GROUP LEADER: MICHAEL DORIAN
Due to unforeseen considerations, it has been necessary for Michael Dorian to change the discussion topic for this meetup. The MacBain topic will be presented at a later time. On Tuesday, we will be discussing instead the timely, crucial and high-priority topic described below.
Police Using Pastors to Spread Christianity at Crime Scenes
In Some U.S. Cities, Chaplains Ride Shotgun With Cops
and Try to Convert the Perp
Can you believe this is happening right here in the USA: In Montgomery, Alabama, police have preachers riding in patrol cars ready to offer Christian-based support to the perpetrator of the crime right on the spot.
It’s a cop-led Christian outreach program called “Operation Good Shepherd” and both the police and city officials claim it is intended to reduce crime.
From Dayton, Ohio, where the pilot program apparently started, to Montgomery, Alabama where it is in full swing, the program brings Christian pastors to crime scenes to counsel and pray with the perps, victims and witnesses.
Is this a blatant example of government using taxpayer dollars to spread a Christian message? Are they taking advantage of people at a vulnerable time of their lives to increase their opportunities to evangelize? Is this undue pressure and influence from the powers-that-be?
Do these perps get different treatment if they comply with the message of Jesus from these police-sanctioned preachers? What are the implications of what appears to be wanton disregard for church-state separation? And what should the Atheist community do in response?
American Atheists Threaten Suit
American Atheists’ president David Silverman is up in arms about this practice and has pointed out, in a letter to the mayor of Montgomery, that it is unconstitutional. “The program trains evangelical Christian pastors, using tax dollars, to ride along with police officers and gives them access to crime scenes in order to preach Christianity explicitly while people are vulnerable,” Silverman says. So far, 37 pastors have completed the tax-funded training in Montgomery.
Silverman has sent a letter to Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange and Chief of Police Kevin Murphy, “laying out, in no uncertain terms, that using taxpayer money and government employees for the purpose of spreading Christianity is unconstitutional and that the program must be terminated immediately or American Atheists will sue,” he reports.
Does Religion Prevent Crime?
It is obvious that the fundamentalists and evangelicals are increasingly encroaching into our government functions. Should we Atheists battle every inch of the way? Where do we draw the line in the sand?
Obviously the cops and city officials in many U.S. towns feel that religion can prevent crime--though statistics show that prisons are full of Christians (and hardly any Atheists). Does being opposed to “Operation Good Shepherd” make us “pro-crime” in the eyes of these city officials?
Come on Tuesday, October 15, to NYC Atheists Discussion Group led by filmmaker Michael Dorian, a passionate, outspoken and activist Atheist.
Come, tell us what you feel we should do, how we should respond. Let’s put our heads together to stop this blatant instance of religion crossing the line into our government.
For further information on this latest foray of religion into the public realm, access article in The Atlantic, http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/09/using-christianity-to-fight-crime/280038/
WHAT: “Police in U.S. Cities Are Using Tax Money to Take Christian
Pastors to Crime Scenes and Convert the Perps. What Do
We Do About It?” A discussion led by filmmaker and
Atheist leader Michael Dorian.
WHEN: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2013
WHERE: STONE CREEK Bar &Pub
140 East 27th St. (3rd/Lex)
COST: Free, but you are expected
to purchase food/drink. We
love Stone Creek’s own
brand of beer and their
knoshies are better than in
New York City Atheists Inc. is a 501C (3) not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to the promotion of the Atheist lifestyle and values.