Religious freedom advocates need to speak out on Bangladesh killings (COMMENTARY)

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Activists with flaming torches shout during a street march in Dhaka on November 2, 2015. The night time protest was held in response to the recent murder of Faysal Arefin, a publisher of books by critics of religious militancy in Bangladesh, as well as the murders of secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years. Picture taken on November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FIDALGO-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Nov. 12, 2015.

Activists with flaming torches shout during a street march in Dhaka on November 2, 2015. The night time protest was held in response to the recent murder of Faysal Arefin, a publisher of books by critics of religious militancy in Bangladesh, as well as the murders of secularist writers in Bangladesh in recent years. Picture taken on November 2, 2015. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Ashikur Rahman *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FIDALGO-COLUMN, originally transmitted on Nov. 12, 2015.

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(RNS) We have heard little to nothing from many of the major American conservative religious organizations that claim to care so deeply about religious freedom. And make no mistake, these murders are as ferocious an assault on religious freedom as one can find.

  • Larry

    Because these “Religious Freedom” organizations are really a front for support of legalized discrimination and Christian privilege. People who frequently call atheists “immoral”, “tools of Satan” or claim they deserve no civil liberties.
    We see plenty of nonsense from those who automatically equate secular government (the founding principle of our 1st Amendment religious freedom) with cults of personality by autocratic dictators.

    Lets be honest these organizations have more in common with the people doing the killings than its victims.

    People actually concerned with religious freedom have spoken out about the issue
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daylightatheism/2015/03/bangladesh-is-killing-atheists/

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/american-atheist-blogger-hacked-to-death-in-bangladesh

    http://religionnews.com/2015/05/12/third-atheist-blogger-is-killed-in-bangladesh/

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  • The Great God Pan

    These killings have not been ignored only by conservative Christians, but also by progressive Christians (*) and the so-called faitheist crowd. To call attention to “oppressed” religious extremists slaughtering secularists (aka the foot soldiers of Western imperialism, according to social justice rhetoric) just doesn’t serve the dominant narrative among the Millennial Left. In that narrative, it is the religious (especially Muslims) who are endangered by “militant” secularism! (**)

    (*) Within a day of Avijit Roy being murdered and his wife maimed, a progressive Christian blogger at RNS tweeted that atheists are never physically assaulted by religious people. The tweet remained up for at least a month but has since apparently been deleted.

    (**) See the recent furor in the UK over human rights campaigner Maryam Namazie supposedly representing a physical danger to Muslims.

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  • Joseph carson

    What, specifically, do you desire which specific organizations to do or say?

    Hawe you explicitly requested them to do so? If so, what was their response?

    Like it or not, “carrots and sticks” is a valid tactic with them – you need to increase the cost to them, in terms of their own agendas, of their bystanding and/or increase the benefit to them, in terms fo their own agendas, of not bystanding.

    Joe Carson, PE

  • Lynn

    Perhaps you need to look a little wider first. I’ve seen no attention grabbing articles about this in the NY Times, Washington Post, or LA Times. For that matter, there’s been only a brief mention on the BBC news summary podcasts, and certainly nothing to indicate the extent of the disaster.

    In the meantime, might I suggest that your sneering at people is not a great way to elicit support. I realize it’s an accurate reflection of your feelings, but it’s simply not productive. Unless, of course, your goal is to claim the moral high ground rather than get support.

  • Larry

    Actually it was really more or less an attack on various conservative groups which claim to be “protecting religious freedom”. The reality is they advocate sectarian discrimination. The very opposite of religious freedom.