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I POSE the question because I just learned that Virginia’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, above, had recently donated $43,750 of his annual salary of $750,00 salary to an outfit called the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry.
This struck me as being an exercise in futility because Christians make up a disproportionate number of the prison population in America—almost 100 percent! Only 0.7 percent identify as atheists.
The 0.7 percent figure was gleaned from a 2013 post by Friendly Atheist Hermant Mehta.
In prisons in England and Wales, the number of those with no religion is higher: 9.15 percent.
This disparity is to be expected because, overall, the UK is considerably less godly that the US.
According to Wiki latest surveys show that 63 percent of Americans claim to be Christians while the Christian population in England and Wales fell from 59.3 percent in 2011 to 46.2 percent in 2021.
Latching onto Mehta’s well-researched post, the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) said it:
Goes a long way to debunk the myth that a person can’t be good without a god.
And it quoted Mehta as saying:
Atheists have their own moral compass that doesn’t involve a holy book.
The FFRF pointed also pointed out:
Another reason for the low representation of atheists in prison is that atheists tend to be well educated and have higher than average socio-economic status. Prisoners tend to be less educated and poorer than the average American. This points out a flaw in American society, not in atheists’ morality.
Holy books condemn and vilify atheists as terrible people, but 99.98% of U.S. federal prisoners committing crimes and going to prison are not atheists.
The case for humanist literature in prisons
Citing the current imbalance in resources available to non-religious prisoners in the UK, Humanists UK last sent a copy of The Little Book of Humanism to every prison library in the UK.
The organisation said:
Many of those inside UK prisons will hold a humanist worldview and while services and resources are often made available for prisoners with religious beliefs, there can be a lack of corresponding available material for the non-religious.
By sending prison libraries a copy of The Little Book of Humanism, it’s hoped that those wishing to learn more about humanism, or seek comfort in it during their time in prison, will be able to do so.
The Little Book of Humanism, co-written by Humanists UK President Alice Roberts and Chief Executive Andrew Copson, was published in 2020 and quickly became a Sunday Times bestseller.
It is a collection of stories, quotes, and meditations on how to live an ethical and fulfilling life, grounded in reason and humanity, and has been praised for its accessibility, inspirational content, and for introducing humanism to new audiences.
Proselytising in non-Christian countries
I have another problem with Youngkin’s donation and organisations such as the Good News Jail & Prison Ministry.
Because they are exclusively Christian, its appears that their mission is to spend millions to inflict Jesus on prisoners in countries where inmates are of other faiths. This clearly smacks of proselytism.
One example appears on its Facebook page where this appears:
For the record, Lebanon is more that 67 percent Muslim and proselytism is illegal or severely restricted in over 40 countries.
Good News says on its website that it operates in 25 countries worldwide “and more countries being added yearly.”
You can also support my work via a one-off donation via PayPal, Buy Me a Coffee or GofundMe.
If you spot any typos in this report, please alert me via email: freethinkered@aol
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