The New York Times is reporting that the Bush administration has decided to limit the religious reading material available to inmates of federal prisons. Apparently afraid that some religious texts might foment terrorism, they have created “approved lists” of religious books. Says the Times:
The Bureau of Prisons said it relied on experts to produce lists of up to 150 book titles and 150 multimedia resources for each of 20 religions or religious categories — everything from Bahaism to Yoruba. The lists will be expanded in October, and there will be occasional updates, Ms. Billingsley said. Prayer books and other worship materials are not affected by this process.
The lists are broad, but reveal eccentricities and omissions. There are nine titles by C. S. Lewis, for example, and none from the theologians Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth and Cardinal Avery Dulles, and the influential pastor Robert H. Schuller. (Read the whole article here.)
A colleague wonders about this action: “Why they didn’t just ban the problems and leave the rest, I don’t know. Idiotic.” She’s right. Like much, if not all, of the actions of this administration, this move is idiotic!
It’s also unconstitutional, but when did that ever bother the current US administration?