Atheist Group Says Bias Will Cost Country Club

     (CN) – A Michigan country club will pay an undisclosed amount to settle claims that it canceled a Richard Dawkins book signing after learning of the author’s atheist views.
     In an April 2012 complaint, the Center for Inquiry – which advocates for secular values – claimed that it had been discriminated against by the Wyndgate Country Club of Rochester Hills, Mich.
     Days before its scheduled October 2011 event, Dawkins appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” and engaged in a heated debate about creationism with the show’s conservative host.
     The center said Wyndgate officials became concerned and abruptly canceled its event.
     It announced Wednesday that the club has agreed to a confidential settlement, “marking perhaps the first time federal and state civil rights statutes have been successfully invoked by nonbelievers in a public accommodations lawsuit.”
     “We’re very pleased with the outcome of this case, which we regard as an unqualified vindication of the rights of nonbelievers,” Center for Inquiry president Ronal Lindsay said in a statement. “We are confident it will send a strong message that as much as this country now rejects discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, and religion, so must we reject just as strongly discrimination against those with no religion.”
     Dawkins, who was not a party to the complaint, is an evolutionary biologist, best-selling author and emeritus professor of New College, Oxford.
     A professor for public understanding of science at Oxford from 1995 until 2008, Dawkins has several best-sellers under his belt, including “The Selfish Gene,” “The Blind Watchmaker” and “The God Delusion.”

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