What do prisons and the military have in common? They’re not Christian enough
Posted by metaphorical on 12 December 2006
I recall reading somewhere that in the run-up to the 2006 elections, extreme right-wing Christian Republicans were upset that the Bush Administration hadn’t done enough to break down the barriers between religion and government. The U.S., after all, is a Christian nation, isn’t it?
Only a true fanatic could be disappointed in the “progress” being made breaking down the barrier between church and state.
Yesterday’s Washington Post had a story, “Inquiry Sought Over Evangelical Video,”
A military watchdog group is asking the Defense Department to investigate whether seven Army and Air Force officers violated regulations by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization.
In the video, much of which was filmed inside the Pentagon, four generals and three colonels praise the Christian Embassy, a group that evangelizes among military leaders, politicians and diplomats in Washington. Some of the officers describe their efforts to spread their faith within the military.
And just the day before, the New York Times reported on evangelical Christian missions into prisons. A program in Iowa offers prisoners who are sufficiently Christian enough “real wooden doors and doorknobs, with locks. More books and computers were available, and inmates were kept busy with classes, chores, music practice and discussions. There were occasional movies and events with live bands and real-world food, like pizza or sandwiches from Subway.”
But the only way an inmate could qualify for this kinder mutation of prison life was to enter an intensely religious rehabilitation program and satisfy the evangelical Christians running it that he was making acceptable spiritual progress.
The state has literally established an Evangelical Christian congregation within the walls of one of its penal institutions, giving the leaders of that congregation, i.e., InnerChange employees, authority to control the spiritual, emotional and physical lives of hundreds of Iowa inmates, Judge Pratt wrote. There are no adequate safeguards present, nor could there be, to ensure that state funds are not being directly spent to indoctrinate Iowa inmates.
Why should prisoners have to choose between books to read, or palatable food, and their religous beliefs (or lack of them)? Why should military officers have to choose between fitting in, and their religous beliefs? Freedom is Slavery, as the author of 1984 would have said.