In this episode we talk to Alison Gill, Vice President, Legal and Policy with American Atheists, about Christian Nationalists using the 1st amendment to discriminate and how the Do No Harm Act could help restore real religious freedom.
Tag: American Atheists
Former American Atheists President David Silverman was fired in 2018 for violating internal policies of the group. At the same time it came out he was a terrible person to a couple of women. Now David is back in public after being hired by Atheist Alliance International. As much as he squawked about getting fired and denying the intent of his sexual harassment of women, his life hasn’t been ruined and he still doesn’t deserve due process.
On Saturday, American Atheists unveiled a monument to atheism on the lawn of the Bradford County Courthouse in Florida. The monument is a bench and marker inscribed with quotes, concerning the relationship between church and state, by the founders, a quote by American Atheist founder Madalyn Murray O’Hair, and some Bible quotes showing the punishment for breaking the Ten Commandments. Also at the event American Atheists President David Silverman announced that more monuments will be erected around the country. While the public square should be free from symbols from any particular belief, if such symbols are allowed then ALL such symbols should be allowed.
Here is a quick refresher: American Atheists filed a lawsuit against Bradford County in Florida to have a Ten Commandments monument removed from the court house grounds. The county asked the group, Community Men’s Fellowship, who donated the monument, to remove it but the group refused. The county, not wanting to lose the lawsuit and not wanting to spend its own money to remove it settled the lawsuit by making the grounds officially a public forum, allowing any group to install a display. American Atheists took them up on the offer.
Usually American Atheists files a lawsuit to have a religious symbol removed from government property. But in a historical first, the resolution of a 1st Amendment lawsuit will include the erection of a monument celebrating atheism on the lawn of a court house in Florida. If a public space is really going to be open to all points of view then the atheist monument should appear along side other monuments and symbols for the religions.
Back in July of 2011, American Atheists filed a lawsuit to prevent a Christian cross from being installed at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York. On Good Friday, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts ruled that the obvious Christian cross was really a secular item. I don’t know who should be more angry with the decision, atheists who don’t have any symbol marking their dead at the site, or Christians who keep having their symbols deemed generic and secular.
A private non-profit association in Utah, the Utah Highway Patrol Association (UHPA), had been placing 12 foot tall white Latin crosses along roads and highways controlled by the state. The Utah Highway Patrol allowed the UHPA to use the trademark logo of the patrol as well. American Atheists filed suit in 2005 on 1st Amendment grounds and then on 10/31/2011 the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case leaving intact the ruling that the placement of crosses was unconstitutional. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ head exploded.
This again was an effort of religious right groups to make the Latin Cross generic which is the only way it might have made them constitutional.