Living in the West, I cannot imagine a SWAT team coming to my house, breaking down the door, and arresting me for the crime of blasphemy. In other countries around the world, that indeed does go on. It’s something that we non-believers, and yes, believers as well, should stand against. Consider the Christians killed in Islamic countries. We hear those horror stories all the time but rarely hear about the individual who has been jailed, under threat of the death penalty, for the crime of being a non-believer.
Yes it happens, and it happens all the time. We hear about the Christian Pastor in Iran who’s been arrested for preaching the gospel, but never hear about the atheist, in the same country, or another Islamic state being in jeopardy simply for being a voice of reason in a country where that word is relatively unknown. We won’t see our own State Department stand up for atheists in Islamic states but hey – one guy preaching Christianity in a country where it is forbidden ( and yes, he’s aware it’s forbidden), well that becomes a huge story on the news for a few cycles.
Don’t get me wrong, the Christian arrested and jailed, with the possibility of receiving a death sentence is just as bad. Freedom of religion is something that even atheists should celebrate. What I don’t agree with is the idea that religion, any religion, should dictate the lives of people anywhere. People may believe in whatever they want, but their belief ends at the end of their nose. What can we, atheists, do about any of this? Well, honestly not much unless we come together and make our voices heard. There are some 10 million people in the U.S. alone that are atheists. Of course, there are many that cannot be openly atheist for various reasons, but is it impossible for us even anonymously, to make our voice heard and at least make an attempt to put an end to the atrocities that continue to happen in other countries towards those that have concluded that the religion of that country is false, wanting to inform their fellow citizens that there’s another way? Does anyone deserve death for leaving their religious belief behind? Of course not.
Organizations, at least here in the U;S. are, to me, useless. What exactly is the mission of American Atheists today? Sure Freedom From Religion Foundation will threaten to sue a local city council over prayer, but beyond the borders of the United States, what do they actually accomplish. To me, and I’ve been a member of both in the past, they do nothing for atheists or atheism anywhere – even in our own country. In other words, they’ve become more politically correct, raging against judges appointed that may rule against abortion. Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Instead of promoting and attempting to protect atheists, they’re more interested in social issues which will never be settled. Personally, I’m not interested. Same sex marriage? Fine with me. Why should I care? Two people that love each other should be able to have the rights and benefits of marriage. End. Abortion? Okay, I’ll admit that I don’t like the idea of 3rd trimester abortions (with exceptions) but then, those decisions should be made between the doctor and patient and as a conservative, am against religious belief being injected into those very personal decisions.
So, as a conservative, and an atheist, is there an organization I can support that will be focused on freedom of atheists around the world? Someone, somewhere, that will do what is necessary, the best that may be done, to support those individuals in those Islamic countries that would jail, or kill someone simply because they have become people that think for themselves? there are, and one that comes to mind immediately is Atheist Ireland. They not only lobbied their government, successfully, to overturn their blasphemy law, but are interested and participants with atheists in other countries as well. But what about here? AA? FFRF? AHA? Nope. They’ve become shills, in my opinion, for far left wing interests. Goodbye to all of you.
I’m done with any organization that purports to support non-believers, then decides it’s more important to support “gay rights”, “tran rights”, or “feminism”. I’m not against any of these, but when your mission is to support atheism, and separation of church and state? How do LGBTQ rights stand up, especially when none of these organizations pay attention to what goes on the Muslim countries (throwing gay men off the top of buildings, burning apostates alive)? All they want to do is collect yearly membership dues, plus aggravate their members to donating to local causes that overall, mean nothing. So where’s anyone willing to stand up, locally or internationally for atheists? Is there an organization I might want to support whose mission statement is just that? Seriously, do I have to go offshore to find anyone willing to support atheists around the world? How about this?
International Association of Atheists (IAA) was created out of a need for an atheist nonprofit ready to take on the tough issues, like human rights, and willing to be fully transparent and ethical. IAA will focus on bringing evidence-based education to theocratic countries, ending blasphemy laws, supporting atheists in danger, and providing tools for the atheist business owner.
This organization was formed by my friend Courtney Heard, and Bridget Guadette. I’ve known Courtney for a while and to be honest, when she began this new organization, I was very skeptical. Would it just become another far-left, pseudo-political group or would they actually do something to educate as well as advocate for freedom of expression? Although I generally supported the idea, I thought, geez, another group? How many more groups do we need to be able to somehow come together? I had become averse to all of them. I needed more information before I could support any organization, no matter how much I appreciated the founders. Do something. Stand up for something other than the town council’s pre-meeting prayer fest. Who the heck cares? I mean this. as long as none of these pass ordinances that favor any religion, then pray the heck away. It’s useless, but hey! If it makes you feel better about yourself, go ahead. I’m not into metaphysics.
This team, Courtney and Bridget, only a few months in have already begun to represent one of the statements of their mission: Human rights. An advisory board member has been arrested in his home country for blasphemy. Here’s the details. So what is IAA doing? Nothing? Complaining about the arrest and then going on to say how this affects the LGBTQ community? No, they’re raising money for his defense. They’ve almost reached the initial goal in less than two days. Help them out, if you are able. This is what I have been tlking about – an atheist organization that actually does something to help atheists in countries that oppress them. It’s going to be a tough road. Educating people in these countries? I think that’s possible but a much harder row to hoe. But in just a few months since it instantiated, already raising funds for an atheist in a country thsat is more than willing to kill him. This is exactly what every organization should be doing. although as I said I was initially skeptical, knowing especially Courtney’s advocacy, informed me that I should join, take part, give this new organization a chance and in just a few months, have vindicated me and put to rest any skepticism I initially had.
So hit the site. Maybe think about becoming a member. Atheists could use, nowadays, a group that will actually fulfill their promises.