Monday, February 27, 2006

No More Tax Dollars for Silver Ring Bling

Last week the federal government agreed to end funding for The Silver Ring Thing, a religious abstinence-only education program based in Pittsburgh. The ACLU brought the lawsuit on the grounds that The Silver Ring Thing used taxpayers' dollars for Christian evangelization of teenagers.

From the AP:

[The Silver Ring Thing] won't be eligible for more unless it changes its program to ensure the money isn't used for religious purposes, according to the agreement reached Wednesday between the American Civil Liberties Union and Department of Health and Human Services.

"Public funds were being used to fund a road show, really, to convert teens to Christianity," said Julie Sternberg, an ACLU attorney.

Sternberg said the ACLU supports the program's right to offer religious content, but not with taxpayer money. She added she hopes the lawsuit is a "wake-up call" to the federal government to more closely monitor the abstinence-only programs it funds.


The Silver Ring Thing looks like it will be OK without federal earmarks from Specter and Santorum; there is plenty of private money behind it. In fact, Former Philly Mayor W. Wilson Goode is now on a crusade to make Philadelphia the new hub for the Silver Ring Thing.

Which is fine with us--go wild. More power to you. Just don't use our tax dollars to do it.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Colin Purrington said...

Does AA receive federal dollars? I'm not a member, but friends who have gone said that it's heavy on the evangelizing.

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Phil Karn said...

I don't know if they receive public funds, but they try to paper over the religious aspects. And many people attend AA by order of a court after a drunk driving conviction.

ID uses the term "intelligent designer". AA uses the term "Higher Power". As if you're not supposed to know what either term really means.

Personally, it has always seemed like exactly the wrong thing to tell an addict he's totally helpless and powerless. Wouldn't it be better to build up his confidence so he can work on shaking his addiction?

3:41 AM  
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12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AA is a "pass the can" non-profit. Each chapter/group has a treasurer who handles the money, buys coffee, cups, etc. Not a whole lot of funds there. But the HP is part of the 12 step program for AA, NA, Alanon and similar programs that are often court ordered. That is true.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Colin Purrington said...

So a (taxpayer-funded) court can _force_ individuals, regardless of their christian-leanings, into a God-themed program? I find that amazing. Thanks to the above posters for more information.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are non-theological appealng AA groups...or so I've heard (not ever having or needing AA sessions).

3:54 PM  
Blogger ACLU of Pennsylvania said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:51 PM  
Blogger ACLU of Pennsylvania said...

We have seen problems with court-ordered drug rehab programs. Check out this incredible case from Michigan:
http://www.aclu.org/religion/
govtfunding/
22354prs20051206.html

Joe Hanas is featured on the ACLU TV Series "The Freedom Files" episode on Religious Freedom, which you can watch here:
http://www.aclu.tv/videos/
religious

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an atheist who is also an alcoholic I can tell you that while AA is God oriented, it is most certainly not aligned with any sect, domination, or religion.

Of course the character of AA varies with the community in which one attends meetings. I can only say what it is like where I live.

People speak of God, but there is no reason to associate that God with any specific monotheistic religion.

8:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the ACLU wants to stick their nose in everyones business, then they too should not receive any Governmental Funding. The ACLU is a sham for lawyers who can't cut in the corporate world. Play your games all you want, just leave me and my tax dollars out of it!

12:20 AM  
Blogger ACLU of Pennsylvania said...

Uh, actually, we DON'T get any government funding. We're funded by donations.

Sara in Philly

11:23 AM  

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