California to Non-Theistic Parolee: Enter a Religious Drug Treatment Program or Go To Jail

Jun 21, 2016

By Hemant Mehta

After his arrest last month on charges of drug possession, Taylor Bast was told by his parole officer that he had to take part in a substance abuse program or he could end up in jail.

The only problem was that the three programs offered to him were all religious, and Bast is a non-theistic Buddhist. He rightly says the state is coercing him to participate in a faith-based program or he’ll be punished, even though secular substance abuse programs are readily available. He also has to “provide formal documentation proving his Buddhist and philosophical convictions” — something you can bet no Christian ever has to do.


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8 comments on “California to Non-Theistic Parolee: Enter a Religious Drug Treatment Program or Go To Jail

  • Update.

    secular substance abuse programs

    Possibly brought about by an atheist (same charges) who sued California Corrections a few years ago – settled out of court. Of course, what good is current protocol if someone has it in for you.



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  • @OP

    This shouldn’t even be controversial.

    @bonnie2 #3

    Update

    When one wishes to get away with something one knows will be “controversial”, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.

    Thank goodness there are organizations out there such as Appignani Humanist Legal Center watching for this sort of stuff and forcing wrongdoers to make it right. It’s quite telling, however, that there was no request for forgiveness and no pushback whatsoever. Those who tried this will try again, either because they put their religious beliefs above the law of the land or because there’s something else going on here, perhaps involving financial incentives.



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  • I know I’m not quoting Marx accurately, but give me opium any day of the week rather than “the opium of the masses”.

    Frankly, Jail seems the preferable option. Plenty of innocents have left jail, their reputaion enhanced.

    Anyway, this is the @good ‘ol USA”, so he can sue the pants off them when he gets out.



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  • The Controversial Poster Philoctetes, #6:
    I know I’m not quoting Marx accurately, but give me opium any day of the week rather than “the opium of the masses”.

    But, as Graham Greene pointed out (Father Quixote), in the C19 opium was regarded as a sedative or soporific, not as a toxic, addictive drug; the Valium of the people.

    “Just a spoonful of vodka, helps the Valium go down.” With that thought, suitably drowsy, I’m off to bed.

    Lovely win by Ireland.



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