Aan Update

Alexander Aan is in prison. His crime was questioning the existence of God on facebook. For this non-offense, he was sentenced to two years in prison in his home country of Indonesia. His case is the perfect example of why it’s important for secularists (from both atheist and theist camps) to speak out against theocracy. Blasphemy is a victimless crime.

He’s written a letter from prison to express his appreciation for the movement to get him released from prison. I’m not optimistic, but it’s nice to see that we can at least do some good for him. If you want to send support:

Atheist Alliance International is very active on this issue, and will forward messages of support to Alex if you email info [at] atheistalliance [dot] org with “Message for Alex” in the subject line.

It doesn’t matter what religion you are, you should be free to believe as you like. Talking about your faith can never be a crime, and governments cannot legislate belief. Alexander Aan is the innocent victim of a loathsome government. Let him (and your government representatives?) know how you feel.

Legislating Belief

In my previous post, I made the claim that laws mandating belief cannot succeed in making people believe; all they can do is require people to claim to believe. Here’s proof of that.

“[Alexander Aan]  has been sentenced to two and a half years in jail and fined $10,598 for professing his atheism on the internet, Al Jazeera has reported.”

For arguing about the validity of religious claims, he’s going to prison for 2.5 years. Why? Because the Indonesian constitution demands that all citizens follow a religion, and if you appear to be trying to deconvert anyone there, you are committing a crime. I wonder how the Pastafarian defense would play out there? Somehow I doubt they’d be amused. This is what theocracy looks like—if you disagree with the government, you go to jail.

The Friendly Atheist blog has more, including information about how to contact Indonesian authorities and how to donate to Aan’s legal defense fund.