Obama Signs Law Protecting Atheists And Humanists From Religious Persecution

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President Barack Obama signs law
President Barack Obama signs law

President Barack Obama signed on Friday a law amending the international religious freedom act to extend protections against persecution to people with non-religious beliefs. The religious freedom act, which originally provided protection from persecution to people holding religious beliefs, now provides protection against persecution to people with non-religious beliefs, such as agnosticism, atheism, and humanism.

The new legislation, H.R. 1150, signed by the president on December 16, 2016, amends the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to include protections for people with non-theistic beliefs and worldviews. It also protects individual and group rights not to profess or practice any religion at all.

The Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA) had established the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a watchdog that monitors and reports on violations of religious freedom in countries around the world, such as Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, and Vietnam, where minority religious groups, such as Christians, Jews and Baha’is, have faced persecution in recent years, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.

“This bill amends the IRFA to state that the freedom of thought and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well…”

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama signs new law protecting atheists from religious persecution. [Image by J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images]

The new legislation, named after a former GOP Congressman from Virginia, who introduced the original version in 1997, was passed with bipartisan support. It states explicitly, for the first time, that the “freedom of thought, conscience, and religion” applies to religious as well as to non-religious people.

The bill further condemns “the specific targeting of non-theists, humanists, and atheists because of their beliefs” and declares it to be a form of religious persecution.

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Obama Signs Law Protecting Atheists And Humanists From Religious Persecution is an article from: The Inquisitr News