Last year Indiana passed a “religious freedom law” that many people believed was a de facto license to discriminate. The courts agreed and Indiana quickly reversed course. We were also told all about how the other states that had such laws were different than Indiana and wouldn’t lead to bad outcomes. Most people, satisfied after thwarting the Indiana law believed it and walked away after the Indiana reversal.
Turns out, that’s not so true and the unintended consequences could be far more devastating than anyone thought.
Down in Virginia a court has ruled in favor of a prisoner seeking his “religious freedom.”
As a local D.C. affiliate reports;
A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals unanimously ruled Thursday that the dismissal of Jesus Emmanuel Jehovah’s complaint was premature. The court also said a judge erred in dismissing Jehovah’s claim that prison doctors were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs.
Jehovah claims officials at Sussex I Prison violated his rights by prohibiting him from consuming wine during communion, requiring him to work on Sabbath days and assigning him cellmates hostile to Christianity. The appeals court says the claims warrant further examination.
Because of this religious freedom law and if this three judge panel decision holds up, the State of Virginia will be required to cater to this prisoner’s every whim. Already on the table is his celebrating of not one but two Sabbaths per week and a “communion” ceremony that requires not only wine but an extensive “ingredient” list. To top it off, Jehovah will be able to hand pick his cell mates as will any other prisoner claiming “religious” reasons.
Jehovah claims that prison officials denied him the right to have communion the way his faith requires, which would be to consume red wine and bread dipped in honey, olive oil, sugar, cinnamon and water.
By the way, this “religion” Jehovah is claiming is totally fabricated by Jehovah himself. It has no church or even any other known members besides Jehovah himself.
He made it up.
Again, As rawstory.com reported;
According to the lawsuit, Jehovah practices a version of Christianity based on a Bible he wrote himself.
Also included in the lawsuit is a seemingly more legitimate charge that prison officials ignored and mishandled Jehovah’s medical problems. Strangely, the lawsuit says that officials not only didn’t treat him for his alleged medical problems but sent him to the facilities mental health treatment instead of medical treatment.
There has been no word on whether like his religion, Jehovah fabricated his medical needs as well. Sending him to the mental health facility might suggest that at least some of his woes were more in his head than in his body. Perhaps he was making so many things up that the prison guards at some point simply couldn’t discern any of his nonsense.
Regardless, the courts in Virginia now have to deal with this because of these “religious freedom acts” that we can see as time passes don’t really protect anyone’s legitimate religious concerns but are either used as weapons of hate by the far right factions or weapons of control liek in this case. If the ruling holds up, now the prisoners will truly be “running the asylum.”
Prisoners will be able to hand pick their cell mates or even who may “socialize” with them in the yard or during work duties. Prisoners will be able to claim anything they want is for “religious reasons” and the authority at the prison might be simply helpless to deny any whim in fear of more lawsuits.
All this because religious zealots are afraid that if they do something for a gay person in their business, some of that gay might stick to them. Now because their zealotry has manifested itself into many states’ laws, what they might get instead of the “iron clad christian control” that they wanted is the fox running the hen house and license for anyone to claim ‘religion” as a cover all defense for anything they want — even in prison.
Unintended consequences strike again. When will some people learn? If someone wants to find a slippery slope — keep in mind this case is all based on a made up religion by a man who has made up everything including his own name as court documents show his real name to be Gabriel Alexander Antonio.
Slopes don’t get any more slippy.
Featured image via malialitman.com