US House of Representatives Calls for the Global Repeal of Blasphemy, Heresy, and Apostasy Laws
House Resolution 512 Passes by Unanimous Consent
12/07/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the House of Representatives has adopted House Resolution 512, calling for the global repeal of blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws by unanimous consent. After years of discussion and advocacy from various groups and organizations, including ICC, the passage of the resolution sends a clear message to the world that the United States stands for religious freedom.
For decades, ICC has tracked cases where blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws are utilized to harass and discriminate against Christians. Much persecution is rooted in laws like these, which only encourage persecutors to continue launching attacks against Christians.
In 2009, a Pakistani Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was accused of blasphemy. Her case drew international attention, becoming perhaps the most famous blasphemy case in the world. She was sentenced to death and thrown in prison for nearly a decade, a portion of which was served on death row.
Last year, ICC hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill, during which congressional offices were provided the full scope of the problems that blasphemy, heresy, and apostasy laws create for Christians around the world. Experts from various organizations, including the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, participated in the event and highlighted more than 80 countries around the world that still have these oppressive laws on the books.
During the debate over the resolution, US Representative Ted Yoho remarked, “The United States has always been a leader when it comes to religious freedom. Today we have a chance to lead again and to tell the world that we will not stand for religious intolerance.”
“The resolution sends a clear message to countries that persecute Christians,” said Matias Perttula, ICC’s Director of Advocacy. “Countries like Pakistan and India use these laws to systematically oppress, persecute, marginalize, and discriminate against Christians simply because they have chosen to follow Jesus. The passage of this resolution is celebrated by ICC. ICC’s advocacy team worked tirelessly with close partners and allies, informing offices on Capitol Hill on the atrocities sanctioned by these laws. The US needed to make a clear stand on this issue and pass this resolution.”
It is time for all countries which still harbor these laws to take them down. Western countries that have these laws on the books—even if they are not enforced—only give credence to countries like Pakistan that enforce theirs to the most extreme degree. The passage of House Resolution 512 sends a clear signal to the world that the United States does not support blasphemy, heresy, or apostasy laws in any form.