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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Petition to free Alexander Aan

I had no idea that the White House had established a web site specifically to host petitions. Some of them are quite wacky, but the one I got an email from CFI (the Center for Inquiry) about today is very worthy:
Call upon the Indonesian government to respect the freedom and dignity of all its citizens and to free Alexander Aan. 
Earlier this year, Indonesian civil servant Alexander Aan posted on Facebook that he doubted the existence of God. He was then attacked and beaten by an angry mob, and arrested for blasphemy. 
On June 14, Aan was convicted of “disseminating information aimed at inciting religious hatred or hostility,” sentenced to 30 months in prison, and saddled with a large fine. Now many Indonesians are calling for his death. 
By punishing Aan, Indonesia is violating its obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees every person the rights to freedom of belief and expression. We petition the Obama administration to call upon the Indonesian government to immediately release Alexander Aan and improve its protections for religious dissidents and nonbelievers.
There can be no freedom of religion where there is no right to be non-religious. When simply admitting that you don't share the religious beliefs of the majority amounts to blasphemy, it's effectively illegal to not believe. This petition has a long way to go, and I don't know whether it will do any good. But it's simple to sign, so please do!

4 comments:

  1. Gretchen, do you think that the petition will amount to anything? I can't think of a single instance during my life where one made a difference.

    And, although its wrong to punish someone for belief, or disbelief, I thought that you would share the belief that its also wrong to tell other nations what to do.

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  2. I said in the post that I don't know whether it will do any good. And this isn't "telling other nations what to do"-- it's making a statement about an injustice happening in another nation. It's the difference between "I think what you're doing is wrong" and "I'm going to force you to do otherwise." Quite a basic concept, really.

    And if you can't think of an instance in your life when a petition has made a difference, try following Change.org. Petitions run by them make changes all the time.

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  3. Done. Although I doubt that the Indonesian government or the vast majority of its Muslim citizens give a shit what I or any other infidel Americans think.

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  4. Done. Although I doubt that the Indonesian government or the vast majority of its Muslim citizens give a shit what I or any other infidel Americans think.

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