An Atheistic Conscientious Objector Wins Citizenship


Finally, a win for reason against the age-old prejudice that moral conviction can only be justified by religious affiliation. As the Huffington Post reported:

Margaret Doughty, an atheist and legal resident whose application for U.S. citizenship was nearly rejected this month over her non-religious opposition to war, will become a naturalized citizen next week, the blog Divided Under God first reported on Thursday.

According to Divided Under God, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services decided to retract a demand that Doughty show proof “on official church stationery” that her stated conscientious objector status was a function of her being a “member in good standing” of a pacifist religious group. Here’s the text of a letter she received from her congressional Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), who intervened in the matter:

“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.”

Doughty, who has lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years, is set to be officially naturalized on June 26.

If Congressperson Blake Farenthold really was instrumental in convincing the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to reconsider its initial demand that Doughty join a church, he’s to be commended – particularly since he is otherwise quite clearly a very conservative Republican. Perhaps it was just his dislike of the federal bureaucracy that trumped his party’s extreme distaste for atheists, but at least the consequences were good in this case.