Federal prisons, including Leavenworth, had from January until June to remove from their chapel libraries books as seemingly benign as C.S. Lewis’ “The Chronicles of Narnia” and Charles Schuller’s “Living Positively One Day at a Time,” on the premise that library materials should be “free of discrimination, disparagement, advocacy of violence and religious radicalization.” The purge resulted from a 2004 report by the Office of the Inspector General in the Justice Department that recommended that prisons take steps to avoid becoming recruiting grounds for militant Islamic and other religious groups, the New York Times reported. As a result, all books not included on an approved list were removed.
Prisoners are denied some rights, but they shouldn’t be denied the right to read materials of a spiritual nature. Not surprisingly, a Christian and Orthodox Jew at a New York prison have sued. As Pat Nolan, president of Justice Fellowship, in Lansdowne, Va., told the Topeka Capital-Journal, “The problem is the government is situating itself as the sanctioner of what is a proper religious book for prisoners.”
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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