Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jesus takes another one in the shorts!

Well, not actually Jesus. But rather those who seek to use religion to further their own moralistic, material, and authoritarian ends. Word comes to Spot from Mercury Rising and the Des Moines Register that Charlie Colson's InnerChange program in an Iowa prison had another wooden stake driven into it evangelical heart. Long time reader may remember—well okay, unlikely, but still—that Spot wrote about the case when the US District Court in Iowa ruled against InnerChange in a post that Spot called Dissembling for Jesus. (There's kind of a dangling modifier there, boys and girls, so step carefully.) That post has a pretty good bit about the debunking of a study that purported to support the value of InnerChange, so Spot recommends that you go back to it and have a look.

Now, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has added it condemnation of public support for this plainly religious program in prisons with their, er, captive audiences:

In the present case, plaintiffs demonstrated (and defendants do not seriously contest) that the InnerChange program resulted in inmate enrollment in a program dominated by Bible study, Christian classes, religious revivals, and church services. The DOC also provided less tangible aid to the InnerChange program. Participants were housed in living quarters that had, in previous years, been used as an “honor unit,” and which afforded residents greater privacy than the typical cell. Among other benefits, participants were allowed more visits from family members and had greater access to computers.

And therefore what, boys and girls?

The InnerChange program violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

Very good, grasshopper.

As Spot said in his earlier post, Minnesota's own Al Quie is or was a board member of the sponsor of the InnerChange programs, the InnerChange Freedom Initiative. As of the date of that post, InnerChange was operating at Lino Lakes, too. Spot does not know the current status of that program. Any readers who know?

You know, between this and the news that the Hennepin County Attorney has appealed the case against Gerard's folks, Katie must really have the vapors.

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