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February 14, 2009

La. Prison Agrees to Strip Monument of Bible Reference

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Officials at a Louisiana prison, already under fire for allegedly denying Catholic and Muslim inmates access to religious materials, have agreed to remove a biblical reference from a monument outside the prison gates.

Cathy Fontenot, a spokeswoman at the maximum-security State Penitentiary at Angola, said officials submitted work orders to have what was known as the "Philippians Monument" stripped of the religious references after a complaint was lodged last year by the Louisiana arm of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The monument featured a verse taken from Philippians 3:13 dealing with "forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." Fontenot said the language will remain, but the verse's citation will be removed.

On the opposite side of the book-like monument, there was a "Prayer of Protection," which the ACLU complained about and is being removed. The prayer reads: "The light of God surrounds you/The love of God enfolds you/The power of God protects you/And the presence of God watches over you;/Wherever you are, God is."

Fontenot said that side of the monument will be filled with artwork or a more secular inspirational message.

Angola Warden Burl Cain said he chose the location by the prison's entrance gates to help with the "moral rehabilitation" of new inmates "arriving at Angola to see that their past stopped when they entered the gates of Angola ... It advises them we are not going to look at the past; to let it go and begin change for the better."

Marjorie Esman, the state ACLU's executive director, told Cain that the ACLU "supports you in your efforts to encourage prisoners to look forward toward changing their lives for the better; we expect those efforts to be conducted in a way that will not endorse one religion over another or religion over non-religion."

The ACLU last week filed suit against Cain and other officials after two inmates -- one Catholic, one Muslim -- said they were denied access to worship services and religious materials.

Comments

Good for the ACLU.

It's too bad the ACLU is unaware of the God who heals souls, and would welcome its members into His family if they would acknowledge Him and his free gift of salvation.

Are they going to force the removal of the church building that Franklin Graham dedicated? See the following YouTube video for the story.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT1XYSz0cE0

America is loosing its foundational religious values which have been in place for centuries. If christian do not begin to stand up for their rights in this free land, then others will impose their rights on them. Next time, all christian inscription in public should carry a footnote to say - If you want this remove, please ask the owner - God ! and let them deal with God.

Yes, the ACLU is right, nothing pertaining to relgion should be allowed in a prison supported by taxpaying dollars. That means nothing. The muslims should not be allowed to pick up converts either just because they're the minor religion at this point in the prison. They have been using taxpayer funded grants for years now to go after inmates while they've been using the ACLU to push Christian organizations out of the jails. I worked on a grant where the Muslims were allowed to order books etc. which where all about Islam including the Koran but the Christians were not allowed to even be on the grant board let alone have some of the money because they were a "religion" but no body mentioned what the Muslims were. And, non religion means humanism and secularism which are by their very nature of their "man can do it all belief", a religion. All religion related anything should not be in the prison, including Islam, secularism and humanism and Christianity, by the way, Catholics are Christians. Yes, ACLU, you are right but can you follow the ruling honestly, I doubt it because you're blind to how you're being used. You think you're winning but you'll eventually be on the outside too because Christianity becomes stronger when treated as the outcast, you won't because you use the law for what it didn't mean when the law was created. Unfortunately laws are made to be broken and throughout history the reason to bring about a revolution, history works that way. Keep up the good work.

Quoting a Bible verse is not an "establishment" of religion. "Separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the U.S.Constitution and has evolved into an amendment imposed by justices and never approved by the citizens.
On the other hand, Muslims and Catholics must be respected and treated fairly in all matters, including religious worship.
Blessings,

Angola prison is being looked at by the whole nation, because of the life style changes taking place within in walls. Did the ACLU go in there and minister to these inmates and effect these great changes.NO! Only God can effect this kind of change in so many hearts. I have ministered in Angloa before and seen religious materials that inmates had access to. I will pray for the members of the ACLU for their hearts to be changed, before they stand in front of the real JUDGE, and be found GUILTY! Life without parole. That will be so horrible. May God have mercy on them now, because there will be no mercy then.

Maybe we should start taking bets on how long it will be before all references to the Bible are removed from Washington DC.

Comment 2:
"It's too bad the ACLU is unaware of the God who heals souls . . .,
No such god exists. If it did, we'd have heard from it by now. Souls don't exist. Wishing for something doesn't make it real.
"his free gift of salvation."
What is free about being a slave to a heirachy professing to speak for a silent god? This sort of religious double-speak, while profound to the deluded, is merely bizarre to those of us living in reality.

Comment 4:
"America is loosing its foundational religious values"
It has been doing so for some time. We no longer keep slaves, or keep women subservient to men. Some of us don't even hate homosexuals! All of these religious values are being condemned to the dust bin of history, where they belong.
"If christian do not begin to stand up for their rights"
The privelege of telling others what to think and do is not a right, it is the same privelege that whites and males have, over the last 100 years, lost in the process of giving equality to non-whites and women.
"If you want this remove, please ask the owner - God ! and let them deal with God."
If your god is the owner, then let him/it erect such things. I can live with that solution if you can. In fact, how about we all stop saying and doing things on behalf of various gods, and let those gods speak and do for themselves? All the suicide bombings, wars, anti-abortionists, evolution-deniers, etc all shutting up, and stopping all the harm they do to others. Now THAT would be wonderful indeed. The silence would be deafening, and welcome.

Anna wrote:
"And, non religion means humanism and secularism which are by their very nature of their "man can do it all belief", a religion."
No Anna, secularism is not a religion. Secularism is a concept. Its opposite is theocracy. Secularism means that a state and its institutions do not promote any particular religion. That's all it means. It's clearly NOT a religion, it is the absence of religion on public, government property.
Humanism is a philosophy. If it were a religion, it would have holy relics, dogma, rituals, people willing to kill for it, etc.

Someone else posted:
"Quoting a Bible verse is not an "establishment" of religion.
Of course it is. Why are the religious so willing to lie, so blatantly, in order to promote their views?

"Separation of church and state" appears nowhere in the U.S. Constitution"
Neither does freeing slaves or giving women equality with men; and yet, Americans did those things not because they were or were not in the Constitution, but because enough people (finally) realised they were the right thing to do. Both were done in the face of opposition which was soley religious and Christian in nature.

"and has evolved into an amendment imposed by justices and never approved by the citizens."
Then surely an astute politician will get rid of it, and turn the US into a theocracy, which is apparently what religionists like this writer would prefer to see happen. Will that make your life better, or worse? Go live in a theocracy for a while, and then compare.

Reply to David M. (Divid's comments in quotes).

“No such god exists. If it did, we'd have heard from it by now. Souls don't exist. Wishing for something doesn't make it real.”

- Wishing something isn’t doesn’t make it true either. More and more scientists are turning to the belief that there is an intelligent designer. While many (if not most) will not acknowledge God, they do realize evolution is impossible.

“What is free about being a slave to a heirachy professing to speak for a silent god?”

- Christians are not slaves to a hierarchy. In true Christianity each believer approaches God directly through His Son Jesus Christ.

“It has been doing so for some time. We no longer keep slaves, or keep women subservient to men. Some of us don't even hate homosexuals! All of these religious values are being condemned to the dust bin of history, where they belong.”

- Slavery, subservient women, homosexual hatred, etc are not “religious values” except to those who pick isolated verses to prove their own erroneous preconceived ideas. True Christians are to hate the sin, not the sinner. Notice that non-Christians always choose homosexuality for this point and not some other sin like murder or robbery. All three are sins, and Christians dislike each equally. We do not hate the persons that commit these sins, instead we hope to lead them away from there sinful actions (hence the monument in front of this prison we are discussing). The difference is most everyone agrees murder and robbery are wrong, but many in this world are trying to hold onto and prove to others that sin such as homosexuality, adultery, pre-marital sex is okay, despite all the physical proof to the contrary.

“Of course it is. Why are the religious so willing to lie, so blatantly, in order to promote their views?”

- Christianity has survived for as long as it has because no one has proven anything in the Bible false. Many scientists have tried, but time and study have proven the scientists wrong, not the Bible. On the contrary it is the scientists, especially in the area of evolution that have been discovered to BLATANTLY LIE to try and prove there point. Look at the following:
o Piltdown man
o Java man (also see Homo erectus)
o Nebraska man
o Neanderthal man
- Why must science lie to prove there point and then cram these lies down our children’s throats in the Public School system? Let me answer for you, because scientists have no point.

Go live in a theocracy for a while, and then compare.

- A true theocracy, run by Jesus would be perfection. Unfortunately when sinful man gets involved it becomes corrupted. Perhaps you would prefer to live where atheism is the rule of law. How about under men like Stalin, or Pol Pot? Or is Hitler’s confused belief system more to your liking?

Christianity didn't establish slavery, protitution, homosexuality, humanism, paganism, subjugation of women,secularism, etc., none of this. All of these concepts were in existance in all societies in one severity or another for centuries before Christianity. Through the passing of time, Christianity became strong enough to kill salvery even though it took a civil war in this country and legislation in Britain brought about by true Christians, by the way. More women have been freed by Christianity than any other religion and again this took time to change the views of men in power. Visit other countries even today for proof of freedom for women within non Christian religions. Humanism is a religion with its belief in Man can do it all without God. It has personal opinion judges and courts as its icons. Secular governments end up in the hands of dictators or simply fail because people lose faith in these govern's. We're now in the hands of anti-religionists secular judges, courts, etc. not the live and let live Constitution of this country, the "we the people". Try changing a government ruling that the judges and courts agree with but the majority people don't and see how far you get. Think of secular govern and certain women killing their babies and both the govern and these women calling it abortion or the even sicker choice and not murder which the government shouldn't be promoting unless convicted by a jury of your like. Enough said.

The ACLU is living down to its origins. Begun by a communist and doing what the communists did in the old Soviet Union, obstructing, if not persecuting, the freedom of religion. In this nation my ancestors and predecessors in the Baptist ministry fought for that right. Atheists, Catholics, Muslims, and all others have the right to express themselves in the public forum. Bible references on a monument are an acknowledgement of biblical moral precepts. Even Thomas Jefferson attended a church that met in the capitol building and supported the idea of chaplains. While his religious views were slim, he knew how much the bible believing people had invested in the American Experiment, including, and especially, the freedom of religion in the public forum. Blood was spilt for that. Let those who want to remove it think how hard it will go with those who would fight to the death for the right of one to differ but would be sickened at the thought that now they would be denied their right. Besides the freedoms came from the Bible. The professors at the Univ. of Houston clearly delineated the references. 34% of all references in the political documents of the founding of the states and and this nation come from the Bible. The next highest was Montesquieu, the French political philosopher. The references to him are less than half those to the Bible. After him comes Locke. Amazing. Simply amazing! And the ACLU wants to remove references to the book which brought them and the poeple they respresent the freedom to do such stupid things. Wisdom is justified of her children.

As a member of a prison ministry in England, it is quite sad to see what is happening in America in regards to secularism and political correctness. I am glad at the moment that we don't see it in such a scale in Britain as you have mentioned in your article, but the day is coming very soon when the political correctness card and anti-Christian feelings will play strong making our work in prisons as well as outside more difficult. These are just the few signs that our Lord is returning soon!

In the absence of a Sky-God, the Universe makes sense. It's easy to understand why little children the world over are starving to death. I can understand why natural disasters kill millions around the world. I also understand why women and children die at childbirth. I understand why man rapes, kills and plunders. It's only the so-called "light" of God that things go dark, that nothing makes sense. That up is down and down is up.

Throughout the history of man, societies have continually made adjustments in societal values and morals. Society outlawed slavery while Christian theology proclaimed it as the natural order ordained by God. Society gave equality to women while Christian theology proclaimed inequality as the established order of God. I’m willing to bet incest wasn’t outlawed in America until the 18th century. Every civil advancement known to Western man has come at the expense of Christian Theology. America, one of the greatest nations on Earth, has the grand distinction of the being the world’s first secular government; this can’t be denied. It isn’t a coincidence that our rise came at the expense of religion’s demise. Our country has gone backwards (witness George Bush) when the overtly religious get into power. When decisions are based on a belief that the world as we know it came into being because a snaked talked a woman into eating magic fruit from one of the Sky-God’s magic trees we’re all doomed. It is my hope that one day this madness and insanity we call religion will end.