Alabama Church Sentencing Option: azcentral.com
News like this shouldn't/doesn't surprise me when it comes rolling out on the red carpet but it does get my blood going. It goes without saying that news like this coming out of Alabama is all the less surprising.
Ready for a synopsis?
As of Oct. 1st, 2011 a city program will allow a city judge in the town of Bay Minette, AL. to sentence misdemeanor offenders to A) go to jail AND pay a fine, or B) go to church every Sunday for a year. The only thing that makes this partially okay is that the offender has a "choice" in the matter.
I say "choice" because, well... when you look at it, what would you "choose"? I suppose it would all depend on what you are facing, but if we simply even it out this might be what your sentencing options might look like:
Lets pretend that on New Years Eve you get hauled off for Public Drunk (now don't get all legal on me I am just pulling an example out of my ass) and you are hit with a misdemeanor charge. So, here is what you might be facing...
A) Jail and Fine: There are 53 Sundays in the year 2012, so lets make the playing field even. 53 days in jail with a fine of $2650 ($50 a day).
B) Church: An entire year of church, 53 Sundays.
Umm... Can I choose lethal injection instead? :-P
It is slightly comforting that people are coming to recognize church as a punishment though.
"I promise, officer! I will never, ever, never throw my cigarette butt out the window again! Please, just don't send me to CHUUUURCH!!!" *sobbing*
Anywho, I guess the overall choice doesn't really matter but what does matter is this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." - The First Amendment
"BUT CONGRESS ISNT THE STATE!" Some of you might think/scream out loud and it is here that I beg to differ.
CONGRESS IS MADE UP BY REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SATE!!! Therefore, Congress IS State.
I personally don't care enough to debate that topic. My knowledge in these things is minimal at best and I have no real desire to increase it unless by absolute accident.
The key phrase is this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
Despite the offenders ability to "choose" the church s/he might attend I highly doubt that, out of the 56 congregations that are on board, this includes a single Muslim or Pagan church, and this says nothing for us atheist who attend NO church. So, what happens is those who's beliefs do not match that of one of these 56 churches are left with no choice while anyone maintaining beliefs in line with one or all of these 56 churches, or willing to swallow their beliefs, are ultimately free to go.
Pastor Robert Gates (leader of one of these 56 churches) went down as saying "You show me somebody who falls in love with Jesus, and I’ll show you a person who won’t be a problem to society but that will be an influence and a help to those around them."
Okay, I can play his game: