In This City It’s Now Illegal To Discriminate Against Atheists

Apr 3, 2015

Photo: AP

By Jack Jenkins

On Tuesday, the city of Madison, Wisconsin announced that it is now against the law to discriminate against atheists, making it the first city in the country to grant explicit legal protection to people who do not believe in a God.

According to Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist blog, last night the Madison city council voted unanimously to add atheists to a list of protected groups in the city’s equal opportunity ordinance, an anti-discrimination law. The move, which inserts the phrase “religion or nonreligion” into the legal code, prevents atheists from being denied equal opportunity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

“This is important because I believe it is only fair that if we protect religion, in all its varieties, we should also protect non-religion from discrimination,” Anita Weier, an Alderwoman in Madison and sponsor of the ordinance, told local news affiliate Channel 3000.


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10 comments on “In This City It’s Now Illegal To Discriminate Against Atheists

  • From source article:

    …people who do not believe in God are currently legally barred from
    holding office in seven states…

    Sometimes one can not believe that such things exist. What kind of person can have concept of god (spirits) and legality in the same brain? A psychopath?

    …it is now against the law to discriminate against atheists…

    Good! People need to fight back, to fight all cultures of impunity. (In my humble opinion ALL religious organisations and so called “cultures” are cultures of impunity).

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  • That made me think about those ” religious freedom ” acts in Indiana and Arkansas.

    One wonders, that if left in their original form, these laws would allow religious nutbags to refuse service to atheists?

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  • Humans have a natural tendency to want to form a pecking order. They will pick almost anything to base it on:

    money
    lightness of skin
    testosterone level
    number of people killed
    penis length
    religion
    sexual preference

    Unfortunately, it is natural. Social animals love to do it.

    One of the great appeals of the pecking order is if you are a person who never made it past grade 2. if your skin is lighter, you can spit on and feel superior to someone with a PhD.

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  • @OP – ccording to Hemant Mehta of the Friendly Atheist blog, last night the Madison city council voted unanimously to add atheists to a list of protected groups in the city’s equal opportunity ordinance, an anti-discrimination law. The move, which inserts the phrase “religion or nonreligion” into the legal code, prevents atheists from being denied equal opportunity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

    It is important to spell it out in plain simple language, because the wearers of “faith-interpretation-blinkers”, will seize on any absence statements of the obvious, or any ambiguity, to cherry-pick and reinterpret anything to reflect their own views. They will also demand the “freedom” to inflict their personal discriminatory views on others, without restraint or retaliation.

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  • 5
    DB COOPER says:

    Whilst it’s nice to have these protections codified, again, they already were under the the First Amendment (if you accept atheism can be called a religion, which isn’t much of a stretch).

    And if 7 States bar atheists from office, it is certainly not legal. What is the source for this statement?

    Any actual examples of atheists being discriminated against in Madison?

    Smells like grand-standing to me….

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  • Seems to me more like atheists being added on to the end of a very long list.

    sex, race, religion, color, national origin or ancestry, citizenship status, age, handicap/disability, marital status, source of income, arrest record, conviction record, credit history, military discharge status, physical appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity, political beliefs, familial, student and domestic partner status, receipt of rental assistance and Social Security number disclosure.

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  • If you think of atheism as a “religious status” or condition, it’s really not absurd.
    As an analogy, darkness or blackness is often thought of (not incorrectly) as the absense of light, but it can also be thought of (not incorrectly) as a light reflection or emission status or condition.
    Would it be inaccurate (or absurd) to say an atheist’s religion is “none”?

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