Under the new Restore Our Community program, judges in Bay Minette can give those convicted of misdemeanors three choices: jail, a fine, or one year's weekly attendance at church
. Now, predictably, the ACLU is challenging that this is unconstitutional, but Police Chief Mike Rowland offered the following defense:
Rowland acknowledged there were concerns about separation of church and state complaints but said he didn't see it as too big of a problem because offenders weren't being forced to attend church, they are just being given the option.
The offenders who voluntarily choose church over jail get to pick the churches they attend. If they complete a year’s attendance, Rowland said, their criminal case would be dismissed.
Emphasis mine. Now, if convicts get to choose any
church they want, per the first amendment to the Constitution, they can receive the blessed wisdom of dressing up like a pirate, drinking beer, and eating pasta. All we need is a Pastafarian in the area (or a humanist group with a sense of humor) to deliver the teachings of the Sauced One onto those on the wayward path.
"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed'? Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.'" - Carl Sagan
"To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection." - Henri Poincaré