The American Humanism Association, an organization that advocates for a secular humanist view of the world, has been accused of racial discrimination by an Alabama judge who said the group promotes racism in the classroom.
The ruling by Judge Charles D. Jones in Montgomery County Circuit Court is the latest in a series of cases in which the association has been charged with violating the Alabama Fair Employment and Housing Act.
The law bars employment discrimination on the basis of religion, race, national origin, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability.
“The American Humanists are a group of humanists who believe that humanism is the best path forward for our country and the world,” the group said in a statement released Monday night.
“We believe that all Americans have the right to live without fear or prejudice.”
Jones said in his ruling that the association does not discriminate against any group, but the group does violate the law when it fails to meet its mission of promoting religious freedom.
The group is not a political party, Jones wrote.
Rather, it is an advocacy group that provides support and information for humanist causes, which include the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Campaign, Humanist Action League and the American Council on Religion.
“We find that the American Atheists, the Humanist Community, and the Atheists of Alabama are all in compliance with the Fair Employment Act by providing support for and information to religious groups in the state, but they are not in compliance by providing any instruction or guidance to students on their religious beliefs,” Jones wrote in his opinion.
“The AHA has also failed to provide instruction on humanist values and ethics to students in public schools and is not providing any information or support to students of any faith.”
The American Atheist group did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night from CNN.
The Alabama Humanist Society, the American Association of Humanists and Freethinkers, the National Secular Society, Humanists United, Humanism in Schools and the Secular Coalition for America also filed a lawsuit against the AHA in Montgomery Circuit Court on Tuesday seeking to block the order.
A spokesperson for the AAS said it does not comment on pending litigation.
The American Atheism Association did not respond to CNN’s request for comments.
The AAS has previously filed complaints against Alabama schools over its use of the American Principles Test and other tests that do not allow students to choose between their beliefs and those of others.
In April, a judge in Alabama ordered the state to make changes to the testing requirements and test standards, but said it was not required to take a more inclusive approach to test-taking.
In February, Alabama’s top humanist school board endorsed a plan to allow students more options to choose their religious views and asked that the AAA be allowed to serve as the state’s public school district.
The state Education Department has not said if it will take action against the Alabama AHA, but Attorney General Luther Strange, who was appointed to the state board in June, has vowed to defend the school board’s decision.
In March, Jones issued a scathing rebuke of the Alabama Humanists for not providing the group with a public position paper on religion, and said the organization does not adhere to the same values that it does in other state government bodies.