American Atheists Legal Center
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American Atheists is committed to the full and absolute separation of religion from government. It is the goal of American Atheists to file cases that will win and create favorable law to rebuild the wall of separation envisioned by our Founders and articulated by Thomas Jefferson.
American Atheists files cases when the facts fit clearly into the entire body of both written law and common law. We file cases that we can win based on the present state of the law. For every case presented to us, we must ask, “Is this a hill worth dying on?” We do not need to waste thousands of dollars on lawsuits that, given the facts at issue, the state of the law at this time, and the disposition of a given court, are doomed to certain failure. And in losing such actions, we do not need to be in the position of creating even more bad law for our descendents to clean up. We cannot make good law and ensure freedom within our nation by litigating bad, or even marginal, facts.
There of course may be certain exceptions to this policy. We will litigate, regardless of consequences, if a situation should arise that is so egregious we cannot let it pass unchallenged. We will litigate if the perceived consequences of not litigating would be worse than the possible adverse consequences of litigating. This will have to be based on sound legal judgment and decided on a case by case basis. There are in fact some hills worth dying on.
And the word will get out to those bent on imposing their religion upon us that, if American Atheists threatens a lawsuit, they had best pay attention. Because they will know from our record that American Atheists will probably win. Because American Atheists has a history of winning. And that is a lot more powerful than having a history of losing.
Edwin Kagin is the National Legal Director of American Atheists.