, or government representatives may abuse their power to make your life difficult. You may have to push the government to give you all the protections it promises.
That's here, where we have the First Amendment to back us up.
Things are different elsewhere in the world. Being an infidel or blasphemer, words we use laughingly here, can see people fined or imprisoned or killed. These problems aren't limited to countries we complacently dismiss as "backward" either. There has been considerable pressure on the UN for more than a decade to recognize a "right" for religions to be free from "defamation".
Michael De Dora, Director of the Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy and their UN Representative, is fighting hard against laws like these, as well as to bring science and secularism to U.S. policy and law-making. This Sunday, he will join us to talk about why all this matters to us and what we can do to make a difference.
- CFI's Campaign for Free Expression
- Interview with Michael De Dora about the Office of Public Policy at Skepchick
- The Moral Perspective, Michael De Dora's blog
- "New calls from Islamists for international blasphemy law at UN"