In a letter to the editor in the latest edition of the National Secular Society’s very excellent Newsline, Raymond Carlise writes:
I have considered Edward Conduit’s appeal to sign the petition in defence of the Indonesian atheist who has been jailed for saying there is no God, but have concluded that I cannot sign [the] Avaaz petition for Alex.
There may well be no God for Alex, as for you or for me. With the Indonesians however it’s evidently a different matter. The limits of subjectivity and of objectivity have to be recognized.
Hmm. But isn’t Alex also an Indonesian? What about his culture and opinion? Or does that not count?
This is the same racist cultural relativism that sees the ‘other’ as one and the same with the state and established religious institutions that oppresses them and ignores and justifies violations of rights and freedoms at the expense of countless dissenters such as Alex.
Raymond would never hold such appallingly low standards for himself – after all, the Church of England is the established church and the queen, its head. There are bishops in the House of Lords and prayers in parliament, councils and schools. The UK is not a secular society by any means so whilst Raymond may be a secularist or atheist – if I may paraphrase his words – ‘with the British however it’s evidently a different matter’…
How dare he not defend Alex and worse still justify this lack of empathy and basic human solidarity by hiding behind a racist notion that ‘Indonesians’ are different and deserve less.
If the world was filled with people who thought this way, we’d still have slavery, racial apartheid and women without the right to vote.
Thankfully that is not the case.
Alex, a young civil servant, has been sentenced to two and a half years merely for saying there is no god on facebook. The case is being appealed by Islamists who think the sentence is too short!
Secularists everywhere must be at the forefront of defending him. If you haven’t done so already, do it now.
Write to the Indonesian authorities here and demand his release.
We must not and cannot leave Alex alone.
I just won’t allow it.