Friday, September 23, 2011

Church or Jail

Bay Minette, Alabama is letting non-violent misdemeanor offenders decide between jail & fines or going to church for a year. That's right, you can avoid jail time and fines by agreeing to attend church for a year.
If offenders select church, they'll be allowed to pick the place of worship but must check in weekly with the pastor and police. ... If the one-year church attendance program is completed, the offender's case will be dismissed.
I had two main thoughts when I read this story. First, I found it pretty funny that this city judge is giving the impression that going to church every week is roughly equivalent to jail time. But after my initial amusement, came the reality that this is a ridiculous punishment that lets criminals off easy. I'm all for alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders. But how is attending church once a week for a few hours in any way equivalent to serving jail time and paying fines? I'm an atheist and I'd take that deal in a second. You can just sit in the back and take nap during the service, daydream, or whatever. It's not a punishment. Amazing as it may seem, many people actually like going to church. Depending on the church you pick, it might have good music, food and other benefits. You can steal things, get DUIs, and commit various other misdemeanors and get off with just going to church weekly?

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