This article bridges the gap between the study of religion-making secularism and the study of secular people by analyzing three recent lawsuits filed by secular activists in the United States. Each suit asks the courts to understand nonbelievers in a different way: one group refuses to identify as religious, a second wants to be protected as a religious minority, and a third wants to be analogized to religion without actually being called religious. Relying on extensive fieldwork among these and other nonbeliever organizations, this article contextualizes each lawsuit and demonstrates how nonbelievers often exceed the binaries of secularism and warrant a more capacious understanding of religion.
Secularism and Secular People
Joseph Blankholm is an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His recent publications include essays on local secular communities (Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 2016), the entangled histories of humanism and secularism (The Oxford Handbook of Secularism, 2017), and the limits of religious indifference (Religious Indifference, 2017). He is currently at work on a monograph about organized nonbelievers and secular activists in the United States.
Joseph Blankholm; Secularism and Secular People. Public Culture 1 May 2018; 30 (2): 245–268. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-4310874
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