Sweet Home Alabama

Thosezany Alabamians are at it again. Here’s my old acquaintance Jonathan Turley’s take on it:

In Bay Minette, Alabama, felons are being given the opportunity to climb the wall. Not the prison wall, mind you. The Alabama court and local police are helping felons over the wall of separation of church and state by giving convicted citizens an opportunity to avoid jail if they volunteer — so long as it is with a church.

Non-violent offenders with misdemeanor convictions are given a list of local churches unless they want to wait in jail and pay a fine. The constitutional problems are magnified by the absence of anything other than churches as an alternative to jail.

Town police chief Mike Rowland insists that this will save the city $75 per day to jail citizens and is based on the consensus of “all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals. We have children raising children and parents not instilling values in young people.”

To help Rowland make the case for an entanglement challenge, Rev. Robert Gates added You show me somebody who falls in love with Jesus, and I’ll show you a person who won’t be a problem to society.”

Of course, in addition to the absence of secular options, no mosques or synagogues are listed.

It will be interesting how much of that $75 per day savings will be spent on the litigation over this unconstitutional program.

8 thoughts on “Sweet Home Alabama

  1. To help Rowland make the case for an entanglement challenge, Rev. Robert Gates added You show me somebody who falls in love with Jesus, and I’ll show you a person who won’t be a problem to society.”
    Does he really want a list? Because I’m sure we can come up with one. We can put the Imperial Wizard of the KKK at the top.
    I blogged about this over the weekend. Seems to me know way in hell would it pass constitutional muster for a whole bunch of reasons, chief among them being: NOT believing in something is also part of separation of church and state. You can’t say, “oh you get to pick your own church” and think that covers you. The government cannot demand that you believe in something and it cannot make you pay a fine and go to jail if you choose to be a non-believer.
    But also, of course, the story I read said that 56 churches signed up for the program. Well, that sounds like it means you have to attend a participating church. And that means it’s not open to any church (or mosque, or coven, or Pastafarian meeting at the Old Spaghetti Factory, etc. etc.).
    So right there … FAIL.

  2. I can’t help but think of Clockwork Orange in which the incarcerated Alex finds refuge in the stories of the bible.

  3. I think the headline on this item at Fark.com pretty well says it all. And as one commenter put it, at least in jail the pedophiles aren’t in charge.

  4. Tim, on my list of most gruesome scenes is where he is forcefully reprogrammed while his eyes are held open.
    What I can’t get my mind around is the abject stupidity of this law when just some very slight changes might give it a chance to pass contitutional muster.
    As you pointed out, what about groups of different faiths? What about having the church sponsor the person which includes checking up on them to make sure they’re doing OK (I’m using church loosely to mean any group of faith)? I know a church group that very actively takes folks that just got out of prison and helps them establish a post-prison life (and they don’t proselytize).
    What about civics groups (Rotarian, Moose, etc.) included in the list of potential sponsors?
    As a good number of the potential convicts are probably from drug and alcohol offenses, what about including AA, Al-Anon, etc.? Hey, as part of its normal procedure, AA assigns a personal sponsor to keep tabs.
    Just a few changes and it might pass muster. But now that they’ve gone and done it this way, even if they make the changes now, it will look like it is a cynical attempt to thinly veil what is inherrently government mandated proselytizing (and knowing Alabama, I wonder if I saw the list if it would only be fundamental Protestant groups.)

  5. Hmmmm. Interesting. Sorta kinda Sharia law, Alabama-style. Also, looks like they haven’t bothered to read the U.S. Constitution lately.
    All this makes me wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to let Alabama secede from the Union. Given the fact that as a Red State, they get more Fed dollars paid out to them than they put in, we could tell ’em to fuck off when they applied for aid as a theocratic, backwards, Third-World nation…

  6. I remember reading recently that atheists make a proportionally smaller part of prison population. Maybe it should be the other way around-declare your belief there is no God and get out of jail free.

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