Friday, December 14, 2012

Where not to live

If the news reports today are anything to go by it is not a very good idea to live in random cities in America. Now I know that isn't very helpful advice, but at some point someone is going to have to decide that mass shootings aren't "random" (except for geography) and that they really are a pattern. As Jay Carney, the White House spokesman said earlier regarding raising the issue of gun control, "I think that day will come, but today's not that day, especially as we are awaiting more information about the situation," Well, if today isn't the day, when is it? When the Aurora shootings occurred in July the President also said that wasn't the time to debate gun control. Well, we haven't had that debate in the four months since, so when is the time?

But I digress, because it wasn't the issue of which city in the US to live that I wanted to write about today. No. I've made my peace with Boulder and, mass shootings or not, I'm here to stay. I did come across this nasty little article. Well, it's not the article that is nasty...just the content it is describing. And it is clearer to me now than it has ever been that there are some countries where it is simply unwise for me to visit.

I've written before about the problem of being an atheist in America and how I am part of the least trusted segment of society...even worse in public perception than being a rapist. It makes me proud. This report has just been published, and it is definitely worth reading. While the report mentions America, its main purpose is to highlight the abuse and persecution of atheists and non-believers around the world. It provides a list of shameful examples of countries who legislate against non-belief and it is an outrage. It should come as no surprise that the states where atheists can be put to death or imprisoned for their beliefs are all muslim countries.

Saudi Arabia
The Maldives

Is religious belief so fragile and tenuous that it requires those who reject it to be put to death or incarcerated? But the benefit of the report is in how it demonstrates how so many countries attempt to shackle unbelievers. From countries like Italy, where you can be imprisoned for blasphemy. Even in the US it lists those states where an atheist is prohibited from holding office or any elected position. 

It also casts light on the attempts of many Islamic states to impose blasphemy laws through the UN and bind every country in genuflection towards Islam. This is thought crime and it has no victim.

I have to admit that the list of countries that would execute or imprison me for my non-belief isn't exactly full of my "100 places to visit before I die" itinerary. But they represent to final drop off the slippery slope that starts with legislation to make criticism of religious belief a crime. Ideas, however distasteful, can never be a crime. Only actions are criminal.

1 comment:

  1. As I passed through Kansas, it was scary to read the religious billboards. When I got to Tennessee they were again reiterating the requirement to have prayer open government meetings and start football games. I'd like to say things seems better now that I am in NC, but can't really say that.