The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act will not only protect the rights of the religious, but of the non-religious too and prevent harassment of atheists.
Atheists, humanists, and other freethinkers will finally be given official protection against harassment by the U.S. government. This has been made possible after U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act. The updated Act will not only benefit religious minorities in America, but will also enable the government to intervene in cases of persecution of religious minorities all over the world.
Proposal for the updating the bill came up in the light of increased Christian persecution around the world in recent times. There was a need felt among U.S. leaders that a bill needs to be passed which would enable them to intervene in such cases and fight against the persecution of minorities. The bill, named after former Congressman Frank R. Wolf for his bold advocacy for the rights of persecuted Christians will not only be limited to helping persecuted Christians, but also members from other minority communities.
The bill will even protect the rights of people to not believe in religion or to adhere to any belief system. The bill recognizes that people can be persecuted even for refusing to hold on to religious beliefs. The bill now states that:
“The freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well as the right not to profess or practice any religion.”
While this bill has existed since the time of Bill Clinton, the upgrades that the bill is seeing this time will make religious freedom a top priority in the federal government. This will make the issue of people suffering from religious persecution something that will be addressed more carefully and more urgently than before.
President Obama has signed into law an act protecting atheists, humanists, freethinkers from religious persecution https://t.co/uIqBLuPXGV
— James Honzik (@JamesHonzik) December 21, 2016
According to one of the bill’s co-sponsors, Oklahoma Republican Senator James Lankford, it’s America’s duty to do everything possible to ensure that religious freedom is safeguarded around the world. As a country that is a shining example of freedom and human rights, the senator believes that it is only right and that the U.S. should advocate for people’s rights to believe and think as per their own religious beliefs.
The bill is special because it clearly condemns the act of harassing people who are atheists, non-theist or otherwise non-religious. The bill recognizes that forcing non-believers to accept religious doctrines and to recant their opinions is also a form of religious persecution.
- Progressive Secular Humanist
- American Humanist Association
- The Christian Post
- Virtue Online