In case you missed this last week:
A federal judge ruled yesterday that Charles Colson's Prison Fellowship Ministries and the state of Iowa violated the Constitution by setting up a government-funded program to rehabilitate prison inmates by immersing them in Christianity....
In a 140-page decision, U.S. District Judge Robert W. Pratt ruled that the InnerChange Freedom Initiative program at Iowa's Newton Correctional Facility violated the constitutional ban on government establishment of religion because it was state-funded, pervasively sectarian and aimed at religious conversion.
"The overtly religious atmosphere of the InnerChange program is not simply an overlay or secondary effect of the program -- it is the program," Pratt wrote....
The people running the program are not taking it well:
If Judge Pratt's ruling is allowed to stand, says Prison Fellowship president Mark Earley, it will "enshrine" religious discrimination.
Yes, poor dears -- this activist judge is discriminating against them by not letting them use our tax dollars to do this:
One inmate [at Iowa's Newton Correctional Facility] reported during discovery that an InnerChange staffer told him, "Catholics aren't really Christians." Another inmate wrote in his journal, "Today we had some serious Catholic bashing in class. It hurt me very deeply. Never before had I heard serious criticism toward my faith. Spent the rest of the day trying to sort it out in my...mind and put away the bitterness."
At trial, inmates testified that InnerChange personnel likened the pope to Hitler and to the Antichrist. Other inmates testified that InnerChange staff asked Catholics not to read from their version of the Bible. A manual used in the program advised readers to be wary of "pronouncements of church officials such as bishops, cardinals, popes."...
Another InnerChange book goes beyond Catholic bashing and includes a "Spiritual checklist" of groups to be wary of. Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Unitarianism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, New Age, Buddhism, Bahaism and Native American faiths all made the roster.
We have to stop these activist judges -- if we don't, before you know it people from every religion in America will start thinking they're just as good as right-wing evangelical Protestants! We can't have that!
UPDATE: I almost left out this information about Prison Fellowship's Mark Earley:
In 1994 [Pat Robertson] made an emotional plea on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing [his charitable organization] to support airlifts of refugees from the Rwandan civil war to Zaire (now Congo). Reporter Bill Sizemore of The Virginian Pilot later discovered that Operation Blessing's planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a Robertson-owned venture initiated with the cooperation of Zaire's then-dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
After a lengthy investigation, Virginia's Office of Consumer Affairs determined that Robertson "willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications." Yet when the office called for legal action against Robertson in 1999, Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, a Republican, intervened with his own report, agreeing that Robertson had made deceptive appeals but overruling the recommendation for his prosecution. Two years earlier, while Virginia's investigation was gathering steam, Robertson donated $35,000 to Earley's campaign--Earley's largest contribution....
(Earley is now president of Prison Fellowship Ministries....)
(Via World O' Crap.)