Discrimination against Atheists: A New Legal Hierarchy among Religious Beliefs

Discrimination against Atheists: A New Legal Hierarchy among Religious Beliefs

Discrimination against Atheists: A New Legal Hierarchy among Religious Beliefs

Discrimination against Atheists: A New Legal Hierarchy among Religious Beliefs

Synopsis

Weiler-Harwell examines continuing, legal, discrimination against atheists, as made clear in two cases: Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000) and Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow (2004). These rulings created a new, discriminatory level of distinction for believers versus non-believers that is ahistorical in light of previous Supreme Court precedent. Both cases created new standards for analyzing equality under the law for non-conformists such as atheists, shaping a new hierarchy of protected and unprotected forms of religious belief. The new judicial standards elevate monotheistic religious belief over the neutrality standard that had been heralded in prior Supreme Court decisions and create a kind of American Civil Religion.

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