Earlier this week Al Stefanelli reported on Margaret Doughty, a British atheist who applied for US citizenship, and She was told she had until Friday to join a church or face having her application rejected.
USCIS has backed down from their stance after a national outcry. Divided Under God, who broke the story, reports:
This was a clear violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, as pointed out in a similar Supreme Court Case, Welsh v. United States.
The story hit the national stage, featured in articles on CNN, Huffington Post, Raw Story,RichardDawkins.net, and many others. Ms. Doughty’s case was brought to the attention of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, who wrote a letter to the USCIS on her behalf, as well as the American Humanist Association, who did the same. Ms. Doughty’s local Congressman, Blake Farenthold, also got involved, helping to get her case escalated to the highest levels of the USCIS for review.
Today, she received an email from the congressional office with the following message from the USCIS included:
“This Service hereby withdraws the request for evidence (RFE) issued on June 7, 2013. This Service accepts your detailed statement in satisfaction of the information requested by the RFE. Your application for naturalization has been approved.”
The case is being hailed as a victory for the non-religious, otherwise known as the "nones." There is no religious test for immigration, and the demand that Ms. Doughty join a church was found to be unconstitutional under the precedent Supreme Court cases, including Welsh v. United States, which found a conscientious objector's beliefs did not have to be founded in religion. It is a shameful commentary on the United States when it is literally forcing religion on new immigrants as a test of being a "true American."
Doughty has lived in the US for nearly 30 years, and she is to be naturalized on June 26.