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Synnical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-23-05 11:11 PM
Original message
7th Circuit Court Rules that atheism is a religion?
Edited on Wed Aug-24-05 12:00 AM by Synnical
The RW internet "news" is all over this (more to attack "judicial activism" than anything else I think).

Attorney: 'Height of Idiocy' for Court to Declare Atheism a Religion

By Allie Martin
August 23, 2005

(AgapePress) - A federal appeals court has sided with a Wisconsin prison inmate who claimed his constitutional rights were violated with officials would not allow him to create a study group for atheists.

In it ruling, the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Wisconsin prison officials were mistaken when they did not recognize atheism as a religion. The court stated that atheism is inmate's religion and that the group he wished to start "was religious in nature even though it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being."

OPINION - It is of critical importance that the Christian movements in the United States of America not miss an absolutely golden development and apply its results without modesty or restraint.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that Atheism is a religion. We have been waiting for this for years.

Don't buy into it. The ruling is here (and it's a five point ruling):

And even the court puts the word "religion" in quotation marks.

Major snippage:

The problem with the district courts analysis is that
the court failed to recognize that Kaufman was trying
to start a religious group, in the sense we discussed
earlier. Atheism is Kaufmans religion, and the group
that he wanted to start was religious in nature even though
it expressly rejects a belief in a supreme being. As he
explained in his application, the group wanted to
study freedom of thought, religious beliefs, creeds, dogmas,
tenets, rituals, and practices, all presumably from an
atheistic perspective. It is undisputed that other religious
groups are permitted to meet at Kaufmans prison, and
the defendants have advanced no secular reason why
the security concerns they cited as a reason to deny
his request for an atheist group do not apply equally to
gatherings of Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or Wiccan
inmates. The defendants argue that all they are doing is
accommodating religious groups as a whole, as they
are required to do under RLUIPA. See Cutter, 125 S.Ct.
2113; Charles, 348 F.3d at 610-11. But the defendants have
not answered Kaufmans argument that by accommodating
some religious views, but not his, they are promoting
the favored ones. Because the defendants failed even to
articulatemuch less support with evidencea secular
reason why a meeting of atheist inmates would pose a
greater security risk than meetings of inmates of other
faiths, their rejection of Kaufmans request cannot survive
the first part of the Lemon test. See Lemon, 403 U.S. at
612-13; Books, 235 F.3d at 301. We therefore vacate
the grant of summary judgment in the defendants favor
on Kaufmans claim under the Establishment Clause
and remand for further proceedings.

It didn't even pass the Lemon Test! That is, the least, easiest case scenario for allowing religious use of public funds.

Edit to fix wording. Time for sleep.
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beam me up scottie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-23-05 11:32 PM
Response to Original message
1. Excellent post!!!
Thanks for the heads up.

Wait for the fallout...
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Gelliebeans Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 03:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. thanks for posting this
I saw this earlier and I am very concerned about the fallout from this. :scared:

Makes life interesting ;)
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 05:33 AM
Response to Original message
3. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals consists of idiots
Edited on Wed Aug-24-05 05:33 AM by BuffyTheFundieSlayer
Atheism is not a religion. The prisoner who brought this lawsuit duped them on the basis that he wanted to run a group, and thought that by calling his group a religious group he could get around the prision's rules. After all, they can't ban prisoners from having religion. Ultimately his ruse worked.

And the people in the Illinois Leader are a bunch of dildos.

We cannot remove the cross from city seal! It would be a state endorsement of atheism.

No, it would be acknowledgement that Christianity is not the only freaking religion in the country you narcicisstic SOBs!

Atheists practice moments of silence in substitute of prayer. Making such a substitution would mean that the state were publicly conforming public practice to support atheistic doctrine. The court has no purview.

The moment of silence has replaced state/school sponsored Christian prayer so that people of all faiths, or no faith, pray or not pray as they choose. People who do not believe in Jesus Christ should not be forced to pray to God in his name just because Christianity is the religion du jour.

We cannot deny the investigation of Creationism on public property simply and only because we must remove mention of the Supreme Being from the schools.

Ok, but let's be sure to add in all explanations for the origins of humanity to be sure kids get a truly balanced education. Native American tales, Pastafarianism, African creation myths, etc. Of course kids will have to spend a lot more time in school but they will be much more educated...

edited to fix italics

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YankeyMCC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 07:03 AM
Response to Original message
4. Thanks for posting
It looks like it's the atheist inmate took the bait and used the prison's casting of his group as "religious" as the basis of his argument.

The court put religious in quotes but still they made their decision based on the prision not answering the "religious" argument of the inmate.

It worked for him but would they consider a physics group a "religious" study group too? Of course I know you guys get that I just had to vent it out.
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Synnical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 06:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. Link to ruling is no longer working
Here's one that is:

-Cindy in Fort Lauderdale
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-25-05 06:32 AM
Response to Original message
6. It's an interesting dilemma.
While atheism is most definitely not a religion, atheist inmates should get equal opportunity to assemble for philosophical discussion and guidance as their theistic counterparts do.

Ironically, the atheist population of prison is much lower than theists. I think it's less then 1%. Maybe atheist education is a good antidote to recidivism. It's a rehabilitation model.

Another aspect is the fact the most arguments devolve to semantics. That is, what words mean. We know that people can follow diets, schedules, or exercise regimens "religiously" with no thought to a supreme being. So what does it all mean?

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