Woman Denied US Citizenship Because of Atheism

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posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 01:51 PM
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Being a natural born US citizen, I never had to pass a test to become a citizen, nor did I have to swear that I would "take up arms" to defend my country. But If I was asked the same question as this woman, Margaret Doughty, my answer would have been much the same as hers.


In the process of applying for citizenship, all candidates are asked if they’d be willing to take up arms in defense of the United States of America. Ms. Doughty responded,

“I am sure the law would never require a 64 year-old woman like myself to bear arms, but if I am required to answer this question, I cannot lie. I must be honest. The truth is that I would not be willing to bear arms. Since my youth I have had a firm, fixed and sincere objection to participation in war in any form or in the bearing of arms. I deeply and sincerely believe that it is not moral or ethical to take another person’s life, and my lifelong spiritual/religious beliefs impose on me a duty of conscience not to contribute to warfare by taking up arms…my beliefs are as strong and deeply held as those who possess traditional religious beliefs and who believe in God…I want to make clear, however, that I am willing to perform work of national importance under civilian direction or to perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States if and when required by the law to do so.”


Fair enough right? She's taken the stance of what we call "conscientious objection". If she had just said that she would be willing to kill, even though she would be lying, there would be no problem. But, the US government won't take her word for it now, that killing is against her personal morality, they need someone "godly" to verify her beliefs and her beliefs must be established by and backed up by a religious institution.


Despite being an atheist, Ms. Doughty was told that any conscientious objection must be based on religious grounds, not simply moral objections. So as someone who was not religious, and didn't believe in a god, she had no basis for objecting. Her statement has been denied and she has been informed that to move forward in the process she must submit a letter from the elders of her church to prove her conscientious objections are religiously based.

The USCIS has told her,

“Please submit a letter on official church stationery, attesting to the fact that you are a member in good standing and the church’s official position on the bearing of arms.”



This is not the first time a non-religious person has raised a conscientious objection to joining the armed forces. In fact, related issues have gone to the Supreme Court and have been ruled in favor of the non-religious objector. In Welsh v. United States, Elliott Ashton Welsh refused to take up arms on a moral objection rather than a religious one. However, under the Universal Military Training and Service Act, one could only object to joining the armed forces based on a religious conviction involving a Supreme Being. The Court agreed that Welsh could be considered a conscientious objector based on his personal moral grounds, and that the exemption being purely religious was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

It appears that Margaret Doughty is facing a very similar First Amendment violation. As a conscientious objector to war, she is basing her position on her personal ethical code rather than a religious one. The response from the INS suggesting her claim must be based on religion is the same sort of First Amendment violation we saw in Welsh v. US.


WOMAN BEING DENIED CITIZENSHIP BECAUSE HER MORALITY DOESN’T COME FROM RELIGION

Being that this woman is not a US citizen, I don't know if she has any rights to sue the US or any recourse through appeal. I just don't know. But this is a situational problem that exposes the underlying truth that religious influences have intruded on just about every facet of American's lives and the perception of morality. Even the government seems to back the idea that morality can only come from a god and that an individual is incapable of making moral judgement without referencing some supreme being.

Does anyone else see the irony here? If she had just be willing to kill, there would be no problem with her application for US citizenship. This is why atheists need to organize. This is why some atheists tend to "evangelize". Humans tend to acknowledge organizations above individuals.




edit on 16-6-2013 by windword because: typos




posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:00 PM
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reply to post by windword
 


of course because they failed to swear "so help you God" and denied to say the pledge of allegiance, how does it go again " "I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God..."
edit on 16-6-2013 by Tlexlapoca because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:01 PM
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Not that this has anything to do with immigration BUT
Here in Texas, neither atheist nor poly-theist is eligible to hold political office based on the Texas state constitution one must acknowledge a single supreme being in order to be eligible. Some research reveals that the TX Secretary of State and TX Attorney General's office are in agreement that this provision of the Texas Consitution is unenforceable.

ganjoa



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:11 PM
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A true Christian would never want to restrict anybody from anything for religious reasons. It's just ridiculous. But I can't help but feel that there's more to this story than "she was denied citizenship because she's an atheist."

I don't know. I'll have to do some diggin' around and readin'.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:11 PM
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Originally posted by ganjoa
Not that this has anything to do with immigration BUT
Here in Texas, neither atheist nor poly-theist is eligible to hold political office based on the Texas state constitution one must acknowledge a single supreme being in order to be eligible. Some research reveals that the TX Secretary of State and TX Attorney General's office are in agreement that this provision of the Texas Consitution is unenforceable.

ganjoa


Yep, I am aware of Texas' constitution. Here are some more "unenforcable" regulations on the books:


The constitutions of these seven US states ban atheists from holding public office:

Arkansas: "No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court."

Maryland: "That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.”

Mississippi: "No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state."

North Carolina: "The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."

South Carolina: "No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution."

Tennessee: "No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

"Texas: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

An eighth state constitution discriminates against atheists by affording special protection to theists only.

Pennsylvania: "No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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I thought that atheism was solely a "lack of belief in a deity/deities" and *no more*. I have been told by multiple atheists that all other beliefs were more personal/individual and ancillary.

So, I am struggling to understand how atheism now has "conscientious objector to violence" as part of its established tenets? Does atheism dictate such things, and if so, why doesnt that contradict the claim that atheism is "lack of belief" and nothing more?

The way I see it, this woman was denied because she is not willing to fight for a corrupt organization. But, I am struggling to see its association directly with atheism.

I see it in much the same way as if I would not commit violence for a corrupt "x" and I did not like hot dogs as well. When I was denied whatever opportunity I was seeking, I would then claim that they denied me "x" because I do not like hot dogs.

Perhaps I am missing something, so it would be great if someone could clarify? I see so many contradictions in this specific topic, and am trying to understand them. I assume it is just a lack of education on my part, and would love more information!



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:14 PM
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reply to post by windword
 


I'm not sure why the modern Christian church is so determined to stop anybody but Christians from holding office. Any right-minded Christian who pays attention to the Bible knows this whole country is going down the toilet, and there's not a thing we can do about it except brace ourselves and try to soften the blow for those who would otherwise get hit the hardest.
edit on 16-6-2013 by FollowTheWhiteRabbit because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:16 PM
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reply to post by FollowTheWhiteRabbit
 


I would hope that her denial of citizenship is just as oversight of outdated bureaucratic red tape and a remnant of some pre-Civil War mentality, and that it has been, or will be corrected.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:21 PM
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reply to post by Serdgiam
 





So, I am struggling to understand how atheism now has "conscientious objector to violence" as part of its established tenets? Does atheism dictate such things, and if so, why doesnt that contradict the claim that atheism is "lack of belief" and nothing more?


Atheism doesn't have any such tenet. Atheism is simply that lack of belief in a god, or gods. This woman is being asked to prove that her morality comes from a god that she doesn't believe in. She's being asked to provide church documentation of her personal belief.

Since there is no atheist church, with a letterhead, that has the documented tenet of her personal morality, she's up a creek without a paddle.

And, yes, the controversy only arises because of her lack of willingness to kill.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:21 PM
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reply to post by windword
 




It just seems so 'backwards'

Is it not about time the US changed some of these laws?

There is an Atheist Ireland group here who try and appeal and fight against such sillyness, like the Blasphemy Law here



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:23 PM
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Originally posted by windword
reply to post by FollowTheWhiteRabbit
 


I would hope that her denial of citizenship is just as oversight of outdated bureaucratic red tape and a remnant of some pre-Civil War mentality, and that it has been, or will be corrected.


Honestly, I think we could use more people like this woman in our country. That is, if everything is to be taken at face value. The reality is that a person who is willing to stand up for their rights, in any context, is not all that desirable to our government or the special interests that are involved with its functioning.

Regardless of that, I just dont see the connection with atheism unless atheism has started to expand its principles beyond just "lack of belief," which imo opens up quite an interesting can of worms (so to speak).



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:27 PM
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Originally posted by windword

Originally posted by ganjoa
Not that this has anything to do with immigration BUT
Here in Texas, neither atheist nor poly-theist is eligible to hold political office based on the Texas state constitution one must acknowledge a single supreme being in order to be eligible. Some research reveals that the TX Secretary of State and TX Attorney General's office are in agreement that this provision of the Texas Consitution is unenforceable.

ganjoa


Yep, I am aware of Texas' constitution. Here are some more "unenforcable" regulations on the books:


The constitutions of these seven US states ban atheists from holding public office:

Arkansas: "No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this State, nor be competent to testify as a witness in any Court."

Maryland: "That no religious test ought ever to be required as a qualification for any office of profit or trust in this State, other than a declaration of belief in the existence of God; nor shall the Legislature prescribe any other oath of office than the oath prescribed by this Constitution.”

Mississippi: "No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state."

North Carolina: "The following persons shall be disqualified for office: First, any person who shall deny the being of Almighty God."

South Carolina: "No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office under this Constitution."

Tennessee: "No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.

"Texas: "No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being."

An eighth state constitution discriminates against atheists by affording special protection to theists only.

Pennsylvania: "No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth.

en.wikipedia.org...


Talk about irony. Atheists insist that we were not founded as a Christian nation and then present a huge piece of evidence showing that to be a lie.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:30 PM
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reply to post by DarthMuerte
 


It's not a lie, America wasn't founded on Christianity.

By the way, Christians aren't the only people who believe in a god or gods. I might believe in Thor and Odin, for all the government knows. That would make me eligible (not necessarily electable
) to serve any office of government.


edit on 16-6-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:36 PM
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Originally posted by windword
Atheism doesn't have any such tenet. Atheism is simply that lack of belief in a god, or gods. This woman is being asked to prove that her morality comes from a god that she doesn't believe in. She's being asked to provide church documentation of her personal belief.

Since there is no atheist church, with a letterhead, that has the documented tenet of her personal morality, she's up a creek without a paddle.


I hear ya. Though, I could see the government finding as many reasons as possible, regardless of belief system, to deny this woman citizenship. Its not the atheism part, its the non violence part. The topic just seems to play into a victim-type mentality which is so prevalent nowadays.

I think that there are options for her to obtain verification of her beliefs, but obviously *not* of her atheism. I am not sure that is the intent behind all of this publicity though, it seems part of an agenda.


And, yes, the controversy only arises because of her lack of willingness to kill.


That seems to contradict the thread title as well as the tone of the original article... which insinuates that it was not her lack of willingness to kill, but rather her atheism that denied her citizenship.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 02:50 PM
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reply to post by Serdgiam
 





That seems to contradict the thread title as well as the tone of the original article... which insinuates that it was not her lack of willingness to kill, but rather her atheism that denied her citizenship.


The origin of her morality is the question. The US allows for conscientious objection, but only if it is backed by religious doctrine. Since she has no religious affiliation, being an atheist and all, she can't provide the documentation that the INS is asking for. It's their bureaucratic red tape that requires this religious documentation and rejects her individual morality. It's the US government's bias toward religion and ideology that God is the only authority on morality. It's a blatant violation of separation of church and state.

As far as the thread title, I would have liked to use the original title:
WOMAN BEING DENIED CITIZENSHIP BECAUSE HER MORALITY DOESN’T COME FROM RELIGION, but I thought it was too long to totally fit in the ATS headline box, and would get cut off. So, I tried to sum it up, more briefly.


edit on 16-6-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 05:41 PM
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She was denied because she's anti-war. She could be a catholic priest and would have been denied, if she doesn't support the U.S. war machine.
edit on 16-6-2013 by Hushabye because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 05:52 PM
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reply to post by windword
 


I'm pretty sure this is just an excuse to keep from having to pay this 64 year old woman Social Security and Medicare when she becomes eligible as a citizen.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 06:04 PM
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reply to post by Hushabye
 



Originally posted by Hushabye
She was denied because she's anti-war. She could be a catholic priest and would have been denied, if she doesn't support the U.S. war machine.


Wrong. She was denied because she didn't have the authority to make her own moral judgements. She needs a preist or a pastor to verify her belief/morality to be sourced from a god that she doesn't believe in.

reply to post by Deetermined
 



Margaret Doughty, a 64-year old woman from the UK who has spent the past 30+ years in the U.S., is in the process of applying for United States Citizenship and happens to be an atheist


If she was working and paying into FICA and Medicare for 30 years, why shouldn't she get the benefits? Do non citizens get to keep more of their paychecks than Americans? I don't know, but I highly doubt it. If she doesn't have a Social Security number, then I guess she wouldn't qualify for Social Security benefits.

edit on 16-6-2013 by windword because: typos



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 06:12 PM
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reply to post by windword
 



If she was working and paying into FICA and Medicare for 30 years, why shouldn't she get the benefits? Do non citizens get to keep more of their paychecks than Americans? I don't know, but I highly doubt it. If she doesn't have a Social Security number, then I guess she wouldn't qualify for Social Security benefits.


I'm not saying she shouldn't get the benefits, but I wouldn't put it past the U.S. government to come up with any excuse they can right now to find a way to avoid paying out since Social Security and Medicare are going broke. You're right, if they can keep from giving her a Social Security number, they won't have to pay it out, but you only have to prove that you've been paying into the system for 10 years in order to receive it and she was probably doing that through an Individual Tax ID number.



posted on Jun, 16 2013 @ 06:50 PM
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unlucky love, those are the rules, adios





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