Thursday, October 4, 2007

Banned Books

I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but the federal government had planned to purge all kinds of religious books from libraries in the federal prison system. Ostensibly this was to eliminate any books that would stir up Muslim militants or put extremist ideas in the heads of Muslims. According to a New York Times article, there was a 2004 Department of Justice report claiming that prisons are recruiting grounds for Islamic militants. Considering that most Islamic terrorists are from overseas, I’m not sure what the DOJ report was based on.

Nevertheless, the government had removed not only many Islamic books from prison libraries, but a large number of Christian and Jewish books as well, most of which could not even remotely be considered inflammatory. Moreover, I’m not aware of any Jewish or Christian terrorists being recruited in prisons or anywhere else. I’m not even aware that there are any Christian or Jewish terrorists threatening the safety of the United States. Enough criticism resulted from Congress and religious groups that the federal government backed down, and at least some of the books will be placed back in prison libraries under a rather ponderous review process. So this is not a complete reversal of a ridiculous policy, but only a very partial one (so don’t be fooled by what you read or hear in the media).

Those prisoners who come to Christ in prison are transformed, and the recidivism rate for them is very low compared to the prison population as a whole. Notwithstanding these statistics, certain prison systems are cutting back or eliminating faith-based prison ministries. So tell me, who benefits from cutting back Christian prison ministries? Not society. Not the prison. Not the inmates. The only ones who benefit are those intolerant bigots who hate God or anything remotely considered religious, the same groups that spend large sums of money trying to keep the Ten Commandments from being publicly displayed.

The reason I am mentioning these actions is because they demonstrate the growing intolerance for any religious activity in this country. We must be vigilant and not let the federal, state, county or local governments do things that discriminate against people of faith and their activities. We can’t be ruled by the ACLU, People United for Separation of Church and State, or various other God-haters whose goal is to eliminate God entirely from our society.

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