FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2019
USCIRF Statement on Introduction of House Resolution 512 on Blasphemy
WASHINGTON, DC - In response to the introduction this week by Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) and Mark Meadows (R-NC-11) of House Resolution 512 on blasphemy, heresy and apostasy laws, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Tony Perkins and Vice Chair Gayle Manchin issued the following statements:
“We applaud Representatives Raskin and Meadows for advocating for the repeal of these laws, which still exist in at least 70 countries around the world. Blasphemy laws, as is noted in the resolution, lead to religious intolerance, discrimination and violence. Charges can be based on false accusations and are often brought for sectarian or political purposes,” said Perkins. “Such laws are weaponized to target marginalized religious communities.”
“Widespread bipartisan support for this resolution will help to raise awareness of the egregious acts of persecution and violence that these laws legitimize. We echo the resolution’s call for all prisoners held on blasphemy, heresy, or apostasy charges to be released,” said Manchin.
USCIRF currently includes in its Religious Prisoners of Conscience Project several individuals who have been imprisoned on blasphemy or other similar charges. The Commission issued a Legislation Factsheet on Blasphemy and a comprehensive report on blasphemy laws called Respecting Rights? Measuring the World’s Blasphemy Laws.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Kellie Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-703-898-6554.