Skip to comments.Court: [Iowa] Prison program unconstitutional
Posted on 12/03/2007 11:42:57 PM PST by Fitzcarraldo
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the Constitution does not give the fed the authority to fund such a program.
On this we can agree!
It also does not give the federal government the authority to:
-give billions of American tax-payer dollars to Africa to allegedly fight AIDS.
-steal money from the American people to bail out invaders and idiots who made bad mortgage loans.
-force tax-payer funded commie health care on everyone IN the country.
-dictate what I may or may not eat.
-fund alledged "research" projects, aka grants, that will lead to the downfall of our country.
-confiscate private property.
-institute a progressive income tax.
-institute a socialist/communist retirement system, forcing others to fund someone else's retirement.
-fund "public" radio and tv. Let those that watch, pay.
-interfere with private industry by dictating wages and benefits.
-establish and finance government forced re-education camps, aka public schools.
-make across the board laws, based on phoney research, for my own good.
-deny free speech, which includes prayer, where ever I decide to do so.
-deny my right to keep and bear arms.
Out of time...must go. Feel free to add to the list.
In Barry’s case it’s four score and ten and then there is nothing to look forward to in the future.
I am like the old Sgt that says when your in a fox hole and bullets are flying over head you have a sudden urge to get Ole Time Religion.
27) Infiltrate the churches.....
Unless I'm mistaken, it looks to me like we've allowed pretty much everything on that list to become reality.
Actually, there are two, big fat reasons that it's not a conflict. One is just basic logic, and the other is original intent.
First, let's look at the basic logic:
1. The money that Prison Fellowship will repay is money received for providing a service. The state arranged for this group to provide a number of services to the state, many of which would occur in a purely state-run prison, and reimbursed them for it. Treating this as if the state of Iowa made a donation to Jimmy Swaggart is not accurate.
2. Prisoners enter this program voluntarily. To say this program has a conflict is like saying that an afterschool Bible club has a conflict. In both cases, state money is being used to support willing participants in a religious practice. Should the kids in the Bible Club have to pay the school district rent, while the Spanish Club, Chess Club and Freethinkers Club get off scot free, or can they all use the facility?
In fact, check this out: If a voluntary program like this is off limits, then any religious service or ministry visit to a prison would also be off limits. No prison chaplain, no prison chapel, no Angel Tree program, etc. If the prison holds a service and a prisoner is saved, tax dollars supported it by paying for facilities, security and (possibly) the salary of the preacher who conducted the service. Ready to pull the chapels out of prisons? How about AA and Narcotis Anonymous programs, which require the member to accept the guidance of a higher power?
3. Iowa has decided that they want their prisons to rehabilitate. The InnerChange program is astoundingly successful at rehabilitating compared to other programs. The court is saying that the state must choose to run their prison in a way that guarantees fewer prisoners will become productive, law abiding members of society, and presumably this ruling would apply even if they had a program for members of every single religion. In fact, it would not be a stretch to see a court saying that a program designed by a psychologist that has a 50% recidivism rate is acceptable, but a program jointly designed by a Buddhist, a Southern Baptist and a Hindu with an 8% recidivism rate is not, because they expect the attendees to acknowledge a spiritual dimension, or because it requires addicted prisoners to go through a 12 step program. The court is telling the state "the Constitution says you must screw up." I don't think that's in there.
Now let's take a look at original intent. I'll even restrict my discussion to one Founder.
When Thomas "Wall of separation between church and state" Jefferson was President, he attended church in the U.S. Capitol. Note that one of the times he attended was just two days after he penned the "wall of separation" letter to the Danbury Baptists. He had authorized the use of the Capitol for this purpose in a joint decision with the Speaker of the House in 1800. He had the Marine Band play at services there. He authorized church services held in the Treasury building and War Department. He entered into a treaty with the Kaskaskia tribe that required the United States to fund a Catholic priest to minister to them. The Senate ratified it without any controversy that I'm aware of.
Oh, and BTW, church services continued at the Capitol until wll after the Civil War, even though there were 22 churches in Washington by 1837.
If Thomas Jefferson, arguably the least Christian of the Founders and the man who gave us the phrase "separation of church and state" thought it was OK to preach sermons in federal buildings and pay a priest's salary from the treasury, why should we believe that it's not OK to have some prisoners voluntarily enter a religious-themed anti-recidivism program?
Oh, and I’m sorry to add more to an already long post, but read the First Amendment: Congress is forbidden from establishing a religion or prohibiting free exercise. Iowa is neither setting up a state church or prohibiting anyone from exercising their faith, so this is not even a 1st Amendment case, much less a violation.
First, this program was state funded. Second, let's follow that logic to its finish: How much of the current federal budget should be eliminated as unconstitutional?
As for constitutionality, Thomas Jefferson disagrees. See post 24.
bump for later bookmarking
I’m sure it’s all right to pay for ministers of the cult of death to go in and teach the inmates how to hate Christians and Jews.
Sorry, fed was a misprint. (I’m so used to jumping on them)
As for the state funded part, read my next post. Second on following through with my logic...I have and I believe that roughly 65% of the federal budget can be eliminated as being unconstitutional.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: CONTACT: Karen Hanretty December 4, 2007 571-730-1010 Statement by Fred Thompson on First Amendment Ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit McLean, VA - Sen. Fred Thompson released the following statement today in response to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit - Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship - regarding an important First Amendment ruling on religious programming in prisons. "The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion appears to allow Prison Fellowship's privately funded, voluntary prisoner rehabilitation programs in Iowa's prisons to continue. Prison inmates face daunting odds: statistically, two-thirds of them will be rearrested within three years of their release. As a society, we must do something to reduce this number and help returning inmates break the cycle of crime. Prison Fellowship's program has already demonstrated great promise. This ruling will allow faith-based prison programming to continue in order to improve the odds of successful reentry into society. This decision represents a win for the State of Iowa, for Prison Fellowship, and for anyone concerned about reducing recidivism."
When did they offer? Unless a group of atheists (or Hindus, etc.) showed up and offered to do the same stuff for Iowa and was turned away, there is no claim of discrimination.
I have no problem with the simple use of facilities, just so far as other well-behaved prisoners are afforded equal opportunity.
Why should prisoners willing to turn their lives around be unable to have access because the atheists and Hindus didn't show up? And doesn't that put an undue burden on the state anyway? What if the state has partnered with 15 different denominations and religions, including atheists, and some guy decides he wants an InnerChange equivalent using Raelian philosophy, of which he will be the only member in the entire state? Should the state have to provide that, or dismantle the other 15 programs?
but neither the US or Iowa Constitution give the state the authority to give taxpayer money to a private organization.
So...if the prison has a laundry service the checks written to it are unconstitutional?
Now if paying for programs like this were voluntary
I feel that the public schools are teaching a lot of crap I disagree with, like multiculturalism and PC bullmurtha. Should I get to stop paying the portion of taxes on my house that goes to the school district?
He makes it absolutely clear there what his views on the public support of religion are.
Oh...and he paid Catholic missionaries out of the treasury and offered government builidngs for schurch services because...?
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