Atheism in Five Minutes - Teemu Taira

Atheism in Five Minutes - Teemu Taira

36. Do Laws About Religion Take Atheism into Account?

Atheism in Five Minutes - Teemu Taira

Lori G. Beaman [+-]
University of Ottowa
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Lori G. Beaman, Ph.D., F.R.S.C., is the Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, Professor in the Department of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Ottawa, and Director of the ‘Nonreligion in a Complex Future’ project ( She previously directed the ‘Religion and Diversity Project’ ( Her publications include The Transition of Religion to Culture in Law and Public Discourse (Routledge, 2020), Deep Equality in an Era of Religious Diversity (Oxford University Press, 2017, and ‘Living Well Together in a (non)Religious Future: Contributions from the Sociology of Religion,’ Sociology of Religion. Professor Beaman received the 2017 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Impact Award in the Insight Category and holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University.


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.

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Beaman, Lori. 36. Do Laws About Religion Take Atheism into Account?. Atheism in Five Minutes. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 140-143 Oct 2022. ISBN 9781800502376. Date accessed: 05 Mar 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.43322. Oct 2022

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