Pelavin: This case demonstrates that prisoners may not be stripped of their right to religious freedom simply by virtue of their incarceration.
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December 4, 2007- Washington DC - In response to yesterday’s ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals regarding public funding for a religiously-based prisoner rehabilitation program, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Yesterday’s decisionin Americans United v. Prison Fellowship to prohibit state financing of an evangelical-Christian program in prisons is an important affirmation of the danger posed to our First Amendment principles by government funding of religion. This case is especially significant because it demonstrates that prisoners may not be stripped of their right to religious freedom simply by virtue of their incarceration.
The Reform Jewish Movement has long recognized that the wall of separation between religion and state has allowed religious liberty to flourish in this country unmatched in modern times. The Eight Circuit’s ruling furthers that tradition, and we applaud the court’s decision.