I write without fear of execution.
Not all are so lucky.
I’ll lead with the opening paragraph of Michael De Dora’s harrowing 2016 article in Religion Dispatches:
If you’ve seen any news headline on Bangladesh in Western media over the past 15 months, odds are strong the headline included the phrase “hacked to death”: Writer hacked to death outside a book fair. Blogger hacked to death on his way to work. LGBT activists hacked to death in their apartment.
Hacked to death.
Think about that.
I live in a country where a tiny paragraph known as the First Amendment lets me express just about any thought I wish. I write not in hiding but from the comfort and safety of my living room. The worst consequence I face for speaking my mind might be the loss of a friend or two, possibly a client. Imprisonment? Execution? They are to me all but incomprehensible.
I am not content to sit here idly appalled. I am doing my part to help people who live where free speech is a capital offense. I support the Center for Inquiry’s Secular Rescue program:
Secular Rescue is a program of the Center for Inquiry designed to provide emergency assistance to writers, bloggers, publishers, and activists who face threats due to their beliefs or expressions regarding religion.
Even in the United States, there are geographic pockets where being Jewish, Muslim, or a non-believer is downright risky. One of the best ways to ensure religious persecution in the U.S. remains abhorrent is not to become inured to it—not to permit it—elsewhere in the world.
Moreover, lives are lives, no matter where victims live. If you would like to help save lives, I urge you to click here to learn more about supporting CFI’s Secular Rescue program.