Judge sentences teen to church in Oklahoma
What do you think about a judge as part of a sentencing deal, mandating attendence to a mosque for 10 years? If you are the average American, you would be up and arms. If you are many on the Christian right-wing, you might even offer death threats to the judge. But Judge Mike Norman did just so, but it was a 10 year requirement for church attendence for a 17 year old teen named Tyler Alred who took a plea bargain suspended prison sentence for manslaughter. He was driving under the influence of alcohol and crashed his car into a tree, in which his friend died.
Now, Alred seems fine to have that as part of his sentence because he goes to a church already. But, what if the teens was a Muslim or atheist or Jew? Instead of the suspended sentence would the judge have sent him to prison instead and not suspend the imprisonment? The judge states he didn't know that Alred already goes to church. What if Alred converts to a non-Christian religion or becomes an atheist?
Will he still be required? There aren't many atheists in Oklahoma relatively, but there are some. How long before one of them is sentenced to church by a judge like Mike Norman? Well, it has already happened. After all, a Judge Quirk in Oklahoma in the 1990s ordered hundreds of defendents in misdemeanor and traffic cases to attend church weekly. Even in Oklahoma, some of them won't be believers in a god.
In Alabama last year a town required first-time misdemeanor offenders to choose between either jail or weekly church attendence. The ACLU got this unconstitutional program dropped. Because after all, if the choice is between church and imprisonment, that is not much of a real choice.
Judges have discreation, but only so much. They cannot and should not use their governmental power to further and advocate for their own personal religious beliefs. Ironically, Oklahoma is one of those states that passed anti-Sharia legislation. Supposedly if that didn't happen Islamic sharia law would dominate the government of Oklahoma. Well, they should have insted passed legislation targeting a different religion. Because only the Christian right-wing has the political power in America to impose its' will.