Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Do Prisoners Need Protected from the Bible?

Put this one in the, “Well, blow me down, I’ll be dipped, and the never thought I would live to see the day” column! It appears that someone in the common sense and let’s do something right department over at the ACLU slipped up. They actually protested a Virginia Prison’s decision to censure religious material that was sent to the inmates.

ACLU Staff attorney David Shapiro said, “The censorship of religious materials sent to prisoners violates both the rights of detainees to practice their religion freely while incarcerated as well as the free speech rights of those wanting to communicate with prisoners.”

It seems that Anna Williams son was incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail in Stafford, VA. She went to the ACLU after her son informed her that her letters to him were being censored. She had apparently sent letters with verses from the Bible to encourage and support him during the time of his confinement.

It seems jail officials allegedly removed religious materials from her correspondence. It was reported that a three page letter had been reduced to simply the greeting, the first paragraph, and “Love, Mom.”

Daniel Mach, the director of Litigation for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief said, “People do not lose their right to religious worship simply because they are incarcerated.”

Has it come to this, that mothers can not write their own sons in jail or prison words of encouragement from the Bible? Do prisoners need to be protected from the Bible? Are you writing words of encouragment from Scripture to someone who is currently incarcerated?

What say Ye?

8 comments:

THE OLD GEEZER said...

The ACLU defending religious freedom!!!
This should be headlines all over the USA.
I'll bet the ACLU Staff attorney David Shapiro has been fired by now.

SMiLE ~ JESUS LOVES YOU said...

Wow! Prisoners do not need to be protected from the Bible because everyone has the freedom to believe as they want to and if they don't want to be a follower of Christ then they can pass the Bible on to someone else who does. Great topic! God bless!

Dan Trabue said...

Actually, the ACLU has a long history of standing up for religious rights, as they have here.

I have to wonder what led up to that prison censuring out bible passages? Is that a policy decision or the act of some individual(s)?

I would guess this was a fluke, not a widespread policy. The prisons I'm familiar with generally seem quite supportive of faith-based ministries and support.

Gregg said...

Dan, you are right that the ACLU has defended "religious freedom" on a few occassions. Usually it wasn't what we would call orthodox biblical christianity but we still will place it in the W column.

To answer your question it was the policy of the Rappahannock Regional Jail to censure the mail.

The article states, " Under pressure from six different religious rights organizations, officials at the Rappahannock Regional Jail have agreed to end their illegal practice of censoring religious material sent to detainees."

I did state that in the post as not to give the idea that all prisons were that way.

I still am flabergasted when the rare times appear that the ACLU is on the side of "right" "justice" or "common sense."

AL said...

Yeah, it certainly doesn't happen often, but it's cool when it does!

I agree with the Old Geezer, this should have made headlines.

Dan Trabue said...

Re: the ACLU defending Christianity, here's a source that gives an idea of at least some of those times...

aclufightsforchristians

I just think it's important not to demonize a group based on stereotypes or bad information, as I'm sure you'd agree.

PropellerHeadMom said...

I am surprised the jail officials would remove religious material and I am equally surprised that the ACLU defended the prisoner on this particular issue.

AL said...

A few years ago, in "Three Minutes to Live", Ray Comfort actually thanks the ACLU, for doing more to bring the Ten Commandments back into public notice in America than any other organization.
With major news networks panning over displays of the Ten Commandments on public buildings during primetime, many people were made aware of God's Law and how our country's law is founded upon them.