In an ironic turn of events, a group of atheist prisoners have filed a federal lawsuit suing the North Carolina Department of Corrections. Their grievances derive from the fact that their prison does not allocate space for atheist group studies in the same way they do for religious inmates.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, the lawsuit was issued by one Kwame Teague. Teague is being held in the North Carolina prison system for life on account of a first-degree murder conviction from 1996. He claims that he has been requesting space for his atheist study group since 2012.
After requesting the space from the officers at the Lanesboro Correctional Institution, the State Department of Corrections denied his request. Although Christians receive rooms for Bible study, officials at the Dept. of Corrections said that atheism is not a religion.
Backing Teague is the American Humanist Association who are requesting that the department "treat atheists and humanists the same way it treats religious groups," according to public radio station WUNC.
Attorney for the AHA Monica Miller told reporters that the state was violating the First Amendment rights of the prisoners, saying, “They are essentially favoring God beliefs over non-belief, or mores specifically Christians and Jews and Muslims over humanists."
Source: WUNC Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons