ACLU Seeks to End Bible Censorship at Virginia Jail

Imagine being in jail, and you receive a letter from your mother. It says: "Dear Son…" It goes on for a paragraph, and then the rest of it is a big, gaping hole, where prison censors have cut—with scissors—biblical passages that your mom thought you might find comforting during your incarceration. The big hole is followed by: "Love, Mom."

This actually happened to an inmate in Virginia's Rappahannock Regional Jail, where jail policy mandates that officials censor biblical passages from letters written to detainees. Today, the ACLU and ACLU of Virginia sent a letter to Rappahannock's superintendent, Joseph Higgs, Jr., asking him to end this policy, as it violates both detainees' and letter-writers' First Amendment rights.

Daniel Mach, Director of Litigation for the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, said in a statement today: "It is essential that jail officials abide by the law and the requirements of the U.S. Constitution. People do not lose their right to religious worship simply because they are incarcerated."

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Ray Radlein

Wow. That's really inexplicable. This seems like the sort of thing that the Rutherford folks would also be all over.

An American

Anyone who commits a crime worthy of imprisonment has given up his rights. They dont deserve anything more than basic sustinance. Bring back public hangings and chain gangs. I would be the crime rate would drop dramatically after the first couple rapists and murderers got their necks stretched on a public gallows.

Patrick McLaughlin

"An American" is not only barbarous, but incorrect.

The evidence strongly suggests that there is no drop (not dramatic, certainly) in major crimes after executions today, but wasn't in the past when such executions were public--nor is there in the relatively few nations that still permit such forms of punishment.

Further, he's wrong about rights. A convict's rights are impaired -- lawfully -- during imprisonment. But they're not gone. A convict retains certain rights, because we recognize that depriving people of all their rights doesn't teach them a lesson, and it leaves them vulnerable to criminal abuse at the hands of others.

Wrong, wrong, wrong... wrong again... and just ignorant of the actual facts.

John Strong

Um, this is simply a straightening-out of how constitutional rights work.

Leftie (both de...

So, what was that you were saying about the ACLU being nothing but a bunch of liberal weenies? :P


"An American": Do you think before you type?


to "An American": Hopefully you or someone close to you will be arrested for something you didn't do, so that you will wake up and realize the stupidity of your statement. There are many people in jails, prisons, and on death row that do not deserve their punishment. It is just wrong to punish people by killing them until we have a perfect justice system that never makes errors. And if you think that the crime rate would drop if we brought back public hangings, just do a little research. In countries that have public hangings, murderers and rapists still exist. The main difference is that the law-abiding public lives in fear.

Sean S.

The better question is, where is the Alliance Defense Fund on this? Evidently Christian charity stops at the jailhouse door.

An Australian

I think "An American" left "Redneck" out of their name.


Too bad it's not just rapists or murderers who get put into prison.


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