Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Religous Freedom Denied?

Michael Polk, who is serving time for aggravated assault and robbery, filed the lawsuit against corrections officials in federal court, accusing them of denying him several religious items that he claims are necessary to practice the Asatru religion, which worships ancient Nordic gods like Odin, Thor, Tyr and Heimdal.
"Plaintiff complains that his being denied the right to practice his choice of religion while housed at the Utah State Prison is violating his First Amendment rights," Polk wrote in his lawsuit filed Tuesday.
According to the complaint, Polk claims that he has been a member of the Asatru faith since 2005, and in order to properly practice it he needs numerous items including: a Thor's Hammer, a prayer cloth, a Mead Horn used for drinking Wassail, a drum made of wood and boar skin, a rune staff and a sword.
"Sahs Swords can be made of cardboard due to institutional restrictions," Polk wrote.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do prisoners have rights guaranteed to free men or are they limited to privileges?
-Do you find this prisoner's request unreasonable?
-Should tax payers fit the bill for these types of requests?
-Is this any different than a prisoner requesting a Bible?


Roland said...

I suppose someone could whack someone with a Bible.
But the hammer would lend itself to that application so much better.
Common sense, I suppose.

Cody said...

Prisoners shouldn't get luxuries, but I suppose religious materials would be all right. It can't be denied that many prisoners turn to religion to redeem themselves. Denying them that would probably just get them all riled up.