More negative impacts from religion

I was under the impression we were still using the constitution, but I guess that’s not the case in Alabama:

The small town of Bay Minette, Alabama is telling people convicted of small crimes to choose Jesus or choose jail.

Starting this week, the city judge will implement Operation Restore Our Community (ROC), which gives misdemeanor offenders a choice between fines and jail or a year of Sunday church services.

“Operation ROC resulted from meetings with church leaders,” Bay Minette Police Chief Mike Rowland told the Alabama Press-Register. “It was agreed by all the pastors that at the core of the crime problem was the erosion of family values and morals. We have children raising children and parents not instilling values in young people.”

This is a problem that comes from things like religious-based sexual immaturity and a general lack of education. (I know, I know. Poor education in Alabama? I’m shocked, too.) And besides that, I don’t think it’s too out there to say that most of the offenders in Alabama, even the young ones, believe in God already anyway. It’s impossible to live anywhere in America and not be inundated with Christianity. That is especially true of the south, including Bible-thumping Alabama.

Pastor Robert Gates told WRKG that the program was a win-win for everyone involved.

“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,” he said.

Westboro Baptist Church, Somalia, Nigeria, George Tiller’s murderer, Catholic Church officials, Kent Hovind, Spanish Inquisitors, the Crusaders, Republicans, so on, so forth.

But you know the religious have really gone overboard when this is the case:

Think Progress’ Ian Millhiser noted that the program would even be considered illegal under conservative Justice Antonin Scalia’s view of the Constitution.

“In his dissenting opinion in Lee v. Weisman, Scalia wrote that the state may not use the ‘threat of penalty’ to ‘coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise,'” Millhiser wrote. “Telling someone — even someone convicted of a crime — that they must participate in a religious service or go to jail clearly fails Justice Scalia’s test.”

This is just going to cost Bay Minette a bunch of money in legal fees.