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September 2004
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Why does Congress Hate Churches?

Drug War Chronicle reports about more bad mandatory minimum drug laws being proposed by Rep. Senselessbrenner in the House.
Past history has shown that this is an easy way to score points for being “tough.” Time after time, bad laws have been passed that have served to drastically damage our society.
However, this time it may not be so easy.

And the churches are beginning to come around. In addition to addressing the Tuesday press conference, the United Methodist Church, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Unitarian Universalist Association, and the Church of the Brethren Witness sent spokespersons to the Rayburn House Office Building to present their denominations’ official positions denouncing mandatory sentencing laws. But those denominations are not the only ones opposing mandatory minimums. The National Council of Churches, United Church of Christ, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), Episcopal Church, and the Union for Reform Judaism also oppose mandatory sentencing laws, though they did not send representatives. Similarly, while the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is on record as opposing mandatory minimums, it did not send a representative because the conference has yet to take a position on either of the bills now before Congress.

“The nation’s leading religious organizations clearly recognize that mandatory sentencing laws are unjust and ineffective,” said Charles Thomas, executive director of the national Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative. “No denominations are known to support mandatory minimum sentencing. Can you think of any other issue on which the moral choice is so clear? Congress must defeat Rep. Sensenbrenner’s bill and pass Rep. Waters’ bill. It’s time to put on the brakes and turn toward justice and compassion.”

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