AHA Files Suit to Allow Humanist Groups in Prison

Many religious organizations are very active in prison and inmates are allowed to form prayer groups, Bible and Quran studies and the like, but humanism is not recognized for those purposes in federal prisons. The American Humanist Association has filed a lawsuit to change that.

The American Humanist Association and a federal inmate filed a lawsuit against correctional officials at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, challenging the prison’s unequal treatment of humanist and atheist inmates.

Jason Holden, a member of the American Humanist Association and the Humanist Community of Silicon Valley in Palo Alto, California, is currently incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Oregon, which would not grant permission for him to form a humanist study group and refused to recognize humanism as an official religious assignment option as a means to receive benefits similar to other religions.

“The federal prison system has unfairly discriminated against atheist and humanist inmates simply because they lack a belief in God,” said Monica Miller, attorney for the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “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.”

Well said. I’m a bit surprised that the Federal Bureau of Prisons would even fight this case. I would expect this to end in a consent agreement allowing the recognition of humanism in prisons.

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  • Alverant

    There’s probably someone in the FBP who’s convinced that religion=morality so he believes allowing humanism in prison will only make things worse.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    Well, Alverant, be that as it may, it’s a good thing; someone HAS to be there for the 99% of prisoners who are NOT Christians.

  • sundoga

    democommie, are you serious or taking the piss? I honestly can’t tell.

  • abb3w

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the prison system still has religious loons in high places. Anyone remember where the word “penitentiary” comes from?

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi


  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie


    I am but a pallid shadow of my mentor, Modusoperandi, but I strive for just one of those brazillions of huzzahz and fucktons of “Netties” that he has garnered on these intertoobz.

  • Nihilismus

    Modusoperandi, are you going to be replacing Stephen Colbert?

  • marcus

    I would suggest that we persuade Modus to do his own blog… but then I would NEVER get any work done. (Besides he’s so good at hi-jacking everyone else’s.)

  • Pierce R. Butler

    ADF, NOM, and Southern Baptist Convention file suit to put them all in prison.