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Elected Officials Banning Books in Prisons, Except Bible

In Berkeley County in South Carolina, the sheriff has banned any book, other than the bible. In Prentiss County, Mississippi, individuals can have 3 books, but one must be the bible. In Cape Coral City, Florida, local atheists who wanted to speak at a city council hearing were denied because of complaints by those who viewed them wearing t-shirts that said, "one nation, indivisible," while on television during a previous hearing.

Of course, for most of the history of the Pledge of Allegiance, this was the wording of that line. No mention of a god. The city council policy at the time had no prohibitions on clothing and its usage against a politically unpopular group, atheists, was obviously not content-neutral in its application.

Anyone really believe that if a t-shirt that stated support for a deity in the Pledge it would have had someone removed? Of course it wouldn't, as it shouldn't. Ironically, the private speech of this group was banned, though they were protesting against the government itself favoring certain religious speech, through an organized prayer led by a city council supposed to represent all people of that city.

All these cases show a common theme, clear and blatant violations of the U.S. Constitution, and likely the constitutions of those states. No elected official can tell you what religious text an individual (inmate or not) can have, and he definitely can't tell you you must have a certain one.

Imagine a Hindu sheriff stating you must or only can have a copy of the Hindu text, the Vedas. Or a Muslim sheriff stating you can have three books, but one must be the Quran. Our Constitution did not in give preference to any religion. Government officials cannot use their authority, be it in a jail or in basic training, to impose their religious beliefs upon others.


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