American Humanist News and Actions
Humanists Disappointed in Supreme Court’s Decision to Allow Religious Groups to Discriminate in EmploymentPosted January 11, 2012 at 4:01pm
Leadership at the AHA express disappointment with the Supreme Court’s decision exempting religious employers from anti-discrimination laws.
Humanists and atheists are saddened by the death of the prolific writer and outspoken atheist, Christopher Hitchens. “Humanity has lost a powerful stalwart for atheism,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “Christopher Hitchens changed the discussion about religion and non-belief by championing public criticism of theology.”
As part of the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD), the American Humanist Association is asking the Obama Admiration to fulfill a campaign promise and fully reverse religious discrimination policies put in place by the previous administration. These policies give a pass to organizations that receive federal funds but discriminate in their hiring practices on religious grounds. Other than a promise to review instances on a “case-by-case” basis, the Obama Administration has not officially reversed this policy.
Today the American Humanist Association announced the launch of their holiday advertisement campaign aimed to raise awareness of discrimination against nonbelievers in America. The billboards and full-page newspaper ads contain the message, “Bias Against Atheists is Naughty, Not Nice,” and features Santa Claus making up his “naughty” list. The ads are placed in cities across the United States where atheists have experienced discrimination due to their lack of belief in a traditional god.
Humanists and church-state advocates expressed disappointment with the House of Representatives today when they voted on a Congressional resolution “supporting and encouraging” the placement of “In God We Trust” in “all public buildings, public schools, and other government institutions.”
Church-state separation advocates are pleased with the United States Supreme Court’s decision to let stand a lower court ruling which found that memorial crosses on public land do, in fact, signal an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The American Humanist Association submitted an amicus brief in Utah Highway Patrol Association v. American Atheists, Inc. et al in August 2008 in support of the removal of the 12-foot tall white crosses.
Humanist leaders expressed enthusiasm about a recently removed California billboard that is focusing national attention on Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Father who advocated for a wall of separation between church and state. "It's uplifting to see Americans discussing the views of Jefferson and examining his influence on the secular nature of our constitution,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association.
The American Humanist Association is pleased with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision today not to re-hear the Mt. Soledad cross case where, as part of a war memorial, a 43-foot cross has been ruled unconstitutional. That January ruling reversed a 2008 U.S. District Court decision.
Leadership at the American Humanist Association is strongly denouncing yesterday’s passage of the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358) by the U. S. House of Representatives. The Protect Life Act seeks to prevent any woman who obtains healthcare through the Affordable Care Act from obtaining an abortion, even if her life is at risk. The bill has been touted by supporters as a way to stop federal money from paying for them under the Affordable Care Act, though provisions within the Affordable Care Act to protect against federally funded abortion coverage already exist.
Leadership at the American Humanist Association has expressed cautious optimism today at the Supreme Court’s handling of oral arguments in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC et al case. The Appignani Humanist Legal Center filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of on behalf of the American Humanist Association and six other allied organizations.