Atheists File Discrimination Complaint Against Wyoming Department of Corrections

By Hemant Mehta

A new complaint filed by the American Humanist Association on behalf of inmates including JonMichael Guy says that the Wyoming Department of Corrections is discriminating against Humanist prisoners by not giving them the same perks and privileges afforded to prisoners with religious beliefs.

While people of faith are allowed to gather, study, and discuss their views, the atheists aren’t given the same opportunity (despite requesting it). That’s because the Department doesn’t even recognize “Humanism” as a valid “Faith Group.”

“The Department’s disparate treatment of Humanist inmates violates decades of clearly established legal precedent,” said David Niose, Legal Director at the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The Supreme Court has long held that Secular Humanism, and even atheism, must be treated as equivalent to religion for First Amendment purposes.”

The AHA won a similar case against federal prisons in 2015, but that ruling doesn’t apply here because it’s a state-run facility.

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