Target: Madison, Wisconsin Mayor Paul Soglin
Goal: Congratulate city for passing nation’s first law against discrimination of atheists.
The United States’ first explicit ban on discrimination against atheists has recently been enacted in Madison, Wisconsin. This is a major victory for the legal doctrine of religious freedom in this country. Applaud the city for passing this groundbreaking legal protection.
Madison’s equal opportunity ordinance—its local anti-discrimination law—has for years protected people in the city from being denied equal opportunity in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of their sex, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity, among other qualities. After a unanimous vote by the city council, the phrase “religion or non-religion” was added to the ordinance.
This inclusion protects people in Madison from discrimination on the basis of their faith, but also on the basis of their lack of faith. This is the first such anti-discrimination protection for agnostics and atheists in the country’s history.
If the United States has a responsibility to protect people who practice any number of religions, it also has a complimentary responsibility to protect people who don’t practice any. Sign the petition below to applaud Madison for being the first of its kind to do this.
Dear Mayor Soglin,
I am writing you today regarding your city’s recent addition of “religion or non-religion” to its equal opportunity ordinance. This is the first protection of its kind in the United States, and I wanted to applaud your city for it.
Our freedom of religion is a straightforward right. Americans have the fundamental right to practice their chosen faith without restriction from the government and without fear of discrimination. Indeed, that is what motivated, in part, the founding of the American colonies in the first place.
It seems only natural, then, that the opposite of that should also hold true—that Americans who choose to not practice any religion, or who do not believe in a god at all, should also be protected from discrimination and be free to live their lives without reprisal for their beliefs.
As it stands, however, the laws of this country have been slow to acknowledge the rights of this complimentary community of agnostic and atheist Americans. Your city’s adoption of these new protections stands as what hopefully is a marker of things to come in other local, state, and federal laws. I applaud you and your city for including both religious and non-religious people in your city’s anti-discrimination law.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: J.delanoy via Wikimedia Commons