October 1, 2007
The American Humanist Association took pleasure this morning in the Supreme Court’s decision to let stand two lower court rulings upholding church-state separation. In Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany v. Dinallo, 06-1550, the Court let stand the ruling of New York’s Court of Appeals that social service religious organizations that hire staff outside their faith must subsidize contraceptives as part any prescription drug coverage offered employees. In Faith Center Church v. Glover, 06-1633, the Court let stand the ruling of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that, while public libraries should accommodate religious meetings on the same basis as other groups, they may refuse to make their facilities available for religious worship services.
“We are finally seeing the new Supreme Court act responsibly in upholding the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” said Mel Lipman, a constitutional attorney and president of the American Humanist Association. “This suggests that there is still hope, even in a conservative-dominated Court, for Thomas Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state.”
The American Humanist Association has, since its founding in 1941, defended both religious liberty and the rights of the nonreligious. In upholding the constitutional principle of secular government, it has advocated government neutrality regarding religion, which means neither government support of nor government hostility toward religion.
“While today’s action by the Supreme Court is encouraging, we who care about the First Amendment understand the continuing need to remain vigilant,” added American Humanist Association Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “This is why we established the Appignani Humanist Legal Center last year and now have more than 30 attorneys working to uphold the Bill of Rights and maintain the momentum of positive actions like those of today. We will be analyzing how these twin Supreme Court decisions may change the playing field and will accommodate our strategies accordingly.”
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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) is the oldest and largest Humanist organization in the nation. The AHA is dedicated to ensuring a voice for those with a positive outlook, based on reason and experience, which embraces all of humanity.