Re: [asa] Brownback on evolution

From: PvM <>
Date: Sat Jun 16 2007 - 00:36:45 EDT

Your reading of Kaufman seems to be flawed as it did not rule that the
government agencies have no right to ban religious ideas but rather
that because the prison allowed the gatherings of religious people, it
violated the establishment clause when it failed to show that

<quote>... letting an atheistic study group to meet would pose any
greater security risk than would letting members of other religious
organizations to meet.8 The court therefore vacated the summary
judgment in favor of the defendants and remanded back to the trial
court for further proceedings.</quote>

From Commentary By Nancy Coles
Kaufman v. McCaughtry 419 F.3d 867 (8th Cir. 2005), 2005 U.S. App.
LEXIS 17608*

 You may also be interested in

<quote>Part I of this article examines atheism and discusses why it is
not a religion and
therefore not entitled to free exercise protection. Part II
demonstrates that atheism does
not require classification as a religion under the Free Exercise
Clause because the
Establishment Clause provides adequate and appropriate protection for
this group. Part
III examines Kaufman v. McCaughtry and explains what led the Seventh
Circuit to reach
its incorrect decision. Part IV explains why distinguishing between
religion and non-
religion is important, and why the Kaufman holding could be
detrimental to First
Amendment jurisprudence.


<quote>The Establishment Clause was originally interpreted to mean only that
Government cannot prefer one religion over another (also known as a
approach).20 However, the Supreme Court changed its approach, and has
stated that the
Establishment Clause requires neutrality not only among religions, but
also between
religion and nonreligion.21</quote>

21 See Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 15, (1947)
("Neither [a State nor the Federal
Government] can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions,
or prefer one religion over another."). See also Torcaso v. Watkins,
367 U.S. 488, 495 (1961) ("Neither can [the Federal Government]
constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all
religions against non-believers, and neither can aid those religions
based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions
founded on different beliefs.").

And from the actual decision

<quote>The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a
"religion" for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions,
most recently in McCreary County, Ky. v. American Civil Liberties
Union of Ky., 125 S.Ct. 2722 (2005). The Establishment Clause itself
says only that
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,"
but the Court understands the reference to religion to include what
it often calls "nonreligion."</quote>

So non religion is included as religion for the purpose of the 1st amendment

On 6/15/07, David Clounch <> wrote:
> Dave,
> What matters is what the term means in the context of the jurisprudence.
> I'm slowly building a blog that has all the text of the US Supreme Court
> cases.
> But I recently added Kaufman from the 7th Circuit because it is interesting,
> even though it only holds in that one circuit. It actually addresses the
> details of your question.
> I could post the relevant (establishment clause) parts of it here if you
> like. It would have to be a series. It actually says that government
> agencies don't have the right to ban religious ideas, BTW. It reinforces
> the idea that ideas pertaining to "ultimate" questions are protected,
> (getting that from previous case).
> Cheers,
> Dave C
> On 6/14/07, Dave Wallace <> wrote:
> > David Clounch wrote:
> >
> > > Banning ideas if they are religious in nature can be banned from
> > > public schools under the first amendment.
> >
> > What exactly does "religious" mean in this context and how does it
> > relate to "world view". I have been reading The God Delusion and IMHO
> > many of the ideas Dawkins expresses have a faith component and are
> > essentially religious in nature. Has not such a religious position been
> > established at least in schools by the Dover decision?
> >
> > Dave W
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >

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Received on Fri, 15 Jun 2007 21:36:45 -0700

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