Showing posts with label Atheists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Atheists. Show all posts

December 22, 2016

Thanks to Obama The law Protects Religious Freedom but Also Non Believers







When President Barack Obama signed an update to U.S. law protecting religious freedom late last week, one provision drew special attention: U.S. law now recognizes non-believers as, in essence, a religious group.

Obama's signing of amendments to the International Religious Freedom Act on Friday wasn't widely noticed — except among the community of atheists, agnostics and others who categorize themselves as "humanists."

For the first time, the law — which was originally passed in 1998 — specifies that "the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs and the right not to profess or practice any religion."

Among other things, the main amendments to the law promoting religious liberty around the world:

Allow the United States to target “ ntities of particular concern" (that is, groups that aren't sovereign countries, like ISIS and Boko Haram).

Set up a way to track religious prisoners overseas.
Require that all foreign service officers undergo training in religious liberty.
 
President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters, Malia and Sasha, walk back to the White House after attending St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington in October 2009. AP
The addition of protections for non-theistic or even non-existent beliefs wasn't even mentioned in many news reports. But for Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the nonprofit American Humanist Association, the change is a historic cause for celebration.

"That non-theists are now recognized as a protected class is a significant step toward full acceptance and inclusion for non-religious individuals, who are still far too often stigmatized and persecuted around the world," Speckhardt said.

"Legislators are finally recognizing the human dignity of humanists and granting the non-theistic community the same protections and respect that have been given to religious communities," he said.

In its 2016 annual report (PDF), the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal panel that was created under the original 1998 law, highlights numerous instances of persecution of atheists and other non-believers.

The report plays no favorites, singling out important U.S. allies like Saudi Arabia, where the poet Ashraf Fayadh was sentenced to death last year for "apostasy" — specifically, for spreading atheism. The sentence was reduced in February 2016 to eight years in prison and 800 lashes.

Regulations enacted in 2014 by the Saudi Interior Ministry, in fact, classify "calling for atheist thought in any form" as terrorism.

The report also harshly criticizes Egypt, which convicted Mustafa Abdel-Nabi, an online activist, to prison in absentia in February for "blasphemy" after he published posts about atheism on his Facebook page. A year earlier, another Facebook user, Sherif Gaber, was sentenced to prison for discussing his atheist views online.

"Religious freedom for all people, theists and non-theists, is an American value we must protect," said Matthew Bulger, legislative director of the American Humanist Association.


But it's not just humanist groups that are applauding the revision.

"Protecting non-theistic beliefs and requiring increased religious freedom training for our foreign service officers emphasizes our shared value of religious liberty for all people across the globe," said J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom, a coalition of more than a dozen Baptist denominations.

“We are pleased that religious liberty still finds broad bipartisan support," Walker, an ordained minister, said in a statement to The Baptist Standard, a publication devoted to the Baptist faith.

ALEX JOHNSON

December 27, 2013

Non Believers in 13 countries Will get Death }Which Countries and method{

Atheists living in 13 countries risk being condemned to death, just for the beliefs (or non-belief) according to a new, comprehensive report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union out on Tuesday. All 13 countries identified by the study are Muslim majority.
The countries that impose these penalties are Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. With the exception of Pakistan, those countries all allow for capital punishment against apostasy, i.e., the renunciation of a particular religion. Pakistan, meanwhile, imposes the death penalty for blasphemy, which can obviously include disbelief in God. 
The study's interactive map gives a good, broad, overview of which countries punish apostasy and blasphemy by death (black), with prison time (red), or place legal restrictions on (non-)religious speech and thought (yellow):
The report is a more comprehensive version of a similar study released last year that identified just seven countries where atheists faced capital punishment, only half of this year's total. It also found much more widespread discrimination against atheists around the world. "Our results show that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers," the study explains, noting that laws in some countries prevent atheists from marrying, attending public school, participating as a citizen, holding public office, or just existing at all. The authors, citing a Gallup study, estimate that about 13 percent of the world's population is atheist, while 23 percent identify as simply "not religious." 
Although not on the list of 13, Bangladesh receives some special attention in the report as a particular low-light. Several non-religious and atheist bloggers and journalists in the country have faced death threats and harassment this year in the wake of a series of government prosecutions for blasphemy. One blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, was murdered with a machete outside of his home. The report also incorporates assessment of general free speech protections in each country. Russia earned significant criticism in part because of its anti-LGBT "propaganda" laws. And North Korea, an aggressively secular state, received the report's lowest rating of "Grave Violations." 
Because of the U.S.'s strong constitutional free speech protections and lack of an official state religion, the country fared moderately well in the report, earning a "mostly satisfactory" rating. But the IHEU had some cautionary notes on how atheists are actually treated in the U.S., criticizing "a range of laws that limit the role of atheists in regards to public duties, or else entangle the government with religion to the degree that being religious is equated with being an American, and vice versa." Those laws include constitutional provisions still on the books in seven states (Arkansas, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) barring atheists from holding public office. The authors add: 
While there is some legal remedy for clear religious discrimination by the government, it can often go unchallenged in situations where it is difficult, or personally disadvantageous or hazardous, to take a stand against authority, for example in prisons, the military, and even some administrative contexts.
So, which countries earned a somewhat elusive "free and equal" rating from the IHEU? The best-ranked countries included Jamaica, Uruguay, Japan, Taiwan, and Belgium.
  Source: The Wire

                                                                                         

(Methods of Execution around the world)
iran hangings 242x260 iran hangings
 Teheran, Jan. 31 2013
Methods used in the last two years have included:
Lethal injection:
United States, China, Thailand
Hanging:
Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Sudan, Botswana, Japan, Singapore
Shooting:
China, Vietnam, Yemen, North Korea, United States
Beheading:
Saudi Arabia
Electrocution:
United States
Stoning:
Iran.
Biblical stoning also took place in other countries including Somalia and Afghanistan, but in areas not subject to government control.
Government Sources

December 26, 2013

5 Atheists in Our Government, Is America Ready for Atheism?


With 20% of Americans now claiming to have no religious affiliation, you might expect to see more atheists elected to public office. On the contrary, open atheists are almost nonexistent in the political sphere. In fact, most politician atheists seem to conceal their views until after leaving office to avoid the backlash. Here are five examples of nonbeliever politicians who show the complexities of being irreligious in the United States:
1. Barney Frank
Case in point: former Massachusetts Congressman Frank. Despite the country’s homophobic attitudes, Frank was daring enough to come out as gay while holding office all the way back in the ‘80s. The fact that he kept mum on his atheism – as if that would be the career killer — just goes to show the extent to which Americans are unwilling to accept faithless lifestyles.
Now that Frank has left public service, however, he is more willing to open up and even joke about his atheism. He copped to being a “pot-smoking atheist” on Real Time with Bill Maher and said that if he were to take office again, he would “not swear” on the Bible, but would use the Constitution.
2. Kyrsten Sinema
Representing Arizona in the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Sinema is the only apparent nonbeliever serving at a national level. She told a reporter she is “not a member of any faith community,” states her religious affiliation as “none”, and declined to use a Bible when being sworn into office.
Since joining Congress, however, Sinema’s staff has tried to backtrack on the public perception, insisting that she doesn’t self-identify as atheist, either. In a remarkable parallel to Frank, Sinema – who is openly bisexual – may feel safer disclosing her sexuality than her lack of faith. Regardless of what Sinema wants to label her beliefs, her admitted “secular approach” is still a welcome deviation from the many in Congress who take a faith-based approach to governing.
3. Jesse Ventura
The former wrestler turned one-term Independent Governor of Minnesota found himself in hot water when he declined to advocate for a “National Prayer Day” like most other governors throughout the country. Although he didn’t explain himself at the time, Ventura has since, as he puts it “come out of the closet,” adding that he’s “proud” to call himself an atheist.
While Ventura has considered running for public office again, in a 2011 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, he acknowledged that it would be a long shot. “I don’t believe you can be an atheist and admit it and get elected in our country.”

4. Pete Stark
Stark was the first openly atheist member of Congress, but he sure took his time before sharing this fact with his constituents. Although Stark had represented California in the U.S. House since 1973, it wasn’t until 2007 that he acknowledged his atheism publicly.
Waiting until the end of his career was probably a good move strategically. While the power of incumbency saved Stark his seat for a couple more terms after his atheism admission, when redistricting put him in a less liberal district, Stark lost to a Democratic challenger, Eric Swalwell. In his campaign, Swalwell used Stark’s atheism against him to portray his opponent as “un-American”.

5. Ernie Chambers
Forget the federal level – atheists are absent at the state level, as well. Nebraska State Senator Chambers is the lone known exception. The passionate liberal and civil rights activist doesn’t shy away from addressing any topic – his lack of faith included. This year, Chambers took up the controversial issue of having “so help me God” removed from governmental oaths.
Despite being atheist, Chambers’s continued popularity in a devout community just goes to show that in the case of someone who has built an illustrious career of advocating for the people, voters can overlook the lack of a religious affiliation.


 http://www.care2.com/causes 

April 3, 2013

Atheists Have a lot to Learn from the Gay Rights Movement


I know that this experience we are witnessing of having millions of people that have been here but hiding in a closet giving the impression that they did not matter. Getting their civil rights for the first time, Will have a permanent effect on people’s mind.  I think we know that we are getting our rights because we are fighting for them. Actually wether is true or not since the day we are born is a constant fight, Only the fighters make it. Be a disease or a bully down the block or school, we either fight or we disappear. Hopefully this fight will make everyone stronger and vigilant about their civil rights. First though you need to know what they are. Today I would like to present Herb Silverman and his take about what Atheist, another group that’s been in the closet afraid to come out. Sometimes making fools of them selves by demanding that the WTCenter beam forming a cross not be put at the Museum with all the other artifacts because of the cross. Silly, it gains no ground and is offensive to those families and friends that still grieve for their lost ones. We should always try to give the impression that we are just don’t know what we are doing not silly and never offensive to innocent ones. Meaning a discourse not a shout out.  
adamfoxie*
I’m not gay. But I am jealous. How did homosexuality shift in public opinion from less respectable than atheism to more? And what can the atheist movement learn from the LGBT movement?
The psychiatric community considered homosexuality a mental disorder until 1974, and it wasn’t until 2003 that the U. S. Supreme Court declared sodomy laws (same-sex sexual activity) unconstitutional.When the public is polled about a willingness to vote for a well-qualified person for president who happens to be gay or atheist, gays are now ranked ahead of atheists.
The most obvious and effective lesson atheists are learning from gays (including all LGBTs) is to come out of the closet. Attitudes toward gays changed rapidly when people learned that their friends, neighbors, and even family members were gay. Attitudes about atheists are slowly changing as atheists are slowly coming out.
Gays are more likely to come out publicly because it’s easier for atheists to remain in the closet. There aren’t many excuses to give your mother (or anyone else) about why you’ve been living for years with someone of the same-sex and not dating.
Like most Americans, I gave little thought to fundamentalist, soul-saving Christians until they began to focus on politics. I’ve never been a closeted atheist, but I was an apathetic atheist for most of my life. While a graduate student in New York and later a math professor in Massachusetts in the 1970s, my friends and I had more important things to discuss than religion. For instance, our sex lives. Most of my friends were probably apathetic atheists, and some of them, unfortunately, felt the need to be closeted gays.
The LGBT movement deserves enormous credit for framing and publicizing their issues, forming a big tent that allows for cooperation between activist and laid back gays, and developing a well-organized community with a constituency recognized by politicians. And so it should be with atheists, which is a goal of the Secular Coalition for America and its member organizations.
At a Human Rights Campaign meeting about fifteen years ago, I mentioned that most in the atheist community openly backed gay rights and wished the gay community would reciprocate. “After all,” I said, “the same religious-right people who object to us also disapprove of you.” A number of gays acknowledged privately that they were atheists who wished to remain quiet about it because they were trying to appear “normal” in our culture. Continued LGBT successes are making it easier for gay atheists to emerge from both closets.
An evidence-based case can be made for why many religious people are less accepting of atheists than gays. Most aren’t worried about homosexuals “converting” heterosexuals, but they worry about hearing sound arguments from atheists that might resonate with their flock. You’re much more likely to stay with your childhood religion if no one ever questions those beliefs.
And then there’s marriage. After “living in sin” with me for 10 years, Sharon thought we were getting too old to be called boyfriend and girlfriend, and suggested we marry. I argued that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, and also that we should boycott marriage because gays couldn’t marry. Despite my weak counter arguments, we married at 12:01 AM on January 1, 2000.
I’ve been happily married for thirteen years, and neither of my arguments would work today. I expect that the next generation will look back and wonder why there had been such a fuss over gay marriage. Even conservative religionists will probably find ways to reinterpret their holy books.
I still don’t like the “institution” of marriage because I don’t think the government should play an official part in a couple’s relationship. But if opposite-sex people can marry, then so should same-sex people. And if religious people can become president, so can atheists. Maybe someday our president will be an openly gay atheist.
Herb Silverman is founder and President Emeritus of the Secular Coalition for America, author of “Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt,” and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Charleston.

March 27, 2013

AM I an Atheist or Christian? Both?

The Greek word "atheoi" ("[those who are] without God") as it appears on the early 3rd-century Papyrus 46


Colleen{writer}






According to popular indoctrinated understanding, unless you are a member of a religious organisation or declare your devotion and belief to one of the many gods that abound, you would generally be considered an atheist. A person who chooses to pay homage to a god via one of the many religions is considered to be religious. Sounds simple enough. But in modern society and dependent on your geographic situation, your culture and society, there can be many unwanted consequences for either choice.

 

 

If you happen to live in an atheist environment and choose to devote yourself instead to a religion, you can be subject to the disapproval and rejection of your atheist family, friends and society. If you are from a religious background and opt to forego religion in favour of non-belief, again you will encounter resistance, rejection and disapproving condemnation. By nature, most people want to conform, fit in and be accepted by the people in their world and so accept and adapt to what is considered the acceptable, prescribed norm in their environment. In an ideal world, the maxim of ‘Live and Let Live’ would prevail, but in reality, it does not. People have great difficulty in tolerating those who choose ‘differently’ from themselves.
As a result, differing beliefs tend to band together for support and unity. The religious will make themselves known to each other for support and affirmation that their choice is the right one. And many atheists too, seek support and affirmation that their choice is correct. Both groups can be highly intolerant of the other and both groups can and do seek to ‘convert’ the other’s beliefs - sometimes even resorting to extreme force to ensure that their belief dominates totally.
Can we honestly be totally of one mind or the other?    
There are those who have no religion and would be categorised as atheists, yet they live lives that essentially embody all the Christian principles of goodness and pure heart. On the other hand, there are many devoutly religious self-proclaimed Christians whose lifestyle and demeanour in reality, is completely devoid of accepted ‘christian’ principles and values.
This N24 forum has been a real education for me about diverse subjects but especially about the true nature of Atheists and Christians.      
Prior to stumbling into My N24, I had no strongly developed interest or feelings about either Atheism or Christianity.   Both subjects floated somewhere in the dim periphery of my consciousness and the only certainty was that religion was not part of my life.  I knew even less about Atheism or Atheists.   Normal everyday life interaction with some Christians simply re-affirmed my choice to not participate without much thought applied but I had begun to notice over the last decade or so that the religious seemed to changing somewhat; becoming noticeably ‘different’ for want of a better word and lack of investigation on my part. 
Gone were the ‘Christians’ of my youth, people who strived to live in kindly association with those around them, quietly going about their lives causing no waves and not seeking public attention.  They lived by decent principles, were humble, law-abiding citizens who did the odd good deed and were generally hardly noticeable.
In their stead emerged a new breed of Christians.    These were more affluent, more successful, gregarious and raucous, very sure of themselves and their standing in the society around them.  They did Good Deeds which were locally publicised and involved the energies, participation and most of all, the admiration of all people surrounding them.    I noticed them but still they were hardly worth more than a moment’s interest for me.
Then suddenly the new wave of Christians arrived:  Young, upwardly mobile zealots who were not satisfied with the inner-circle acclaim afforded them for their shine once a week in church, or for their newest fund-raising charity drive achievements.     
They needed YOU to know their god’s word and before you knew it, you were confronted by these aggressive people wherever you happened to be.   In your home, in other’s homes, on the street or anywhere they could be assured of your captive audience, whether for 2 minutes or 2 hours.     You would be subject to their very loud proclamations that whatever you thought you knew about the bible or Christianity or religion – was WRONG.      THEY knew the REAL truth and you were going to be taught properly by them no matter your politely murmured reluctance.     I heard about demons, demon possession, little devils that hide behind legs of chairs, miraculous healings that any tom, dick or harry can perform provided they attend healing classes.         I heard about god’s REAL word, intention, his feelings, thoughts and real meanings along with his real aches and pains.    The litany of utterly insane and unbelievable drivel is poured over you at every opportunity. 
Being a fairly diplomatic soul, reasonably well brought up to be considerate and polite to others, I endured this treatment for as long as I could which I soon learned to shorten to approximately 2 minutes.  Despite innate good manners, I also have a bit of an alligator mouth when provoked and realised that when confronted by rude, obnoxious, pushy, religious people, one has to bite hard and move on, to preserve your mental sanity.   Strong terminology also helps.    Not very lady-like but a few choice words or expressions is a very effective way to shut down a strident, glassy-eyed, delivery of bible punch.
So today we have a whole new different Christian.  Main stream churches of old have been replaced by a plethora of non-denominational churches servicing Christian needs.   Compared to the old type of Christian that I knew in my youth, today’s Christian is a babbling, crazed animal and hardly recognizable.            The simple tenet of do good, be good, be humble seems to have fallen by the wayside and replaced by a money-making machine peopled by mindless, rabid cretins who have no concept that they do more harm to the notion of Christianity than good.    The few good, gentle souls still attached to Christianity are even less apparent than before.
Back to the point of this article:    I have never had to question myself about what label would suit my particular brand of thought, but if I was simply some sort of non-religious floater before meeting you on this forum, I now know with certainty that I am a good atheist and not a bad christian.
 We Atheists have good morals, live our lives based on good old fashioned ‘christian’ principles of living with decency, but without a ‘religion’.       We are independent in thought and lifestyle but we are generally, law-abiding, considerate people who are generous of spirit and have a genuine interest in humanity and all life on earth.  We respect and revere the awesomeness of nature and the mighty universe and we emote profoundly and with deep intensity.  Atheists are not wishy-washy about their emotions.     Perhaps it’s because we live with awareness of the moment? 
We believe in no Christian deity yet we do not reject the concept of an unknown force or power beyond our knowledge.  We don’t pay homage to past gods and ancient religious scripts. [The kind of god I would believe in would have no need of my money, my puny input, my grovelling adoration or my abject terror of his disapproval.]      We Atheists have no need of group affirmation and approval, but we welcome the opportunity to expand our minds and learn from others.   We are thinkers who strive for knowledge and truth and we never settle for less.    And we are strong, open-minded people who want peace but who will fight for what is right.  
For those who don’t understand what an Atheist is:   You are witnessing real “Love at Work” in this world by people with high ideals, whose minds will not be bent, bound nor limited or reduced by simple man-made doctrine.  

The writer of this interesting  piece did not come from a professional writing background(or I could be wrong) but is not important. We do not approve or disapprove of this content. This blog will post any serious posting that makes a current point on the human discourse of these times. Other have done it many times. They will given credit on the page any way the person likes . Picture or not. There is no payment for news or this type or writing, if there was I would been able to have a staff of hundreds already.

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