Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington Holds His Ground Against the DOJ

Christianity is under attack in Bossier Parish by the DOJ.

Via Amanda Crane at Bossier Press Tribune:
The Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office has been denied federal funding for its mention of God and use of religion in the Young Marines and Youth Diversion programs.
Sheriff Julian Whittington received notice that funding would be restored only if he signed a letter “pledging that no prayer or mention of God would be allowed” in the programs. However, Whittington said he is appalled by the government’s decision and refused to sign the letter, forgoing the $15,000 grant award.

Be sure to read the whole story.

Sheriff Whittington is standing his ground and says the program will continue with or without the government's support.

This issue came about, in part, because the Young Marines Program has been such a success in reforming troubled kids.  Because the program was so successful, local judges began ordering troubled kids to the Young Marines Program rather than sending them to jail.  Because the YM was never intended as a "diversion program," the Louisiana Law Enforcement Commission, who partially funds the program through a grant, suggested that the Sheriff's office establish a new diversion program for court-ordered juveniles.

In December 2012, the Sheriff's office submitted their grant proposal for the Young Marines funding and in response was told that the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, would not fund the program as long as God or prayer was allowed, even if that prayer was voluntary.

When asked to provide a letter saying no mention of God or voluntary prayer would be allowed, Sheriff Whittington refused and withdrew his grant request.

Then, in February 2013, the Sheriff, submitted a request for funding for his Juvenile Justice Delinquency Program and was refused on the same grounds.

So, now the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office has been refused funding for two programs aimed at helping troubled kids just because Sheriff Whittington is standing up for core values, religious freedom, and voluntary prayer.

Shame on the DOJ.

You can read more about the Young Marines program here.

La. State Senator Barrow Peacock proposed a resolution (PDF) asking the Louisiana delegation in Washington for review of this decision, which passed with unanimous approval:

Peacock on Wednesday got unanimous Senate approval of Senate Resolution 192 asking the Washington, D.C. delegation to review the basis for denying funds for the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office Young Marines Program. 
"This program has had prayer that has been led by teens who are in this program, and when it hasn't been led, they had a moment of silence," Peacock said.  "But now they are being told by our federal government, by the Department of Justice, that there can be no prayer activity or they will not fund this program."

Sheriff Whittington sees further implications beyond just the Bossier Young Marines:
The Young Marines Obligation states, “From this day forward, I sincerely promise, I will set an example for all other youth to follow and I shall never do anything that would bring disgrace or dishonor upon God, my Country and its flag, my parents, myself or the Young Marines. These I will honor and respect in a manner that will reflect credit upon them and myself. Semper Fidelis." 
When it comes down to it, though, Whittington said this isn’t a situation that effects just Bossier Parish youth.
“This is an American issue,” he said. “How do they think they can do this? Now you’re telling me that we can’t have voluntary prayer or even mention the word God?”

Sheriff Whittington's concerns about the "bigger picture" can be seen in U.S. Representative John Fleming's report that attacks against Christianity have been occurring at an alarming rate in the U.S. military to the degree that he has offered an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would guarantee service members the right to practice and express their religious beliefs freely without fear of reprimand.

There has been a little local noise to chip in and help fund Whittington's youth programs but the bigger picture, it seems to me, is a government that is too big.  The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ has no business in a state run program for troubled kids.   They want to put grant money on the table but you have to forsake God to take it.

Kudos and support to Sheriff Whittington of Bossier Parish who vows to find the funds within his own department, and without the feds,  to keep the programs going.

(Photo credit:  The Shreveport Times)

Update:  Thanks to The Dead Pelican for the link!


Mr. SIGIS said...

Thank you Sheriff for standing up for what is right and may you continue to stand strong.
The only reason I can see Mary Landrieu sign a resolution in this matter is she's up for re-election and not because of principal.

Bayou Castine said...

Congraulations Sheriff Whittington!
Now is the time for Christian Churches to get together, chip in and make up the $15K. Together they could likely double that to $30k and tell the DOJ to take a long, long hike.

ClassicFilm said...

Excellent suggestion, Bayou Castine. The increased tyranny from this administration against Christians, conservatives, tea party members, and other non-progressive groups is reaching alarming levels. Just this week, our Marxist CoC offended millions of Catholics in Northern Ireland by declaring that Catholic schools thwart peace and are "divisive."

Anonymous said...

We have a secular government not a theocracy as they do in Iran. Religion is an extremely personal issue. It's not the government's business to promote religion. Why is this concept and law so difficult for conservatives to understand?

Texas Gal said...

To Anonymous:
This country was founded on Christian principals by Christians. If anyone doesn't agree with our country's beliefs and Christian beliefs, they are more than welcome to leave the USA. There are quite a few of us who are fed up with the changes that are being forced upon us and would be willing to come help them pack.

Thank you Sheriff Whittington for the work you are doing and for standing up for God and the youth you are helping.

A Christian American and proud of it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sheriff Whittington for standing up to a muslim, socialist, illegal alien, dictator that stuffed ballot boxes to win. Where are you Americans? Why are you taking this? Is there not a minister among us who really is God's representative. Who will stand up and call obamy what he really is? Who will encourage Christians every where to protest obamy's attempt to totally eradicate God? Stand up! Be heard!

dailymindjob said...

It's difficult for them to understand, Anonymous, because they don't see how instituting this sort of religious element is no different than the oppression they feel has been exerted upon them. When I see a marine environment mix with religious undertones, it smells like indoctrination to me. However voluntary they claim the religious part is, the Sheriff is creating a coercive environment. I see a strong potential for the development of a squad of religious drones, to be honest. Sounds a lot like how we ended up with those rogue Blackwater guys, you know?

They just don't see how they're actually the ones who are promoting indoctrination and tyrannical ideology. They love playing up that victim card, even when they are the aggressors.

Same old Shreveport-Bossier. Just more religious immersion and anti-government sentiment.

Another point worth making, given two comments above this one, is that 1. this nation wasn't founded on Christian principles, nor was it founded by Christians and 2. President Obama is not a Muslim, a Socialist, or an illegal alien, let alone a dictator (a dictator would have dealt with the GOP obstructionists by circumventing their filibustering). We really cannot have a conversation about this with people who are this invested in conspiracies and complete and utter nonsense.

I expect and demand more from those who wish to discuss matters pertaining to politics. If we are to entertain the ramblings of WND fanboys, then w are only spinning our wheels in the face of raw and willful ignorance. There is just no common ground to work with, so deny this group funding and move on. If they want to be a religious organization, let them do so without federal funding. The money can be better spent on other things (a sentiment to which I expect to receive nothing but snide remarks and more ignorance).