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Back August 30th, 2004 Forward
dogemperor [userpic]
Religious coercion in Michigan

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]hummingwolf)

Religious coercion in Michigan case shows government should be wary of faith-based programs

Interesting editorial (for "interesting," read "infuriating") focused on a case involving a nonviolent drug offender who was given the chance to receive drug rehabilitation.

As part of a progressive court program, Hanas had a chance to receive drug rehabilitation rather than go to jail. There was, unfortunately, one major problem — Joe Hanas is a practicing Catholic, and the program was operated by Pentecostals. Though the judge’s intent may not have been for Hanas to convert to the Pentecostal faith, his test for Hanas’ successful completion of the “drug court” program hinged on just that.

The coercion was extreme, and it was an elected judge who allowed it. Hanas’ rosary, his Bible and his priest were all kept from him. Staff members, none of them certified or trained drug counselors or therapists, told him that Catholicism is a form of “witchcraft.” He was not only forbidden to follow his Catholic faith, but he was also tested on his learning of Pentecostal principles.

And, he was told, his rehabilitation would not be complete until he knelt at the altar and proclaimed himself “saved.”

For more, please see the editorial.

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