AHA News |  

Humanists Ask Iowa to "Stand Firm"

March 24, 2008

 

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center (AHLC), legal arm of the American Humanist Association, sent a letter today to the Iowa Department of Administrative Services urging Iowa to stand firm in the face of a legal challenge brought by the Association of Faith-Based Organizations (AFBO). AFBO sued the Iowa department to challenge a state regulation that excludes organizations engaged in sectarian activities from participating in Iowa's One Gift Campaign, in which the government provides resources to aid in transferring voluntary employee contributions to a recipient.

"The government should not lend its resources to help transfer money to groups that may use the funds to proselytize or discriminate on the basis of religion, even if those funds come from an voluntary source," commented Bob Ritter, legal coordinator of AHLC. "The American Humanist Association strongly supports the Iowa regulation which upholds the American principle of separation of church and state."

The letter, sent via e-mail and U.S. mail, is below.


March 24, 2008


Mollie Anderson
Director
Iowa Dept. of Administrative Services
Hoover State Office Building
1305 East Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319


Lawsuit:  Association of Faith-Based Organizations v. Anderson (Filed in U.S. District Court on 3/19/08)


Dear Ms. Anderson:

In my daily search of religious liberty news, I came across a lawsuit brought the by Association of Faith-Based Organizations (“AFBO”) against you, challenging Iowa’s regulation that excludes sectarian organizations from participating in Iowa’s One Gift Campaign.

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center of the American Humanist Association (AHA) takes a special interest in this lawsuit, inasmuch as, like the state of Iowa, the AHA strongly supports the principle of separation of church and state found in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

The Alliance Defense Fund and Christian Legal Society, which are providing attorneys for AFBO, allege that the regulations – Iowa Admin. Code § 11-76(1)(f), which excludes agencies engaged in sectarian activities from participating in the One Gift Campaign, and § 11-76(1)(h), which excludes organizations that discriminate in employment and the delivery of services based on religion, race or otherwise – violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

I respectfully suggest otherwise.  In Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004), the U.S. Supreme Court, in holding that the state of Washington did not violate the U.S. Constitution in denying a scholarship to a student majoring in devotional theology, found that the state had discretion to adopt more stringent anti-establishment provisions than demanded by the First Amendment.

While under the Locke decision, Iowa is not required to use taxpayer resources to administer its One Gift Campaign in the manner contemplated by AFBO, it would appear that the use of taxpayer funds to facilitate a One Gift Campaign that permits employees’ contributions to go to sectarian activities would violate Article I, Section 3, of Iowa’s constitution.  Section 3 provides, in part, “… nor shall any person be compelled to pay … taxes or other rates … for building or repairing places of worship, or the maintenance of any minister, or ministry.”

In short, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center is of the opinion that the referenced Iowa regulations concerning the state’s One Gift Campaign are valid and that the state of Iowa should stand firm against AFBO’s challenge.


                                                                       

Sincerely,

                                                                       

Robert V.  Ritter
Legal Coordinator


Cc:  Patricia Lantz
Legal Counsel, Dept. of Admin. Services


 

# # #

The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

American Humanist Association

Responding to reporters this morning as the AHA's latest case gets national atte...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Lots of press coverage this morning on our New Jersey lawsuit challenging 'under...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Earth Day Everyone! Be kind to your Earth. It's where you live!

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Congratulations to Ventura County, California for now officially recognizing May...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Taken from a 1940's Justice Society Of America comic before "Under God" was adde...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

The American Humanist Association has filed lawsuit against “Under God” in the P...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

The 2014 American Atheists Conference was awesome! Check out pictures of the Ame...

2 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone!

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Poll! http://thehumanist.com/arts_entertainment/culture/your-humanist-...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Announcing our 2014 AHA Annual Conference Keynote Speaker, Professor Max Tegmark...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Have you had this problem? The Ethical Dilemma: My Son Sends Me E-Mails Signed...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hurry! Going to the AHA annual conference in Philly? May 5th is the last day to...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Rules Are for Schmucks: Darwin Award Nominee by Luis Granados. http://thehumani...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Cartoon History of Humanism Episode Three: The Archpoet, 12th-Century Gang...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Throwback Thursday! The January/February, 1989 issue of the Humanist magazine...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

This is creepy... http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2014/04/17/toddl...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out what the AHA staff is watching! http://thehumanist.com/arts_entertain...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here's another installment of Carl Coon’s ongoing “A Short History of Evolution”...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Five Non-Magic Words: “How Can I Help You?” Advancing the Humanist Chaplaincy h...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia C...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new affiliate, Deltona Humanist, to the American Humani...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Idaho Humanists, check out this Summer Day Camp for Kids! For more information...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out Executive Director Roy Speckhardt's new Huffpost article, Pandora's Bo...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Freedom from Religion in Kazakhstan: An Interview with Atheist Blogger Aleksand...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today is A. Philip Randolph's 125th birthday. He was the American Humanist Assoc...

8 days ago