Atheist seeking US citizenship told to join church or be denied ? RT USA
Story at link. In short, this atheist could not in good conscience pledge to take up arms to defend the US. Religious people can get out of this pledge by saying its against their religion, but as an atheist it isn't against her religion, but still against her morals. She was told to provide documentation on church letterhead that she had joined an anti-violence church or else be denied citizenship for not saying the pledge. Thoughts? Is it fair that a religious person's deeply held beliefs would "count more" than a non-religious person's? Can you make belonging to a religion a requirement of citizenship?
This is really quite sad. I wonder if there is a humanist organization who can help out until this can be challenged in court, as it seems blatantly illegal.
But being part of two groups, immigrant and atheist, which don't get very much respect in the US must be very difficult.
While I completely agree that she should get the same exemption as religious people, I will confess that if I were her I would just lie. She's 65, she's a woman: no one is going to ask her to take up arms.
To the greater issue, it's unfair.
But if she were smart, she'd just agree to it, knowing it is not going to come up.
Laurie - I would probably just say the darn pledge too, for expediency's sake. However, I do think it speaks well of her (and of the strength of her moral convictions) that she's not willing to lie when the lie would be easier.
This seems a lot to me like the vaccinations exemptions. In NYState, i could file a religious exemption if i had a religious reasons for not wanting to vaccinate my kids. But you know, when i was there i sent my kids to a Catholic school and participated as a Catholic so had I wanted to there, i was rather out of luck.
Here in Maine there are both religious exemptions for vaccines and philosophical exemptions that you can use.
I see this as the same and i don't really understand why there is a problem because according to the article it sound like the precedent had been set previously to allow objection without being affiliated with a religion.
I agree with Kim. There should absolutely be an opportunity for people to oppose this on non-religious grounds, and it seems that the courts have already agreed with that.
CARRIE and DH 7/14/07
She should join the Unitarian Universalists. They welcome all belief systems, including atheists, and one of their principles is "The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all." Her immediate problem is solved in the short term, and I applaud her efforts to resolve the issue on a long-term basis with a court ruling.
And to answer the OP questions: No, one person's religious beliefs should not "count more" than another's non-religious beliefs. And absolutely no, church membership should not be a requirement for citizenship. You can't have freedom of religion without freedom *from* religion.
The number of U.S. states in which a person can marry the person they love regardless of gender: 30 and counting!
I have an honest question (although it may be a stupid one) about this. In the article it says:
“The truth is that I would not be willing to bear arms,” the British native explained on her application. “Since my youth I have had a firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or in the bearing of arms. I deeply and sincerely believe that it is not moral or ethical to take another person’s life, and my lifelong spiritual/religious beliefs impose on me a duty of conscience not to contribute to warfare by taking up arms.”
In looking up the description of "Religious belief" on Wikipedia (Religious belief - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) I can't really tell if this definition includes those who don't believe in a diety (it seems not to?)
So, can an athiest have "spiritual/religious beliefs" and if so, can someone help me understand this, since I thought they were non-religous? Admittedly, I do not know much about athiesm beyond the obvious, so I'm truly curious about this.
CARRIE and DH 7/14/07
I'm with you, Carrie. I don't think you can have a religious belief if you're an atheist.
Couldn't this really apply to anything though? Say for instance Amish kids don't have to go to school past the 8th grade because of their religious beliefs. Couldn't an Atheist say that it is against their morals for some reason for their kids to go to school and make the argument that their belief should hold the same weight as those religious beliefs?
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