This week the American Humanist Association filed a law suit on behalf of a prisoner against the Federal Bureau of Prisons claiming that there is unequal treatment of atheist and humanist prisoners.
The prisoner, Jason Holden is a member of the American Humanist Association and Humanist Community of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto. He is currently serving his sentence at the Federal Correction Institution in Sheridan, Oregon. In his lawsuit, he said that prison officials refused to give Holden permission to form a humanist study group. According to his lawsuit, prison officials refused to recognize humanism as an official religious assignment option, preventing them from receiving the same benefits that other religions receive in prison.
Monica Miller, attorney for the American Humanist Associations Appignani Humanist Legal Center commented about the case, saying:
“The federal prison system has unfairly discriminated against atheist and humanist inmates simply because they lack a belief in God. It’s unconstitutional for the prison to give inmates of theistic religions special treatment. Humanist inmates should be entitled to meet and study together to the same degree as their theistic counterparts.”
Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice Institute told OneNewsNow that he believes the lawsuit is not about obtaining rights for humanists in prison, but to make it more difficult for religious groups to meet and pray with prisoners. He also fears that the humanists will win their lawsuit. Dacus explained:
“There is a real problem here, if we’re going to have to count on the Department of Justice with Eric Holder to be the main defender, if you will, for faith to continue and for religious freedom to continue in our prisons in view of this lawsuit.”
He based his concern on the fact that Holder and Obama refused to defend the lawsuits filed against the Defense of Marriage Act before the Supreme Court struck it down.
If other religious groups are allowed to gather to pray, worship and study the Bible, what exactly do the humanists want to study? They definitely aren’t going to be praying or worshipping and since they claim that there is no God, it makes no sense that they want equal time to not do what the others do. So yes, I agree with Dacus that the motive behind the lawsuit is to further restrict others from practicing and worshipping their religions.