Birmingham council bans atheist websites
Birmingham Council blocks its staff from accessing atheist and Wiccan websites – although it allows them to visit sites by established religions.
In what is hopefully just a case of an over-zealous, religiously-inclined sysadmin – and not a muliti-theocratic discrimination policy by the council itself – the Bluecoat Software allows staff to look at Christian, Hindu, Muslim and other religion sites, but blocks access to ” “witchcraft or Satanism […] occult practices, atheistic views, voodoo rituals or any other form of mysticism”.
This outrageous state of affairs is being challenged by the National Secular Society. Terry Sanderson, the president, told the BBC that they would first request that the policy be changed, and if that failed legal action would be taken:
It is discriminatory not only against atheists but they also are banning access to sites to do with witchcraft.
Witchcraft these days is called Wicca, which is an actual legitimate and recognised religion.
We feel very strongly that people who don’t believe should not be denied the access that people who do believe have got.
UPDATE: (4 Aug) This appears to be a false alarm. No deliberate discrimination was involved. Heresy Corner explains that it is simply a case of culturally confused American software, lumping atheism and voodoo in the same category.