Friday, March 28, 2008

Would someone please tell me how this is legal?

SAPULPA -- Nearly a third of the inmates in the Creek County Jail were baptized Thursday night in a corrugated steel horse trough set up in the jail's kitchen.

I know it was done by a volunteer force, but:

Seventy men and 12 women were baptized Wednesday, the second time baptisms have occurred in the new jail, which opened nearly three years ago.

The Rev. Luis Torres, chaplain of the Creek County Jail and pastor of the First Assembly of God in Sand Springs, said a baptism was held in the old jail six years earlier.

I guess it depends on how "official" the event is, and whether Rev. Torres is being paid by the jail as a chaplain. I also wonder if non-Christians, or even Christians who don't follow the fundamentalist doctrine of the Assembly of God Church, have access to alternative chaplains. The bottom line is this: how are the inmates who don't participate in the baptism treated in an environment like this? How can true freedom of religion be guaranteed in a circumstance where no doubt enormous pressures are put to bear on inmates to convert?

This may be "technically" legal if it was done by volunteers and no prisoners were forced to do it, but I would still argue that it violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1st amendment.

1 comment:

  1. ???? 1/3 got baptized. that means that 2/3 did not. Apparently you haven't been in county jail. there is a rotation about every 3-6months.The maximum sentance in county is 1 year.Soooo the majority of the prisoners were not baptized, Aside from that most of them just don't give a f/;'0 what other people think about them. There are many other things that are taught in jail that could 'infringe 'on the delicate rights of inmates.. Islam is a major religion in prisons,and as a white 'infidel',(non-muslim)I could feel threatened by a class teaching the koran. I can assure you that the roommates of the baptized inmates are much less worried about being pressured into worshiping,as they are making sure they aren't shanked in the shower.

    FYI... I you want to know the opinion of a inmate ask one.

    George Humphreys
    Saint Helens Oregon