This article in the San Bernardino County Sun is as good as any on this opcoming issue:
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Monday that challenge governments’ ability to limit religious freedoms in prisons and other institutions.
It lists all the pros and cons and the supporters of both sides. It is a bit lopesided for my taste in favor of those who would like to curtail religious practice, but still balanced enough.Few minor comments:There are only two things they have left when they come to prison: their identity and their religion,’ said Chaplain Al Davis, a Protestant minister on staff. Its strange for me that the Chapian separated their religion from their identity. I believe the former is an integral part of the latter.
I laughed at the inmate’s humor and can understand opposing views when encountered with an inmate who created a religion that included as sacraments sirloin steak and Baileys Irish Cream. But I am sure there are ways to come around problems like this. Teh question is of course who defines what a religion is. It is easy in Hungary, where there is an official list, maintained by the government. (To get onto the list all you need is 100 adherent and some documents.) But, here in the US, freedom of religion is taken more seriously. I don’t have an answer yet, who bailey/sirloin based religion should be outruled. Anyone?
Finally the article mentioned a certain Rabbi Menachem Katz, director of prison and military programs. Hmmm, at a frist glance he is serving two quite distinct constituencies. I would have never thought of it, but the two might overlap. Are the needs comparable though, besides the similarity in regimented circumstances?