Monday, December 11, 2006

Arkansas woman sues over forced 12-step attendance

FAYETTEVILLE -- A federal lawsuit filed Thursday contends being sentenced to a 12-step program for substance abuse amounts to government-forced participation in religion.

Mindy Gayle Offutt sued Rogers District Judge Doug Schrantz in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, claiming the programs have a religious component as their central theme and require everyone to pray at the end of each meeting.
"An individual should be allowed to decide whether or not to accept a particular religion, or whether to accept any religion at all," according to the lawsuit filed by Doug Norwood, Offutt's attorney. "A government authority is prohibited by the First and Fourteenth Amendment from forcing any person to participate in any religious activity." Source.
Offut appears to be on solid constitutional ground; see the Warner, Griffin and Kerr cases and authorities discussed here.

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