Monday, September 10, 2007

a brief report from the paranoia-incompetence frontier

I don't often mention religious affairs in this space, for a variety of reasons. This morning the feed from the New York Times included a story about federal prisons purging religious books, that says a lot about the Bush Administration's approach to just about everything, and of these days.

It seems that since September, 2001 (which in the Bush Administration's timeline is yesterday, always), the Bureau of Prisons has been eliminating select religious tracts, allegedly on the basis of their being inflammatory of the kind of religious fervor that would lead someone to become a terrorist. How do you decide something like that?

[Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Traci (with an i)] Billingsley said, “We really wanted consistently available information for all religious groups to assure reliable teachings as determined by reliable subject experts.”

. . . which turns out to mean throwing out anything published by 9 publishing companies. (There's no word in the story about whether these companies somehow failed to donate to Bush's election campaign.)

How do you become a "reliable subject expert" on religion? And what counts as "reliable teachings"? And, as one interviewee in the story puts it, since when does the government have a role in determining this?

I'd love to say this is some kind of faith-based initiative, but I don't have the heart.

1 comment:

Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

Oh, for the love of God.

You can take that any way you like it.