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Oct 10 2011

It was his turn to get expelled

Richard Dawkins was supposed to speak at a hotel near Detroit, but had to change his plans at the last minute because the hotel owner watches TV and is bigoted and unethical.

Prejudice against atheists manifested itself again when The Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, Michigan (outside of Detroit), cancelled an event with scientist and author Richard Dawkins after learning of Dawkins’s views on religion. The event had been arranged by the Center for Inquiry–Michigan (CFI), an advocacy group for secularism and science, and the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science.

The Wyndgate terminated the agreement after the owner saw an October 5th interview with Dawkins on The O’Reilly Factor in which Dawkins discussed his new book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.

Hmm. The most prominent atheist in the world gets openly discriminated against, and where’s the outrage? I hope CFI is pursuing legal action.

129 comments

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  1. 1
    Randomfactor

    But I’m totally sure the guy would’ve been OK with letting one o’them Coloreds speak. As long as he uses the kitchen entrance.

  2. 2
    Worldtraveller

    I look forward to the outrage from all the usual outlets.

    No really. I look forward to it.

    I’m getting used to disappointment.

  3. 3
    A3Kr0n

    It sounds like there could be grounds for a lawsuit, and one I’d be willing to donate to even though I don’t have much to give.

  4. 4
    Glen Davidson

    It’s what Ben Stein warned us about.

    See what pseudoscience does?

    Too bad he was too stupid to recognize which was legitimate science and which was whiny BS.

    Glen Davidson

  5. 5
    chestervon jesustrousers

    Does it really count as watching TV if you’re watching FOX news?

  6. 6
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    AMERICA!

  7. 7
    raven

    A day doesn’t go by without a xian atrocity. Routine.

    They do stuff like this a lot. Never turn your back on a xian death cultist. Cthulhu, the name alone should warn you.

    old post:

    FWIW, fundie xians can and occasionally are violent.

    This vandalism in Florida is just more xian terrorism.

    Below is an old list of their other victims. It is long and getting longer all the time.

    The real story is the persecution of scientists by Fundie Xian Death cultists, who have fired, harassed, beaten up, and killed evolutionary biologists and their supporters whenever they can.
    http://www.sunclipse.org/?p=626 [link goes to Blake Stacey's blog which has a must read essay with documentation of the cases below.]

    Posting the list of who is really being beaten up, threatened, fired, attempted to be fired, and killed. Not surprisingly, it is scientists and science supporters by Death Cultists.

    If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

    I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

    2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

    1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet) Now resigned under pressure.

    1 persecuted unmercifully for 4 years Van Till (Calvin)

    1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

    1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

    1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

    1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

    1 killed, Rudi Boa, Biomedical Student (Scotland)

    1 fired Brucke Waltke noted biblical scholar

    Biology Department fired, La Sierra SDA University

    1 attempted persecution Richard Dawkins by the Oklahoma state legislature

    Vandalism Florida Museum of Natural History

    Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas
    Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

    Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

    Death Threats Judge Jones Dover trial. He was under federal marshall protection for a while

    Up to 16 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

    And the Liars of Expelled, the movie have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

    These days, fundie xian is synonymous with liar, ignorant, stupid, and sometimes killer.

  8. 8
    Giffy

    A private venue has the legal right to viewpoint discrimination so I am not sure there could be a lawsuit except as far as they may have had a contract that was breached.

    If it were illegal for them to deny Dawkins, then it would also be illegal for a hotel to deny Pat Robertson.

    That being said we all also have the right to send them complaint letters and to not give them our business and encourage others to do the same.

  9. 9
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Unbelievable, even for the US. A better solution than a lawsuit, perhaps, would be for CFI et al to offer not to sue in exchange for the hotel hosting (at its own expense) a public seminar focusing on Consitutional and statutory protections against religious discrimination.

  10. 10
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    No, Giffy, you’re factually wrong. US law prohibits this type of discrimination in “places of public accommodation.” This isn’t a gray area, and it’s not amenable to disagreement – it’s a plain fact. Add to that the breach of contract, and there are plenty of grounds for a suit.

  11. 11
    Frank Ranelli

    I have covered this abhorrent topic before in my short essay, Theistic Bigotry: The Reality of Denying Fantasy, writing in part, “While religionists in the U.S. continue to enjoy a privileged status for their unfounded beliefs, unbelievers face increasing acts of life-altering prejudice and discrimination by America’s pious.” However, the banning of Richard Dawkins at a country club, which is open to the public (unless you are an atheist), reaches a new nadir in religious discrimination against unbelievers in America.

  12. 12
    slc1

    Re Giffy @ #8

    I’m not so sure about that. A hotel is a place of public accommodation and is thus covered by the Federal Public Accommodation’s Act.

  13. 13
    Oskar

    On behalf of rational Michiganders everywhere, I feel like I want to apoligize for the ugly behavior of a single invidivual.

    On the bright side, this could provide a good topic of discussion for when Dawkins speaks at our school this week…

  14. 14
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    U! S! A!
    U! S! A!
    U! S! A!
    U! S! A!

  15. 15
    Sour Tomato Sand

    But I’m totally sure the guy would’ve been OK with letting one o’them Coloreds speak. As long as he uses the kitchen entrance.

    Having grown up in Detroit, I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy actually has a whites-only policy.

    Really glad to be away from there. The racism was a huge reason. So was the violence. Joining the Army and deploying to Afghanistan was actually the safer choice.

  16. 16
    Jacob van Beverningk

    From the Wyndgate website:

    The Wyndgate is committed to provide world-class service
    to members, their families, and guests
    to ensure an atmosphere of ease, fellowship, and sportsmanship
    for a legendary experience

    And

    The real feature to all of our special events is the detail and flexibility our staff provides to all functions at The Wyndgate.

    So, on top of a possible breach in contract, there’s also a violation of ‘truth in advertisement’!

  17. 17
    Pierce R. Butler

    Why did this person make a deal with the Center for Inquiry in the first place? Did he expect a gathering of National Enquirer fans?

  18. 18
    Therrin

    Stupid goes in, stupid comes out.

    Can’t explain that.

  19. 19
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    A private venue

    It isn’t a private venue far as the law is concerned. That is the problem for the owner/operators if this ever comes to trial. Open and shut case.

  20. 20
    Ichthyic

    If it were illegal for them to deny Dawkins, then it would also be illegal for a hotel to deny Pat Robertson.

    it is.

    and, it is.

    you know, this has been the law of the land since the civil rights act was passed in 1964.

    how is it that so few Americans seem to be aware of something so basic?

  21. 21
    Giffy

    @10 If it were a matter of banning atheists because they were atheists that would be one thing. No different from banning a race. E.g. a business cannot say ‘no black people’, but that does not mean they have to allow the Black Panthers to hold a rally there.

  22. 22
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    SCOTUS includes atheism in with any given religion for discrimination purposes. Poor owners, up the creek with a canoe or paddle…

  23. 23
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    @10 If it were a matter of banning atheists because they were atheists that would be one thing. No different from banning a race. E.g. a business cannot say ‘no black people’, but that does not mean they have to allow the Black Panthers to hold a rally there.

    So, Richard Dawkins is always armed? And calling for an armed insurrection? Your analogy is piss poor.

  24. 24
    Giffy

    They are also a private club and the law exempts private clubs except as far as they open to the public.

  25. 25
    Stacy Kennedy

    This place isn’t a hotel, it’s a private country club. That probably complicates matters as far as bringing suit against them.

  26. 26
    Crissa

    Actually, political party is another thing you’re not allowed to discriminate based upon.

    It’s all about public accommodation – if you offer your services to the public, you have to give them to everyone, regardless of protected class.

    You could be an ass and say ‘no shoes no service’ or ‘no language no service’ or ‘no blue hair’ but those aren’t protected classes.

  27. 27
    Ichthyic

    @10 If it were a matter of banning atheists because they were atheists that would be one thing. No different from banning a race. E.g. a business cannot say ‘no black people’, but that does not mean they have to allow the Black Panthers to hold a rally there.

    actually, yes, they do, especially if they already entered into a contract.

    the only way to avoid this is by disallowing entire types of proceedings to occur, and this has to be noted before any contract for use is set up.

    example:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/01/AR2005060101986.html

    the Smithsonian allows rental of its theater for public use.

    However, it categorically does NOT allow use for ANY religious or political venue (the ID group LIED to them, and they still let it go on because they didn’t want to be seen as discriminatory).

    The difference here is that this country club, which DOES NOT SPECIFY RESTRICTIONS FOR PUBLIC USE, has in fact discriminated against a specific group.

    if they wanted to set it up like the Smithsonian did, which does NOT discriminate or promote a specific religious or political group, that would be fine.

    this country club didn’t do that though, so they are libel under even the most general application of the civil rights act itself.

    case closed.

    seriously.

  28. 28
    Crissa

    It is not a private club – they are advertising their services. That means they are not private.

  29. 29
    Ichthyic

    This place isn’t a hotel, it’s a private country club. That probably complicates matters as far as bringing suit against them.

    again, NO.

    they rent their space to the public.

    because they do this, they are NOT exempt from the Civil Rights Act.

    hell, I just read the article, and they even cover this in THERE.

    are you people so lazy you won’t even bother to read the linked article itself?

  30. 30
    Sithrazer

    It’s a (mostly) private members-only golf club. They have no lodgings, they just have ‘event facilities’, which means a large room with a podium and lots of folding chairs.

    It is very much so NOT a hotel.

  31. 31
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    They are also a private club and the law exempts private clubs except as far as they open to the public.

    In order to be private, they must be absolutely private. Only members can hire out the facilities. If they even breathe they are open to anybody for hire, they fall under the anti-discrimination statutes. What an idjit fuckwit, if you can’t see the truth of what they are doing, and try to wave it away. Can’t be done. They will lose big time. SCOTUS is not their friend, and their is no precedence to allow their blatant discrimination.

  32. 32
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Cripes. This isn’t difficult, and being wrong about it doesn’t make one a bad person (Giffy). No one’s calling you a stupid bastard or impugning your honor. But you are wrong on this point, factually wrong. People have pointed out the actual law to you, and there are several articles with lawyers weighing in on this very point. This isn’t in controversy. You don’t get to have a “different opinion” about a plain fact Why are you so invested in defending a mistake?

  33. 33
    Giffy

    @27 The Smithsonian is a public facility, not a private venue. Public venues like Universities have to do what you say. Viewpoint is not a protected class when it comes to private actors renting a venue. I can only rent my space to jazz musicians if I want or not allow the republicans to hold their convention there.

  34. 34
    Giffy

    @32 Find me one successful case where a private venue was sued for viewpoint discrimination.

  35. 35
    Giffy

    Under federal law I mean. Some states have broader protections than the Civil Rights Act.

  36. 36
    Ichthyic

    giffy.

    last time:

    IT DOESN’T MATTER IF THE COMPANY IS PRIVATE, IF THEY RENT SPACE TO THE PUBLIC.

    this country club RENTS SPACE TO THE PUBLIC.

    as such, it falls EXACTLY under the purview of the civil rights act, just as if it was an entirely public venue.

    sweet plastic jesus on my dashboard, you’re one dense cookie!

  37. 37
    Ichthyic

    They have no lodgings, they just have ‘event facilities’, which means a large room with a podium and lots of folding chairs.

    holy crap!

    why are there so many clueless gits here?

    it doesn’t fucking matter if it’s a HOTEL, it rents venue space TO THE PUBLIC.

    PERIOD.

    fuck me, you think the Smithsonian Institute is a hotel?

    why do you think I included a link to these very issues using the Smithsonian as an example?

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Jan

    #33/34 It’s not a private venue, as made clear over and over and over and over and over and over, and oh yeah, even in the original freakin article. Might be good you actually read something before rehashing a false argument for the umpteenth time.

    If they only rent the space out to club members, its private, the moment they rent it out to non-members, it isn’t.

    In this case, they also publicly advertise that they offer these services to non-members, making it even more a PUBLIC VENUE.

  40. 40
    Matt

    Things like this happen in the UK frequently, although not with atheists but with gay people. A Christian couple who owned a bed and breakfast (not sure if Americans use this term, but it basically means letting out a room in your home, but you are still subject to the same laws hotels have to follow and are rated like such) refused to allow two men to stay with them after they found out they were a gay couple and wanted to share a room. Fortunately the gay couple took the bigots to court and won, IIRC the bigots appealed and failed. http://news.sky.com/home/article/15897770

  41. 41
    Giffy

    @36 Then find a case where this has happened. The Civil Rights Act is limited to protected classes and viewpoint is not one of them.

  42. 42
    Scott

    Shoulda gone to Marriott. Shame, because the one in Detroit is pretty awesome. (Speaking as a former Marriotter.) We hosted plenty of groups that were controversial, and their money was as good as anyone elses.

    But the real loser is the country club; they lost his business, and will lose more business from those who don’t believe in discrimination.

  43. 43
    Rieux

    Giffy, have you really never noticed that “religion” is a protected class under Title VII?

    You keep saying “viewpoint.” That keeps being entirely immaterial.

  44. 44
    Ichthyic

    @36 Then find a case where this has happened. The Civil Rights Act is limited to protected classes and viewpoint is not one of them.

    this was already covered upthread. See #22. Even includes a handy link.

    giffy, you’re a moron.

    case closed.

  45. 45
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Seriously. I don’t get it, Giffy. Why are you arguing this way? Is it just entrenched self-defense now, regardless of the fact that you’re wrong? Honestly – I’m not trying to be mean, but I’m utterly baffled.

  46. 46
    Giffy

    @43 Like I said, discrimination against someone because they are an atheist is illegal. Discriminating against an atheist because they hold views that a venue objects to is not.

    I cannot say that Christians are not allowed to rent my venue but I can say that NOM is not welcome based not on their religion, but on their views regarding gay people.

  47. 47
    Ophelia Benson

    Ron Lindsay is a lawyer, as is Eddie Tabash. This should be good.

  48. 48
    Ichthyic

    Discriminating against an atheist because they hold views that a venue objects to is not.</i

    you really are an idiot.

    yes, it is.

    this has been explained to you several times now.

    I cannot say that Christians are not allowed to rent my venue

    this IS WHAT THEY DID. just substitute “atheists” for “christians”.

    do you have a learning disability?

    you’re really not getting this, are you.

    wow.

  49. 49
    Ichthyic

    … banging my head on the wall that is giffy caused my keyboard to skip the closing italics bracket.

  50. 50
    raven

    Giffy lying>

    @36 Then find a case where this has happened. The Civil Rights Act is limited to protected classes and viewpoint is not one of them.

    Giffy is just lying here. For legal purposes, atheism is considered under religion. Not viewpoint.

    This was ruled on long ago by the US Supreme court.

  51. 51
    MJtheProphet

    @Giffy If the Wyndgate Country Club wants to make the point in their defense that they don’t object to Dawkins as an atheist, but because of other views he holds, then they can make that defense in the lawsuit. But if they do, I can’t wait to see what they come up with. Presumably, the event was related to The Magic of Reality, which is about science, so it would seem they don’t object to science advocacy. Other than science advocacy and atheism, I don’t know that Richard Dawkins has any other relevant views that might come into play here. Certainly nothing else came up in the O’Reilly interview, which was apparently the turning point.

  52. 52
    Ichthyic

    Ron Lindsay is a lawyer, as is Eddie Tabash. This should be good.

    meh.

    If we’re laying odds, my bet is that they won’t bother to take it to trial.

    Just calling attention to it with the news article was most likely sufficient.

    Not saying it wouldn’t be interesting, fun even, if they did, but I’m betting they won’t.

  53. 53
    raven

    Court rules atheism a religion

    w ww.wnd.com/?pageId=31895Cached – Similar
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    Aug 20, 2005 – A federal court of appeals ruled yesterday Wisconsin prison officials violated an … The Supreme Court has said a religion need not be based on a belief in the existence of a supreme being. In the 1961 case of Torcaso v. …

    In what case did the SCOTUS rule Atheism as religion ?a skville.amazon. com › Politics & Law › LawCached – Similar
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    5 answers
    Similar questions: case SCOTUS rule Atheism religion · Politics & Law > … Watkins (1961), Justice Black of the US Supreme Court wrote the following footnote. …

    Atheism and the Law – Atheist Community of Austinw ww.atheist-community.org/library/articles/read.php?id=742Cached – Similar
    You +1′d this publicly. Undo
    I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve spent a great deal of time reviewing Court decisions, especially those … “The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a ‘religion’ for purposes of the … Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (1985)), where the court said : …

    While Giffy continues his mindless lying, here are a few google captures. For legal purposes, atheism is defined as equivalent to a religion and entitled to all legal protections granted to religions.

  54. 54
    Rieux

    Sorry, that should be Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000a), not Title VII.

    Giffy wants case citations, so here are a few:

    Sports stadium came within definition of Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000a) as “place of public accommodation,” and stadium authorities are obliged by law to allow members of religious organization, Hare Krishna, access to stadium in order to solicit donations and distribute literature. International Soc. for Krishna Consciousness, Inc. v. New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, 532 F.Supp. 1088 (D.C. N.J. 1981).

    In action under Title II of Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 200A-1 et seq., alleging that club had discriminated against former members’ guests for religious reasons, judgment would be entered for former members since court found as a matter of law that club was not private—and thus not excluded by 42 U.S.C. § 200A(e) from coverage of Title II—but was public accommodation: membership in club had been extended to large indefinite segment of public without standards of eligibility, there was no plan or purpose of exclusivity, associated members who were only members of public paid seasonal fee for use of facilities as they might have public accommodation, policy of soliciting memberships was invitation to a large segment of public without requirements that might have indicated exclusivity, and tennis courts advertised and used by membership had been offered for use to general public. New York by Abrams v. Ocean Club, Inc., 602 F.Supp. 489 (E.D. N.Y. 1984).

    That’s what I could find in five minutes on Westlaw.

    Giffy’s pretense aside, this is not in fact a difficult case. Title II of the Civil Rights Act specifically mandates that “[a]ll persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyoment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

    On the facts provided, there’s simply no way that the Wyndgate Country Club can credibly argue that (1) they’re not a place of public accommodation or (2) they didn’t discriminate against this event based specifically on Dawkins’ (lack of) religion. Sorry, Giffy, but the Club is all but certain to lose this one in court.

  55. 55
    Sithrazer

    @37 Icthyic

    I never said I thought it was or was not in their rights to discriminate. The fact is, it is not a hotel it is a privately owned membership-only golf club.

    I didn’t see, although I may have missed it, whether this event would have been open to the public. In my reply to the posting at Blag Hag, I expressed my dislike that they canceled the event.

  56. 56
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    The fact is, it is not a hotel it is a privately owned membership-only golf club.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake! Accomodation does not mean hotel! Public accomodation includes things like restaurants, restrooms, theaters (though some do fall asleep during particularly poor performances (or so I have heard)), and, yes, country clubs if they rent their facilities out to non-members! It has been stated repeatedly in this thread.

    I didn’t see, although I may have missed it, whether this event would have been open to the public.

    It does not fucking matter whether or not the event was open to the non-invited publid. A wedding held at a country club falls under the definition of a public accomodation — can anyone just waltz in to a private wedding? The act of renting out the facility, or any part of the facility, to anyone who is not a member of the country club, makes it a public accomodation whether or not the public is invited!

    Care to try again?

  57. 57
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The fact is, it is not a hotel it is a privately owned membership-only golf club.

    You haven’t been reading our posts. The club advertises for public business, not just by members. Ergo, it killed any such defense as you keep thinking is in place with stupidity. They are a public business. Period, end of story.

  58. 58
    Ben

    The good doctor will still be in the Rochester area on Oct 13 on the campus of Oakland University (kudos and thanks to campus group atheistsatou.com), which I very much plan on attending (I trust no one will plan on trying to run him out THERE).

  59. 59
    ramaus

    PZ – If you get news of a lawsuit defending Dawkins and atheists in Detroit, please let us know who might be collecting donations. Maybe the ALCU might even be interested.

  60. 60
    Jafafa Hots

    I think Giffy is not going to be seen again. Somehow I don’t think he’s the kind to say “whoops, sorry I fucked up” publicly.

  61. 61
    Ben

    Agree with PZ in suggesting CFI Michigan explore legal action on discriminatory grounds.

    Local Michganders should write some critical op-eds and send ‘em to local publications–exercise some written muscle; put the actions of this country club out for public view (students of atheistsatou.com, unite!).

  62. 62
    Ctenotrish

    Lord Shplanington @#6

    I am fairly sure it is supposed to be “AMERICA, FUCK YEAH!”

    :P

  63. 63
    Amphiox

    It’s too bad you weren’t also booked to give at talk at that same venue and time, PZ.

    Because, if so, and prior patterns hold, they would have banned Dawkins, but let you through, and we’d get another ironic example of both their hypocrisy and their ignorance.

  64. 64
    Rieux

    Amphiox @63: Yeah, and that’s very possibly how the sequence of events would have played out, too. Dang—the symmetry would have been hilarious.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    Erp

    But I’m totally sure the guy would’ve been OK with letting one o’them Coloreds speak. As long as he uses the kitchen entrance.

    I should point out that the original person who took the reservation and signed the contract was almost certainly an employee who had no problems with Dawkins speaking and is perfectly aware of the law on public accommodation. The owner probably only became aware later that Dawkins was even speaker. Now I have two thoughts (1) I hope the employee hasn’t suffered because they took the booking and (2) who owns he country club.

  67. 67
    detroitbeancounter

    Wow, it’s always fun to hear about former employers in the news…

    Larry made his money as an owner of a rather large auto supplier, before the bankruptcy. The golf course was a hobby.

    Yeah, Larry is pretty right wing. He almost shorted out my neurons one day when he told me that because Bill Clinton had sex with female interns it proved that he was gay, although he used a different term for gay.

    You’re being a bit harsh about blacks, I remember we had a black sales guy and a black women admin. Of course we had several hundred office staff in suburban Detroit. The plants had a pretty diverse staffing, but when you hire cheap, you take what you can get….

  68. 68
    Ben

    @ Josh…

    Thanks for for keeping a more moderated tone about stressing a point. Not real sure it reflects well on the ‘kids in the room’ when they feel need for profanity and name-calling simply because one is arguing their point–right or wrong– in a non-abusive manner. After all, wouldn’t want to reflect ‘Christian-like’, right-wing behavior.

    Hypothetical case:

    1) Someone who is a member of an established, recognized religion (protected class), but of a maverick sect/splinter..

    2)who wants to rent a de facto public venue to…

    3)MERELY espouse their views of violence/destruction/social upset in the name of their religion, or for furthering it.
    religion

  69. 69
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Yeah, Larry is pretty right wing. He almost shorted out my neurons one day when he told me that because Bill Clinton had sex with female interns it proved that he was gay, although he used a different term for gay.

    Let me see if I got this right. An alpha male has sex with a female subordinate. And this proves that he is a faggot?

    It is a good thing that I have a thick skull. My brain just had a little explosion.

    I hope your job paid well if that was typical of what you dealt with.

  70. 70
    Ichthyic

    Hypothetical case:

    why don’t you fucking look it up, instead?

    as if you really cared.

  71. 71
    cmv

    @Ben

    For your hypothetical case, they get to rent the room. That’s what you sign up for when you open your business to let space.

    The way to fight hate speech is with more speech. If you don’t like what the organisation is saying, then by all means argue it. You can’t refuse to rent them the space. Chances are pretty good that your average hate-spewing splinter sect won’t want to do business with you anyway, if you express your disapproval strongly enough.

  72. 72
    Ben

    Thanks for the insight cmv..

  73. 73
    Kevin DeGraaf

    I have created a petition on Change.org to ask the hotel owner to apologize.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/wyndgate-country-club-apologize-for-anti-atheist-discrimination

  74. 74
    Giffy

    @54 I am not saying that the Civil Rights Act does not apply to them, it most likely does, unless they fit within the private club exemption.

    What I am saying is within that one is allowed to discriminate so long as it is not against a protected class. In this case they can say that Dawkins is not an event they want to have so long as they have a legitimate reason that is not solely based on him being an atheist. Just like they can not rent their space to the KKK, Democratic Party, or NOM.

    Might want to reread The Krishna case. The 3rd circuit found it was not a public forum and upheld the ban on solicitations. Really though, the stadium being a publicly owned facility makes it a poor comparison. I am asking for an example of a private facility not being allowed to chose events based on content.

  75. 75
    paul

    They’re afraid he might use the elevators.

  76. 76
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Paul, you are not funny.

  77. 77
    Randide, "Fools admire everything in an author of reputation"

    The good doctor will still be in the Rochester area on Oct 13 on the campus of Oakland University

    Go Grizzlies! Hell yeah!

    Alas, I have moved to the east coast.

  78. 78
    somerville

    Giffy keeps asking for a citation, so here we go

    Bernstein v. Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association

    A lesbian couple tried to rent a beachfront pavilion from the Assn and were refused.

    In Bernstein, New Jersey’s Division of Civil Rights held that a discrimination complaint, filed under New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), was supported by probable cause when a religious organization denied a lesbian couple access to its property based on the organization’s religious beliefs, which oppose same-sex marriage or civil union.
    (…)
    At the crux of this dispute is a pavilion located on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. The pavilion is owned by OGCM. OGCM is a non-profit Christian organization formed in 1869 to provide a seaside summer retreat for the spiritual renewal of Christians.
    (…)
    …OCGM allows the pavilion to be rented by the public for a fee, generally for weddings or memorial services. When renting the pavilion for weddings, OGCM did not distinguish between Christian and non-Christian or even secular wedding ceremonies.

    The Methodist group argued that their religious beliefs allowed them to be exempt from New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination, both Federal and State courts ruled against the Assn.

    In its analysis, the DCR noted that: (1) OGCM did not limit the use of the pavilion to its members, (2) OGCM‟s summer use for religious and educational purposes was insufficient to conclude the pavilion is exempt as an educational facility or place of worship, (3) OGCM did not prevent the public from using the pavilion as a place to sit or shelter from the weather, and (4) OGCM‟s 1989 disclosure to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, on an application for Green Acres program, that the pavilion “would be open to all persons on an equal basis” and “was not restricted to religious uses.

  79. 79
    Rob in Memphis

    In this case they can say that Dawkins is not an event they want to have so long as they have a legitimate reason that is not solely based on him being an atheist.

    FFS, man, didn’t you read the excerpt above?

    Prejudice against atheists manifested itself again when The Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, Michigan (outside of Detroit), cancelled an event with scientist and author Richard Dawkins after learning of Dawkins’s views on religion.

    …or this part of the article?

    In a phone call to CFI–Michigan Assistant Director Jennifer Beahan, The Wyndgate’s representative explained that the owner did not wish to associate with individuals such as Dawkins, or his philosophies.

    …or better still, this part of the article?

    Although privately owned, The Wyndgate facilities are open to the public for special events and occasions. According to Title II of the Federal Civil Rights Law of 1964, “open to the public” means “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

  80. 80
    paul

    Inane Jane
    It’s your thick skull! Hey, at least you got it.

  81. 81
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    One
    Two
    One two
    Fuck you

  82. 82
    Jafafa Hots

    Paul, though you’re off to a good start, there are larger places with greater audiences to allow you to more efficiently make a public ass of yourself. Suggest you try commenting on YouTube videos.

  83. 83
    Giffy

    @79 I said based on federal law. Litigation is still ongoing in that case, but it is under New Jersey law, which adds sexual identity to the list of protected classes. Under federal law that would be legal.

  84. 84
    Pareidolius

    We all get it Paul. We just don’t particularly want it.

  85. 85
    paul

    wow iv’e been ripped by an excellent rhyme, and an ad hominem.

    On the other hand, I would recommend every book that Dawkins has written.

    Ancestor’s Tale was excellent.

    not sure jafafa would understand the reference though…

  86. 86
    Rieux

    Giffy, willful blindness isn’t terribly useful in legal analysis. Why you insist on pretending that you haven’t had the facts of the case—which directly refute your pretenses—thrust right in your face I can’t understand.

    What I am saying is within that one is allowed to discriminate so long as it is not against a protected class.

    And what you have been shown, repeatedly, is that the club, by its own admission, has discriminated in terms that are specifically barred by Title II: on grounds of religion. Pretending that hasn’t been pointed out doesn’t benefit you.

    In this case they can say that Dawkins is not an event they want to have so long as they have a legitimate reason that is not solely based on him being an atheist.

    “They can say that Dawkins” is from Mars. That’s utterly irrelevant; they’ve already made clear that he and CFI have been disinvited based on religion. Ergo they lose.

    Just like they can not rent their space to the KKK, Democratic Party, or NOM.

    Disinvitations that, unlike the one in the instant case, would not be on the basis of religion. Why do you insist on pretending you haven’t heard that. This is religious discrimination. We have pointed that out to you repeatedly. Religious discrimination. Religious discrimination. Religious discrimination. How many times do we have to say this before it gets through your skull? And before you stop pretending that the case has something to do with “viewpoint” discrimination?

    I am asking for an example of a private facility not being allowed to chose events based on content.

    No, not “content”—religion. You can’t win an argument by simply pretending the crucial fact doesn’t exist.

    If you’re a practicing attorney, I hope you don’t try this same tactic in front of real-life judges. The plug-your-ears-and-hum approach you’re taking toward the central fact in this case would not go over at all well in any courtroom I’ve practiced in.

  87. 87
    Inane Janine, OM, Conflater Of Arguments

    Paul, just because Richard Dawkins has written several excellent popular books about biology and has been an elegant spokesperson for atheism does not mean that he cannot be very wrong in other fields.

    Fuck off, you fuckface.

  88. 88
    Jafafa Hots

    The plug-your-ears-and-hum approach you’re taking toward the central fact in this case would not go over at all well in any courtroom I’ve practiced in.

    He might have a great future as a Tea Party candidate though.

  89. 89
    Pareidolius

    Giffster, you’re making me believe in reincarnation. I’m certain that you are my Uncle Danny back from the grave still arguing with my equally deceased and equally righteous father about whether the PB2Y-3 Catalina had Pratt and Whitney Wasp engines with dry or wet sumps, thus ruining another holiday dinner with his refusal to admit he was wrong and that they were dry sump fed and that my dad was right and yes, the turkey was damned good and sorry for hollering through dinner. Let. It. Go.

  90. 90
    Bob Becker

    Sorry, Gang, but Giffy seems to me to be raising a not trivial question. I don’t see how the troglodyte who owns the Wyndgate violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act which prevents discrimination only on grounds of “race, color, religion, or national origin” unless atheism is in fact a religion. I certainly wouldn’t want to argue that it is, and if the courts have generally held that it is [not simply in a single prison case involving an inmate's access to literature], that’d concern me. I think the downside of having atheism judicially defined as a religion may outweigh the upside.

    The owner refused on grounds that he did not want his facility associated in the public mind with people like Mr. Dawkins and those who held to his philosophy. That seems mushy enough that I’m not sure a case on Title II grounds would be a slam dunk winner. [A breech of contract suit might well be.]

    It’s be wise to keep in mind, I think, that behaving like a blithering idiot in the conduct of your business is not, and should not be, illegal or subject [except under narrowly defined circumstances] to government sanction. The owner is behaving like a horse’s ass. On that we can all agree. I’m not convinced he’s behaving illegally but for the breech of contract issue.

  91. 91
    Giffy

    @87 Where did they say it was because he was an atheist?

    In my second post I said “If it were a matter of banning atheists because they were atheists that would be one thing. No different from banning a race. E.g. a business cannot say ‘no black people’, but that does not mean they have to allow the Black Panthers to hold a rally there.”

    I agree, if their reason was that he was an atheist it would be illegal. However there is more to Dawkins than simply that, just as there is more to the Christian Coalition than just being Christians. I can’t say Christians cannot rent my event center, but I sure can say that I won’t rent to an anti-gay convention. Hence why hotels that host these events often get calls to cancel them or boycotts. For example: http://www.examiner.com/lgbt-issues-in-santa-ana/anti-gay-hate-group-to-celebrate-at-disney-s-grand-california-hotel In Bernstein the only difference between them and other weddings is the gender of the party, and since under NJ law discrimination based on sexual identity is illegal, they hopefully cannot deny them.

    Some commentators have been saying that if you are a public accommodation you can’t discriminate period. That is wrong. You can only not discriminate on the basis of a protected class. Religion is one. Views that may be associate with religion, like what this event was, are not.

    Beyond simply not wanting to rent to him they would also have solid arguments about not wanting to attract controversy, security concerns, and the appropriateness of the venue.

    By your logic if I had an event space, and a racist church wanted to hold a we hate gays and black people rally, I’d have to rent it to them because otherwise I would be discriminating against Christians. That’s absurd.

  92. 92
    Giffy

    In other words if they were denying a stamp convention because it was an atheist stamp convention they would be in violation of the law as the only thing there differentiating that from something they would allow is the atheism. However that does not mean they have to allow the Catholic Right to Life League to hold an event there since its not that they are Catholics that is the problem, but the political or social views they will be expressing.

  93. 93
    Ichthyic

    Rights Act which prevents discrimination only on grounds of “race, color, religion, or national origin” unless atheism is in fact a religion.

    for the THIRD TIME…

    you uh, DID SEE THAT THIS WAS ALREADY COVERED, RIGHT?

    there’s a big link to the SCOTUS case on point in 22.

    shockingly poor reading comprehension skills on display.

  94. 94
    Ichthyic

    …keep diggin’ that hole, gifster.

  95. 95
    Aquaria

    Thanks for for keeping a more moderated tone about stressing a point. Not real sure it reflects well on the ‘kids in the room’ when they feel need for profanity and name-calling simply because one is arguing their point–right or wrong– in a non-abusive manner. After all, wouldn’t want to reflect ‘Christian-like’, right-wing behavior.

    You want to talk like you’re in a fucking church, go to a fucking church. You’re in a bar here, with adults, not children or uptight fuckfaced prudes.

  96. 96
    Aquaria

    Some commentators have been saying that if you are a public accommodation you can’t discriminate period. That is wrong. You can only not discriminate on the basis of a protected class. Religion is one. Views that may be associate with religion, like what this event was, are not.

    Look, moron, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE CONSTITUTION ATHEISM IS A FUCKING RELIGION, you stupid, stubborn deluded fuckface!

    What part of this are you too determined to be right regardless of reality to understand?

  97. 97
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    Aquaria, you have to admit it’s amusing that anyone should praise me for taking a moderate tone. Of course, it would be even funnier if it had been you!

  98. 98
    Bruce Gorton

    Bob Becker

    Sorry, Gang, but Giffy seems to me to be raising a not trivial question. I don’t see how the troglodyte who owns the Wyndgate violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act which prevents discrimination only on grounds of “race, color, religion, or national origin” unless atheism is in fact a religion.

    Legally in the US it is as per a fairly old Supreme Court decision.

    As Raven in comment 53 points out.

    And Giffy – religion really is a protected class, as are religious views. You would have to rent your space to the Christian Coalition if they offered you the asking price and you couldn’t come up with some other reason not to host them.

  99. 99
    Bruce Gorton

    By your logic if I had an event space, and a racist church wanted to hold a we hate gays and black people rally, I’d have to rent it to them because otherwise I would be discriminating against Christians. That’s absurd.

    No, that’s the law. It is why we do not protest the people who host such things – because they are legally obliged to not discriminate on religion.

  100. 100
    ConcernedJoe

    All right, color me a fool for walking into the lions’ den.

    I don’t think this case would be a slam dunk illegal discrimination case against the club.

    I think it would be a exciting prize fight that goes the distance given the club probably will muster deep pockets to support them and thus sharp lawyers advocating for them without hesitation.

    And (here I go into the den) Giffy has presented a point that will have some traction in their defense if they play it right.

    What I am saying is that Giffy has a useful nugget for sharp advocates and I could see the club mounting a cogent defense in that framework.

    I think they would be smart enough to avoid connecting their rejection to a rejection of a protected group per se. Rather I think they would play it the other way – that Dawkins incites violence (or harassment) against a protected group (christian religion) and they were not going to be party to it.

    Just because that seems shaky to many of us and I think they would ultimately fail if it goes the distance (if both parties persist) does not mean they could not make it a battle for Dawkins.

    Note I do not address the apparent breech of contract that probably would take wind out of their sails.

    But I am cautioning us is do not miss the forest of what Giffy is saying for the trees you would disagree with. Lawyers that know their craft and practice it well will not miss the nugget.

  101. 101
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    ConcernedJoe: I don’t think there’s any traction there. Unfortunately for the venue, they have made public statements prior to consulting lawyers (or, if lawyers were consulted, they should be fired). The statements make it pretty clear what their motives for cancellation were, and no amount of sharp lawyering will twist those words away from discrimination against a protected class.

  102. 102
    Therrin

    Prejudice against atheists manifested itself again when The Wyndgate Country Club in Rochester Hills, Michigan (outside of Detroit), cancelled an event with scientist and author Richard Dawkins after learning of Dawkins’s views on religion.

    cancelled an event with scientist and author Richard Dawkins after learning of Dawkins’s views on religion.

    after learning of Dawkins’s views on religion.

    According to Title II of the Federal Civil Rights Law of 1964, “open to the public” means “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

    “all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

    without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin


    (Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F. 3d 678 – Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit 2005)

    The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a “religion” for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions, most recently in McCreary County, Ky. v. American Civil Liberties Union of Ky., ___ U.S. ___, 125 S.Ct. 2722, 162 L.Ed.2d 729 (2005). The Establishment Clause itself says only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” but the Court understands the reference to religion to include what it often calls “nonreligion.” In McCreary County, it described the touchstone of Establishment Clause analysis as “the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.”

    The Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a “religion” for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions

    Are we there yet?

  103. 103
    Matt Penfold

    ConcernedJoe,

    You would have a point had the owners not already said why the cancelled the booking. Given that they said it was because “they did not wish to associate with individuals such as Dawkins, or his philosophies.”

    That is an admission of their part that they discriminated on the grounds of either Dawkins’ atheism, or his support for the theory of evolution. Both clearly are not legal grounds for refusing service. I should point out that in Dawkins’ case the two are closely intertwined.

    Now they could claim that the reason they initially gave is not the real reason. I doubt though that will fool a court for a second.

  104. 104
    Tim DeLaney

    Giffy:

    Are you familiar with the First Principle of holes? (Tip o’ the hat to Ichthyic @ 95)

  105. 105
    Childermass

    This is simple case. There is both breach of contract and illegal religious discrimination — and the guilty party has for all practical purposes admitted guilt.

    He needs to become an example. If he does not then it says bigots can get away with it.

  106. 106
    SmooveBB

    Thanks for the petition Kevin! Now if only I knew some non-white gay atheists in that area. I would like a few of them to help the cause by making-out in the lobby.

  107. 107
    Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc

    Without wanting to get in to the dogpile above, it would be very interesting to know the exact wording that the venue used to cancel the agreement (plus exactly what was said on the phone).
    Breach of contract may be more clear, but the religious descrimination angle might be tougher to prove although from the post it seems pretty damning!

  108. 108
    Terry

    Unless Michigan laws regarding hotels has changed a lot in the last few years filing a lawsuit for breach of contract is not worth the effort. Either party can cancel up to very shortly bfore the actual time of the event with no penality. Also damages a limited to only actual damages, no punative damages are allowed.

  109. 109
    raven

    Bob Becker being wrong:

    I don’t see how the troglodyte who owns the Wyndgate violated Title II of the Civil Rights Act which prevents discrimination only on grounds of “race, color, religion, or national origin” unless atheism is in fact a religion.

    The relevant case law has been posted on this thread multiple times. It’s old, voluminous, and the point is simple.

    For legal purposes, atheism falls under category of religion.

    You don’t see it because you are unable to read for comprehension. You really have two choices here.

    1. Find a third grader to read it for you and explain the two and three syllable words.

    2. Get a Thinking Brain service dog to read written material for you.

  110. 110
    ConcernedJoe

    Marcus 102 and Matt 104

    Yes siree bob – and I think that helps “our side” win ultimately.

    Thing for your thoughts.

  111. 111
    ConcernedJoe

    and THANKS for your thoughts too!

  112. 112
    raven

    Bob Becker being wrong again:

    I think the downside of having atheism judicially defined as a religion may outweigh the upside.

    This is a lie. You aren’t thinking but merely babbling like a loon or a fundie xian.

    Atheism was defined judicially as equivalent to a religion decades ago by multiple court cases. Like it or not, you can be a bigot all you want but you can’t discriminate against atheists any more than Moslems, Jews, or Pagans.

  113. 113
    Grahame

    Not that it matters, but how can an individual “own” a club? By definition isn’t a club owned by its members?

  114. 114
    raven

    google capture:

    Detroit Stews As Venture Creditors Boil – Forbes.com w ww.forbes.com › Business › ManufacturingSimilar

    Apr 12, 2004 – Last week, Venture, together with its unsecured creditors, sued its owner, Larry J. Winget, to recover … At the time of the bankruptcy filing, it looked as if Winget, 63, would get out … owned 75% by Winget and a golf course he owned with $38 million. … Larry Winget got rich off auto parts, but enraged German …

    There is some information about the owner bigot of Wyndgate country club from google. It’s not all that complimentary.

    He has been sued before. Apparently he got rich off of auto parts and then his company went bankrupt.

    It looks like he is a wealthy businessman and got his and could care less about anything or anybody else.

  115. 115
    eric

    Concerned Joe @101: What I am saying is that Giffy has a useful nugget for sharp advocates and I could see the club mounting a cogent defense in that framework.

    As Marcus and Matt have pointed out, the club has already said the reason for cancellation was that the owner disagrees with Dawkins’ views on religion.

    In order to mount a cogent defense, they’d have to backtrack and lie about their reasoning. “What the owner meant to say was that we don’t host academic lectures” or something like that. Could they backtrack and lie? Yes. Does that make Giffy’s analysis useful? No.

    Giffy’s error is that he keeps ignoring the point that the owner already stated the reason for the cancellation, and the stated reason falls under Article II discrimination. His point is that there are hypothetical reasons the owner could haven given to legally cancel. Okay, point taken. But the owner didn’t give one of those hypothetically legal reasons. The fact of this case is, he gave an illegal reason.

  116. 116
    raven

    Apparently, Larry J. Winget siphoned money from his auto parts company to fund other companies it owned including the golf course. It then went bankrupt and he got sued. The legal complaint called it “fraudulent”.

    “The 91-page lawsuit, filed in a Detroit bankruptcy court by Venture and unsecured creditors, calls the transactions made between Venture and the separate affiliates “a concerted scheme by Winget” that was “fraudulent.””

    forbes.com edited for length:

    Detroit Stews As Venture Creditors Boil
    Nathan Vardi, 04.12.04, 10:15 AM ET

    NEW YORK – General Motors, Ford Motor and DaimlerChrysler have been getting nervous watching the carnage at Fraser, Mich., auto parts supplier Venture Holdings.

    Last week, Venture, together with its unsecured creditors, sued its owner, Larry J. Winget, to recover $315 million he allegedly siphoned from the parts supplier. Unsecured creditors like E.I. du Pont de Nemours (nyse: DD – news – people ), a subsidiary of American International Group (nyse: AIG – news – people ) and bond funds run by Merrill Lynch (nyse: MER – news – people ) and Eaton Vance (nyse: EV – news – people ) are trying to get back some of the $500 million or so Venture has owed them since it filed for court bankruptcy protection last year.

    The problem, as Forbes reported a year ago, was that Winget also owned affiliated companies that were held separately from Venture (see “Auto-Da-Fe”). These separate companies received tens of millions of dollars from Venture. The transactions between Venture and Winget’s separate affiliates were largely disclosed, but with so much money going out the door, Venture eventually had trouble paying its bills. Directors at Venture’s German unit put it in receivership in 2002, and Venture wound up in bankruptcy court last year. Winget resigned as chief executive, and five independent directors were appointed.

    The 91-page lawsuit, filed in a Detroit bankruptcy court by Venture and unsecured creditors, calls the transactions made between Venture and the separate affiliates “a concerted scheme by Winget” that was “fraudulent.” The suit says Venture funded a sports car maker owned 75% by Winget and a golf course he owned with $38 million. Venture also paid a 3% sales commission amounting to $52 million over six years to a marketing entity owned by Winget.

    While the situation at Venture deteriorates, the Big Three automakers might decide it’s safer to get plastic parts elsewhere in the future. But for now they have their current production schedules to worry about. That leaves Winget and Venture’s creditors little time to cut a deal.

    More From Forbes
    Auto-Da-Fe 04.14.03
    Larry Winget got rich off auto parts, but enraged German automakers and U.S. creditors

  117. 117
    raven

    If you put Larry J. Winget into google all sorts of stuff comes up. He seems to spend a lot of time in court sueing and being sued.

    “made in numerous lawsuits currently pending against Winget raise concern as to”

    I didn’t read any of the .pdfs so it isn’t too clear what is going on. And I don’t care enough to bother wading through huge numbers of court documents. Some of it seems to involve taxes.

    My impression is that he siphoned large quantities of money out of his main company which then collapsed and he is trying to keep it or some such. He doesn’t sound like a nice guy at all.

    Search Results[PDF]
    STATE OF MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & ECONOMIC …w ww.dleg.state.mi.us/ham/tax/pdf/decisions/income/319852.
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
    DEPARTMENT OF LABOR & ECONOMIC GROWTH. MICHIGAN TAX TRIBUNAL . Larry J. Winget & Alicia J. Winget,. Petitioners, v. MTT Docket No. 319852 …
    [PDF]
    STATE OF MICHIGANw ww.dleg.state.mi.us/ham/tax/pdf/decisions/income/319852oj.pdf

    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat – Quick View
    MICHIGAN TAX TRIBUNAL. Larry J. Winget & Alicia J. Winget,. Petitioners, v …
    Show more results from dleg.state.mi.usNo. 07-1096. – JPMORGAN CHASE BANK v. WINGET – US 6th Circuitcaselaw.findlaw.com/us-6th-circuit/1390134.htmlCached – Similar

    Dec 14, 2007 – Larry J. WINGET and the Larry J. Winget Living Trust, ….. made in numerous lawsuits currently pending against Winget raise concern as to …
    No. 07-1657. – WINGET v. JP MORGAN CHASE BANK JP LLC LLC …caselaw.findlaw. com/us-6th-circuit/1226825.htmlCached

    Aug 11, 2008 – Larry J. WINGET and the Larry J. Winget Living Trust, …

  118. 118
    Giffy

    The article says it was because of religion, but I don’t see them saying it, and the article is not exactly written by a neutral party.

    Like I said repeatedly, if it was because of his religion, i.e. being an atheist, then yes that’s illegal discrimination. However philosophies does not equal religion and it would take a defense attorney seconds to list any number of things Dawkins has said or believed that would not qualify.

    I’m not saying the club is right, far from it, I am just saying that a lawsuit would almost certainly be a failure.

    And no, you do not have to rent to the Christian Coalition unless the reason you are denying them is their religion as opposed to their politics or other views. Well under federal law anyway. Your mileage may vary under state law.

  119. 119
    Matt Penfold

    The article says it was because of religion, but I don’t see them saying it, and the article is not exactly written by a neutral party.

    True, but if you think they are lying you need to produce evidence. You have not done so, so I am assuming you have none. Therefore this point is dismissed.

    Like I said repeatedly, if it was because of his religion, i.e. being an atheist, then yes that’s illegal discrimination. However philosophies does not equal religion and it would take a defense attorney seconds to list any number of things Dawkins has said or believed that would not qualify.

    What do you think was meant by philosophies ? In the context it means only one thing. Therefore this point must also be dismissed.

    I’m not saying the club is right, far from it, I am just saying that a lawsuit would almost certainly be a failure.

    Given you have been wrong about so much, your opinion is worthless. This point is also dismissed.

    And no, you do not have to rent to the Christian Coalition unless the reason you are denying them is their religion as opposed to their politics or other views. Well under federal law anyway. Your mileage may vary under state law.

    This is just meaningless, and therefore also dismissed.

  120. 120
    Gregory Greenwood

    Hmm. The most prominent atheist in the world gets openly discriminated against, and where’s the outrage?

    There is no outrage outside the actual sceptical community itself, and this is nothing new. Just a few days ago, Archbishop Williams employed an interesting form of words when he characterised the attacks on Anglicans in Zimbabwe as ‘mindless and godless’. He did not seem conscious of the fact that he had just employed the lack of religious belief as an insult, thus alienating atheists everywhere and contributing further to the intolerant attitiude toward atheists prevalent in Zimbabwe. He also seemed oblivious to the irony inherent in the fact that he used this turn of phrase to refer to a group led by the excommunicated former anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a fellow theist.

    Very few people seemed to even notice that Williams had just demonised atheists – fewer still seemed to care.

    Of course, during his visit to the UK last year, Pope Palpatine went even further by seeking to link atheism to nazism. Once again, there was no public outcry, and the only people who seemed interested in holding the Pope to account for his bigotted statements about atheists were… the atheist and humanist groups themselves.

    If we are waiting for society at large to recognise discrimination against atheists as being equivilent to other forms of discrimination – say on the basis of ethnicity or religious belief – then we will likely be waiting a very long time indeed.

    Discriminatory and prejudiced statements and actions pertaining to atheists happen all the time, and not by disempowered fringe figures but by the recognised leaders of global religions, and no one cares. Anti-atheist bigotry has a level of social acceptability perhaps only exceeded by sexism (and, in some parts of the world, homophobia). No one sees it as wrong, and so no one takes a stand against it. When it comes to tackling discrimination against non-believers, we are on our own, and I don’t see this situation changing any time soon.

  121. 121
    raven

    Hmm. The most prominent atheist in the world gets openly discriminated against, and where’s the outrage?

    It’s here.

    According to polls two of the most hated groups in the USA are Moslems and atheists.

    The other two are…fundie xians and the Tea Party.

    The xians have sown a lot of hate. They are reaping the fruits of their labor. A lot of people just end up hating them back.

  122. 122
    CJO

    I think the downside of having atheism judicially defined as a religion may outweigh the upside.

    Really?
    Upside: protection for atheists’ basic human rights.
    Downside: Bob Becker might have to add some nuance to an argument on the internet.

    I’ll take my civil liberties over your rhetorical convenience, thanks.

  123. 123
    asyouwere

    Meh…

    Apparently, not a great venue anyway:

    <a href="http://courses.golfreview.com/cat/mid-west/michigan/golf-course/the-wyndgate/prd_70544_3853crx.aspx#reviews&quot;

  124. 124
    Dr Marcus Hill Ph.D. (arguing from his own authority)

    Gregory @121: To be fair on Williams, he was specifically talking about the actions of a bishop. In that context, “godless” is a valid criticism – “God wouldn’t like what you’re doing”, rather than lumping atheism with evil.

  125. 125
    Gregory Greenwood

    Marcus Hill @ 125;

    To be fair on Williams, he was specifically talking about the actions of a bishop. In that context, “godless” is a valid criticism – “God wouldn’t like what you’re doing”, rather than lumping atheism with evil.

    Perhaps we could give him the benefit of the doubt in terms of his intended meaning, but at the very least he is still thoughtlessly equating ‘godlessness’ with unethical behaviour. He may appreciate the nuance, but I doubt that all his followers will. It all plays into the discourse that one ‘cannot be good without god’, whether Williams intended it ot or not.

  126. 126
    Crissa

    The constitution says creed, even. Which means that if you decided to kick out all Democrats, you’d be violating the public accommodation law, as well.

  127. 127
    Ichthyic

    I think the downside of having atheism judicially defined as a religion

    no, you forgot the rest of what is supposed to go there:

    atheism is classified as a religion for the purposes of judging whether one’s civil rights are impacted by a specific action.

    that is not actually the same as atheism=religion.

    instead, it is merely a way of saying those professing a lack of a religion should be equally protected as those who profess a specific belief.

    it fits perfectly with the 1st amendment.

  128. 128
    Stacy Kennedy

    Just came across this. According to the newscaster, CFI (not named in the report, just referred to as “the organization that worked with the professor and set up this appearance”) does plan to sue.

    http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/the_edge/rochester-hills-country-club-cancels-richard-dawkins-appearance-20111012-ms

  129. 129
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    Oh, they definitely plan to sue. For those not on their mailing list, here’s a message they sent out today:

    As reported on Monday, October 10, a CFI–Michigan event featuring Richard Dawkins was abruptly cancelled after the owner of the venue saw an interview with Dawkins on The O’Reilly Factor in which Dawkins discussed his new book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True.

    Since that message was released, dozens of news outlets have reported the story and CFI has received numerous letters of support and shared outrage. (Thank you!) We have also received many inquiries essentially asking, “What are you going to do about this?” Our reply: CFI will be pursuing legal action against The Wyndgate Country Club.

    CFI is experienced in legal advocacy and is well-equipped to challenge this act of discrimination by The Wyndgate. As more and more people publicly identify as atheists (as Richard Dawkins has bravely done), we anticipate even more discriminatory acts to arise, so it is important for everyone to understand how civil rights laws may apply to nonbelievers.

    NOTE: We say “laws” because there are not only various federal laws but also state laws, some of which are broader in scope than federal law. In the present situation, the relevant statutes are the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act. Generally—and specifically in this instance—the following rules apply:

    • Privately-owned companies are not exempt from laws against discrimination. If a privately-owned Michigan business offers services to the public (the legal term is “public accommodation,”) they must abide by both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and cannot discriminate against people based on religion.

    • Prohibitions of discrimination based on religion protect atheists. Some people think that because atheism is not a religion, atheists do not belong in the “religion class” protected by civil rights laws. Legal precedent demonstrates, however, that rights based on “freedom of religion” are also granted to those who are not religious.

    • The protections of the civil rights laws only apply to specific “classes” of people. For example, Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prohibits discrimination in public accommodations) prohibits discrimination against people based on their race, color, religion, or national origin. It does not protect people based on, for example, their political opinions, economic ideologies, or their taste in art. In other words, the owner of a private company could refuse to host a Nazi-sympathizer or a Tea Bagger, an Al Gore, a Robert Reich, or a Christo.

    • Whether a discriminatory act occurred is a question that is determined through the legal process. Rare is the company that admits to discrimination. Companies often will offer explanations, arguing they based their decision on something other than a person’s protected group status. For example, they may claim a person was turned away not because of religious beliefs, but because the company was concerned about “disruption.” The relevant court or agency will determine whether the company’s explanation is a pretext for discrimination.

    What is indisputable is that discrimination based on religion is both intolerable and illegal. In other words, as CFI–Michigan executive director, Jeff Seaver, has pointed out, “discrimination based on a person’s religion—or lack thereof—is legally equivalent to discriminating against a person because of his or her race.”

    “This action by The Wyndgate illustrates the kind of bias and bigotry that nonbelievers encounter all the time. It’s exactly why organizations like CFI and the Richard Dawkins Foundation are needed: to help end the stigma attached to being a nonbeliever.”

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