United Nations Human Relations Council Death Penalty Resolution

On Sept. 29, 2017, the United Nations Human Relations Council passed a resolution condemning the use of the death penalty for instances of blasphemy, apostasy, adultery and consensual same gender sexual relations. It also called for an end of the use of the death penalty based on race, ethnicity and mental or intellectual disabilities.

The Social Action Committee of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (CSJO), a federation of North American organizations and individual members dedicated to the continuity of the Jewish people and to their culture, denounces the decision of the United States to vote against this U.N. resolution. 

Our organization, as well as the individual affiliate groups and associate members, could easily be accused of blasphemy and apostasy. Many of us, as humanists, speak irreverently or critically of the idea of a supernatural higher power (blasphemy) and many of us, as secularists, have abandoned a strict adherence to religion (apostasy). Our organization also welcomes and consists of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations and we wholeheartedly reject the idea that homosexuality is a punishable offense in any way, let alone punishable by death.

The Social Action Committee of CSJO asserts that this decision to vote against the U.N. resolution does not represent our values as an organization and is a negative and destructive mark on the reputation of the United States. We urge our members and affiliates to speak out against state-sanctioned acts of homophobia and discrimination and support the right to individual nontheistic and religious beliefs.