David Barton hosted Rep. John Fleming, the congressman who submitted the amendment barring the military from appointing humanist chaplains, on his radio show and claimed that atheism is a religion and should be subject to separation of church and state (you know, the one he says doesn’t exist).
The Supreme Court opened the door to all of this. Back in decisions like U.S. vs Seeger and others, the court, in their dislike for traditional religion, they defined religion as whatever someone believes so sincerely and so strongly that it affects the way they act.
Now, if that’s the case, by the court’s definition, atheism and humanism would be religious because they affect the way people act. But if that’s the case, then why don’t we have the separation of church and state with them, if they’re a religion?
Darwinism and evolution is a religion. Why don’t we say ‘hey, we can’t teach Darwinism in school. That affects the way people behave. I demand separation of church and state. Get Darwinism out of the classroom.’
Or why don’t we say ‘hey, I don’t see any prayers going at graduation; that’s atheism! I demand separation of church and state. Atheism has chaplains, they’re a religion. Get atheism out of the schools.’
I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that this is all nonsense. U.S. vs Seeger was the case that said the government could not grant conscientious objector status only to those with religious views. And no, it did not define atheism as a religion. In fact, the third paragraph of the holding says, “There is no issue here of atheistic beliefs, and, accordingly, the decision does not deal with that question.” The conscientious objection in this case was not based on atheism and the court need only determine that the objections were based on something more than “merely personal moral codes.”
And no, a lack of prayer at an event does not make it an “atheistic” event, for crying out loud. Rationality is utterly foreign to Barton.