1. If I understand correctly, courts can sentence people to go to mandatory AA meetings for their punishment/sentencing.

    However

    If I understand correctly, AA requires everyone at its meeting to believe in a higher power.

    Therefore, technically isn't the state ordering people to believe in a higher power, when they order them to go to a place where they require you to believe that?

    How does this not breach the separation of church and state stuff? They are allowed to force you to go to a thing where you are required to believe in a higher power, and if you refuse to believe in the higher power, then you are in violation of the rules of the thing they are forcing you to do, thus, effectively they realy are forcing you to believe in a higher power, aren't they?

    Wtf?
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  2. interesting question.
     
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  3. It is usually imposed as a form of deferment. If you object you could certainly opt to spend a couple of months in the county lock-up instead. Oddly, I have not encountered a person that chose that route. There are no atheists in foxholes or alternative sentencing arrangements either.
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  4. there are other types of alcohol rehab... i would think an alternative method, such as a rehab center, would be acceptable to the court... is that right Mr Galt?
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  5. dec. sure atheists are rational enough to "believe in a higher power" rather than go to the slammer
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  6.  
    Originally Posted by Mr Galt View Post

    It is usually imposed as a form of deferment. If you object you could certainly opt to spend a couple of months in the county lock-up instead. Oddly, I have not encountered a person that chose that route. There are no atheists in foxholes or alternative sentencing arrangements either.

    So they are giving preferential treatment to those who believe in a higher power then?

    Either go to these mandatory meetings which require you to believe in a higher power, or go to jail?

    What the fuck??
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  7. I had this discussion with my friend after his 2nd DUI. He said he could have done a different program if he wanted, AA is just the easiest since there are always meetings. You don't have to change your schedule around for it.
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  8.  
    Originally Posted by resilient View Post

    there are other types of alcohol rehab... i would think an alternative method, such as a rehab center, would be acceptable to the court... is that right Mr Galt?

    when i got into some trouble a few years ago i had to go through a program called drug court, mandatory drug tests, and 3 AA meetings a week, as well as some retarded classes. it was basically this or jail, there was no "[ ] atheist" check box, i thought the same thing, but it didnt seem like proper self preservation to make waves

    i remember it being made really clear that it wasnt about religion, you just had to believe in a higher power (lol), it was also 90% of the time in church, and jesus was brought up 6 times a minute
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  9. They usually offer you a choice of programs but the word on the street is that AA is the smart move in most cases.
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  10. yeah, i think AA is choice.. rehab/alcohol classes are mandatory
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  11.  
    Originally Posted by zeppelinzoso16 View Post

    I had this discussion with my friend after his 2nd DUI. He said he could have done a different program if he wanted, AA is just the easiest since there are always meetings. You don't have to change your schedule around for it.

    Ah, that makes more sense then.

    I thought it was that they could actually sentence you to be required to specifically go to AA meetings, where they require you to believe in a higher power. Which, obviously would be grossly unconstitutional if they actually did that.

    If they allow you to choose to do a similar type of thing to AA but one where they don't require you to believe in a higher power, then, obv it's fine.

    I didn't realize they had that option, since, so many times you see people post on here about "court ordered mandatory AA meetings", and I always just assumed they meant it literally, when in reality they meant court ordered alcoholic/drug abuse help group, not necessarily AA< but just any approved one, and they just snap-chose that one since that's the most famous, though, if they had wanted to, they could've picked a non-higher power requiring one or whatever.

    In that case, I have no problem with that then.

     
    Originally Posted by sacaniga View Post

    when i got into some trouble a few years ago i had to go through a program called drug court, mandatory drug tests, and 3 AA meetings a week, as well as some retarded classes. it was basically this or jail, there was no "[ ] atheist" check box, i thought the same thing, but it didnt seem like proper self preservation to make waves

    i remember it being made really clear that it wasnt about religion, you just had to believe in a higher power (lol), it was also 90% of the time in church, and jesus was brought up 6 times a minute

    If they didn't allow you to choose an alternative alcohol/drug abuse support program of something other than AA, and required it to specifically be AA, then, imo that's def unconstitutional, and if this is still going on right now, I honestly feel semi-motivated to try to contact some atheist associations in America and try to see if there's enough interest there to put together a challenge to the constitutionality of this horseshit, cuz that's just totally fucked up.

    Forcing someone to say they believe in a higher power, when they don't, or else go to jail, is no less bad than forcing someone who believes in god or some religion to denounce his god/religion with the threat of going to jail if he doesn't, and we all know how bad everyone considers it to be to do that to someone, so, identically, this should be considered equally bad/unconstitutional/fucked up. That shit shouldn't be allowed to fly in this country, it goes against everything the "Freedom" of America is all about.
    Edited By: bfactor Aug 25th, 2010 at 05:50 AM
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  12. *wonders how you can test if someone actually believes in a higher power.*
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  13.  
    Originally Posted by rocksolid124 View Post

    *wonders how you can test if someone actually believes in a higher power.*

    That's not the point dude.

    The point is this:

    Let's say George is being sentenced for his DUI.

    The judge says this to George:

    "George, you have two options for the sentencing for the crime you've been convicted of. You can either:

    1) Choose to go to jail for 3 months

    or

    2) Choose to go to mandatory AA meetings for 3 months"

    George says, "I'm an atheist, so, technically I can't comply with the AA requirement that its members are required to believe in a higher power, otherwise they will be considered to not be complying with the requirements of the AA organization. So... wtf... my only choice is to either choose to start "believing in a higher power" in order to comply with the mandatory AA meetings if I want to choose that as my punishment, or, if not, then, I must go to jail?. So, basically I am forced to choose between either believing in a higher power or go to jail? Which is the exact same bad/fucked up as if you said I am required to either do something where they require me to denounce my religion (let's say I'm Christian and one of the requirements of the mandatory meetings they assign is that you must denounce Jesus as your savior and say you no longer believe in God) or else go to jail. It's literally identical to that, except, in reverse, so, it's no less bad than that, it's exactly the same bad/unconstitutional/goes-against-everything-America-is-all-about-ish".

    The Judge is like "Yup, so what'll it be? Go to AA and be required to say you believe in a higher power, or, go to jail?"

    ....

    ...do you not see how this is unconstitutional?

    It isn't about whether or not the person ACTUALLY is an atheist, or believes in a higher power or not. That's irrelevant, it's about the government requiring someone to SAY they believe in a higher power (regardless of whether they actually genuinely do or not, which is irrelevant), or else go to jail as the only alternative. Which is identically as unconstitutional is it would be to force someone to say they don't believe in a higher power, or else go to jail, which undoubtedly you can see is totally ridic/not allowed to do that since your government is not allowed to force someone to say they believe in God, nor force someone to say they don't. Regardless of whether the person actually does or doesn't, the point is, they can't force you to say you do, or else go to jail. They also can't force you to say you don't, or else go to jail. Neither of those things are allowed. They can force you to say whether you do or don't, but, they can't force you to say you believe the one of their choosing (whether they are choosing that you be forced to say that you do, or choosing that you be forced to say that you don't, either way, they can't do that obv).

    Get it?
    Edited By: bfactor Aug 25th, 2010 at 06:11 AM
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  14. I believe it is a violation and an absolute farce. Iv'e been in rehabs with court appointed people and it was a total waste of time trying to cram AA down peoples throat that did not want to be there. If anything if was a detriment to their recovery.
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  15. You usually get to pick where you go, AA is free
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  16. lol felons

    Here's an idea, don't drink and drive. The Constitution gives you the right to bear arms too, unless you are a felon. If you want to be protected by the law, obey it. If you choose to break it, don't be surprised if some of your rights get taken away or infringed upon.

    The above applies to mandatory AA for DUIs, but I really don't see a diffence for any other drug/alcohol related crimes which the court feels warrant jail time.
    PM Buchi for details
    Edited By: ShortyJacksn Aug 25th, 2010 at 07:55 AM
    Reason: clarification
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  17. mine was a misdemeanor and i still had to do it, so by that logic, do you think that just breaking the law in general warrants your constitutional rights to be violated? (if you can agree thats what's happening here)

    which constitutional rights? just the freedom of religion? or all of them, cause it seems kinda odd for one to be valued over the next

    so following that logic, is it legit to deny someone any constitutional right any judge sees fit, for any crime they deem worthy

    /playing devils advocate
    Edited By: sacaniga Aug 25th, 2010 at 08:08 AM
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  18. I still don't think it's okay. Here, I'll show why it's not, using a hypothetical:

    Let's say there is some badguy felon person guy who totally is def a bad person yadda yadda yadda, deserves to get pwnt etc etc, let's say he beat someone to death in a rage in a bar fight in some bar or something so he's in jail for like 2nd degree murder or something.

    Alright, so let's say he got sentenced to a 20 year prison sentence.

    Okay, now, let's say that after he's completed the first 10 years of his 20 year sentence, they tell the guy "We'll let you out right now, 10 years early, on one condition. And that condition is, you have to go to church once a week for the next 10 years, and stand at the front of a podium and say 'I believe in God.' That's it. That's the only condition. If you do that, we'll let you go free right now, instead of having to do the last 10 years of your prison sentence."

    Now, would this be constitutional, or okay, in any way? No, obviously not. It would be totally ridic, and go against everything this country is about, in that they are forcing him to choose between being required to say he believes in God (regardless of whether he actually does or not), or, if not, then, being in prison for 10 more years. Thus, technically they are forcing him to choose between prison or succumbing to the religious oppression demands made by his own government. That's literally about as perfectly unconstitutional as an unconstitutional thing can possibly get. That's EXACTLY what this whole country was all about. The idea that you can live here and not be forced to say you are of one religion or another or of no religion, that, in this country nobody can force you to say you believe or don't believe in stuff. That's the whooooole fucking point of why this country even exists. I mean, seriously, this is as fundamental/basic as it gets.

    This is precisely, identically 100.0% exactly as bad as if a U.S. citizen believes in God, and he's in prison for some crime, and they told him they'll only let him out of jail early if he denounces his faith, and says he does not believe in God. It's literally not ANY less bad than that. And so, since obviously everyone would snap-agree that that indeed would be totally wrong/unconstitutional/against the very core of what this country is all about to do that to someone, regardless o whether he's a prisoner or not, it's soooooooo so so so so obv just not something the government can do to someone in our country, it is thus equally obvious that the equal and opposite scenario, where they force you to choose between saying you do believe in God, or else rot in jail, is identically equally exactly the same bad as that.

    So that's like, really bad and stuff. Lolz.

     
    Originally Posted by sacaniga View Post

    mine was a misdemeanor and i still had to do it, so by that logic, do you think that just breaking the law in general warrants your constitutional rights to be violated? (if you can agree thats what's happening here)

    which constitutional rights? just the freedom of religion? or all of them, cause it seems kinda odd for one to be valued over the next

    so following that logic, is it legit to deny someone any constitutional right any judge sees fit, for any crime they deem worthy

    /playing devils advocate

    ^^^^THISSSSSS

    Except, more so a human rights thing, rather than "constitutional rights" given that he did make a point about the right to bear arms thing, where obv felons lose that one (and rightly so). So I guess it's still semi-tricky then.
    Edited By: bfactor Aug 25th, 2010 at 08:16 AM
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  19. My opinion is that if the court offers you an alternative to the standard punishment, and you feel that the alternative is unconstitutional, take the standard punishment.

    I completely understand the uproar if the guilty party has no choice in punishment, but that is not how this scenario was presented. I may have missed it, but I saw no instance of a judge requiring AA as punishment/treatment. I would not agree with that, but I am completely fine with AA being offered as an alternative to a standard punishment. And if the guilty party is philosophically opposed to the AA methodology, they are free to propose a substitute program that costs the courts no more than AA.
    Edited By: ShortyJacksn Aug 25th, 2010 at 08:22 AM
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  20.  
    Originally Posted by ShortyJacksn View Post

    My opinion is that if the court offers you an alternative to the standard punishment, and you feel that the alternative is unconstitutional, take the standard punishment.

    I completely understand the uproar if the guilty party has no choice in punishment, but that is not how this scenario was presented. I may have missed it, but I saw no instance of a judge requiring AA as punishment/treatment. I would not agree with that, but I am completely fine with AA being offered as an alternative to amstandard punishment. And if the guilty party is philosophically opposed to the AA methodology, they are free to propose a substitute program that costs the courts no more than AA.

    a muslim american man beheads his wife, he believes its not the worst thing in the world, but society is up in arms, he goes to court and they say, you're going to jail for the rest of your life........ or you're converting to Catholicism, denouncing alah, and we'll knock you down to 2 years time served and 6 months probation

    government shouldnt have an alignment/agenda regarding religion

    *** i may have overexxagerated the use of religion in AA in my prev posts, they make it very clear that christianity has nothing to do with AA right from the start, but if you're a hard core atheist, and don't even want to entertain the idea that there is a higher power of any sort, than you're violating the guidelines of AA (which there is no punishment for, you dont have to talk or do anything when you're forced to go, but i imagine there are situations involving ass holes where not participating would lead to you not getting your form signed that you were there)

    what's funny is if the scenario i described took place, there would be 234234 politicians raising hell, but drunk drivers, a group that i'd say 68% of people have been a part of at one time or other in their lives, have nobody willing to speak on their behalf

    stand up for your right!!! move on up move on up!!!!

    signed: drunk drivers across america, we have rights too
    Edited By: sacaniga Aug 25th, 2010 at 08:39 AM
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  21.  
    Originally Posted by ShortyJacksn View Post

    My opinion is that if the court offers you an alternative to the standard punishment, and you feel that the alternative is unconstitutional, take the standard punishment.

    I completely understand the uproar if the guilty party has no choice in punishment, but that is not how this scenario was presented. I may have missed it, but I saw no instance of a judge requiring AA as punishment/treatment. I would not agree with that, but I am completely fine with AA being offered as an alternative to a standard punishment. And if the guilty party is philosophically opposed to the AA methodology, they are free to propose a substitute program that costs the courts no more than AA.

    Alright, in that case, let's intensify the scenario and see if you still agree with yourself here:

    Let's say it's as follows:

    Some guy gets arrested for some minor crime, let's say he got angry waiting in line outside the DMV and pissed on the wall of the DMV building or something and got caught and got arrested.

    Okay, now let's say the sentencing options are as follows:

    Judge says:

    "You have two options for what you want your sentencing to be for your crime:

    Option 1: Stand at the front of this podium, and, by speaking into the microphone, tell us, the court, that you do not believe in God.

    or

    Option 2: The death penalty. You will be killed by lethal injection.

    The choice is yours holmes. What's it gonna be?"

    So, they are forcing a guy to either denounce his faith, or, they'll kill him. Do you think this would be okay?

    If you don't, then, you likewise are also admitting that you don't think this AA shit is okay either, albeit to a more minor degree, but still wrong just the same.

    gl
    Edited By: bfactor Aug 25th, 2010 at 08:30 AM
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  22. There are secular programs you can go to. Alanon I believe is one of them.
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  23. Basically taken to the extreme, if you bring this to let's say the ACLU, and they agree and find a case and win, judges are just going to throw people in the slammer from now on, so not really much of a victory.
    Edited By: snaggs Aug 25th, 2010 at 12:53 PM
    Reason: some of it has already been covered
     
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  24. Yea it is, cuz it gets rid of a super fucked up slippery slope thingie that could've ruined our country. Nice job me for saving our country ::pats self on back:: etc
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  25. lol thread

    "higher power" doesnt have anything to do with religion........ur "higher power" could be a doorknob.....u just have to believe in something greater than urself, which as a poker player is a challenge in itself.....so, yes its constitutional and no, you can't fight it....
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  26. "A number of state Supreme Court and federal circuit court cases —including Arnold v. Tennessee Board of Paroles (1997), Griffin v. Coughlin (New York, 1996), Warner v. Orange County Dep't. of Probation (2nd Cir. 1997), Rauser v. Horn (3rd Cir. 2001), and Kerr v. Farrey (7th Cir. 1996)— have defined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other treatment programs based on AA's 12 steps as religious in nature. In all the cases, state agencies (either courts or corrections) sentenced or otherwise compelled probationers or inmates to participate in such programs, thereby, according to the case decisions, violating the First Amendment's separation of church and state (the Establishment Clause)."

    from http://www.peele.net/lib/loss.html

    Yes, this issue has already been debated and decided in some courts.

    The stupidity dripping off of DWilliams post is astounding. Wow. Yes, the AA people love to claim that your higher power "could be anything." Even a doorknob! Awesome, my fucking doorknob has achieved a greater form of consciousness than me, I will submit to its authority in order to help me stop drinking! Fucking bullshit and you know it. No rational person is going to believe that some inanimate object is their personal "higher power." Fact is, AA meetings are clearly tied to religion. I hope I didn't just write this all out because of a level. Actually, I hope I did cause that would mean your post wasn't serious.
    Edited By: aheggem Aug 25th, 2010 at 05:05 PM
     
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  27.  
    Originally Posted by Mr Galt View Post

    There are no atheists in foxholes

    this is such BS.
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  28.  
    Originally Posted by Mr Galt View Post

    There are no atheists in foxholes .

    PM Pat Tillman
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  29.  
    Originally Posted by aheggem View Post

    "A number of state Supreme Court and federal circuit court cases —including Arnold v. Tennessee Board of Paroles (1997), Griffin v. Coughlin (New York, 1996), Warner v. Orange County Dep't. of Probation (2nd Cir. 1997), Rauser v. Horn (3rd Cir. 2001), and Kerr v. Farrey (7th Cir. 1996)— have defined Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other treatment programs based on AA's 12 steps as religious in nature. In all the cases, state agencies (either courts or corrections) sentenced or otherwise compelled probationers or inmates to participate in such programs, thereby, according to the case decisions, violating the First Amendment's separation of church and state (the Establishment Clause)."

    from http://www.peele.net/lib/loss.html

    Yes, this issue has already been debated and decided in some courts.

    The stupidity dripping off of DWilliams post is astounding. Wow. Yes, the AA people love to claim that your higher power "could be anything." Even a doorknob! Awesome, my fucking doorknob has achieved a greater form of consciousness than me, I will submit to its authority in order to help me stop drinking! Fucking bullshit and you know it. No rational person is going to believe that some inanimate object is their personal "higher power." Fact is, AA meetings are clearly tied to religion. I hope I didn't just write this all out because of a level. Actually, I hope I did cause that would mean your post wasn't serious.

    not gonna argue with someone whos never been......ur wrong......AA, NA, GA.....etc, etc.....are not religious entities.....muslims, jews, christians, hindu, etc all in the same room prayin to the same GOD?/ doesnt happen man......but continue with ur insults.....shows ur ignorance
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  30.  
    Originally Posted by bfactor View Post

    T
    The judge says this to George:

    "George, you have two options for the sentencing for the crime you've been convicted of. You can either:

    1) Choose to go to jail for 3 months

    or

    2) Choose to go to mandatory AA meetings for 3 months"

    George says, "I'm an atheist, so, technically I can't comply with the AA requirement that its members are required to believe in a higher power, otherwise they will be considered to not be complying with the requirements of the AA organization. So... wtf... my only choice is to either choose to start "believing in a higher power" in order to comply with the mandatory AA meetings if I want to choose that as my punishment, or, if not, then, I must go to jail?. So, basically I am forced to choose between either believing in a higher power or go to jail? Which is the exact same bad/fucked up as if you said I am required to either do something where they require me to denounce my religion (let's say I'm Christian and one of the requirements of the mandatory meetings they assign is that you must denounce Jesus as your savior and say you no longer believe in God) or else go to jail. It's literally identical to that, except, in reverse, so, it's no less bad than that, it's exactly the same bad/unconstitutional/goes-against-everything-America-is-all-about-ish".

    George likes to talk a lot.
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