Should an Atheist Group be Disallowed a Seat at the Table of Public Discourse?

Image: www.redbubble.com

“Woman with Dead Child” by Kathe Kollwitz, etching, 1903 National Gallery of Art,D.C. Image: http://www.redbubble.com 

Empathy, as I often say, must not be a one way street. The only way to a peaceful world is through Universal Empathy and Benevolent Reciprocity. This goes for religious groups as well as not religious groups. As John Stuart Mill put it, if all the world were of one opinion except for one person, the world would have no more right to silence him than he, had he the power, to silence the world.


Federal Lawsuit Demands Equal Space for “Reason Station,” Church-State Watchdog Says.

DETROIT – In an effort to protect the First Amendment rights of all Warren, Mich. residents regardless of their religious or philosophical beliefs or non-beliefs, the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Freedom from Religion Foundation have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s ban on an atheist booth in a city-hall atrium where the city has allowed a prayer station.
Image from http://www.soulation.org/Image: http://www.soulation.org/

The atrium has been set up by city officials as a public space that can be reserved by a wide variety of groups and individuals, including civic organizations and Warren residents, but the mayor is not allowing an atheist to use space in the atrium because his belief system “is not a religion.”

Since 2009, the city has allowed a local church group to run a prayer station in which volunteers distribute religious pamphlets, offer to pray with passersby, and discuss their religious beliefs with people who approach the station. The lawsuit filed today does not seek to have the prayer station removed, but instead asks the court to order the city to treat believers and non-believers equally.
“Once the government opens public space for use by private groups, it cannot pick and choose who can use the space based on the content of their message or whether public officials agree with that message,” said Dan Korobkin, ACLU of Michigan deputy legal director. “For instance, Warren officials would not be permitted to grant access to activists supportive of the mayor and reject the applications of activists who are critical of the mayor.  The same logic extends to this matter: the city cannot allow speech supportive of religion and reject speech supportive of atheism.”
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Douglas Marshall, a Warren resident whose request to install a “reason station” was rejected by the city. Marshall wishes to set up a station that is similar in size, structure and function to the prayer station – a folding table and chairs with literature on display and available to the public – except that his station will offer information and opportunities for discussion from a non-religious perspective.
“The city has an obligation to serve all members of the community equally, regardless of their faith or their lack of faith,” said Americans United Associate Legal Director Alex J. Luchenitser. “Our laws make it clear that our government can’t adopt a rule book that favors one group over another.”

Read more at: https://au.org/media/press-releases/americans-united-allies-challenge-michigan-citys-rejection-of-atheist-display

— Max T. Furr is author of The Empathy Imperative, a philosophical novel based on the epic struggle between religion and science, and brings the true nature of justice, mercy, and love into sharp focus.  What would the world be like if empathy, not self interest, were our primary motivating force?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

JoAnn Chateau

Writer & Progressive

The Essence Within

Glorious both in spirit and in the letter

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

Free to express

thoughts, experiences, travel, feelings, stories, diaries and many more...

With My Face To The Rising Sun

Diary Of A Mad God Woman

The Free-Thinking Human

Just Another Former Christian on the Internet

Lama Surya Das

Spiritual Masters of Asia

The Charnel-House

From Bauhaus to Beinhaus

Dirty, Naked & Happy

is currently taking a break from blogging x

tripleclicka

perspective at the moment

Friend the Cat

Everyone Needs A Friend.

Chiefy's Word

All the things your mother told you not to talk about.

Toad's Great Adventure

"I will, then, be a toad." -- Stephen Crane

Notes from the U.K.

Exploring the spidery corners of a culture and the weird stuff that tourist brochures ignore.

BroadBlogs

A broad blogs broadly on women’s & men's psychology: sex, relationships, equality

العاب بنات ماهر

العاب بنات ماهر العاب فلاش ماهر ttt4 العاب سيارات ماهر العاب تلبيس بنات ماهر العاب فلاش ماهر 2015

Wary Wonderlust

Losing Ignorance, Finding Awe

My Holistic Table

The Art & Science of Cooking. Recipes free of gluten, sugar, dairy, yeast

The Arm Chair Pontificator

Satirical & Poetic Musings Of A Self-Proclaimed Nobel Prize Winner

A Narcissist Writes Letters, To Himself

A Hopefully Formerly Depressed Human Vows To Practice Self-Approval

Ben's Bitter Blog

"We make bitter better."

All Romance Reads

Get Your Swoon On

richardmarlowe236

Independence and Freedom Blog

A Holistic Journey

Finding my way back out of motherhood -- while mothering

Ben Garrido's Author Page

Literary Adventures in South Korea

%d bloggers like this: