October 2016 Church & State - October 2015

U.S. State Department Criticizes Blasphemy Laws

  AU admin

The U.S. State Department condemned anti-blasphemy laws and beliefs that continue to oppress citizens globally, especially in hardline Muslim countries.

Anti-blasphemy laws have long been the root of violence toward women and religious minorities, even leading to the imprisonment of many. In its annual religious freedom report, released Aug. 10, the State Department stated that “such laws conflict with and undermine universally recognized human rights.”

The report took note of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan and Mauritania as particularly high violators of human rights due to heavy penalties imposed on citizens who don’t abide by religious norms.

“False accusations, often lodged in pursuit of personal vendettas or for the personal gain of the accuser, are not uncommon,” the report read. “Mob violence as a result of such accusations is disturbingly common.”

David Saperstein, the State Department’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom, said that some U.S. states, alongside a quarter of the world’s 200 nations, still have anti-blasphemy laws on the books. They vary in severity. 


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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