Tag Archives: Atheist/Agnostic/Unaffiliated

Global Feature | Atheists & Secularists

The Global Effort to Rescue Persecuted Atheists

Source: Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science/YouTube (September 2016)

With more than a dozen countries criminalizing atheistic expression and anti-atheist sentiment widespread even in purportedly secular countries, organizations have popped up around the globe to rescue persecuted atheists, lobby for civil rights, and promote community and security for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers. Secular Rescue was launched by the Center for Inquiry in 2016 in response to the recent spate of murders of secularist Bangladeshi writers and intellectuals, and its efforts have drawn attention to the plight of freethinkers living in the Global South in need of asylum. The Atlantic recently profiled the organization as well as the conditions contributing to the greater visibility of atheists in regions conventionally assumed to be inhospitable to the growth of secularism and freethought.


The ‘Underground Railroad’ To Save Atheists” (The Atlantic | January 2018)

Center for Inquiry Launches ‘Secular Rescue’ to Save Lives of Threatened Activists” (The Center for Inquiry | September 2016)


Secular Rescue

Atheist Asylum Program


Russia News | Atheists

Russian man faces possible year in jail after denying the existence of God online
  • Viktor Krasnov was charged in response to an online exchange in which he described the Bible as a “collection of Jewish fairy tales” and said “there is no God.”
  • Following the jailing of punk rock group Pussy Riots in 2012, lawmakers passed legislation that criminalized “insult[ing] the religious convictions or feelings of citizens.”
  • Despite Russia’s constitutional status as a secular state, President Vladimir Putin has led a campaign to promote traditional religious values to consolidate Russian national identity, long tied to the Russian Orthodox Church prior to the rise of the Soviet Union.

Read more:
Russian Man Could Be Jailed For Saying God Doesn’t Exist” (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)
Russian Faces Up to Year in Prison for Denying Existence of God” (NBC News)
Russian man in court for ‘no God’ Internet exchange” (AFP, via GlobalPost)

(Image Credit: via Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Turkey News | Atheists

Turkish group lobbies for equal treatment and protection for atheists
  • The Turkish Atheism Association has created a petition calling for the end of automatic registration of Turkish newborns as Muslim, the removal of religion from Turkey’s ID cards, and the inclusion of the association in official meetings with non-Muslim groups.
  • Although a 2010 poll found only 1% of Turkish people identify as atheist, the group hopes the 5,000 signatures it hopes to attain will bring attention to their marginalization in Turkey’s nominally secular society.
  • The association was founded in 2014 in Istanbul, but a court blocked access to its website in March on the grounds of “provoking the people.”

Read more:
Turkish Atheism Association starts petition calling for ‘equal treatment’” (Middle East Eye)
Turkey’s Atheism Association starts petition for ‘equal treatment’ before law and in society” (Hurriyet News Daily)
Atheists raising their voice in Turkey amid polarized reactions” (Hurriyet News Daily)

(Image Credit: via Hurriyet News Daily)

U.S. News & Feature | Nonbelievers of Color

Arian Foster: Freethinking in the NFL

Image Credit: Josh Goleman/ESPN
Image Credit: Josh Goleman/ESPN

NFL running back Arian Foster, currently playing for the Houston Texans, has come out as a freethinker and nonbeliever, one of very few professional players to have ever professed nonbelief. With little to no separation between church and field in the NFL, Foster sits down with ESPN to share his experiences being out to teammates, the evolution of his belief, and the ubiquity of Christianity in football.

Read the full profile at ESPN.

Bangladesh News | Secular Atheist

Secular Bangladeshi blogger murdered in Dhaka
  • Niloy Chakrabarti was murdered in his home by hacking at the hands of a gang whose work was claimed by al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.
  • Chakrabarti was the fourth secularist advocate against political Islam to have been murdered in the officially secular country this year.
  • Chakrabarti had reportedly requested police protection after being listed on a target list as groups called for the murder of atheists.

Read the full story at the Guardian.

(Image Credit: The Guardian)

Singapore News | Political Dissidents

Singapore releases teenage blogger convicted of obscenity and offending religious sensibilities
  • Amos Yee, 16, was convicted and sentenced to four weeks of detention, which he had already served during his 50 days spent in jail.
  • Yee had criticized revered former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew–considered the founding father of Singapore–with a video celebrating his death, comments decrying Christianity, and an image of depicting Lee and former British PM Margaret Thatcher in a sex act.
  • Prosecutors did not pursue reformative training for the youth, which could have led to detention for up to 18 months, but the case drew international attention for its surfacing of Singapore’s restrictive policies on personal expression.

Read the full story at the New York Times.

China Research | Nonbelievers

Complexities of translating Chinese religious identification establish the nation as perennial statistical outlier in polling
  • Although the widely cited WIN/Gallup poll on global religiosity indicates 61% of Chinese respondents identified as atheist, 27% as nonreligious, and only 7% as religious, the Chinese term used to translate “religious” carries more politicized, institutional connotations than in other languages.
  • In addition, one anthropologist notes that many Chinese people have more syncretic belief systems and practices than in other parts of the world.
  • Because the survey was administered online, there could have been additional pressure to identify as atheist as the Communist Party is officially atheist and surveils online communications.

“In other parts of the world, the survey is more uniformly understood. … In East Asia, the signals are more complex, but it still gives some insight.”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

(Image Credit: Fred Dufour/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images, via The New York Times)

Kenyan atheist society threatens legal action against government for failure to allow its registration
  • The Atheists in Kenya Society’s chairman says that despite his organization’s fulfillment of the requirements for registration with the government, it was denied.
  • The chairman claims that the deputy responsible for the registration of societies justified the exclusion by pointing to the Preamble of the Kenyan Constitution’s declaration of the supremacy of God.
  • Should the Society again be rejected and the matter taken to court, it will follow the same tack as the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, which won recognition in the spring.
“I visited their offices today and he told me that the Preamble of our Constitution recognises the supremacy of God. We reject this interpretation. The Bill of Rights fully protects Atheists and allows them to form an association.”
Read the full story at the Star.
(Image Credit: File photo of Milimani Law Courts, via The Star)
A Brazilian TV network agrees to broadcast religious freedom PSA following host’s anti-atheist comments.
  • Federal prosecutors took action after the incident in 2010, when host Jose Luiz Datena made the disparaging remarks suggesting atheists are more likely to commit crimes.
  • The Rede Bandeirantes network will run the piece on religious freedom 72 times until November.
  • Brazil’s constitution guarantees religious freedoms (including, in this case, freedom from religion), and intolerant speech can lead to fines or prison sentences for violators.

More on this story at BBC.

(Image Credit: BBC)

Recent Pew report on American religiosity finds Seattle has largest atheist proportion of the major U.S. metro areas.
  • According to the study, 10% of Seattle residents identify as atheist.
  • 52% of Seattleites identify as Christian (23% evangelical, 10% mainline).
  • 22% identified as “nothing in particular.”

More on this story at the Seattle Sun Times.

The Sunday Rounds

Visualizing the European migration surge, Arab atheism, Tokyo Pride, and more in today’s Rounds… Continue reading The Sunday Rounds