.- Last week, a Chicago federal court of appeals ruled in favor of a Wisconsin inmate who claimed that the prison violated his first amendment right to practice religion. The problem? He’s an atheist.
According to the American Family Association, The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals “ruled that prison officials erred because they ‘did not treat atheism as a ‘religion.’”
Citing the 1961 case of Torcaso v. Watkins, in which a Court called “secular humanism” a religion, the Chicago court said that even though he denies belief in a supreme being, the inmate must be allowed to follow through with his plans for an “atheist study group.”
Brian Fahling, the American Family Association’s senior trial attorney for its Center for Law & Policy, called the ruling “a sort of Alice in Wonderland jurisprudence.” “Up is down, and atheism, the antithesis of religion, is religion.”
“It is difficult”, continued Fahling, “not to be somewhat jaundiced about our courts when they take clauses especially designed to protect religion from the state and turn them on their head by giving protective cover to a belief system, that, by every known definition other than the courts’ is not a religion, while simultaneously declaring public expressions of true religious faith to be prohibited.”