Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Protecting Inmates From Dangerous Ideas

 

shutterstock_69674647Christianity is no longer permitted in Kentucky’s juvenile detention centers.

Chaplain David Wells was told he could either sign a state-mandated document promising to never tell inmates that homosexuality is “sinful” or else the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice would revoke his credentials … The Kentucky regulation clearly states that volunteers working with juveniles “shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

One incident doesn’t constitute a trend, but this was predictable, and it’s reasonable to expect similar rule changes following the Supreme Court ruling.

Will this litmus test be applied to military chaplains before or after it is applied to prisons across the country?

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  1. Larry3435 Member

    Aaron, you are usually a pretty smart guy, but this time I think you got it wrong. Nobody who holds any position of government authority has the right to use that position to say whatever they want. On his own, Chaplain Wells is free to think and preach what he pleases. But when he is speaking as an agent of the State of Kentucky, he has an obligation to follow the laws of that state. And if Chaplain Wells believes that he cannot “practice Christianity” without bashing gays to a captive and incarcerated audience, then I would be pleased to see him take his message somewhere else.

    • #1
    • August 12, 2015, at 7:58 AM PDT
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  2. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    No comments or activities of the chaplain led to his dismissal. Support for his ministry, which has proven results, was withdrawn for the mere potential of including among many teachings something the whole Western world believed until only yesterday.

    Absolutely, there is a difference between what one teaches on one’s own time and what one is invited to teach in a government facility. The lie is that this standard is ideologically neutral. As agnosticism is not a neutral position, so this exclusion of traditional theologies denotes an official preference.

    At least, it demonstrates how changes to cultural norms inevitably show up in political regulations. The fundamental principles of American law and government are changing.

    • #2
    • August 12, 2015, at 8:21 AM PDT
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  3. Larry3435 Member

    Aaron Miller:No comments or activities of the chaplain led to his dismissal. Support for his ministry, which has proven results, was withdrawn for the mere potential of including among many teachings something the whole Western world believed until only yesterday.

    When you have a job, and your employer gives you a set of workplace rules, and you say “I refuse to follow these rules,” I can’t see why the employer should wait for any further “comments or activities” to end your service. If you refuse to take the oath of office, you don’t get sworn in.

    As far as “teachings” that used to be believed (and I assume here that you are not talking SSM, but rather hatred of gays – which certainly was something the whole Western world believed until only yesterday), I can think of some very good reasons why the state of Kentucky does not want its counselors teaching these little thugs that the small minority of gays among them are evil. Because in a place like that, “evil” translates into “a good person to beat the crap out of.”

    • #3
    • August 12, 2015, at 8:44 AM PDT
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  4. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    “Inmates” conjures up one image; “juvenile detention center” is another. Aside from whether or not this chaplain’s theories on sex are fit for adults, we have, and have always had, tougher standards about propagandizing kids.

    • #4
    • August 12, 2015, at 8:47 AM PDT
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  5. Jager Coolidge
    Jager Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry3435: And if Chaplain Wells believes that he cannot “practice Christianity” without bashing gays to a captive and incarcerated audience, then I would be pleased to see him take his message somewhere else.

    I am not sure that you read the actual article that is linked.

    I would ask, in what way did the Pastor ever “bash gays”? The Pastor seems to advocate abstinence before marriage on religious grounds. Is he therefore “bashing” those who engage in sexual activities outside of marriage? If you water down the concept of “bashing” to include any disagreement what so ever the word will stop having meaning.

    How exactly do voluntary religious services and voluntary counselling sessions constitute a “captive” audience?

    • #5
    • August 12, 2015, at 8:53 AM PDT
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  6. Larry3435 Member

    Jager:

    Larry3435: And if Chaplain Wells believes that he cannot “practice Christianity” without bashing gays to a captive and incarcerated audience, then I would be pleased to see him take his message somewhere else.

    I am not sure that you read the actual article that is linked.

    I would ask, in what way did the Pastor ever “bash gays”? The Pastor seems to advocate abstinence before marriage on religious grounds. Is he therefore “bashing” those who engage in sexual activities outside of marriage? If you water down the concept of “bashing” to include any disagreement what so ever the word will stop having meaning.

    How exactly do voluntary religious services and voluntary counselling sessions constitute a “captive” audience?

    I read the article. It said: “The Kentucky regulation clearly states that volunteers working with juveniles ‘shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community.'”

    Derogatory language conveying bias or hatred counts as bashing in my book.

    • #6
    • August 12, 2015, at 9:04 AM PDT
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  7. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry, you know darn well that Christianity teaches neither that gays are evil nor that they should be hated. We are all sinful. We are all called to abstinence outside of marriage.

    If calling the action of gay sex sinful is a bias, then so is calling it good or innocent.

    Gary, you’re right that we have different standards for kids vs adults. But “inmates” is appropriate here because my point was that we can expect similar changes throughout the prison system.

    • #7
    • August 12, 2015, at 9:14 AM PDT
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  8. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The article claims this is another Fort Sumter shot in a campaign against Christianity, that this is only the beginning. That’s why, in the Fox article’s view, this seemingly tiny story should be relevant to the lives of the rest of us.

    But to many of the rest of us it just looks like self-pity and over-the-top levels of victimology. Back to the catacombs? Hey, it’s your call.

    • #8
    • August 12, 2015, at 9:17 AM PDT
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  9. Jager Coolidge
    Jager Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry3435:

    Jager:

    I am not sure that you read the actual article that is linked.

    I would ask, in what way did the Pastor ever “bash gays”? The Pastor seems to advocate abstinence before marriage on religious grounds. Is he therefore “bashing” those who engage in sexual activities outside of marriage? If you water down the concept of “bashing” to include any disagreement what so ever the word will stop having meaning.

    How exactly do voluntary religious services and voluntary counselling sessions constitute a “captive” audience?

    I read the article. It said: “The Kentucky regulation clearly states that volunteers working with juveniles ‘shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community.’”

    Derogatory language conveying bias or hatred counts as bashing in my book.

    OK, now explain the derogatory language conveying bias or hatred in this situation.

    Yeah I get that a Chaplin saying gay people are evil, sinners who are going to hell, would meet your definition. Do you really think that saying my church does not approve of homosexuality is the same? Again that same church does not approve of adultery or sex outside of marriage. Are these teachings also bashing?

    With tone and word choice I can answer most questions in positive way, a neutral way or a negative way. Simple disagreement is not de facto hatred or “bashing”.

    • #9
    • August 12, 2015, at 9:24 AM PDT
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  10. Jager Coolidge
    Jager Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Gary McVey:“Inmates” conjures up one image; “juvenile detention center” is another. Aside from whether or not this chaplain’s theories on sex are fit for adults, we have, and have always had, tougher standards about propagandizing kids.

    Is a pastor explaining his church’s religious belief always “propagandizing”? Or is this only the case when homosexuality is involved? Would it be propagandizing to state a position against abortion, adultery or pre-marital sex?

    Is the “golden rule”, on how to treat people, Propagandizing? Teaching that gluttony is a sin? Murder? Theft?

    What other religious beliefs do you think the Baptist Church should change to appease the Government?

    • #10
    • August 12, 2015, at 9:37 AM PDT
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  11. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jager, your church is free to preach what it believes–despite what many SoCons seem to think–but your church isn’t force-feeding it to juveniles. Big difference. Your church isn’t licensed by the state–despite what many SoCons believe–so the state can’t tell them what to say or not to say. But a state-run facility does have to stick to state rules.

    Aaron, I stand by my comments, but your tone is friendly and deserves a more sympathetic response. Yes, there are going to be some conflicts between church and state over this issue; it’s too woven in the fabric of what Christianity is. There are conflicts over Christian Scientists not sending their kids to the doctor, and over Quakers refusing to learn to kill. The article doesn’t state what the chaplains are supposed to say about the issue, it only says they aren’t allowed to be derogatory. Is that unreasonable?

    • #11
    • August 12, 2015, at 9:41 AM PDT
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  12. Larry3435 Member

    Aaron Miller:Larry, you know darn well that Christianity teaches neither that gays are evil nor that they should be hated. We are all sinful. We are all called to abstinence outside of marriage.

    If calling the action of gay sex sinful is a bias, then so is calling it good or innocent.

    Gary, you’re right that we have different standards for kids vs adults. But “inmates” is appropriate here because my point was that we can expect similar changes throughout the prison system.

    Aaron, Yes I know that what you describe is how it is supposed to be in theory. It doesn’t always work out that way in practice. Remember, I am talking about what goes on in the minds of teenagers who got themselves locked up for God knows what crimes. Juvenile delinquents. To put it bluntly, thugs. I knew kids like that growing up. Didn’t you? And assuming that you did, do you actually think they are going to understand “hate the sin, love the sinner”?

    Kentucky is not required to be neutral or non-ideological in its treatment of incarcerated inmates. I wouldn’t be too happy about it if Kentucky decided to teach courses in the philosophy of Nietzsche in that place either. There are some subjects that, as a matter of common sense, you just stay clear of.

    • #12
    • August 12, 2015, at 10:07 AM PDT
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  13. David Knights Member

    Given Kentucky politics, I’d be surprised if this DJJ “regulation” survives very long, at least this interpretation of it. Warren County is a college town (Bowling Green, KY Western KY University) it doesn’t surprise me that the issue has arisen there.

    I do think it would be funny to see how this story would play out if the volunteer minister was a muslim imam. Given the Koranic prohibitions on homosexuality, would he be banned? If so, what kind of support would he receive?

    • #13
    • August 12, 2015, at 10:07 AM PDT
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  14. Stad Thatcher

    Aaron Miller: Will this litmus test be applied to military chaplains before or after it is applied to prisons across the country?

    I think I saw something on Drudge or Fox to that effect . . .

    • #14
    • August 12, 2015, at 1:48 PM PDT
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  15. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    The Kentucky regulation clearly states that volunteers working with juveniles “shall not refer to juveniles by using derogatory language in a manner that conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community. DJJ staff, volunteers, interns and contractors shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

    That strikes me as a very leading framing, especially in how it implies that teaching that homosexual sex is sinful de facto “conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community.”

    As Jager and others said above, it seems a safe bet that the pastor would teach that any sex these kids are having is sinful, unless they’re married.

    This seems very wrong-headed and dangerous.

    • #15
    • August 13, 2015, at 5:08 AM PDT
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  16. Manny Member

    What? The one thing that seems to reduce recidivism – Christianity – will not be allowed? Or has to be politically correct? Yes this will be another flash point of conflict between the secular, godless world and what remains of Christianity. And yes, if it hasn’t already, it’s going to effect military chaplains also.

    • #16
    • August 13, 2015, at 5:32 AM PDT
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  17. The Reticulator Member

    Congress shall pass no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The Supreme Court can, though.

    • #17
    • August 13, 2015, at 5:40 AM PDT
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  18. Larry3435 Member

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:That strikes me as a very leading framing, especially in how it implies that teaching that homosexual sex is sinful de facto “conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community.”

    As Jager and others said above, it seems a safe bet that the pastor would teach that any sex these kids are having is sinful, unless they’re married.

    This seems very wrong-headed and dangerous.

    Tom, I have no doubt that if the Chaplain merely intended to say that any pre-marital sex was sinful, he would have been able to sign the oath in good conscience. And to keep to his oath thereafter. Let’s be realistic here. This Chaplain could have done very good works with these kids, without bashing gays. Without mentioning gays. He walked away from the opportunity to do those good works to make a point. That is his right, of course. But I’m not impressed.

    • #18
    • August 13, 2015, at 5:50 AM PDT
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  19. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    Larry3435: Tom, I have no doubt that if the Chaplain merely intended to say that any pre-marital sex was sinful, he would have been able to sign the oath in good conscience.

    Likely, yes. But I don’t think it’s inherently hateful to say that pre-marital sex that is homosexual contains an extra level of sin. I don’t buy that argument myself, but so what?

    Larry3435: This Chaplain could have done very good works with these kids, without bashing gays. Without mentioning gays.

    Except there’s no evidence that he had been “bashing” gays or planned to (again, I don’t think it’s bashing to say that homosexual sex is sinful).

    Question: if one of the boys he was ministering to said that he had had sex with another boy or man, would it be “bashing” for him in any way to comment on the sinfulness of the act as homosexual?

    • #19
    • August 13, 2015, at 6:07 AM PDT
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  20. The Question Inactive

    Prison ministers have been allowed to preach Christianity, even though not all prisoners are Christian. They could be Jewish or Muslim, etc. Teaching that Jesus is the Son of God to an audience that isn’t necessarily Christian is kind of a bold thing, but was allowed, and I guess still is.

    Was there ever a time when prison chaplains were forbidden from proclaiming the view that homosexuality is not sinful? Certainly there are many denominations that take that view. I would support the freedom of such chaplains to express their denomination’s views on sexual morality, whatever they are.

    It seems to me that we have effectively adopted an official state religion. Among the tenets of this religion are that gender can be changed, and the individual has complete freedom to change their gender at will (at least once) and any suggestion that gender cannot be changed is evil. In contrast, sexual orientation is unchangeable, and to the extent that it is changeable, any attempts to do so are evil. Trying to change someone’s sexual orientation is comparable to mutilating a human body, if mutilating a human body were still considered evil.

    These are beliefs. I have an obligation to tolerate them, just as others have an obligation to tolerate my beliefs. You need to tolerate my belief in transubstantiation, but you’re not obligated to accept it. I need to tolerate your acceptance of homosexuality, but I shouldn’t be obligated to accept it.

    • #20
    • August 13, 2015, at 6:07 AM PDT
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  21. Jager Coolidge
    Jager Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry3435:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:That strikes me as a very leading framing, especially in how it implies that teaching that homosexual sex is sinful de facto “conveys bias towards or hatred of the LGBTQI community.”

    As Jager and others said above, it seems a safe bet that the pastor would teach that any sex these kids are having is sinful, unless they’re married.

    This seems very wrong-headed and dangerous.

    Tom, I have no doubt that if the Chaplain merely intended to say that any pre-marital sex was sinful, he would have been able to sign the oath in good conscience. And to keep to his oath thereafter. Let’s be realistic here. This Chaplain could have done very good works with these kids, without bashing gays. Without mentioning gays. He walked away from the opportunity to do those good works to make a point. That is his right, of course. But I’m not impressed.

    All the time this Pastor spends in the facility is voluntary for the kids. They do not have to ever speak to the pastor. Under your line of thought, if a kid seeks out a Pastor and asks about homosexuality and the Pastor says it is sinful then there has been bashing.

    When directly questioned is the Pastor to say ” I am not allowed to tell you what my church believes”?

    • #21
    • August 13, 2015, at 6:20 AM PDT
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  22. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Larry3435:

    Aaron Miller:No comments or activities of the chaplain led to his dismissal. Support for his ministry, which has proven results, was withdrawn for the mere potential of including among many teachings something the whole Western world believed until only yesterday.

    When you have a job, and your employer gives you a set of workplace rules, and you say “I refuse to follow these rules,” I can’t see why the employer should wait for any further “comments or activities” to end your service. If you refuse to take the oath of office, you don’t get sworn in.

    He was a volunteer, not an employee, if I recall correctly.

    • #22
    • August 13, 2015, at 6:41 AM PDT
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  23. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    It appears that the officially approved religion in Kentucky prisons excludes certain passages of both the old and new testaments. Hmmm. Does that sound like the establishment of religion to anyone else?

    • #23
    • August 13, 2015, at 6:51 AM PDT
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  24. Basil Fawlty Coolidge
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Read literally, the regulation prohibits volunteers from referring to any member of the LGBTQI community as “sinful,” no matter what the nature of the purported sin. This prohibition against accusations of sinfulness will limit the chaplains available to serve the LGBTQI community to Unitarians. Are there enough of them to go around?

    • #24
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:01 AM PDT
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  25. Mate De Inactive

    This is dangerous. The kids in these facilities are usually very troubled individuals and desperately need guidance to help them get their lives together. Christians have been helping redeem young people like this from lives of despair for centuries. Christian pastors go to minister in these facilities BECAUSE it is needed most there. These kids need help. This isn’t a school with well to do upper middle class bourgeois kids who have every advantage in life. These are kids who may have been abused or are on drugs and have gone through things that I know I can’t imagine. This isn’t even about gays, this is about the redemptive qualities that faith can bring to a troubled individual, and we have evidence that this can help people change their lives in a positive way. The state should not be tossing these ministers out because of this. It is not good for those kids or society, especially if those kids are released with no direction and may go out and lead a life of crime victimizing others.  Also, We have zero evidence that this man was bashing anyone so it would be best not to automatically besmirch a person’s character simply because they are Christian.

    • #25
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:08 AM PDT
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  26. donald todd Inactive

    Gary McVey:“Inmates” conjures up one image; “juvenile detention center” is another. Aside from whether or not this chaplain’s theories on sex are fit for adults, we have, and have always had, tougher standards about propagandizing kids.

    One can be against homosexual behavior without being against homosexuals. Assuming that no derogatory words or phrases were used, the idea that a chaplain might hear something or be asked about it and then fail to respond because the state has a particular animus fails to recognize the right of that prisoner as honest a reply as that chaplain can give.

    • #26
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:11 AM PDT
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  27. donald todd Inactive

    Basil Fawlty:Read literally, the regulation prohibits volunteers from referring to any member of the LGBTQI community as “sinful,” no matter what the nature of the purported sin. This prohibition against accusations of sinfulness will limit the chaplains available to serve the LGBTQI community to Unitarians. Are there enough of them to go around?

    Actually I think that there are now some other religious groups, such as the Metropolitan Community Church, which are in favor of such practices. Maybe the state can use them and then deal with the aftermath in their lock ups and other restraining facilities.

    • #27
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:13 AM PDT
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  28. donald todd Inactive

    David Carroll:It appears that the officially approved religion in Kentucky prisons excludes certain passages of both the old and new testaments. Hmmm. Does that sound like the establishment of religion to anyone else?

    It is a religion of the state using PC principles to avoid litigation and public relations issues. Frankly, I am amazed that Jesus’ Name can be mentioned. They probably haven’t arrived at the issue yet, postponing it until sufficient unchurched people are lined up to support His removal from the jails, at least until they can jail His followers as guilty of crimes against PC.

    • #28
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:17 AM PDT
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  29. The Dowager Jojo Member

    Um, are the physicians treating these young inmates allowed to say overweight ones are abnormal, deviant, or can or should change their food orientation?

    • #29
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:19 AM PDT
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  30. Brian Clendinen Member
    Brian Clendinen Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aaron Miller:Larry, you know darn well that Christianity teaches neither that gays are evil

    Actually you are wrong. Gays are evil because they are part of mankind. The bible and Jesus are pretty clear that all of man kind is Evil otherwise we would not need a savior. Now it is true Christianity does not teach that Gays somehow are in more need of a savior than non-gays. I just really hate it when when Christians say so and so is not evil just because it is such an emotional charged word in the English language.

    Everyone’s evil, just some people do a lot more to cause suffering and advance the cause of the Devil than others. So in that way they are more evil in that their wickedness has a significantly larger, longer term, more broad impact on others than yours or mine does.

    • #30
    • August 13, 2015, at 7:35 AM PDT
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