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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Canada: Man Sues to Take God out of AA Program

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Oct 26
  • Comments

A Canadian man is suing Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for what he claims is discrimination against atheists and agnostics.

According to, the AA program was started in 1939 and has “Twelve Steps,” many of which include reference to God or a “higher power.”

For example, the third step states that a member has “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Next, members “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.”

Although AA allows atheists and agnostics to participate in their meetings, that was not enough for Lawrence Knight who is one of the founders of Beyond Belief, a humanist charity.

Knight took AA to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and argued that the words “God” and “Higher Power” are outdated and could even be triggering words for some.

Knight and his organization want the AA's “Twelve Steps” to be rewritten to exclude mention of God.

In fact, a version of the “Twelve Steps” called “The Agnostic Twelve Steps” has been published, but some atheists believe the new version still doesn’t go far enough in excluding reference to God and spirituality.

On November 18, all parties involved in the lawsuit will sit down to attempt to resolve the conflict. If no tenable solution can be met, a court hearing will likely follow.


Publication date: October 26, 2016