Twelve Months In Church

Praise and howling from the usual suspects on this initiative to send legal offenders to church instead of incarceration. I wonder how few realize that a penitentiary has roots in the ancient order of penitents, that serious sinners were placed into a monastery-like community to do penance, to labor, and to regain the trust of their community.

Olivia Turner, ACLU:

This policy is blatantly unconstitutional. It violates one basic tenet of the Constitution, namely that government can’t force participation in religious activity.

Force, no. But coercion as an alternative to prison–that would seem to be in place. What happens when the non-violent offender offended a church? Can you imagine a person defrauding a church of, say, a million dollars gong back to work for that or for another church?

Police Chief Mike Rowland:

Operation ROC resulted from meetings with church leaders. 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.

Do these people realize that crime rates have dropped significantly over the past few decades? Still, I wonder what they would say to having Wall Street swindlers doing pew time. There’s a vengeance mentality in the culture. I applaud alternatives to prison, but it would be better to have convicts serve the whole of society while being encouraged to rebuild their families. ‘Course this is all happening as some businesses decline to hire the ultimate criminals–the unemployed. No wonder they had to turn to churches.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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