Courts/School may be restricting religious freedom in the U-S

By June 9, 2006

USA (MNN) — It’s common to hear about religious freedom issues in areas like the Middle East and China, but what about the United States? At least one organization believes religious freedom is being curtailed in a country that has, ‘Under God’ written on all of its currency.

This week, an Oregon school district stopped youth pastors from a local evangelical church from visiting their students in the school cafeteria. Last week, a U-S federal judge ruled that helping the incarcerated is no place for God. Judge Robert Pratt ordered that InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI), a Prison Fellowship faith-based prisoner rehabilitation program, must shut down at the Newton Correctional Facility in Iowa within 60 days.

Crossroad Bible Institute works with Prison Fellowship to provide Bible correspondence and other programs for prison inmates. CBI’s President Doctor David Schuringa says, “There (are) people that took God out of the schools and now there are people that want to take God out of the prisons, which would be disastrous. The recidivism rates would be even high if people have no chance to learn faith based principles for living.”

Schuringa says there’s a reason faith based programs can’t be taken from the prisons. “It’s the only thing that gives the prisoners a fighting chance to survive on the outside. They need a change of heart. They need a change of life-style. Only the power of God’s Word can change them.”

IFI units are sprouting up all over the U-S because state corrections officials are seeing the incredible impact they’re having on inmates. Schuringa says CBI was talking with IFI officials at the Newton facility about offering courses there. “The plan is that if that works at that IFI unit, we’d like to offer those theology courses in other IFI units across the country, but of course this could put that all on hold.”

Despite this decision, Crossroad continues to add more and more students. Schuringa expects to have up to 37,000 students in their program this year. Funding and volunteer instructors are needed, especially Spanish speakers.

Go to CrossroadBible.org to contribute or if you’re interested in volunteering your time.

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