- Write Foreign Government Leaders
- Press U.S. Government Leaders
- Support the Freethought Emergency Fund
- Bring CFE to Your Community
- Raise Awareness at the Grassroots
While it is necessary that the public become educated about the moral and legal basis for the right to freedom of expression and about current threats to its existence, it is also important that the public act to promote and defend free expression. On this page you will find a collection of different ways in which you can take action—from writing to political leaders to helping raise social awareness. In all of your communications, please remember to mention the Center for Inquiry and the Campaign for Free Expression!
Write Foreign Leaders
The Cases featured on the Campaign for Free Expression website take root in many countries. You can urge foreign leaders of these countries to respect the right to freedom of expression and immediately grant freedom and protection to prisoners of conscience and dissidents by writing a brief, handwritten letter to each country’s Ambassador to the United States to ask that he or she convey your concerns to government officials in their home country: that freedom of religion, belief and expression be protected, and prisoners of conscience over matters of religion be released. Below is the contact information for all of the Ambassadors who represent countries which are featured on the Cases page.
Press the U.S. Government
Write your elected officials and the Obama administration to let them know that you care deeply about protecting the right to freedom of expression and want the U.S. government to take a strong stand for this right in the global arena.
Support the Freethought Emergency Fund
Islamic extremists reportedly linked to the same groups that claimed responsibility for the recent murders of Bangladeshi freethinkers Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman, and Ananta Bijoy Das, and Niloy Neel, are threatening the lives of a number of secularist writers, bloggers, and activists in the region. In order to assist individuals in escaping to safety, either temporarily or permanently, the Center for Inquiry has launched the Freethought Emergency Fund.
CFI will continue to raise funds for this important cause so that we can act quickly and decisively before another activist or writer is killed. Please give now so that we can help these courageous defenders of free expression and secularism.
Bring CFE to Your Community
Your community group can advance the cause of the Campaign for Free Expression any time of the year through events such as lectures, discussions, and public demonstrations. But, you and your group can also get involved right now with two particularly timely initiatives which we celebrate as part of the Campaign: Banned Books Week and International Blasphemy Rights Day.
Banned Books Week
Banned Books Week falls toward the end of September each year and raises awareness about the widespread censorship of books that some find to be offensive. The event is primarily coordinated by the American Library Assocation, with schools, libraries, and other organizations taking part to promote the free exchange of ideas. Here are some ways you can show your support for the cause:
- Invite an author of a banned book to give a talk to your group. If that’s not feasible, another great option is to invite a school librarian or other speaker to give a presentation on censorship, book banning, blasphemy, and/or free speech.
- Organize a Banned Books Readout in a public space. Invite group members and passers-by to read aloud sections from their favorite banned and challenged books.
- The Metro State Atheists at Metropolitan College of Denver came up with this service project idea: Food for Freethought. During Banned Books Week a few years ago, they gave away donated books to students on their campus who brought in non-perishable food items to be donated to a food bank. If you’re not connected with a campus group, see if you can team up with a local library for a similar project.
International Blasphemy Rights Day
International Blasphemy Rights Day (IBRD) was founded by CFI to commemorate the Danish Muhammad cartoons that incited riots on September 30, 2005. However, its significance has extended far beyond defending the right to publish blasphemous cartoons; with four Bangladeshi secularist bloggers murdered in 2015 alone, it’s more imperative than ever that we stand up for the ability to criticize religion and its effects without fear of retaliation. IBRD is a day to celebrate the right to free expression, and that no idea, even one considered by some to be sacred, is immune from criticism. Here are some ideas of how your group can take part:
- Invite a speaker who can talk about blasphemy laws and free expression issues around the world. Check out the CFI Speakers Bureau for ideas.
- Educate your community about blasphemy issues around the world by putting up an informative display in a local library or community center.
- Sponsor a bus and/or billboard campaign to advertise yours and other local freethought groups. Though this may not seem “blasphemous,” it’s a fact that many municipalities and transit authorities have refused to run these ads in light of them being considered “offensive.”
- Host a blasphemous art or cartoon contest. Keep in mind that blasphemous images can be more than just Muhammed—check out Piss Christ and these Charlie Hebdo covers as examples.
- Research speech ordinances in your municipality and find out if there are ones that inhibit free expression and assembly. If so, organize a coalition to lobby against them.
- Curious as to how to turn IBRD into a day of service? On the Sabbath (Sunday) preceding or following September 30th, your group can engage in a day of volunteer work; after all, in Exodus 31:15 it says, “For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, holy to the Lord; whoever does any work on the sabbath day shall surely be put to death.”
Need more ideas for Banned Books Week or International Blasphemy Rights Day, or else the Campaign for Free Expression? Contact the CFI Outreach department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help Raise Awareness
Many of the stories mentioned on this website or elsewhere have not garnered local, national, or international media attention. We need to change that. How? Here are a couple of ideas:
- Post about the Campaign on Twitter with the hashtag #CFICFE.
- Share news articles, videos, and other materials regarding the Campaign on Facebook.
- Write posts about the Campaign on your blog or website.
- Pen a letter to the editor in your local newspaper.
- Organize an event in your community.
Need assistance? Email email@example.com.