Atheist lawsuits

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Atheist organizations in the Western World are often litigious. These organizations often use ligitation to restrict the degree of religious freedom in various societies (see also: Atheist lawsuits and restrictions to religious freedom).

The Freedom From Atheism Foundation has a webpage on their website entitled "Ongoing Lawsuits".[1] The American Atheists has a webpage on their website entitled "Legal sucesses".[2] The Center for Inquiry engaged in lawsuits related to faith based initiatives concerning prison ministry.[3][4][5][6]

In June 2014, given the focus of atheist organizations on lawsuits, Sikivu Hutchinson wrote in the Washington Post that atheist organizations generally focus on church/state separation and creationism issues and not the concerns the less affluent African-American population faces (See: Atheism and charity and Western atheism and race).[7] Hutchinson also mentioned that church organizations do offer significant help to poor African-Americans.[7] Much of the focus on church/state separation and creationism issues relative to atheist organizations involves initiating and litigating lawsuits. See also: Atheist lawsuits and public relations

Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the founder of the American Atheists organization, on filing lawsuits vs. providing a hospital with medical equipment

See also: Atheist hospitals

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the founder of American Atheists organization declared concerning hospitals: "An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church.".[8]

Neither Madalyn Murray O’Hair nor the American Atheists organization ever built a hospital.

Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the founder of American Atheists organization declared concerning hospitals: "An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church.".[9]

Neither Madalyn Murray O’Hair nor the American Atheists organization ever built a hospital.

The article My mother: the most hated woman in America: Interview with William J. Murray declares:

In 1979, William had an idea to help get rid of his mother’s reputation as the most hated woman in America.

He told her of a hospital which desperately needed new equipment. He suggested she buy the equipment and put a plaque on it saying, ‘A gift from Madalyn Murray O’Hair—atheist.’

‘I told her we’d call a news conference and get the story publicized all over the United States. Then people would say she’s not such a bad old gal after all.’

She fumed. ‘She said, “Why would I want to take perfectly good money and use it to buy hospital equipment? I could use that money to file lawsuits to bar pastors, priests and rabbis from being allowed to go into hospitals.”’[10]

Taylor Barkley in his article An Atheist’s Perspective on Christian Engagement in the World wrote:

A Christian believes that a hospital and a church should be built. A Christian believes that deeds must be done and prayers said. A Christian strives for involvement in life and has nothing to fear in death. He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, and war eliminated and works with Christ to accomplish those goals, knowing that they will be accomplished one day.[11]

Atheist group sues over Bible display at VA hospital in New Hampshire

See also: Atheist hospitals

Atheist lawsuits against other atheists

See also: Atheists and conflict resolution

The Apostle Paul defends his preaching (Giovanni Ricco)

The Apostle Paul declared about Christians resolving disputes among themselves rather than using the civil courts: "When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints?" (1 Corinthians 6:1). See also: Christian worldview concerning resolving conflict among Christians

There is a lot of internal conflict within the atheist population in the Western World (see: Atheist factions and Atheism and social skills).

Atheists have no authoritive source of information which discourages litigious behavior against fellow atheists (see: Atheists and conflict resolution).

The only thing that mitigates the amount of atheist lawsuits is that most atheists tend to be apathetic regarding their atheism and thus atheists participation in atheist organizations is rather small and thus there is less conflict about property held by many atheists (see: Atheism and apathy). In addition, due to significant conflict among atheists, fundraising by atheist organizations is significantly down so the amount of wealth held by atheist organizations makes them less inviting in terms of potential lawsuits (See: Atheist organizations and fundraising). Furthermore, atheists give significantly less to charity than religious believers (see: Atheism and charity).

In addition, not possessing a religious basis for morality, which can provide a basis for objective morality, atheism is fundamentally incapable of providing a coherent system of morality.[12] See also: Atheism and morality and Atheist population and immorality and Atheism and ethics

Richard Carrier's defamation lawsuits against Freethought Blogs, The Orbit and Skepticon conference relating to sexual harrassment allegations

See: Richard Carrier's defamation lawsuits against Freethought Blogs, The Orbit and Skepticon conference

The atheist Richard Carrier filed defamation lawsuits against Freethought Blogs, The Orbit and the Skepticon conference.

In 2018, the atheist Hemant Mehta wrote about the defamation lawsuits:

The lawsuit began in September of 2016, when Dr. Richard Carrier..., the author of several books about ancient philosophy, religion, and science, sued individual atheists, Freethought Blogs and The Orbit (atheist blog networks), and the Skepticon conference on charges of defamation, interference with his business, and emotional distress. Those charges stemmed from posts made about his alleged sexual harassment, an accusation he repeatedly denied.[13]

Freethought Blogs was founded by atheists Ed Brayton and PZ Myers.[14][15]

Mehta also wrote:

In all three lawsuits, Carrier is asking the Court for damages worth $1.3 million — that’s nearly $4 million in total — in addition to legal costs, interest, and anything else the Courts deem fit. He’s also filing all three lawsuits on his own — without the help of a lawyer (at least one who’s listed in the complaints).[16]

For additional information, please see: Richard Carrier's defamation lawsuits against Freethought Blogs, The Orbit and Skepticon conference

See also:

Richard Carrier withdrew his lawsuits against fellow atheists after being countersued

The atheist Adam Lee wrote:

...a Missouri court, the first of the three to hear his new case, promptly threw it out...

Before the other two courts got around to ruling on the statute-of-limitations argument, the defendants filed a countersuit in Arizona, and when the costs to defend himself started to pile up, Carrier panicked. (Apparently, defending yourself against a lawsuit is really expensive! Who could’ve known?)

Shortly thereafter, he gave in and agreed to dismiss all his lawsuits with prejudice, meaning he can never refile them.[17]

The aforementioned parties Carrier sued agreed to drop their countersuits when Carrier agreed to drop his remaining lawsuits.[18]

Atheist Stephanie Zvan on Richard Carrier dropping his lawsuit which involved her

Atheist Stephanie Zvan on Richard Carrier dropping his lawsuit which involved her:

By now, you may know that Richard Carrier dropped his remaining SLAPP suits in November. If you read the settlement agreement, you’ll see he even explicitly said we are free to talk about the allegations and the suit without incurring more legal hassle from him. So we’re going to do that.

Save the date for the evening of February 23. We’ve rested, we’ve let the news sink in, and we’re ready to talk. We’ll bring you more news soon as we work out technical details for live streaming and confirm special guests. In the meantime, however, just know that our lips are legally unsealed. We can talk. We will talk.[19]

Atheist PZ Myers on the Richard Carrier withdrawing his lawsuits
After Richard Carrier withdrew his defamation lawsuits related to the sexual allegations against him, the atheist PZ Myers likened Carrier's future to a sinking ship.

Specifically, Myers wrote: "That, by the way, is the USS Oriskany being sunk to form an artificial reef for sea life. The sinking of Richard Carrier will not be so useful."[20] See: Richard Carrier's lawsuits

The atheist PZ Myers wrote about Richard Carrier dropping his lawsuit and Stephanie Zvan indicating they are going to publicly talk about the sexual allegations against Richard Carrier along with his lawsuits and other matters:

Good news, everybody! The Richard Carrier lawsuit is kaput. He finally, after 3 years of this nonsense, approached our lawyer and begged for mercy: he agreed to walk away from the lawsuit with prejudice if we agreed to do likewise and promise not to hurt him anymore. This is a comprehensive surrender, agreeing to quit harassing me, Amy Frank, Lauren Lane, Stephanie Zvan, Skepticon, The Orbit, and Freethoughtblogs...[21]

Myers also wrote:

Oh, this is going to be fun. Mark your calendar and keep the evening of Sunday 23 February open, because we’re doing a grand celebratory hangout, since we’re finally out from under that ridiculous law suit by Richard Carrier.

...We are angry at the unjust and self-servingly stupid behavior by Richard Carrier, and we plan to vent. We have unfair debts imposed on us, and oh boy, are we ready to flame that jerk.[22]

After Richard Carrier withdrew his lawsuits related to the sexual allegations against him, PZ Myers likened his future to a sinking ship. Specifically, Myers wrote: "That, by the way, is the USS Oriskany being sunk to form an artificial reef for sea life. The sinking of Richard Carrier will not be so useful."[23]

Ex-president of the American Atheists organization sues the organization for defamation plus files lawsuits against women who accused him of sexual harrassment

See also: David Silverman and Firing of David Silverman from the American Atheists organization

In 2018, Silverman was fired after allegations of financial conflicts and sexual assault.[24] Nick Fish, the new president of American Atheists, indicated that Silverman's termination was not over sexual allegations, but as a result of a "loss of confidence" stemming from violations of internal policies on staff management, conflicts of interest, and their general code of conduct.[25] Silverman, through his lawyer, denies any wrong doing and indicates he has never had a non-consensual sexual encounter.[26] See: Firing of David Silverman from the American Atheists organization

Silverman has filed a defamation lawsuit against the women who accused him of sexual harrasment, BuzzFeed who reported the news story, and the American Atheists organization.[27] On December 9, 2019, David Silverman's attorney withdrew from being his lawyer in his suit against American Atheists and Silverman will be acting as his own attorney.[28]

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science embezzlement allegation relating to his website

See also: Atheist organizations and scandals and Richard Dawkins and morality and Atheism and stealing

Richard Dawkins was a principle founder of the New Atheism movement.

The Independent wrote about the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, has filed four lawsuits in a Californian court alleging that Mr Timonen, who ran its online operation in America, stole $375,000 (£239,000) over three years. It is claiming $950,000 in damages, while Mr Dawkins is suing him for $14,000 owed to him personally. Mr Timonen strongly denies the allegations.

In the 18-page complaint filed in a Los Angeles court, the foundation claims that Mr Timonen said the website he was running was just "squeaking by," making only $30,000 in three years, when in fact it was grossing 10 times that sum. The charity alleges that Mr Timonen pocketed 92 per cent of the money generated by the store, with his girlfriend spending $100,000 of the charity's money on upgrading her home before putting it on the market.

The funds apparently came on top of Mr Timomen's pay – of $278,750 over three-and-a-half years (£50,000 a year) – which legal documents filed by the foundation describe as "exceedingly generous and well above-market for someone of Timomen's age and experience...[29]

Atheist Hemant Mehta reported in 2011 that Dawkins ended his legal actions against Mr. Timonen.[30]

David Gorski at Scienceblogs wrote about this matter:

Timonen has responded. Although I find his denial self-serving, I do find it odd that there have been no arrests. After all, embezzlement is a criminal offense. If I ran a charitable organization and discovered that an employee had embezzled close to $1 million, I’d have called the police, not the lawyers. Something more than meets the eye appears to be going on here.[31]

See also: Richard Dawkins' loss of influence

Freedom From Religion Foundation, lawsuits and the War on Christmas

See also: Atheism and Christmas

Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, says his group is opposed to the nativity scenes and other Christian symbols that appear on public spaces during the holiday season.[32]

The War on Christmas refers specifically to the controversy surrounding the celebration or acknowledgment of the Christmas holiday in government, media, advertising and other secular environments.

The Telegraph reported about the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the War on Christmas:

Across the United States, many of the FFRF’s 23,000 members have mobilised to ban Jesus from classroom plays, silence school choirs and take down nativity scenes.

At this time of year, Mr Barker said, his office is transformed into a war room: "It really ramps up. Our legal staff get ready, writing template letters for each state and district, ready to deploy them at any moment."[33]

The Horn News reported:

For the seventh year in a row, the anti-religion activists at the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) have erected an outrageous sign outside the Illinois state house denouncing Christmas and Christianity.

Dan Barker, FFRF co-president, said his group is opposed to the nativity scenes and other Christian symbols that appear on public spaces during the holiday season. So the atheist organization wants equal space to spread its anti-religion rhetoric during the Christmas season.

The Illinois state house grounds now feature an offensive red and green sign that reads, “At this season of the Winter Solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

And the FFRF is not stopping at Illinois.

FFRF has announced plans to erect similar signs at the Texas and Florida state houses.

This isn’t the only attack to remove Christmas from the public view, either. Already this month the anti-religion organization put up a “Reasons Greetings” (an attack on the term Season’s Greetings) display at the Warren, Michigan city hall. The organization also recently announced a lawsuit that has banned the Concord Community Schools in Indiana from performing their traditional live nativity scene at the school’s 2015 Christmas Spectacular holiday concert.[34]

Atheist lawsuits and public relations

See also: Atheism and public relations and Atheist lawsuits and public relations and Views on atheists

Sam Harris speaking in 2010.

Atheist Sam Harris told a Newsweek reporter about atheism and public relations, "Frankly, it has a terrible PR campaign... It is right next to child molester as something you don't want to be."[35] See also: Atheism and public relations

Atheist organizations focusing on lawsuits - especially lawsuits involving manger seasons during the holiday season, reinforce the notion that atheists are bitter, angry and intolerant individuals (see: Atheism and anger and Atheism and bitterness and Atheism and intolerance).

Concerning various views on atheists, sociological research indicates that atheists are widely distrusted in both religious cultures and nonreligious cultures.[36][37][38][39] According to a study published in the International Journal for The Psychology of Religion: "anti-atheist prejudice is not confined either to dominantly religious countries or to religious individuals, but rather appears to be a robust judgment about atheists."[38] The study found that many atheists do not trust other atheists as well.[38]

Research suggests that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier.[40]

In December 2003, the University of Warwick reported:

Dr. Stephen Joseph, from the University of Warwick, said: "Religious people seem to have a greater purpose in life, which is why they are happier. Looking at the research evidence, it seems that those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are on the whole likely to be happier.[41]

See also:

See also

Notes

  1. Ongoing Lawsuits - Legal - Freedom From Religion Foundation
  2. Legal sucesses - American Atheists
  3. Postal, Leslie (April 20, 2011). Bill asks voters to OK taxpayer funding of religious institutions. Orlando Sentinel.
  4. Mazzei, Patricia (April 27, 2011). Blaine amendment repeal passes Florida house. Tampa Bay Times.
  5. Center for Inquiry will not appeal adverse decision in Florida lawsuit. CFI (February 8, 2016).
  6. Bettis, Kara (February 23, 2016). Atheists drop suit to block Christian prison ministry funding. New Boston Post. Retrieved on May 16, 2016.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Atheism has a big race problem that no one’s talking about by Dr. Sikivu Hutchinson, Washington Post June 16, 2014
  8. An Atheist’s Perspective on Christian Engagement in the World by Taylor Barkley
  9. An Atheist’s Perspective on Christian Engagement in the World by Taylor Barkley
  10. My mother: the most hated woman in America: Interview with William J. Murray by Robert Doolan
  11. An Atheist’s Perspective on Christian Engagement in the World by Taylor Barkley
  12. Paul Copan
  13. Judge Dismisses Richard Carrier’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Atheist Bloggers BY HEMANT MEHTA
  14. About Freethoughtblog
  15. Five challenges for atheists and secularists in 2016 by Michael Nugent
  16. Dr. Richard Carrier Has (Again) Sued Several Atheists on Charges of Defamation BY HEMANT MEHTA
  17. Richard Carrier Loses His Lawsuit (Again)
  18. We win by PZ Myers
  19. Carrier Victory Celebration by Stephanie Zvan
  20. Hey! If you’re still on Facebook… by PZ Myers
  21. We win! by PZ Myers
  22. Dishing out ALL the dirt by PZ Myers
  23. Hey! If you’re still on Facebook… by PZ Myers
  24. This Firebrand Atheist Was Just Fired After Allegations Of Financial Conflicts And Sexual Assault
  25. Leading atheist, accused of sexual misconduct, speaks out, Washington Post (republished article from Religion News Service) by Kimberly Winston, September 6, 2018
  26. American Atheists President David Silverman Fired After Sexual Misconduct Allegations, Christian Post, 2018
  27. Despite Misconduct Allegations, David Silverman Is Now Running an Atheist Group BY HEMANT MEHTA
  28. Yikes, Silverman is SLAPPing some more by PZ Myers
  29. An ungodly row: Dawkins sues his disciple
  30. Richard Dawkins Drops His Lawsuit Against Former Employee
  31. Richard Dawkins sues Josh Timonen, Posted by David Gorski on October 24, 2010
  32. You won’t believe this atheist attack on Christmas, The Horn News]
  33. [American atheists go to war against Christmas], The Tegraph
  34. You won’t believe this atheist attack on Christmas, The Horn News]
  35. NEWSWEEK Poll: 90% Believe in God, Newsweek 2007
  36. Study: Atheists distrusted as much as rapists
  37. Atheists Widely Distrusted, Even Among Themselves, UK Study Finds, Christian Post, 2015
  38. 38.0 38.1 38.2 Anti-atheist distrust ‘deeply and culturally ingrained’, study finds, The Independent, 2015
  39. Edgell, Gerteis & Hartmann 2006
  40. http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2003/A/20037338.html
  41. http://www.scienceblog.com/community/older/2003/A/20037338.html