Humanism on the Move


Apr. 21, 2010

American Atheists praised a U.S. District Court decision that Barry A. Hazel Jr.'s constitutional rights were violated when he was compelled to attend religion-based drug and alcohol rehab sessions as a condition for qualifying for parole. Hazel had requested a secular alternative to the religion-based Alcoholics Anonymous, but was mistakenly informed that one was not available. When he refused to participate in the program, he was re-arrested.

Dr. Ed Buckner, President of American Atheists, said, "It is outrageous that any citizen be coerced into attending religious services or programs that 'push' religion in any form."


The Appignani Humanist Legal Center is awaiting the response of the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transportation District (MTD)'s legal department after MTD rejected an advertisement submitted by the Humanist Society of Santa Barbara's, which reads, "You Can be Good Without God." The advertisement was rejected without explanation, even though the MTD allows religious advertising.

"By permitting advertising that is supportive of religion but not allowing HSSB advertisements that support the nontheist point of view, the Santa Barbara MTD has unfairly discriminated against HSSB in violation of the First Amendment," said Bob Ritter, staff attorney for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, legal arm of the American Humanist Association. "The bus system would be within bounds to exclude entire groups from advertising as long as the policy is evenhandedly enforced. But in this case it seems MTD has arbitrarily and unfairly decided that some messages of a religious nature are acceptable, but others are not."