For the first time, atheists and other nonreligious persons are explicitly named as a class protected by the law.

President Barack Obama has signed into law the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act. The new law protects atheists, humanists, and other freethinkers around the world from religious persecution.

Congress passed the international religious freedom bill protecting atheists, humanists, and other non-theists last week with overwhelming bipartisan support, and Obama signed the legislation into law last Friday, Dec. 16.

The new law explicitly protects atheists, humanists, and other non-theists, and upgrades the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. In particular, the new law states:

The freedom of thought, conscience, and religion is understood to protect theistic and non-theistic beliefs as well as the right not to profess or practice any religion.

/Progressive Secular Humanist, Obama Signs New Law Giving Protection To Atheists

I am surprised how much relief I feel that this is a law now, and I am greatly heartened to hear this passed with “overwhelming bipartisan support”.

I am relieved especially for the beleaguered Muslim population here in the states.  But I am also relieved for me. Being an atheist has always been a very dangerous thing in some parts of the country. Maybe people who have always lived in more liberal areas don’t realize how dangerous? It’s good to at least have a law in place. It’s nothing if it’s not enforced, of course, but that “overwhelming bipartisan support” is promising in that regard as well.

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