Monday, May 20, 2024

Minnesota Jail Paints Over The Ten Commandments...Because Karen Is Offended


In Itasca, Minnesota, the county jail just painted over its display of the Ten Commandments. With two coats, just to make sure a commandment—or part thereof—didn’t eventually become visible. Other religious and inspirational quotes were also slathered into oblivion. I mean, why would somebody doing time need those, right? Truth be told, it would have been better for the jail’s inhabitants if they had read, say, “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal” before they were incarcerated.

Why was the decision made to obliterate the Ten Commandments? Brett Skyles, an Itasca County administrator, said: “Ultimately, it just had to do with defending the situation and how many public dollars might be at risk there.” Huh?

In truth, the Freedom From Religion Foundation was involved. Imagine that. The Madison, Wisconsin-based organization claimed to have received 20 complaints about the jail’s pious and hope-inducing displays, most of them alleging they were unconstitutional due to violating the First Amendment’s establishment clause which states government must not advance any particular religion. I’m pretty sure “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal” are tenets of most religions and not specific to Christianity and/or Judaism.

Itasca County commissioners recently informed constituents that they’d received hundreds of emails, calls and texts about the issue, the majority of them in favor of keeping the religious writing on the wall. Moreover, the jail’s voluntary faith-based programs are well attended, so it is unlikely the opposition came from inmates. But, as per usual, “authorities” bowed to the wishes of a tiny but aggressive minority, to Hell with the majority.

FFRF’s co-president, Annie Laurie Gaylor, stated: “Even those who are incarcerated have the right to be free from religion.” Nice take, Gaylor. Sadly, there are a great many things we are no longer free from, that we should be free from. Religion isn’t one of them. And perhaps if the inmates weren’t already free from religion, they wouldn’t be inmates…and would be free.

An Itasca county resident named Karen Ferlaak was one of those who could simply not abide the religious nature of some of the jail’s quotes and art work. She stated, “I don't mind sayings on the walls if they’re accurate and they're not religious based.” Karen? Of course. Yes, Karen is a stickler, as most “Karens” are, for accuracy. But, even if the sayings are “accurate,” if they are religious based, she won’t stand for them. Not on her walls, and not on anyone else’s. Non-religious, secular sayings such as, say, “There once was a girl from Nantucket……” she can tolerate. Apparently, the authorities agree.

Though I don’t see how this potentially helps the inmates. Not that Karen—or the authorities-- care…about anything but how they think others see them.


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