Prisoners at a jail in South Carolina are being denied any reading material other than the Bible, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. (LINK)
Berkeley County detention centre in Moncks Corner has gone beyond the pale. The ACLU has filed suit, and rightly so. Among the questions we must ask about this practice:
- If this is not state sponsored religion, is it even possible to speak of church/state separation meaningfully?
- Beyond the religious implications, the implicit desire tokeep inmates ignorant is inexcusable. Voluminous research points to education as one of the best cures for both poverty and crime. If we are going to even pretend at rehabilitation, don’t books have to be an integral part of the program?
- Can this be viewed as anything other than jackboot evangelism?
- Can this be viewed as anything other than cruel and unusual punishment?
Officials at the jail responded to the ACLU lawsuit by saying that they only banned material containing staples and nudity. But the new ACLU motion to block this policy points out that legal pads containing staples were being sold at the jail. It claims that the no staples or nudity policy was “adopted post hoc and in response to this Case”, and that it “eliminate[s] access to reading material almost as completely as the ‘Bible only’ rule”.
This is yet another example of the creeping legislative Christian agenda. From Ten Commandment statues to subversive anti-women’s-rights legislation to evangelical chaplains in the military to “Intelligent Design” in schools to forced indoctrination in prisons, there is a concerted and organized attack on American civil liberties.