This is an interesting development.
Just read on Friendly Atheist that a child convicted of DUI manslaughter has been sentenced to probation which includes ten years of church attendance.
I’m not even sure where to go with this. First of all, what was the judge thinking? This is so very obviously illegal that any mildly competent lawyer should have known better.
Secondly, how is this in any way related to the crime? I understand it’s probably one of those misguided “this will teach him morals and ethics and blah blah blah” things, but this wasn’t an ethical lapse on the kid’s part (leaving aside that people who attend church still drink and drive regularly). This was a lapse of proper judgment that, granted, has an ethical component, but is largely about not drinking safely or legally and then operating a motor vehicle when he was intoxicated. Nothing in the bible is going to address those issues except in the most broad sense of the word (e.g. yes, the bible is generally against killing not sanctioned by god, but I don’t think killing his friend was the objective that evening).
But above all of this, while I would agree it is, does this judge consider going to church a punishment? If so, there are a lot more masochists than I thought in this country.
This is a horrible thing that happened, and the kid needs to be punished for it. However ten years of church attendance is not a rational judgment, it’s jurisprudence based on wishful thinking. Going to church will not teach this kid not to drink and drive, just like it hasn’t taught so many other regular church goers who do so.