Christians to Get Their Own Exclusive Prison? Loopholes for Religious People Keep Growing

"I may just have to convert to Catholicism so I can charge the US and my insurance provider to cover my near-sightedness treatments at Lourdes."

At first glance, I thought this story was good news: Oklahoma is going to build a Christian prison! About time, I thought, I can think of a few Christians who deserve a few years for faith-abuse. But no…it's a prison to be administered by Christians to give Christian criminals special privileges. Not quite as appropriate, but more in line with what we've gotten used to from our dominant faith tradition.

We're getting more of the same from Congress, too. Religion is being given permission to intrude on science once again, with the sanctimonious Orrin Hatch (abetted by a pair of Democrats, Kerry and Kennedy) sponsoring a provision in the mangled health care football to allow prayer to count as medicine. It's specifically a sop to Christian Science, that nonsensical superstition that believes that medicine is a betrayal of faith and that wants to charge sick people money to pray over them…and also get reimbursement from the government. Let the Christian Scientists get a foot in the door and official recognition of mumbling to Jesus as a billable service, and you know the Scientologists and Jehovah's Witnesses and Amish and Mormons and, of course, the Catholics will be surging through to take advantage of the opportunities.

I may just have to convert to Catholicism under this bill so I can charge the US and my insurance provider to cover my near-sightedness treatments at Lourdes. And the French Riviera.

You laugh. But look at the absurdity of existing loopholes.


PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He runs the science blog, Pharyngula.
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