Author Topic: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program  (Read 709 times)

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Offline pianodwarf

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Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« on: October 15, 2012, 01:17:38 PM »
Nonviolent first-time misdemeanor offenders will have the "choice" of going to church instead of going to jail.  This program was announced in September of 2011, and the ACLU and the FFRF immediately objected.  Bay Minette said they would put the program on hold while reviewing it.  I had thought that would be the end of it, since the unconstitutionality should be brutally obvious, but it now appears that they intend to proceed with the program.

http://now.msn.com/alabama-criminals-given-choice-of-church-or-jail


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Offline changeling

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2012, 01:34:17 PM »
At least in church they can learn a less violent way of stealing people's money,
become a pastor.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2012, 02:05:35 PM »
This is a law respecting the establishment of religion as an alternative to the establishment of a jail. This should be quite clear cut violation.

Except it isn't in the minds of believers. One of those thing I would if I were a judge, tell every Christian they have to go to a Wiccan preistess or a Mullah to hammer home why this the constitution is correct and they are wrong.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

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Offline Nick

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2012, 02:16:34 PM »
I thought cruel and unusual punishment was outlawed in this country?
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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2012, 02:18:00 PM »
Well, I'd rather go to jail where my mind is free but my body is not than to church where my body is free but my mind is not.

Clearing unconstitutional, but that only matters when the right wing decides that it does.

And Nick, just being in Alabama is cruel and unusual punishment.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2012, 02:18:13 PM »
This is a law respecting the establishment of religion as an alternative to the establishment of a jail. This should be quite clear cut violation.

Except it isn't in the minds of believers. One of those thing I would if I were a judge, tell every Christian they have to go to a Wiccan preistess or a Mullah to hammer home why this the constitution is correct and they are wrong.

Right... reading some of the rationalizations from the people who support this program would be funny if it weren't so serious.  One guy (a sheriff, I think it was) said that there was no Constitutional issue because the person would be free to choose any church they wanted, not sent to a specific one chosen by the court.  I think he really believes it, too.

I've heard others say that it's not coercion because you have the choice between church or jail.  Such individuals obviously don't understand the true purpose of incarceration.  It's not meant to be a sort of governmental license for anything.  Rather, it is a threat of force intended to require (or forbid) a particular behavior.  When the government passes a law providing for up to five years in jail for stealing a car (or whatever), the message is not, "You are free to steal a car so long as you are willing to serve the jail time."  The law is meant to prevent people from stealing cars.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline screwtape

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2012, 02:35:57 PM »
Well, I'd rather go to jail where my mind is free but my body is not than to church where my body is free but my mind is not.

I'd rather go to church.  Less likelihood of being raped by a gang of men.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 02:52:47 PM »
True, in church all you have to do is watch out for the priest.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 02:55:12 PM »
True, in church all you have to do is watch out for the priest.

Hey I'm quite sure his age is in the double digits, so that danger has passed.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline Nam

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 03:25:20 PM »
What if you're not a Christian? Do you get to go to a Mosque if Muslim, or a Synagogue for Jews, or etc., for everyone else? Or, would they be forced to go to a good wholesome Christian church?

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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 03:39:36 PM »
What if you're not a Christian? Do you get to go to a Mosque if Muslim, or a Synagogue for Jews, or etc., for everyone else? Or, would they be forced to go to a good wholesome Christian church?

-Nam

There's a list of churches that are participating in the program.  Fifty-six of them, I think.  Given that it's in small-town Alabama, I think you can guess how many of those churches are non-Christian.  I'd say maybe two or three, at most.  More likely none at all.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Nam

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 03:44:33 PM »
Well, it's unconstitutional for the main reason but even moreso if Christianity is forced on non-Christians.

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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 03:47:18 PM »
Well, it's unconstitutional for the main reason but even moreso if Christianity is forced on non-Christians.

Well, of course it is.

I've emailed the Bay Minette Chief of Police to ask him for a list of the participating churches.  We'll see what he says.  I'm also Googling to see whether I can find it that way, but I have a hunch the list of churches is probably being kept secret, or at least somewhat so.  Not that it matters.  The list will come out in testimony at the lawsuit they're going to get slapped with.  American Atheists has already said on their Facebook page that they are actively seeking a plaintiff.
[On how kangaroos could have gotten back to Australia after the flood]:  Don't kangaroos skip along the surface of the water? --Kenn

Offline Nick

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 03:47:40 PM »
The Law can't let them go to a Muslim Mosque.  That would not be the right kind of message to indoctrinate...oh, sorry, re educate...no, born again message they want to give out.
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Offline Nam

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2012, 03:53:39 PM »
See, it'll be yelled from some Christians that atheist fascists are not only trying to keep Christianity out of schools, and public places but they don't care about non-violent offenders and for them to seek the "right" kind of help.

Can't wait!

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #15 on: October 15, 2012, 03:54:14 PM »
Who wants to open up a church of Satan with me in Bay Minette?
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2012, 04:12:21 PM »
Are the JW's allowed to participate? The Mormons? The Santerias? The Buddhists? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? The Rastafarians? (There would be a line outside the Rasta counseling center, mon.)

I'll bet the Scientologists will be right on this, as will the Moonies and the Baghwan Rajneesh. Will they be getting government contracts like Marcus Bachman? Some religions know a good money-making opportunity when they see it.

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Offline Garja

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2012, 04:25:50 PM »
Who wants to open up a church of Satan with me in Bay Minette?

Make it Pastafarian and im in!

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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2012, 05:58:37 PM »
I really don't get it.  I know that there are people who genuinely believe that religion can have a positive impact on moral behavior, and that in itself is baffling. But the idea that a judge, (who I'm assuming went to law school, and then passed the bar and then excelled above his/her peers to earn the honor of being a judge), could believe that sort of silliness leaves me just angry and disgusted. 

I suspect that the majority of these "non-violent" crimes are related to poverty.  The Christian church says that "there will be poor always," and as an institution, it considers poverty a normal part of their deity's plan. 

Rather than church, why not send them to job skills training, or nutrition classes, or stress management classes.  I think that helping people find a supportive community is a positive thing.  But not a community that considers their personal suffering to be part of god's plan, rather than society's problem. 


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Re: Bay Minette, Alabama "Church or Jail" Program
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2012, 06:07:41 PM »
What I can't believe is some people do not realize that being a doctor, scientist, judge, lawyer, etc., has nothing to do with one's ideology or viewpoint concerning religion or what not.

They are separate things. However, too bad those people who are those things do not realize they are seperate things, either.

Or don't care.

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