Showing posts with label atheism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label atheism. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Godly Scots

A Freedom of Thought report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) criticises Scotland for the religiously privileged position afforded to three “religious representatives” who are required by law to be appointed to all 32 local authority education committees.

These positions require at least one Roman Catholic and one Church of Scotland representative, but non-religious people are excluded. The report also highlighted the disparity of sex and relationships education, and religious education between Roman Catholic faith schools and others in Scotland.

Douglas McLellan, Chief Executive of the Humanist Society Scotland said:
 “Many commentators in Scotland still seem unable to mention humanists or atheists without adding the term ‘militant’ or ‘aggressive’. I hope this report will make them reflect on how hurtful that is to the many millions of Scots who wish to lead an ethical and fulfilling life without reference to religion.”

Friday, December 21, 2012

Victimised atheism

The latest census reveals that in the UK respondents with no religion was up 10 points to 25%. A detailed survey in 2012 revealed that religious people make up 59% of the world population, while those who identify as “atheist” make up 13%, and an additional 23% identify as “not religious” (while not self-identifying as “atheist”).

Many countries criminalize manifestations of atheist convictions or skeptical thoughts. In prosecuting these “crimes” it may not be necessary to accuse the person of atheism. Many states prosecute people who express their religious doubts or dissent regardless of whether those dissenters identify as atheist. More commonly, secular people experience discrimination when they manifest their conscience by acting against the dictates of the religion of their family, community or country. In some societies allegations of religious dissent are manufactured for use against minority belief communities, or vulnerable individuals, or to settle personal vendettas. A handful of countries criminalize atheism per se. In addition, there are several forms of legal measures found across many countries that either criminalize the expression of atheist beliefs or result in systematic discrimination against atheists and those who reject religion. These include laws regulating:
• Apostasy and religious conversion
• Blasphemy and religious criticism
• Compulsory religious registration, usually with a list of permissible religions
• Religious tests for citizenship or participation in civic life
• Religious control of family law
• Religious control of public education.

Atheists in at least seven countries can be executed for their lack of religious belief and suffer persecution or discrimination in many other parts of the world. Expression of atheist views can bring capital punishment in Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.

In a range of other countries -- such as Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Kuwait and Jordan -- publication of atheist or humanist views on religion are totally banned or strictly limited under laws prohibiting "blasphemy." In Greece and Russia, the Orthodox Church is fiercely protected from criticism and is given pride of place on state occasions

 In others like Malaysia, atheists have to register as adherents of a small number of officially-recognized religion. Atheists are thereby forced to lie to obtain official documents without which it is impossible to go to university, receive medical treatment, travel abroad or drive.

In Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin and North America, countries which identify themselves as secular give privileges to or favor Christian churches in providing education and other public services.

In Britain the 26 most senior Church of England  Bishops are automatically granted membership in the House of Lords – the upper chamber of Parliament – where they have the right to speak and vote on all legislation. They acquired this right solely by virtue of their position in the hierarchy of one particular denomination of one particular Church. They are unaccountable to the public.