When it comes to freedom of religion, atheists don’t make the grade, for the obvious reason: they don’t have a religion. But does that mean that they should be persecuted?
But, according to Reuters, a recently released study by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), “unbelievers” suffer some of the most severe and brutal persecution, especially in Islamic countries. There are seven countries–Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan–where atheists can be executed.
But don’t think that the U.S. is any bastion of virtue when it comes to treatment of the nonbeliever.
The Freedom of Thought 2012 report points out laws and policies in the U.S. “which favor the religious and their organizations and treat atheists and humanists as outsiders.” The report sites “least seven U.S. states, where constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars an atheist from testifying as a witness at a trial.”
The report is being released today, U.N.’s Human Rights Day, to spotlight those groups who normally are not considered in the global discussion of human rights.