Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

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Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#1  Postby Aca » Dec 10, 2014 3:47 pm

Non-religious people are being targeted by “hate campaigns” in countries around the world, as a distinct minority group, the latest edition of the Freedom of Thought Report has found.

The report claims that the “hate speech” against atheists does not come exclusively from reactionary or radical religious leaders, but increasingly from political leaders, including heads of state.

Published today (10 December) by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), the Freedom of Thought Report states: “In 2014, in addition to laws such as those targeting “apostasy” and “blasphemy”, we have seen a marked increase in specific targeting of “atheists” and “humanism” as such, using these terms in a broadly correct way (the users know what they are saying) but with intent clearly borne of ignorance or intolerance toward these groups.”


full article and free download of report (country by country analysis) here

http://iheu.org/fot14/

How did your country score?

Mine - "Rating: Severe Discrimination"
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#2  Postby Sendraks » Dec 10, 2014 3:58 pm

Surprising to see the US doing better than the UK. That said, the findings are somewhat hyperbolic.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#3  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Dec 10, 2014 4:07 pm

No shit. I don't feel sufficiently sorry for myself to be passing this report around. Being an atheist, while causing some people to hate me upon finding out, has inconvenienced me at worst. Yeah, being disliked for something like atheism is a bummer but let's not pretend we're being tarred and feathered or even harassed off the internet in significant numbers for atheism.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#4  Postby Varangian » Dec 10, 2014 4:14 pm

Hmm... Sweden was listed as having "systemic discrimination", which translated as the requirement to pay the "church tax" if you are a member of the Church of Sweden. Non-members don't have to pay, and people are leaving the CoS in the thousands each year, plus that many newborns aren't baptised and made members, either.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#5  Postby Sendraks » Dec 10, 2014 4:18 pm

While the analysis of findings might be hyperbolic, I'm not massively encouraged by what this report does say. Maybe I'd be a little more cheery about it if it was presented in the context of how things were ten years ago or twenty or whatever, just so I could see if their view is one of an improving or worsening picture.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#6  Postby Ironclad » Dec 10, 2014 4:19 pm

Aca, how does this Severe Discrimination manifest?
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#7  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 10, 2014 4:30 pm

Sendraks wrote:While the analysis of findings might be hyperbolic, I'm not massively encouraged by what this report does say. Maybe I'd be a little more cheery about it if it was presented in the context of how things were ten years ago or twenty or whatever, just so I could see if their view is one of an improving or worsening picture.

It does have little arrows next to each country, telling you if it's getting better or worse.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#8  Postby Sendraks » Dec 10, 2014 4:39 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:
Sendraks wrote:While the analysis of findings might be hyperbolic, I'm not massively encouraged by what this report does say. Maybe I'd be a little more cheery about it if it was presented in the context of how things were ten years ago or twenty or whatever, just so I could see if their view is one of an improving or worsening picture.

It does have little arrows next to each country, telling you if it's getting better or worse.


Blimey, so it does for some countries, but not all.
I'm also reflecting on the analysis for some nations (such as the UK), where my initial thought was that the findings were somewhat hyperbolic. I'm now wondering to what extent I've either institutionalised various discriminations against the non-religious or simply not been exposed to them, thus wrongly concluding the finding of the report is somewhat sensationalised.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#9  Postby Aca » Dec 10, 2014 4:49 pm

Ironclad wrote:Aca, how does this Severe Discrimination manifest?


We are protected by the constitution, so freedom to be an atheist or humanist is not in question.

I think that they (IHEU) look at the legal system and social/cultural/administrative workings of the government.

In Malta, Church is everywhere. They run schools, orphanages, shelters. They have their own bank. Business close to the church all work with this bank. Church people (or even more importantly people that were educated in church schools, Jesuits in particular) are in almost ever position of power in the country.

Second article of the maltese constitution officially recognizes RCC as a religion of the country and gives the church the "right and duty" to teach rights from wrong. Criminal law also contains fines and punishments for blasphemy, which are heavier if you offend RCC than if you offend any other "cult".

I am openly atheist and never had any problem with anyone. Malta Humanist Association is operating rather well with limited resources and lot of stigma that exist in the society against crowd that is not "in", at least culturally.

We are currently in the state of backlash because current government is giving full right to gay & trans-gender people (by actually asking LGBT groups to help write laws that concern them) and religious-heads are exploding everywhere :D

on the other hand, even the most liberal party (greens) are staunchly against abortion. You can not have a conversation about abortion, not even start one before it turns into "baby killers" shouting feast...
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#10  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 10, 2014 5:22 pm

Sendraks wrote:
I'm With Stupid wrote:
Sendraks wrote:While the analysis of findings might be hyperbolic, I'm not massively encouraged by what this report does say. Maybe I'd be a little more cheery about it if it was presented in the context of how things were ten years ago or twenty or whatever, just so I could see if their view is one of an improving or worsening picture.

It does have little arrows next to each country, telling you if it's getting better or worse.


Blimey, so it does for some countries, but not all.
I'm also reflecting on the analysis for some nations (such as the UK), where my initial thought was that the findings were somewhat hyperbolic. I'm now wondering to what extent I've either institutionalised various discriminations against the non-religious or simply not been exposed to them, thus wrongly concluding the finding of the report is somewhat sensationalised.

Well obviously you could argue with the language used. And the other issue is, of course, that it's an all or nothing thing. If you get one category in the red, then that's your label. Vietnam get a red because it's not a democratic country. But in all other aspects, there is no discrimination against non-religious people or favouring of established religions. There's no stigma at all about being non-religious.

But yeah, you do often take things for granted. In the UK, for example, your tax money goes towards religious instruction of children, primarily in the CofE or Catholic faiths, but not exclusively. There institutions are legally allowed to discriminate when hiring teachers (even teachers of subjects other than religion) and in student admissions, which particularly affects non-religious teachers and teachers of minority faiths (religious schools represent a third of the schools in the UK, so that's a lot of potential jobs they might be overlooked for). To me, discrimination in large-scale government-owned and funded institutions would fit the criteria for systemic discrimination. If it was legal for schools to favour certain racial groups when hiring, you'd certainly think so. It's just that it's been the norm for so long, nobody thinks about it. Even the religious groups think they're being discriminated against when these privileges are removed, because they've got so used to them.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#11  Postby OlivierK » Dec 11, 2014 5:23 am

I think hyperbolic is a reasonable accusation. For example in Australia, it find that atheists are systematically discriminated against because the state funds religious private schools. But the state also funds non-religious private schools, so I'm struggling to see where the discrimination is supposed to be. If you run a school, you get a certain amount of per-student funding, and need to satisfy a truckload of conditions, none of which have a religious element, to get it.

Yes, Parliament is opened with the Lord's Prayer, and yes, it shouldn't be, but as an Australian atheist I give very few fucks about that.

We also get marked down for having laws against hate speech that include hate speech against adherents of a religion as a whole. The silly fucks think that banning saying "Jews are all thieving scum; if you meet one, bash them!" on the radio is a blasphemy law. Idiots.

In Australia, you're more likely to be treated as a bit odd if you're religious than discriminated against as an atheist.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#12  Postby Rachel Bronwyn » Dec 11, 2014 6:17 am

This "report" just stinks of persecution complex.
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Atheists Under Attack Worldwide Says International Report

#13  Postby DoctorE » Dec 11, 2014 11:38 am

According to a new report, the Freedom of Thought report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), atheists and humanists are increasingly being targeted around the world by religious and political leaders. The report states “hate campaigns” are singling out atheists and humanists as the cause of civil unrest and a danger to society, according to the Independent.

“In 2014, in addition to laws such as those targeting ‘apostasy’ and ‘blasphemy’, we have seen a marked increase in specific targeting of ‘atheists’ and ‘humanism’ as such, using these terms in a broadly correct way (the users know what they are saying) but with intent clearly borne of ignorance or intolerance toward these groups.”

Reuters reports the study pointed to “hate campaigns” launched by public figures against those who renounce the dominant or state religion in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and Egypt. It said “the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers” as set out in U.N. treaties, adding that 13 states, all of them Muslim, had made apostasy or blasphemy against religion a capital offense.

In some countries such as Russia, where communist ideology has been replaced by Orthodox Christianity, any public expression of atheist views can be equated with blasphemy and criminalized.

Continues: http://www.inquisitr.com/1669912/atheis ... al-report/
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Re: Atheists Under Attack Worldwide Says International Report

#14  Postby Sendraks » Dec 11, 2014 11:40 am

"One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion." - Arthur C Clarke

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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#15  Postby bert » Dec 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Promote rational thought on religion by telling other people to download this free booklet. Read it yourself and you may well learn new arguments and a new approach to debunk religion
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#16  Postby OlivierK » Dec 13, 2014 9:28 pm

It would be interesting to see this study done by people with a clue.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#17  Postby epepke » Dec 13, 2014 9:49 pm

I'm With Stupid wrote:If it was legal for schools to favour certain racial groups when hiring, you'd certainly think so. It's just that it's been the norm for so long, nobody thinks about it. Even the religious groups think they're being discriminated against when these privileges are removed, because they've got so used to them.


This is an important point, not only for this small issue but for much broader issues as well. The most basic and most important function of the human brain is getting used to things. One manifestation of this is that what happens in another culture is always more notable and easy to spot than one that happens in your own. This is one of the reasons that traveling and being exposed to other cultures is a good thing.

I'm from and live in the US, but I've spent a lot of time in the UK. Being in either culture offers me the opportunity to look critically at the other. I can believe that the UK and US rank about the same. People in the UK are just used to things. People in the US may sometimes be more defensive of the US (though with UKIP I'm not so sure any more), but we're also much more self-critical. Brits claim to be self-critical, but they really aren't, except for subjects like British Rail, which is really quite good.

I remember 20 years ago on atheist USENET fora when Brits would keep going on about all that wierdness that happens in the US, and when I pointed out that the same things were happening in the UK but a little bit behind. There was a lot of British pooh-poohing with respect to that. Of course, in the subsequent years, the UK has gotten worse than the US was, and so has the US.

There are also things involving Britain and religion that the US hasn't had for a couple of hundred years, such as Northern Ireland and problems attendant thereto.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#18  Postby Greyman » Dec 14, 2014 4:04 am

OlivierK wrote:
I think hyperbolic is a reasonable accusation.
For example in Australia, it find that atheists are systematically discriminated against because the state funds religious private schools. But the state also funds non-religious private schools, so I'm struggling to see where the discrimination is supposed to be. If you run a school, you get a certain amount of per-student funding, and need to satisfy a truckload of conditions, none of which have a religious element, to get it.

Well, there are also the Chaplaincy program and Religious Instruction issues in state schools; and how secular equivalents have been blocked by the government.

But overall, I'd say the report correct that there is a systemic "respect for religion" down under. It's a lot less than it used to be, but there is still a lot of pandering to Christian voter blocks by both our major parties.

However, that is not quite the same thing as "discriminating against no religion". Equating them does a disservice to people in countries where it's a greater issue. The difference should be highlighted, not blurred.
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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#19  Postby I'm With Stupid » Dec 14, 2014 7:47 am

epepke wrote:I remember 20 years ago on atheist USENET fora when Brits would keep going on about all that wierdness that happens in the US, and when I pointed out that the same things were happening in the UK but a little bit behind. There was a lot of British pooh-poohing with respect to that. Of course, in the subsequent years, the UK has gotten worse than the US was, and so has the US.

We can't be having that.

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Re: Freedom of Thought 2014 report is out

#20  Postby Strontium Dog » Dec 14, 2014 7:49 am

Atheists, humanists and liberals targets of hate campaigns


Yeah, it's called the "Uk Coalition watch" thread.
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