A new alternative sentencing program offering first-time, nonviolent offenders a choice of a year of church attendance or jail time and fines is drawing fire from the American Civil Liberties Union as well as national attention, officials said Friday

 

I am glad to see that people other than me think that going to church is punishment.

 

http://blog.al.com/live/2011/0...nten.html#incart_mce

 

 

 

Original Post

Sentenced to a pew


September 22, 2011
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a strong letter of protest on behalf of a local complainant to Bay Minette, Ala. judges, regarding an off-the-wall proposal from Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland to have first-time offenders attend church services in lieu of incarceration. FFRF issued the letter to Municipal Judge Bayless Biles, State Circuit Court Judge James Reid and State District Court Judge Jody Bishop.

FFRF Staff Attorney Patrick Elliott's Sept. 22 letter notes that Rowland is working to implement a program called "Operation ROC: Restore Our Community," which would put offenders under the supervision of pastors and require them to attend church services for one year, in place of jail.

"We want to teach them that they're valuable, that God has a plan, God has a purpose. That they can be successful, that they possibly can become the person that God wants them to become," Pastor Bruce Hooks said in a Local 15 (Mobile, Ala.) news report. The report said 56 churches have already agreed to sponsor the program.

"This proposal is an egregious violation of the First Amendment. It is a bedrock principle of constitutional law that the state cannot coerce citizens to participate in religious practices," noted Elliott. As the Supreme Court states in Lee v. Weisman, "It is beyond dispute that, at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which 'establishes a [state] religion or religious faith, or tends to do so.'"

By instituting this program, Bay Minette would also be in violation of the Alabama Constitution Article 1, Elliott said. "... no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship."

"Even those persons in your community who have violated the law cannot be subject to violations of their right of conscience. They must always be free to choose wether or not to attend church without government interference," noted Elliot.
http://ffrf.org/news/releases/...m-inmates-in-church/

Hi all,

 

Just a suggestion.  If you ask a person who is in trouble with the law to choose -- a year in jail -- or a year in church; which do you honestly believe they will choose, even an atheist?

 

In 1964, I worked for Ramo Wooldridge in Canoga Park, California.  One of my young co-workers, about 20 years old, was drag racing on the streets, hit a car, and killed an elderly couple.   The judge gave him a choice -- the Army or jail.  Guess which he chose.  You are right -- he went right into the Army.   Just as I believe most will choose to spend Sundays in church -- instead of a year in jail.

 

Sorry to burst your atheist bubble -- but, reality reigns.

 

God bless, have a wonderful, blessed day,

 

Bill

Sorry to burst your bubble but that's illegal and they won't get away with it so your point is moot. BTW you don't know what an atheist will do. You're always posting what people will do when you have no way of knowing.  And like I ask above, where do they send the church crowd when they commit crimes?

If they give them the church option only, instead of other choices such as community service, I guess some could argue they're being forced. The crimes couldn't have been that serious if they even have the once a week church option, so imo it would be illegal and against their rights to "force" them to go to church or jail.

Originally Posted by Mr.Dittohead:

A new alternative sentencing program offering first-time, nonviolent offenders a choice of a year of church attendance or jail time and fines is drawing fire from the American Civil Liberties Union as well as national attention, officials said Friday

 

I am glad to see that people other than me think that going to church is punishment.

 

http://blog.al.com/live/2011/0...nten.html#incart_mce

 its not for punishment! maybe just maybe it will help to get their life on track.GOD is the only one that can help offenders,if they want his help.

 

 

 

 

Making people go to church is not going to make them like it or change them in any way. You simply can't MAKE people change. They have to want to change. They have to want to not end up in jail again. Seems like some enjoy staying in jail all the time. If jail itself in no deterrent what makes people think church is going to be one?

its not for punishment! maybe just maybe it will help to get their life on track.GOD is the only one that can help offenders,if they want his help.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

No, your god is NOT the only one or thing that helps people get their life on track. Millions of people live good productive lives, never commit crimes, without your god. And millions of people that go to church and believe in your god commit crimes all the time.

It doesn't specify what kind of worship is acceptable.

 

From the way I read it, only an opinion, you are already going to get jail time for your crime. All this does is swap that time for a year in church, verified. It is voluntary, and makes no mention of a particular religion other than house of worship.

 

Very vague.

Originally Posted by b50m:

It doesn't specify what kind of worship is acceptable.

 

From the way I read it, only an opinion, you are already going to get jail time for your crime. All this does is swap that time for a year in church, verified. It is voluntary, and makes no mention of a particular religion other than house of worship.

 

Very vague.

Does that mean LaVey's church would count?

Perish the thought that potentially a person who is going the wrong direction in life may have a life altering and changing encounter with God/Christ.  Change the heart and the Character follows as well as the greatest of possibility that the person will no longer commit the crime(s) that they were in Court for.  I realize that our atheist and non-believers will not accept this possibility for they cannot conceive or and understand those Christians who testify that their lives were changed and transformed by God for they cannot believe there is a possibility of God.

 

Aside that thought many post about it being illegal is such hypocrisy.  Check these very same people's post under the topic about the area in California threatening to fine and stop the Bible Studies and what they say there.   Can anyone really think for a moment?  Why is this NOT a violation of the First Amendment? 

 

This is a local issue, a local judge and court it is not the federal Government which is governed by that First Amendment.  You folks want to flaunt the first amendment when it gives you a way to censure Church and Religion but if it is to protect it then it's another thing.  It is apparent that this Judge believes that Church/Religion can and will profoundly change these minor criminals whereas our Penal system has such a miserable failure rate.

 

The BIAS against religion is so profound that they will not entertain anything that might bring positive light to Church or present an example of where God changes lives.  This is a local judge, most likely elected by local people there so why do you folks here feel such a mission to intervene in their judgment?  If the locals are right to do what they are doing in California with the Bible Study people then the people of South Alabama are just as right do do what they choose for their area.

Nice try reverand gb but you lose all the way around. The two topics have nothing to do with each other. The law in Calif was not put into place to prohibit or suppress religion. This stunt is to PUSH religion on people. It's your opinion that ordering people to church is showing religion in a positive light, or presenting an example of your god changing lives for the better, which you just can't claim. In a lot of cases it changes people for the worse when they go "god crazy" like some of you. It is not a judges place to take it upon himself to change the law to suit HIS idea of justice. Would you feel the same if there were wiccan "churches" in the town and they chose to go there? Of course not. Now back to the Calif case, what if the people were having groups of 50 or more over twice a week to practice their wiccan religion? It boils down to one thing, either be fair to everyone or forget it. You don't get to dictate who should or shouldn't go to church.

GK,

 

One is a violation of the constitution. One is a violation of a city ordinance. Doesn't matter if the judge is in Al or CA, in the USA NO part of government can force religion onto it citizens. The Fromms are being ask to pay for a permit. The problem is that many Christians don't think they have to go by the same rules and laws as everyone else.

 

You should be against what is going on in Bay Minette too. If you allow such a violation of the First Amendment to happen just because this time you agree with the outcome, then you can't say a word when the next time it is something you don't like, such as a judge making the convicted go to a mosque or a Humanist or Atheist group meetings. How do you think you would feel about that situation? Say your grandchild broke the law and was sentenced to jail OR weekly attendance at the local Atheist meetings? We are all about law and order and making society a better place for all humans, so to me it would be a great place for someone who is breaking laws to come and learn how to live and get along in society. Why not?

 

It seems to me that many religious people can never see the other side of the coin. I find that odd when one of the big commandments (I'm not talking the 10) from Jesus is to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"

 

As in the Fromms case, they should respect their community and its laws.

In the case of the Bay Minette chief of Police, He should respect the constitution and the laws that govern his job. Especially if he expects other citizens to respect the law.

Olivia Turner, executive director for the ACLU of Alabama said "There isn’t a real choice here because it coerces people into religious exercise".

The article plainly says the offenders are not being forced to attend church, so it would be their choice. Maybe instead of just attending church, they could also mow the grass, clean the church, etc.

Kinda like community service.

Originally Posted by gbrk:

        Perish the thought that potentially a person who is going the wrong direction in life may have a life altering and changing encounter with God/Christ.  Change the heart and the Character follows as well as the greatest of possibility that the person will no longer commit the crime(s) that they were in Court for.  I realize that our atheist and non-believers will not accept this possibility for they cannot conceive or and understand those Christians who testify that their lives were changed and transformed by God for they cannot believe there is a possibility of God.


I think you are being a little naive. My parents were in a church at one time where they had a sort of "half way house" where drug offenders could choose to live there and be directed by the church for a period of time instead of going to jail. I have seen this in action first hand. They will tell you "Oh yes, I've found God", "God is awesome".."I've really changed my life". They will tell you exactly what you want to hear. All the while the church is helping them with fines and helping them with money, clothing, housing and other things. Guess what they hadn't changed at all. Many of those who had "found God" had found nothing but an easy ride out of jail time. As soon as the program is over they go right back to the life they were living before and nothing has changed. You'll never see them again until maybe the next time they think they can benefit from your program. I know it sounds harsh but it is the truth. Now, I'm not saying
no-one was ever helped spiritually by a program like this but it's very naive to think that you are going to "turn their life around". Especially the ones who are just there to avoid jail time.

It all goes back to my earlier post to this thread. You can't MAKE people change. They have to want to change. That's basically what I am saying.
Originally Posted by semiannualchick:

Olivia Turner, executive director for the ACLU of Alabama said "There isn’t a real choice here because it coerces people into religious exercise".

The article plainly says the offenders are not being forced to attend church, so it would be their choice. Maybe instead of just attending church, they could also mow the grass, clean the church, etc.

Kinda like community service.

 

 

I think a lot of areas have that kind of program for non-violent offenders. They can do community service and work off their debt to society. The problem I see with this one is that there is no other choices. Jail or Church.

Here is the copied/pasted text of the First Amendment:

 

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.



So how does a LOCAL Judge of a County/City/Municipality violate the First Amendment ?  


Congress is not making any law so where is this amendment being violated?

My opinion is that many/some that are such adamant fighters against anything religion or specifically anything perceived as Christian are doing so in hopes to silence that inner call they are feeling.  That inner conviction that just shouldn't be there but is.  That Conviction of the Holy Spirit of God trying to get your attention yet you are so hostile to God or the thought of God you reach out to strike out at anything you perceive to be Christian or representing a higher power in hopes by somehow conquering or prevailong over that you can quieten that inner call within longing to know the Creator of your soul/spirit and longing for reconciliation to God.   You somehow feel by overcoming someone who represents God, whether it's Church, a Preacher, or a person that calls themselves Christian that you can defeat and silence God, by proxy.  Sorry but that cannot be done.  If God is dealing with you personally nothing but direct communication and talking with God will satisfy that longing and that inner calling that you are feeling and experiencing.  

 

Christians know that calling as an inner hunger or thirst longing to be fulfilled.  I can't stop it, Bill can't stop it or any other person on here stop it.   Only reconciliation with God can stop and satisfy that inner longing and thirst you have. In Jesus Christ alone will those who seek truth and seek God find it and find Him.  All of our souls long to be reconciled to the creator and we all long to find inner peace, a peace that only God can give through Jesus Christ ( God coming in physical form unto physical man).

 

Matthew 5:6 (NIV)
{6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

 

John 4:13-14 (NIV)
{13} Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
{14} but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

 

John 6:35-37 (NIV)
{35} Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.
{36} But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.
{37} All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

 

John 7:37-39 (NIV)
{37} On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.
{38} Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."
{39} By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Originally Posted by gbrk:

Here is the copied/pasted text of the First Amendment:

 

Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


 

So how does a LOCAL Judge of a County/City/Municipality violate the First Amendment ?  

 

Congress is not making any law so where is this amendment being violated?

 _______________________________________________________________

 

"As the Supreme Court states in Lee v. Weisman, "It is beyond dispute that, at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which 'establishes a [state] religion or religious faith, or tends to do so.'"

By instituting this program, Bay Minette would also be in violation of the Alabama Constitution Article 1, Elliott said. "... no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship."


By only giving them the choice of jail or church they are violating the Constitution, both Federal and State level.


Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Speaking out against illegal activities equates to an "inner call" to you? Are you for real? It's not about religion, it's about opposing people who are trying to force religion on others. It's about the law. Once more, you don't get to make laws, judges don't get to make laws, you don't get to decide who gets what punishment. I don't get to decide which punishment to give people. There is no "inner call" involved and you really need to find a new argument. You're posting to adults here and you come across as someone that thinks in a very childish manner. Just because you're confused and can't think on your own doesn't mean others can't.

Thinking everyone needs to think and feel like you do is one problem people have with christians. Your belief hasn't seemed to bring you any peace or taught you how to interact with people that don't believe or that believe differently. Atheists don't believe in a god, so there is no longing to reconcile with one. Your staunch refusal to accept that fact makes me wonder if maybe it's you christians that are afraid that you might one day wake up and see the truth. IF I had an "inner calling" or "longing" I'd address it. Why would it be anything to run from or fight? You've been told over and over that you just can't break the law because you're a "christian" albeit a fake one imo, but you feel that sense of entitlement for some reason.

I'll speak up whenever I see something illegal or morally wrong no matter who's doing it. I notice you like to post your remarks and like bill you won't answer questions. We've ask you over and over what you'd say if someone chose to go to a wiccan or atheist meeting. You pull a bill and ignore those questions and start the copy and paste of the bible verses. Who are those for anyway? Who do you think reads them? They're not relevant and anyone that cares to know what they say can look them up for themselves.

Originally Posted by gbrk:

My opinion is that many/some that are such adamant fighters against anything religion or specifically anything perceived as Christian are doing so in hopes to silence that inner call they are feeling.  That inner conviction that just shouldn't be there but is.  That Conviction of the Holy Spirit of God trying to get your attention yet you are so hostile to God or the thought of God you reach out to strike out at anything you perceive to be Christian or representing a higher power in hopes by somehow conquering or prevailong over that you can quieten that inner call within longing to know the Creator of your soul/spirit and longing for reconciliation to God.   You somehow feel by overcoming someone who represents God, whether it's Church, a Preacher, or a person that calls themselves Christian that you can defeat and silence God, by proxy.  Sorry but that cannot be done.  If God is dealing with you personally nothing but direct communication and talking with God will satisfy that longing and that inner calling that you are feeling and experiencing.  

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

I have seen you post this assumption several times before. So, just to be clear "I" am not fighting some inner call from God.

 

To me this is simple Constitutional law. Nothing more or less. I don't care if it were a court making the convicted choose between attending services at the local Babtists or the local Mosque. I would still be opposed to it. Based solely on the unconstitutional manner of it all. Religion has absolutely no place in our government. Local, state, or Federal. It is a personal choice that should be made freely. What you or anyone else does in your PRIVATE life is protected under the Constitution. If you keep wanting to mix the two together and succeed we will no longer be living in a democracy. I for one am against any other alternatives.

 

I have actually never met an atheist that has the attitude or reasoning that you describe here. I have no idea why you would come to such a conclusion. It is far fetched and completely unsubstantiated. Personally I have no reason to spend my life trying to disprove your God. What I am vehemently opposed to is you and many other Christians believing that you have special rights or privileges that others in this country do not. That is what I fight against. Not the idea of the deity or the practices, but the encroachment of Christianity in places it has no business being. Got it? You can stop worrying about all that other non-sense now.

Alabama Constitution

Article I, section 3.

 

 

That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles

Originally Posted by Mr.Dittohead:

Alabama Constitution

Article I, section 3.

 

 

That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles



The Bible thumpers confuse the restraint of religion in government with hate of religion.  The lack of logic exhibited by that confusion makes their lack of knowledge about science and law more understandable.

No one is forcing these people to attend church. Suppose they gave a first offender the choice of jail or community service working in a soup kitchen. Now, suppose that person objected to soup kitchens because they feel that feeding drug addicted people is just enabling them. Well, that person doesn't HAVE to accept community service. They can just choose to serve their time in jail.

 

If they were SENTENCED to attend church, that would be different, but being given a choice, I just don't see anything unconstitutional.

Originally Posted by O No!:

No one is forcing these people to attend church. Suppose they gave a first offender the choice of jail or community service working in a soup kitchen. Now, suppose that person objected to soup kitchens because they feel that feeding drug addicted people is just enabling them. Well, that person doesn't HAVE to accept community service. They can just choose to serve their time in jail.

 

If they were SENTENCED to attend church, that would be different, but being given a choice, I just don't see anything unconstitutional.


The choice is jail or church(denomination of their choice).

 

To make your argument valid, it would have to be a choice of church or the community service project of their choice, which might be doable, if the community service work is also one day a week for 1 hour. 

Wasn't there an article in the paper recently about the farmers complaining about not being able to find anyone to work their crops because of the illegal workers law? Let those that are in jail work their crops. They don't need to be laying up in their cell watching TV anyway.

 

Originally Posted by DarkAngel:
Originally Posted by gbrk:

My opinion is that many/some that are such adamant fighters against anything religion or specifically anything perceived as Christian are doing so in hopes to silence that inner call they are feeling.  That inner conviction that just shouldn't be there but is.  That Conviction of the Holy Spirit of God trying to get your attention yet you are so hostile to God or the thought of God you reach out to strike out at anything you perceive to be Christian or representing a higher power in hopes by somehow conquering or prevailong over that you can quieten that inner call within longing to know the Creator of your soul/spirit and longing for reconciliation to God.   You somehow feel by overcoming someone who represents God, whether it's Church, a Preacher, or a person that calls themselves Christian that you can defeat and silence God, by proxy.  Sorry but that cannot be done.  If God is dealing with you personally nothing but direct communication and talking with God will satisfy that longing and that inner calling that you are feeling and experiencing.  

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

I have seen you post this assumption several times before. So, just to be clear "I" am not fighting some inner call from God.

 

To me this is simple Constitutional law. Nothing more or less. I don't care if it were a court making the convicted choose between attending services at the local Babtists or the local Mosque. I would still be opposed to it. Based solely on the unconstitutional manner of it all. Religion has absolutely no place in our government. Local, state, or Federal. It is a personal choice that should be made freely. What you or anyone else does in your PRIVATE life is protected under the Constitution. If you keep wanting to mix the two together and succeed we will no longer be living in a democracy. I for one am against any other alternatives.

 

I have actually never met an atheist that has the attitude or reasoning that you describe here. I have no idea why you would come to such a conclusion. It is far fetched and completely unsubstantiated. Personally I have no reason to spend my life trying to disprove your God. What I am vehemently opposed to is you and many other Christians believing that you have special rights or privileges that others in this country do not. That is what I fight against. Not the idea of the deity or the practices, but the encroachment of Christianity in places it has no business being. Got it? You can stop worrying about all that other non-sense now.



So, if my personal suspicion, that I applied to a generic "some" that post on here, does not apply to you why do you take such pains to answer to it?  My feelings I expressed here, as you alluded to, were expressed on other subjects so naturally it wasn't tied just to this post or topic.  As for this topic and my assertion that it does not violate the Federal Constitution it is not forcing religion on anyone but rather offering it as a choice. ( A Choice ).  Some of you seem upset that was one choice and not offering community choice instead of Church.  Is this then not an issue for those electorate who elect the judge?  Seems like they are the ones who should have the say.  I still don't think it violates the constitution.  There is plenty going on in the Nation today that definitely does and at the federal level yet no one worries about that.

 

If I had meant my comments for any specific person I would have named them what intrigues me is how quick you dismiss that this could apply to someone here? 

 

We, I, other Christians are not looking for any special rights or privileges but there have been request, simple request, of some of the unbelievers or atheist to allow us to discuss a subject we wanted to discuss that was of a religious nature and in the Religion forum and do so un-occusted by the heckling or demeaning comments about how stupid we were for believing in in God or the Bible, yet that request is too much to expect for we don't have that right, apparently.  Some of us dare to be confrontational and defend our faith by speaking back and calling your actions out and daring to assume that possibly there may be some reason for those actions and yet again we are doing something terrible.   Here is something you typed at the end, of your post.

 

That is what I fight against. Not the idea of the deity or the practices, but the encroachment of Christianity in places it has no business being. Got it?

You fight against the encroachment of Christianity in places it has no business?  No Place or where Christianity is not relevant?   Could there be an analogy here?   How many atheist and, adverse to Christianity and Religion, non-believers here in the Religion forum strongly protesting against anything Christian or Religious?  Demeaning remarks about anyone who takes a stand for Christ.  How about making entering any and every topic regardless of it's subject and if the subject is relevant in order to demean Christians and tell us how stupid we are or how stupid our God is and how silly our Bible is all while not believing in God or anything to do with Religion. 

 

We Christians start to fight for a right to discuss that which is near and dear to us and not be harassed for our Belief and we receive all kinds of accusations against us as if we are doing something wrong.  I make a suggestion that there might be a reason for these attacks or harassment and even though it doesn't apply to you and I specified no specific person yet look at the reactions?  Here you, above, make the statement that you are fighting against these Christians who encroach in areas we need not be.  Who makes that decision?  are the Christians who fit this description here?  If they are who area they?  If you aren't calling out anyone specifically then why be here saying such?  Interesting.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
Post

×
×
×
×