Sure to be coming to a water coolers or coffee bar near you will likely be discussion of an interesting court decision out of Oklahoma. A judge recently sentenced a juvenile convicted of DUI vehicular manslaughter to ten years of church attendance.
This is not the first time a court of law has sought to mandate a change in human behavior by sending lawbreakers to a church service. Other judges in other states, from time to time, have made headlines by handing down similar rulings.
Under our Constitution, freedom of religion is a protected and cherished right. To go a little further, just as it is wrong for government to outlaw any type of voluntary religious exercise, it is just as wrong for any arm of the government to mandate religious participation.
In both the Old and New Testaments, God’s house is noted as a ‘house of prayer’, not a ‘house of court-ordered participation’. In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 21, Jesus Christ himself underscores the sanctity of His church in verse 13: “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
No matter how well-meaning a judge may think he/she may be in ordering a person into a church, perhaps more judges could send a better signal to society by letting people see them attending church services themselves. Sending someone to a place one may not attend themselves is not just, nor is it the right thing to do.