Federal Court Rules ‘Secular Humanism’ a Religion, Extends Equal Protection Rights to Atheists

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Federal Court Rules ‘Secular Humanism’ a Religion, Extends Equal Protection Rights to Atheists

By Christiannews.net

usdistcourtooregon-300x300In a landmark decision last week, a federal judge in Oregon declared ‘secular humanism’ to be a religion, opining that those who profess to be atheists and secular humanists should be afforded equal protection rights under the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and be allowed to enjoy the same liberties to practice religion that religious groups are able to enjoy.

Jason Holden, an atheist inmate who is serving time at the Federal Correctional Institute in Sheridan, Oregon, filed suit against the Federal Bureau of Prisons in April for rejecting his requests to form a study group on humanism. The Federal Bureau of Prisons denied the request on the ground that humanism was not a religious affiliation under existing prison classification, and hence Holden elevated it to federal court.

Senior District Judge Ancer Haggerty of the federal district court ruled in favor of Holden in order to exercise his constitutional right to form a humanist study group. Haggerty ruled that Holden’s constitutional rights were violated under the First and Fifth Amendments. In his ruling, he moved to recognize secular humanism as a religion for “Establishment Clause” purposes. Under the Establishment Clause, Haggerty’s rationale is that secular humanism must be able to enjoy the same liberties as other religious organizations because it is a constitutional principle that no religion shall be established above others as a state religion.

The American Humanist Association co-filed the case with Holden in the case American Humanist Association vs United States and declared the ruling a victory for secular groups to be afforded the same legal rights that are available to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews and Muslims – all of whom were permitted to organize under the current federal prison system. Haggerty sided with the plaintiffs, citing legal precedent in the case Torcaso vs Watkins which cited Secular Humanism as a religion in the decision to prohibit state and federal governments from passing laws to have religious requirements in holding public office.

“As humanists, we believe in the ability of mankind to transcend their differences and to reach some common ground and make the world a better place,” Holden commented during an interview with Upton Radio. “We simply want the same thing other religious groups are provided,” he said.

“The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” Judge Haggerty wrote in his ruling last Thursday. “Allowing followers of other faiths to join religious group meetings while denying Holden the same privilege is discrimination on the basis of religion.”

Humanism as an organized group has grown in the past years, with members establishing Humanist congregations at Harvard University, American University, Rutgers University, and Colombia University. Nonreligious Americans which include atheists and secular humanists have fought for the rights to be included to offer invocations at government meetings. The American Humanist Association has likewise fought for the right of 3.6 percent of nonreligious Army members to have access to formal Humanist chaplains in the US military as the US Army moved to include “Humanist” as a religious affiliation.

 

 

6 Comments on “Federal Court Rules ‘Secular Humanism’ a Religion, Extends Equal Protection Rights to Atheists”

    1. A. McCants

      For real Walk23. It’s ridiculous that people who don’t believe in God want to have the same privileges as those who worship God (or gods in the case of the false religions mentioned above.) Who are they looking to for salvation? Themselves? Well, Mr. Holden, seems that self worship didn’t do you much good, it landed you in prison. At least jail house converts to Christianity recognize that they got themselves into their trouble but only Jesus Christ can forgive them and get them out of it. Wow. Sad day…sadder story.

  1. Jack

    Too bad Mr. Holden couldn’t transcend whatever crime he was convicted of. What a waste of tax money to even hear this case. And what human would they offer invocations, just looking at and reading the news we seem to be imperfect, I know I am. Looks like he’s just trying to fill some time while waiting for his release. Good thing we can offer prayers to the One True GOD at any time,place we want, through the BLOOD of CHRIST.

  2. george harrison

    In a speech a few years ago, and this is fact, President Obama praise and acknowledge atheist groups as if they were a religious group. POTUS whole theme was change is coming to America.

  3. SL

    This is one of the most confused groups on the planet. They rail against religion and yet demand to be treated as a religion? They hate churches while building their own churches? They spit on the worship of God while conducting worship services to… the celebration of life and humanity? (Sounds like gods to me) They are so blind that they don’t have a clue that they ARE the very things that they so passionately profess to hate. Intolerant, cold-hearted, unreasonable, bullies and hyper- hypocritical. They don’t want to harmonize with others. They want to reshape the world in their own superior image, forcibly if necessary. Unfortunately for them, the world is not becoming less spiritual as they had hoped, but more so. Though it’s an antichrist spiritualism, the only way for atheists/humanists to survive and stay relevant is to embrace what they’ve maintained is for centuries ludicrous. The “New Age Atheist” is an oxymoron and that’s why they can’t define what they believe and when they do it doesn’t make any sense. There are a few true atheists still out there, but many are actually New Agers who don’t realize it yet!

    I’m basing a lot of my argument on once close friends who become atheists/humanists. They hold many of the same beliefs as New Agers/Occultists, but since they don’t ascribe to a god or beings outside of themselves, they think that means they are non-religious or atheist/agnostic. There’s much of the same thought in humanists whose articles or videos I come across. It’s more of an excuse to put down other religions, especially Christianity, than a clear belief system. Which is why it’s a hodgepodge like New Age & the Occult as far as beliefs go. They are an ancient lie in a modern form that can’t compete with the ancient lie in its stronger original form and now must bow down. “No power” is simply no match for “dark power”. Stand strong those who are under the mightiest power which is of God!

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