Obama Signs Bill Protecting Atheists And Humanists From Persecution

It was an amendment to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

via Twitter

Throughout the world, many minority religious groups are forced to live in fear because of their beliefs. Christians face persecution in Myanmar, Jews and Zoroastrians face harsh punishment in Iran, and it’s treasonous to believe in anything but the supreme leader in North Korea. Now, the group that scratches its head in disbelief while watching all of this insanity has been extended freedom from religious persecution: atheists.

Last Friday, President Obama signed a bill amending the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRFA) to include non-theists, humanists, and atheists. The IRFA established a watchdog commission to report on abuses of religious freedom throughout the world. The bill now condemns the “the specific targeting of non-theists, humanists, and atheists because of their beliefs.”

One place the watchdog group should take a look is America where 13 states have laws that prohibit atheists from holding public office. Globally, there are thirteen countries in which atheists can be denied the right to marry, have their citizenship revoked or be killed because of their beliefs. According to the the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), non-believers in Islamic countries face “the most severe — sometimes brutal — treatment at the hands of the state and adherents of the official religion.”

Obama’s decision to extend protection to atheists was applauded by the American Humanist Association, which spent four years lobbying for the change. “The American Humanist Association is proud to see this historic legislation signed into law and looks forward to working with the US Department of State to ensure religious liberty for non-theists and religious minorities abroad,” Roy Speckhardt, executive the director of the American Humanist Association said in a statement. “That non-theists are now recognized as a protected class is a significant step toward full acceptance and inclusion for non-religious individuals, who are still far too often stigmatized and persecuted around the world.”


Seventy-five years ago, on January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.

Auschwitz was the deadliest of Nazi Germany's 20 concentration camps. From 1940 to 1945 of the 1.3 million prisoners sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died. That figure includes 960,000 Jews, 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans.

The vast majority of the inmates were murdered in the gas chambers while others died of starvation, disease, exhaustion, and executions.

Keep Reading
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading
via Stu Hansen / Twitter

In a move that feels like the subject line of a spam email or the premise of a bad '80s movie, online shopping mogul Yusaku Maezawa is giving away money as a social experiment.

Maezawa will give ¥1 million yen ($9,130) to 1,000 followers who retweeted his January 1st post announcing the giveaway. The deadline to retweet was Tuesday, January 7.

Keep Reading