Tuesday, July 25, 2006

HOT OFF THE SHOW! Judge Rules Against 'faith-based' Prison Fellowship

On our live show today one of the issues we talked about with listeners was the recent case where a federal judge ruled that Charles Colson's 'faith-based' Prison Fellowship and the state of Iowa violated the U.S. Constitution in regards to the separation of church state, with its government-funded program to rehabilitate prison inmates.

The case was brought to court by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a self-appointed 'liberty watch-dog' group in Washington, viewed as a major challenge to President Bush's faith-based initiative, which helps religious groups that provide social services, particularly in prisons, with finances.

U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt ruled that the InnerChange Freedom program at Iowa's Newton Correctional Facility, which is a part of Prison Fellowship, violated the ban on government establishment of religion because it was state-funded.

The judge ordered the program to be stopped in 60 days and the $1.5 million it's received to be refunded to the government. 60% of Prison Fellowship's efforts are privately funded.

Pratt also ruled:

“The Prison Fellowship and InnerChange belief in the substitutionary and atoning death of Jesus, which reflects a legalistic understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus, likewise, is not shared by many Christians… Belief in the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus is also not shared by many other, non-Evangelical Christians… Belief in an imminent, personal, and visible second coming of Jesus Christ, as held by Prison Fellowship and InnerChange, does not comport with the belief held by other non-Evangelical Christians that, if a second coming of Christ occurs, its nature is unknown, or is more spiritualized”.

PFM works in ten states educating prisoners academically as well as help with job placement and life skills. PFM's record shows its efforts dramatically reduce recidivism.


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