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BOP Settles Lawsuit by Recognizing Humanism as Religion

The federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has agreed to recognize "Humanism" as an official "religion" to settle a prisoner's lawsuit.

Jason Michael Holden is a BOP prisoner who was confined at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Sheridan, Oregon. He is a "Humanist." Rather than simply rejecting a belief in God, Humanists advocate rational thinking. They celebrate "Darwin Day," as one of their important holidays.

BOP prohibited Holden and other Humanist prisoners from forming a study group at Sheridan. Holden and the American Humanist Association responded by filing a lawsuit against the BOP in 2014.

The case was recently settled when BOP agreed to treat Humanism as it treats any other religion. BOP agreed to add a section on Humanism to its manual on prisoner religious beliefs and practices. Prisoners will be allowed to identify Humanism as their religious preference and have it entered into the BOP database. BOP officials will also consider requests from Humanist prisoners for access to study materials, observance of holy days, and time and space for group religious meetings and activities. The American Humanist Association announced the settlement in a media release. See: American Humanist Assn v. United States, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 154670 (D. Or.  2014).

Source: Associated Press 

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Related legal case

American Humanist Assn v. United States