20 Jun 2013

British Atheist, 'Will Be Denied US Citizenship Unless She Joins A Church'

A 65-year-old atheist who has lived in the United States for 30 years may be denied her application for naturalised citizenship unless she joins a church by Friday. Margaret Doughty, who is originally from the UK, faces having her application refused because she declined to “take up arms to defend the United States.”

Rachel Platt, 16, attends a service at the College Heights Christian Church, sings and prays before preaching in Joplin, Missouri, September 25, 2011. <br />(Credit: Lynsey Addario/ VII, for Time Magazine)<br />

Naturalisation applicants are required to swear such an oath, but conscientious objectors can obtain an exemption, Raw Story reports. It adds the US Citizenship and Immigration Services office in Houston has responded to Doughty’s conscientious objector claim by stating only religious-based objections are valid and asking her to provide “official church stationery”, showing she is “a member of good standing” of a church that opposes the bearing of arms.

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