Why IBKA exists
Human history is a history of inhumanity. Organised religion has greatly contributed to that fact – and it still does.
There is no foreseeable end to religiously motivated violence and intolerance. Quite the contrary: Militant religious adherents commit violent acts on an almost daily basis. Those who have broken away from their religious dogmas are often socially rejected and defamed as morally inferior. Some even have to fear for their lives.
There is a strong trend, also within Christianity, towards fundamentalism. A trend that has reached the major denominations. Fundamentalist groups aim at making their faith-based values compulsory for all of society.
Non-religious people have joined IBKA to stand up for freedom of religion and the freedom of one's personal view of life, as well as to decidedly defend their political interests.
In IBKA non-religious people united to assert universal human rights – in particluar the freedom of thought and religion – and the separation of religion and state. We advocate for individual self-determination, promote rational thinking and inform about the social role of religion.
IBKA stands up for an individual, self-determined life-style and reason-based thinking. It critically considers the social role of religion and religious groups.
The political demand for the separation of church and state is crucial for the IBKA. In Germany, this principle is being violated in various ways, such as:
- Collection of church taxes by the state
- Confessonal religious education at public schools and the state's educational goal of teaching "reverence for god"
- State-subsidised training of theologians at universities
- State-subsidised pastoral counselling in the military
Moreover, the churches receive direct governmental subsidies and are almost completely exempt from taxation and fees. On the other hand, withdrawal from church is now being discouraged by fees almost all over Germany.
The fact that churches are exempt from the general labour law is especially offensive, as this disadvantages a large number of employees.
It is often neglected to mention that only a fraction of religious institutions is financed by the churches themselves. Given the various forms of governmental subsidisation one can neglect the alleged relief of the nation's budget through the churches' social commitment.
Because of the principle of equal treatment, the only way that the privileges of the churches can be upheld is to grant other religious groups exactly the same rights. IBKA, however, demands the overall abolishment of privileges for religious groups.
Time and again, the religious seek to claim special protection of their religious feelings. What this comes down to is a demand for censorship. The IBKA decidedly opposes such endeavours – regardless of whether they come from Christian or Islamic groups.
IBKA publishes the quarterly MIZ magazine, as well as a newsletter for members, flyers and brochures. We also run a website and an on-line discussion forum.
Individuals or organisations that stand out in getting involved with the realisation of secular goals – according to the principles of the association – are presented the IBKA award every two years from 2008 on. Before that, IBKA presented the Erwin Fischer Award.
The threat that religion poses for human rights is an international problem. Therefore IBKA cooperates with allied organisations world-wide – for example the Atheist Centre Vijayawada in India and the Aziz Nesin Foundation in Turkey. IBKA is a member of Atheist Alliance International, Humanist Union – German Civil Liberties Union, and the German Coordination Council of Secular Organisations.
IBKA is financed exclusively through membership fees and donations. IBKA's proceeds are used for the organisation's publications and activities (IBKA Award, web-hosting, printing costs etc.).
Executive board (German)
IBKA was founded 1976 in Berlin. Its current name was adopted in 1982. Its roots go back to 1972 when the MIZ magazine had been introduced and its predecessor – the Bund der Konfessionslosen Berlin (Union of the non-religious in Berlin) – were founded.
The Erwin Fischer Award was presented for the first time in 2000.