Sunday, April 15, 2007

Atheist rights

With thanks to Hank Fox and John Wilkins for starting and editing the Atheist Declaration of Rights.

I also agree with John Pieret's comment on John Wilkin's blog that "equal time" may be hard to calculate/enforce. Does every kind of religion get "equal time?" That can get very messy.

Katylava's comment on Hank Fox's blog about being able to establish tax-exempt organizations to promote secular values is covered in paragraph 4.

So, I would take out the first sentence of paragraph #3, start the next sentence with "The nonreligious" instead of "They."

Nonreligious Declaration of Rights

1. Freedom from Fear and Hate:
In every part of a secular society, the nonreligious have the right to live free of fear for their personal safety, their homes, pets and possessions. The nonreligious have the right to be safe from public hate speech and vilification.

2. Freedom of Speech:
The nonreligious have the right to freely speak of atheism in public, or to publicly display characteristic messages or symbols, without fear of repercussion, in the same degree that religious speakers enjoy.

3. Equal Time:
The nonreligious have the right to equal time with religious voices on any public issue. They The nonreligious have the right to equal and open airing of their convictions, views and concerns, and to participate in any public discussion of morality, ethics or social issues, to the exact degree that religious voices are invited to speak. The nonreligious have the right to equal time to respond, on any stage or medium, anytime non-religiousness is covered in a negative light. The nonreligious have the right to equal access to media in order to weigh in on science, medicine, social policy, political campaigns, etc., and to receive respect equal to that given religious voices.

4. Equal Rights:
The nonreligious have equal rights in the work environment, in voting, in running for public office, in serving on juries or any other public or social/civic duty. The nonreligious have the right to be free from religious discrimination in the seeking of housing or jobs.

The nonreligious have the right to join any civic or educational organization that people of religion can join, without discrimination.

Nonreligious organizations have the right to public resources, information or publicity on an equal basis with religious groups. Nonreligious organizations aimed at good works have a right to the same sort of tax advantages that religious organizations have.

The nonreligious have the right to decline to take part in religious ceremonies, and to refuse religious oaths, without fear of reprisal or disenfranchisement. Nonreligious soldiers have the right to claim conscientious objector status on an equal footing with those of any religious persuasion.

5. Equal Representation:
The nonreligious have the right as taxpayers to know that tax money intended for public works and charities is not diverted to bolster the coffers or support the sectarian message of any church or religious group. The nonreligious have the right to government free of religious influence, schools free of religious coercion, and courthouses free of religious oaths.

6. Religious Freedom:
The nonreligious, like all citizens, have the right to be free of religious proselytizing in captive public environments such as schools, courthouses, and public sporting events.

All people, including minor teens, have the right to express religious preferences – including atheism – different from any historic religious tradition without fear of reprisal from family, social or political group, tribe, church, or government.

7. Family Integrity:
Nonreligious parents have the right to expect that their children will be safe from harassment and prejudice when away from home. They have the right to expect that their children will not be singled out for ridicule or aggressive religious proselytizing.

The nonreligious and their children have the right to freedom from religious proselytizing, baptizing, involuntary conversion practices or invasive medical procedures in any venue such as hospitals, emergency medical or senior care facilities.

The nonreligious have the right to NOT have their words or deeds rewritten after their deaths through stories of deathbed conversions.

8. Scientific Integrity:
The nonreligious, like all citizens, have the right to expect that publicly-funded scientific research is carried out by scientific principles rather than religious ones, and that medical research and decisions should be informed by science and reason rather than religion.


Anonymous said...

Atheists Rights? Isn't that an oxymoron?
If there is no god, there are no inherent 'rights', why should you have any? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Why do you believe rights are inherent only by dint of a supreme being? That same rationale has been used to justify superior rights for different groups (e.g. divine right of kings, of one race over others, etc.). So what god requires as an inherent right wholly depends on the religion or the person who claims to speak for god. It's all made up anyhow.
"Inherent rights" are admittedly a vague basis giving rise to rights, but it seems inherent (something everyone can agree with and that the Founding Fathers ascribed to) that the more personal the right, self-government, freedom of belief, association, privacy, the more individuals should be entitled to it.
A lot of religion makes sense if you strip away the supernatural explanations for it. God or no god it still makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Your response is curious. You appeal to things that 'make sense' and 'entitled'. Yet these terms are nonsense as is everything else if there is no god. Life is a random chemical accident, leading to nowhere and ultimately meaningless with no such thing as 'sense'.
Evolution suggests that life is based on the survival of the fittest, and 'rights' are inherent in 'might'. There is nothing 'wrong' with that, since 'wrong' in a moral sense cannot exist. Therefore rights will (in your philosophy) be soley related to those in power giving or taking whatever 'rights' it deems appropriate at the time. Rights are no more 'real' than is the afterlife. All assuming that no god exists.

Anonymous said...

Non-religious and Atheist are two different things.

drd said...

The headline of this thread is "Atheists Rights"
so, whoever said "non-religious and Atheist are two different things" is correct, but totally off point.

This is a blog about atheists. I have pointed out the absurdity in the position. Your observation that non-religious is different is a non-sequitur and has no baring.