Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Judicial Activism, or Asleep On The Bench?

From the ACLU of Michigan (emphasis added):
After exhausting all avenues in the Michigan courts, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan announced today that it has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Catholic man who was criminally punished for not completing a Pentecostal drug rehabilitation program.

* * *

Unbeknownst to Mr. Hanas when he entered the program, one of the goals of Christian Outreach was to convert him from Catholicism to the Pentecostal faith. He was forced to read the bible for seven hours a day and was tested on Pentecostal principles. The staff also told him that Catholicism was a form of witchcraft and they confiscated both his rosary and Holy Communion prayer book. At one point, the program director told his aunt that he “gave up his right of freedom of religion when he was placed into this program.” Mr. Hanas was told that in order to complete the program successfully he would have to proclaim his salvation at the altar and was threatened that if he did not do what the pastor told him to do, he would be “washed of the program and go to prison.”

After seven weeks of receiving no drug treatment whatsoever and only coercion of the Pentecostal religion, Mr. Hanas left Christian Outreach. Though he objected to a pervasively religious rehabilitation program, he was denied reinstatement to the drug court program.

The judge acknowledged that Mr. Hanas had been prohibited from practicing his religion, that Christian Outreach was a religious program, not a treatment program where there were no drug or alcohol counselors on staff, and that Hanas was prohibited from attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings.

Nonetheless, the judge determined that he did not satisfactorily complete the program, removed him from the Drug Court and sentenced him to jail for three months and then to boot camp. It was only after his release from boot camp that he finally received drug treatment at a secular residential rehabilitation program.
What a wise use of our "faith based" tax dollars.

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