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Maptalk-Digest Sunday, December 15 2002 Volume 02 : Number 455

001 World Sousveillance Day - December 24th
    From: Tim Meehan <>
002 Driver opts for jail over 'faith-based' treatment
    From: "J-White" <>
003 Drugs/Terrorism Ad Campaign Takes New Tack
    From: Bar n Grill <>


Subj: 001 World Sousveillance Day - December 24th
From: Tim Meehan <>
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 18:38:49 -0500

>From: Steve Mann <>
>World Sousveillance Day:
>("sousveillance" is inverse surveillance: accountability from below)

- --
"First, they ignore you.         Tim Meehan
Then they laugh at you.          
Then they fight you.              
Then you win." -- Gandhi


Subj: 002 Driver opts for jail over 'faith-based' treatment
From: "J-White" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 13:20:49 -0500

This article deals with alcohol, but the implications, should this guy win
the case, are significant because it would apply to faith-based forced
treatment for drugs as well.

Driver opts for jail over 'faith-based' treatment
ACLU takes on case against sentencing


Louis Peters was given a choice. Attend AA meetings or spend 30 days in jail
for a drunken driving conviction.

Mr. Peters chose jail.

His reason? Mr. Peters said he is agnostic and Alcoholics Anonymous urges
people to give themselves over to a higher power.

He objected to the religious tone of the meetings - so much so that he has
filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Toledo that contends the
Perrysburg judge who sent him to jail violated his constitutional rights by
trying to force him into a faith-based treatment program.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Ohio, Inc., argues on Mr.
Peters' behalf that the judge's sentence amounted to a violation of the
First Amendment's prohibition against government establishment of religion.
Many people commonly refer to this as the separation of church and state.

"We consistently see holdings that the 12-step [Alcoholics Anonymous]
program is fundamentally religious," said Raymond Vasvari, legal director
for the ACLU's Cleveland office, who spoke for Mr. Peters. "To compel
someone to choose between jail and saying he believes in a higher power is a
violation of the Establishment Clause [of the First Amendment]."

Perrysburg Municipal Judge Dwight Osterud and Behavior Connections of Wood
County, Inc. were named as defendants in the suit.

Judge Osterud, who sentenced Mr. Peters, said he finds the Establishment
Clause argument interesting, but doesn't think AA's treatment for alcoholics
is a religious program.

"I don't believe the philosophy that there is a higher power that will
assist you is necessarily religious," Judge Osterud said. "To my knowledge,
AA does not proselytize, they don't necessarily preach. They encourage and
give support, but it's not a religious organization."

Mr. Peters, 59, of 7777 West Bancroft St., was arrested by Perrysburg police
for driving while intoxicated on Sept. 26, 1999. He was determined to have a
.297 blood-alcohol level - nearly three times above the legal limit.

Mr. Peters was sentenced Jan. 11, 2000. Initially, he was sent into a
three-day program for first offenders operated by Behavior Connections.
After that treatment, it was recommended that he continue treatment through
AA, Judge Osterud said.

Based on those recommendations and Mr. Peters' .297 blood-alcohol level,
Judge Osterud said he was convinced that Mr. Peters needed more treatment.

When Mr. Peters told Judge Osterud at a subsequent court hearing that he was
agnostic - someone who questions God's existence - the judge told him that
he wouldn't be the first person with such doubts to enter AA.

Mr. Peters was polite, but steadfast, in saying he was uncomfortable with
the program and wouldn't participate.

"That is your choice," Judge Osterud told Mr. Peters in court. "There are
consequences to that choice."

He then sentenced Mr. Peters to 30 days at the Wood County jail.

"It was not an easy choice for me to come to," Mr. Peters told the judge.

Mr. Peters' resolve impressed Mr. Vasvari - and helped convince him to take
the case.

"He was willing to go to jail before he was willing to violate his personal
beliefs," Mr. Vasvari said.

Whether AA is sufficiently religious in its operations to trigger
constitutional problems seems to be the key issue in the case. The
literature from the organization presents conflicting messages on that
point. A brochure produced by its New York office insists that AA "is not a
religious organization. All members are free to decide on their own personal
ideas about the meaning of life."

Another pamphlet available at the Toledo AA office on Glendale Avenue makes
numerous references to God or spirituality. Some of the 12 steps to recovery
include statements such as:

"... a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity."

Members can turn their will "over to the care of God as we [understand]

They should admit "to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact
nature of [their] wrongs."

"... through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with
God, as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and
the power to carry it out."

A member who helps run AA's Toledo office said the organization doesn't
require anyone who attends meetings to profess a faith in God.

The woman, who asked that her name not be used in accordance with AA
practice, said people who don't believe in God can still participate in AA.
The key, she said, is the desire to stop drinking and attend meetings.

"It's a spiritual concept," she said. "A lot of us refer to God as a higher
power, but all we ask is that you find a power greater than yourself."

Whether U.S. District Judge David Katz, who was assigned the case, decides
the references to God amounts to religion could be the key to Mr. Peters'
claim, said Edward Foley, a professor at Ohio State University's law school.

"It sounds to me like a primary issue in this case is whether the content of
an AA meeting includes a religious message such that this criminal defendant
is told you have a choice between going to jail or going to a meeting that
has a religious message," Professor Foley said.

The issue isn't novel. Toledo Municipal Judge Francis Gorman said he isn't
aware of any local defendants bringing lawsuits, but he has had people
express reservations about AA because of its references to God.

In those cases, Judge Gorman allows people to attend other alcohol programs
that don't promote a reliance on God or a higher power as a way of staying

"If someone has a problem with that, I won't send him [to Alcoholics
Anonymous]," Judge Gorman said.

Judge Osterud said he hopes sending Mr. Peters to AA will not be deemed
unconstitutional. He said many people have told him that their lives have
been turned around because he sent them to treatment there.


Subj: 003 Drugs/Terrorism Ad Campaign Takes New Tack
From: Bar n Grill <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 19:05:47 -0800 (PST)

Just watching ABC in the break between 9pm and 10pm
programming (a 'prime' ad location).

Two guys sitting a table....(paraphrased)

1: Well I think we agree that using drugs doesn't mean
you fund terrorists?

2: Well yeah, but say you buy some illegal drugs, how
much of it gets to terrorists

1: Probably no more than a couple of bucks.

2: So you're saying that it's ok to fund terrorists if
it's just a couple of bucks?

Steve: Very interesting as it means they are
responding to our side's accurate criticism.  The
message is still as bogus as demonizing gasoline
buyers, but interesting to see that 'we' are steering
the discussion.

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End of Maptalk-Digest V02 #455

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