Sulphur is making national headlines over City Court Judge Charles Schrumpf allegedly requiring first-time drug offenders to participate in a Christian drug treatment course offered by a local church.

Sites like Rawstory and the Patheos have picked up a story about a complaint letter sent to Judge Schrumph and probation officer Barbara Adam from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).

The complaint letter states that “forced attendance in a religious program as a condition of probation” is a potential constitutional violation. The letter alleges that, in the program identified as “Life Choices” and offered by a local church, “probationers are given a Bible and are required to do homework that involves reading passages from scripture and the evangelical book ‘Made to Crave’.”

The FRRF cites the Establishment Clause in its objection, and provides several legal precedents where participation in religious programs as a term of probation were found to be in violation of the clause.

Many well-known and supported treatment programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous require a belief in a higher power, although they don’t require participants to adhere to any specific belief system.

What do you think? Is Judge Schrumpf going too far, or do you believe faith-based treatment programs work better than secular ones?

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