Is It A Religion?
Zvi Shkedi

From: Joe Kozuh
To: "Cliff Walker" <>
Date: Sunday, February 21, 1999 2:20 PM
Subject: Re: Your Religion Is More Important than ...

"...the US Supreme Court declared HUMANISM to be a Religion; do you want me to give you more info on this court decision ??????"

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From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <>
To: "Shkedi, Zvi"
Subject: Re: question
Date: Wednesday, January 24, 2001 3:14 AM

The basic story is that the Humanist groups wanted access to the priveleges which our governments grant only to organized religion (such as the right to perform marriages). So, in lieu of equal rights for the non-religious, the Humanists chose to identify themselves as a religion, thereby skirting the various restrictions that we atheists endure because of the favoritism that our government shows toward theists and particularly toward powerful organized religious interests.

Since then, many government entities have seen the point that the Humanists were trying to make. For example, a prisoner in Portland, Oregon, demanded to see the atheist equivalent of a minister. It tirns out that the facility realized that atheism is religious viewpoint (an opinion about religion), and therefore agreed to satisfy his demands, covered under the religious freedom laws. So, they hunted up a local atheistic spokesman (the fellow who makes the local "Dial-an-Atheist" tapes) and gave him the same access they would ordinarily have granted only to a preacher.

As for a U.S. Supreme Court decision, I am not sure whether this claim is even true (the statement was made by the letter writer, Joe Kozuh, not by myself), although I do remember hearing something about this. What I have heard, though, has come only from Christians who are outspokenly antagonistic toward Humanism (such as Rev. Tim LaHaye). This does not mean that LaHaye and the others are de facto lying, but I knew Rev. LaHaye when I lived in San Diego. I wouldn't trust Brother LaHaye with a box of crayons or a wad of play dough, and thus would want independent verification of any claim that The Good Reverend makes before I'd venture to repeat it as fact.

As to how to find out whether this statement is true, a search of the Internet came up with nothing. And we can no longer search the Supreme Court website by keyword, but must know the case name or number. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to answer this question once I've posted this letter. If so, I'll link to the answer from this file, or post it at the end of the file.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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