Category: Action Alerts

The Kentucky Secular Society (KySS) is a 501(c) organization that supports church/state separation; promotes proper science education in public schools; promotes atheism, agnosticism, humanism, and other forms of freethinking; and provides community-building activities for secular citizens.

Take Action!

Court OKs congressional exclusion of atheists; FFRF calls it ‘wake-up’ call

A federal district judge in Washington, D.C., issued a ruling today that legitimizes the exclusion of nonbelievers from the nation's legislative chambers.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a Bush appointee, ruled against plaintiff Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Barker sued House of Representatives Chaplain Patrick Conroy, a Roman Catholic priest, for barring him as an atheist from delivering a guest invocation. Also named as a defendant was Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, who oversees the chaplain's office.

"To decide that Mr. Barker was discriminated against and should be permitted to address the House would be to disregard the Supreme Court precedent that permits legislative prayer," Collyer wrote. Although the court found that Barker was injured, and that the defendants did not have legislative immunity, she ruled that none of the defendants was ultimately responsible for that injury.

The judge claimed that the chaplain was powerless to allow Barker to give the invocation, due to House rules, yet also dismissed Barker's claim against the House itself. The decision fails to identify who, if not the House chaplain and the House itself, could be sued for implementing a rule excluding nonbelievers from participation.

Under her ruling, the program — in which members of the House invite a religious leader of their choice to open a session with an invocation — remains closed to community leaders representing the 23 percent of Americans overall — including 38 percent of millennials — who are nonreligious.

"We're deeply dismayed that atheists and other nonbelievers are being openly treated as second-class citizens," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "Our government is not a theocracy, and it needs to stop acting like one."

Continue reading: ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/30586-court-oks-congressional-exclusion-of-atheists-ffrf-calls-i...
...

Court OKs congressional exclusion of atheists; FFRF calls it ‘wake-up’ call A federal district judge in Washington, D.C., issued a ruling today that legitimizes the exclusion of nonbelievers from the nation's legislative chambers. U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, a Bush appointee, ruled against plaintiff Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Barker sued House of Representatives Chaplain Patrick Conroy, a Roman Catholic priest, for barring him as an atheist from delivering a guest invocation. Also named as a defendant was Paul Ryan, speaker of the House, who oversees the chaplain's office. "To decide that Mr. Barker was discriminated against and should be permitted to address the House would be to disregard the Supreme Court precedent that permits legislative prayer," Collyer wrote. Although the court found that Barker was injured, and that the defendants did not have legislative immunity, she ruled that none of the defendants was ultimately responsible for that injury. The judge claimed that the chaplain was powerless to allow Barker to give the invocation, due to House rules, yet also dismissed Barker's claim against the House itself. The decision fails to identify who, if not the House chaplain and the House itself, could be sued for implementing a rule excluding nonbelievers from participation. Under her ruling, the program — in which members of the House invite a religious leader of their choice to open a session with an invocation — remains closed to community leaders representing the 23 percent of Americans overall — including 38 percent of millennials — who are nonreligious. "We're deeply dismayed that atheists and other nonbelievers are being openly treated as second-class citizens," says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. "Our government is not a theocracy, and it needs to stop acting like one." Continue reading: ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/30586-court-oks-congressional-exclusion-of-atheists-ffrf-calls-i...

View on Facebook

Pin It on Pinterest