Bring the Campaign for Free Expression to Your Campus

August 13, 2012

Are there topics you shouldn’t be allowed to discuss?

Some governments and institutions—and even some individuals—want to keep certain topics off limits.  This is especially true with religion.  In many places, discussions and questions about religion are discouraged, even punished.  But how can we come to our own conclusions about religion if we can’t freely examine and discuss it?

The Campaign for Free Expression is a CFI initiative to focus efforts and attention on one of the most crucial components of freethought: the right of individuals to express their viewpoints, opinions, and beliefs about all subjects—especially religion.

Various United Nations bodies, including the UN’s Human Rights Council, have recently adopted resolutions condemning so-called “defamation” of religion.  These resolutions lend credibility to efforts to suppress dissent and criticism, especially in Islamic countries, but Western European countries are also debating, or have already instated, laws that would criminalize religiously offensive statements.  For example, Ireland recently enacted a new blasphemy law that prohibits publication of material “insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion.”

CFI believes we must increase public awareness of these threats to freedom of expression, discuss and develop plans to prevent curtailment of free expression, and demonstrate that people care about their rights to free expression and are eager to exercise them.

Students and campus groups are invited to bring the Campaign for Free Expression to their campus. This can include holding events on or around International Blasphemy Rights Day, during Banned Books Week, or at any time throughout the duration of the Campaign.

Resources are available online to help your campus group get involved with the Campaign! If you are interested in volunteering as an individual, you can join the CFI campus Activism Committee and help defend the right to free expression on a national or international level. E-mail oncampus@centerforinquiry.net to get involved.