Religion News Service photo by Brian Pellot
By Bob Churchill
Atheists, humanists and liberals are now the targets of hate campaigns, according to a new Freedom of Thought Report, which found that some countries find the idea of atheism as a popular movement a threat to the prevailing order.
The report by the International Humanist and Ethical Union demonstrates a shift away from viewing atheists, humanists and secular liberals as merely apostates.
For example: Saudi Arabia is no friend of human rights and punishes apostasy with death (or, more often, enforced recantation and Quranic learning). But in January, Saudi Arabia enacted a new law equating “atheism” in itself with “terrorism.”
Another example: In May, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak branded humanism and secularism, as well as liberalism, as “deviant.” To Najib, this combined secular worldview is a kind of “new religion.”
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