36. Do Laws About Religion Take Atheism into Account?
Lori G. Beaman [+]
University of Ottowa
This chapter considers the intersection of atheism and law. Specifically, it examines legal protections for atheists (and other nonreligious people) through human rights guarantees of the freedom of and from religion. The chapter also explores the ways that religion is subtly privileged in, for example, courts mandating attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (with its reference to a "higher power") or the persistence of religious symbols in public institutions. Despite this, the chapter argues that the growth of the numbers of atheists and nonreligious people in recent years has the potential to shift legal frameworks dealing with religion.