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  • Yes, absolutely YES!!!!

    Everyone deserves the right to believe whatever they believe, and i see no reason that atheist should be any different. I believe that the Founding Fathers meant to protect ALL beliefs under the First Amendment. After all,when the Pilgrims set sail in 1620, many of them were fleeing religious persecution.

  • Most certainly protected

    The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment (in its entirety) to protect the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion; the right to one's personal opinions and the right to express them peacefully. Atheism by their interpretation falls into the "religion" category in that it pertains to existential beliefs (though it isn't a religion per se).

  • Clearly it does.

    Just as free speech includes the freedom not to speak, free exercise of religion includes the freedom not to exercise religion. Atheists have every right to not exercise religion if they do so choose. Everyone is protected in their rights of exercising or not exercising religion. The key words are free exercise; not religion.

  • Atheists are people just like Christians, Muslims, etc....

    Beliving in one thing does not make you physically different than someone else who has a seperate belief. Everyone deserves the same respect under the protection of the first amendment. Therefore no matter what you believe in you are treated the same. Also the first amendment counts being an atheist a religion for the purpose of equal rights. Everyone has the right to there own opinion and disagreeing with someone else's rights does not make you any better than them and even if your religion is right, it does not make you a better person

  • First Amendment Applies to Atheists

    The first amendment also applies to the freedom from religion. Atheists want to be free from religion and from the perspective, the 1st Amendment applies. If it didn't apply, Atheists would be forced to respect any and all religious institutions. Obviously, Atheists shouldn't be forced into that situation any more than a theist should be forced into the inverse.

  • Everybody is protected

    Everybody is protected. The question is stupid, like 60% of all the opinion question. Every American citizen is protected by the 1st amendment. I do not see why this would not include athiests. So yeah, the answer is pretty obvious. There is no reason why they are not protected .

  • Yes! ...In the spirit of the question

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"

    So.... Protected from what?
    If atheism IS a "religion" it is protected like any other religion.

    If atheism is a "lack of a religion", Congress can't establish a religion and force atheists to accept it (legally). Since there isn't really anything atheists "exercise", the second part of the amendment may not apply to them, but it doesn't matter whether it does or not because, as previously stated, they're free to go on not exercising a religion since Congress can't establish one anyway.

    So whether or not their protected by the "free-exercise clause", they are most definitely protected by the first amendment.

  • Of course they are.

    The legal definition of religion under the law is not the same as a layman's. In order to be effective at protecting all beliefs, the First Amendment must also guarantee the freedom to hold no belief.
    The high court decisions on atheism's protected status under the First Amendment have been very clear in all cases; atheism is protected as religion is.
    'If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion. We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion."- Reed v. Great Lakes Co.
    "The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a 'religion' for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions"- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Kaufman v. McCaughtry, referencing several cases including the above and the Wallace v. Jaffree case, which stated thus:
    "At one time it was thought that this right [referring to the right to choose one’s own creed] merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Islam or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all."

    In other words- there is no way for the First Amendment to protect the right to free practice of religion unless the right NOT to practice is also protected.

  • The 1st Amendment has nothing to do with "freedom of religion", per se

    The text of the first amendment reads as such:
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
    These words only limit Congress' power to establish a federal religious belief, abridge or restrict the freedom of speech, press, or peaceful assembly. I often see the "freedom of religion" thing thrown around in association to the first amendment, when the text of the amendment never contains that phrasing. I assume by your wording, you're asking if atheists have the right to their beliefs under the text set forth in the constitution, or perhaps U.S. Law in general, in which the answer is yes,

  • Obviously they are.

    It only takes a simple look at the actual wording of the First Amendment. Most of what I see people "quote" about the First Amendment is not even in there. It does not say that there is freedom of religion. It does not say that Congress shall not establish "a" religion.

    The part of the First Amendment dealing with religion states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".

    If Congress cannot make any law establishing religion (not "a" religion but the idea of religion in general) then how can atheists not be protected? Basically there shall be no religious laws therefore we all have the same rights to worship, not worship, believe, not believe, etc.

    It seems extremely obvious. I would like to see any example where an atheist is not protected under the First Amendment.

  • I don't see how.

    I just read a really good analogy, "If Atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color." If we look at the first Amendment in the constitution is only talks about religion if Atheism isn't a religion, my question is then should it be respected and protected by the first Amendment?

  • Freedom of religion not freedom from religion

    If atheism is a religion then yes however if atheism is not then no you have freedom of religion not from religion so if a atheism is a religion you're free to practice atheism however if it is not a religion then you're not free to practice it just my very semantic opinion

  • Atheism is not a religion!

    Because atheism is not a religion it is not protected by the 1st amendment for there is nothing to protect. For Atheism to be protected under the 1st amendment it needs to be a religion and the definition of atheism is the disbelief or rejection of the belief in the existence of deities, meaning it is the disbelief of religion and if one were to then call it a religion it would then be seen hypocritical and the argument of atheism would be invalid.

  • If the amendment protected a lack of any religion it would have been stated.

    The 1st amendment protects the free-exercise of any religion, and bars Congress from making any law respecting the establishment of religion, which means Congress can pass no law which directly benefits any religion. There is no clause which states Congress must acknowledge Atheists right to exist, as they are not part of a religion. Until Atheism is classified as a religion, it cannot be protected under freedom from religious persecution. Only Atheist speech, press, as well as the right of Atheists to assemble is protected under the 1st amendment.

  • 1st Amendment protects Religion, not lack thereof.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    It specifically states that it protects religion. The lack of religion is not mentioned, or implied.


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