Country Club Forced to Pay ‘Undisclosed Sum’ to Center For Inquiry After Breaking Contract for Richard Dawkins Event

Back in October of 2011, Richard Dawkins was scheduled to make an appearance at the Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, Michigan to promote his new-at-the-time book The Magic of Reality.

But after the paperwork was signed, the owner of the club saw Dawkins’ appearance on The O’Reilly Factor:

Apparently, Bill O’Reilly‘s crazy comments raised no red flags for the owner, but Dawkins’ comments put him over the edge. He canceled the contract with the Center For Inquiry – Michigan because he “did not wish to associate with individuals such as Dawkins, or his philosophies.”

Because we all know spreading science and logic are crimes against humanity.

In April of 2012, CFI filed a lawsuit against the country club.

Yesterday, it was announced that CFI won a settlement offer:

A Michigan country club that cancelled an event by the Center for Inquiry (CFI), allegedly because of the speaker’s and attendees’ atheism, has agreed to a settlement in the case brought against it, marking perhaps the first time federal and state civil rights statutes have been successfully invoked by nonbelievers in a public accommodations lawsuit.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome of this case, which we regard as an unqualified vindication of the rights of nonbelievers,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “We are confident it will send a strong message that as much as this country now rejects discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, and religion, so must we reject just as strongly discrimination against those with no religion.”

As part of this settlement, the Wyndgate has agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to the Center for Inquiry.

For all we know, that “undisclosed sum” could be anywhere from a dollar to who-knows-how-much. But, no matter how you spin it, the country club wasn’t able to get away with the open showing of discrimination.

So far, neither the Wyndgate Country Club nor its owners have issued any public statements on the matter.

This is great news for everybody involved. If Richard Dawkins weren’t an atheist, but rather Mormon or Jewish or Republican, there would undoubtedly be a national outcry. But the result will help protect atheists against any future acts of discrimination against them.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.