Saturday, September 24, 2011

Jail or Church

Starting next week, if you are a resident of Bay Minette, Alabama, and commit a non-violent misdemeanor, you can choose between serving jail time (along with paying any related fines), or going to church for a year.

Now, being a pagan, the whole idea of the ROC (Restore Our Community) program just gives me the screaming willies. It is right up there with politicans claiming that the United States is a Christian nation (implying that if you are not straight and a Christian, then you are not an American).

But I do understand where the community of Bay Minette is coming from, considering that it costs 75 dollars to keep someone in jail (your local costs may vary).

Nevertheless, as a pagan, the idea of the program brings up some importnat questions.

Here are the questions I have about the program:

What happens to those offenders who are already attending church every week?
Are all non-violent misdemeanors worth 52 church visits, and how was this decided?
Isn't this like making these new church attendees wear a scarlet letter that screams criminal?

I sure hope that Colorado communities do not install a law like this. I would hate to be sentenced to going to church for the crime of jaywalking and overdue library books.


The ocelot said...

Separation of church and state? Naaah, we don't need that.

I can't wait to see if this gets challenged, which it should be.

Scott Stenwick said...

It's really too bad that there's no OTO body in Alabama, because I'm thinking the minute somebody wanted to serve their sentence by attending the Gnostic Mass the authorities would most likely freak out and never allow it. Then you'd have the perfect court case to challenge the law.