***Update***: FFRF informed me there was a mistake in their original press release. $10,000 was donated to Doctors Without Borders, not $100,000. I’ve corrected the amounts in the headline and post below. While the amount has changed, the things I said have not.
Back in August, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, through its charity Nonbelief Relief, donated $10,000 to help Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. That was followed by an additional $98,000 donation in September for victims of Hurricanes Irma (in Florida) and Maria (in Puerto Rico).
They’re now making another round of contributions, the result of an influx of donations from members who saw what they were doing and wanted to chip in.
There’s $10,000 going to Americares to help with Puerto Rican relief efforts.
There’s $2,500 — originally rejected (for what I’d say were legitimate reasons) by a Florida charity — going to the Atheists of Puerto Rico for their work assisting Hurricane Maria victims.
There’s $5,000 for an unnamed Bangladeshi atheist whose escaped the persecution back home and currently resides in Nepal with his family. (His story will be featured in FFRF’s December edition of Freethought Today.)
And there’s $10,000 to Doctors Without Borders to help relocate the Rohingya, the Muslim sect from Myanmar attempting to escape unimaginable religious persecution.
“What is happening to the Rohingya is a result of religious persecution,” says Annie Laurie Gaylor, who as FFRF’s co-president acts as administrator of Nonbelief Relief. “There should not be official or de facto national religions. In an ideal world, all governments would be secular, and religion would be an entirely private matter of conscience.”
There’s a nasty anti-atheist stereotype that says we want to force people to be atheists, or ban religion, or punish all religious thought. None of that’s true. We can hope for a world without religion while still defending freedom of thought.
This is a perfect example of that solidarity. If a religious group is being genuinely persecuted — and the atrocities against Rohingya are appalling — then we have to defend their rights too. It’s good to see a prominent atheist organization showing their support for religious people who are being slaughtered because of their thoughts.
Want to donate to Nonbelief Relief? You can do so right here.
(Image via Shutterstock)