Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Big Victory in Forced Religion Case

You might remember the Hanas case here in Michigan, where a young man was sentenced to go to a Pentecostal drug rehab program with the Inner City Christian Outreach Program that ended up not having any actual drug counseling but was purely religious in nature and contained tremendous coercion to convert and forbid him from practicing his own Catholic faith.

When he left the program because of its sectarian nature and asked to be placed in an alternative program, the drug court judge declared him to have violated his sentencing agreement and put him in prison. The ACLU initially filed on his behalf in state court but got nowhere with it. After the Supreme Court denied cert in an appeal from the state court, they filed in Federal court and now a Federal judge has ruled in Hanas’ favor.

At this point, we don’t know a lot of the specifics. The judge announced his ruling from the bench but has not yet released a written decision, so the specifics of what and how he ruled are a bit vague (Hanas asked for punitive damages as well as different declaratory judgments). There is also a second Federal case going, a habeas corpus case to reverse his conviction; that case has yet to be decided. When I have the full ruling, I’ll write in more detail.