Michael Nugent asks OSCE Human Rights meeting in Warsaw to oppose blasphemy laws

Statement made by Michael Nugent
Chairperson Atheist Ireland
To OSCE Human Rights Meeting
Warsaw, Poland, 1 October 2012

The OSCE has hosted events to specifically combat discrimination against Christians, Muslims and Jews. We request a similar event to specifically combat discrimination against atheists and agnostics.

For example, in Ireland, atheist parents are denied secular education for our children. We cannot become president or a judge in Ireland, because we have to swear a religious oath.

Eamon Gilmore, the current chair of the OSCE, is a member of the Irish Council of State. To take up this office he is obliged to swear an oath before a god that he personally does not believe in.

Our second recommendation is that the OSCE should strongly oppose all blasphemy laws.

The European Union and the Islamic States have recently insisted, in a joint statement, that we respect all religions and all prophets.

Respecting all prophets would mean respecting not only the prophets of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, but also respecting David Koresh at Waco, and David Icke who believes that George Bush is a space lizard.

This is clearly absurd. We can respect your right to believe, while not respecting the content of your beliefs. You have rights. Your beliefs do not. That is the essence of freedom of conscience.

I do not respect any belief about reality that is not based on sufficient evidence, and I do not respect any belief about morality that oppresses women, or gay people or other minorities.

Unsurprisingly, this recent EU statement has resulted in the Islamic States at the UN reintroducing their attempts to make blasphemy a crime internationally. The OSCE and all civilised states should oppose this attempt to move us backwards in terms of freedom of conscience.

If you would like to discuss how to combat this danger, please attend our side event at lunchtime in meeting room 3.

Atheist Ireland

4 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Alan Gartland October 01, 2012

    its time to stand up to religious bullying, if we in the west don’t, then what chance. do the opressed. have, in countries where there are no such freedoms. by not being allowed to speak. our minds on all subjects then they control us too, this we can never allow never!

  2. Avatar
    Atheist Ireland October 01, 2012

    The side event that we organised at the OSCE human rights meeting went very well. Former judge Catherine McGuiness was among the attendance, and she spoke about her surprise at the Irish blasphemy law being passed. We have videoed the event and we will get it up on YouTube later in the week. We have also made some very useful contacts for future lobbying.

  3. Avatar
    Feardorcha October 05, 2012

    “You have rights. Your beliefs do not.”
    Brilliant!

  4. Avatar
    Anna B McCabe October 07, 2012

    Just a little gripe, women are not a minority, although they suffer injustices like minority groups.

Atheist Ireland