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Women denied U.S. citizenship because she's not religious

The United States is supposed to be a place where religious freedom includes the right to have no religion at all. North Carolina readers of this blog may be interested to know that is not always a reflection of reality. A woman's request for U.S. citizenship was denied recently because she said she would not go to war if asked to do so but did not base her stance on religious beliefs.

The woman is a legal immigrant living on the west coast but her story could just as easily have been played out in North Carolina. The woman stated on her citizenship application that she would not be willing to bear arms to defend her adopted country. She identified herself as a conscientious objector but did not claim religious beliefs motivated her action.

The woman presented a written statement that outlined the motivation for her decision. She said, given her gender and age, that she did not actually expect that she would ever be asked to serve in the military. She claimed that was not pertinent. What mattered, she wrote, was that she remain true to her convictions, which included a deep aversion to war and taking the lives of others.

Attorneys working with a humanist association say they will fight the decision and try to help the woman gain U.S. citizenship. They say it is her right to stay true to her beliefs and that to deny that right is unconstitutional. Immigrants who hold similar beliefs will likely be monitoring the case to see how its resolution might affect their own situation.

Source: UPI, Adriana Ramiez's citizenship application denied because she is an atheist, Evan Bleier, Feb. 28, 2014

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