A few days ago, Justrose and I were talking about the plethora of 12 step programs that seem to be ever-multiplying... they have them for everything! Alcoholics, drug addicts, sex addicts, love addicts, food addicts, internet addicts...
Here's the thing though, have you ever actually looked at what the 12 steps are?
1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction - that our lives had become unmanageable
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs (source)
As I read through the various websites, I was shocked at how strongly these programs are centered around God. How is it that the ACLU or Michael Newdow hasn't taken these programs to task?
Oops... I should have Googled before I typed:
"Fortunately, the courts have supported those seeking protection from coercive treatment. In every court challenge to mandated A.A. attendance to date—in Wisconsin, Colorado, Alaska, and Maryland—the courts have ruled that A.A. is equivalent to a religion for First Amendment purposes. The state's power is limited to regulating people's behavior, not controlling their thoughts.
In the words of Ellen Luff, the ACLU attorney who successfully argued the Maryland case before a state appeals court, the state may not "intrude further into the probationer's mind by forcing sustained attendance in programs designed to alter their belief in God or their self identity." Whether or not any established religion is involved, she concludes, "if the state becomes. a party to attempting to precipitate a conversion experience, the First Amendment has been violated." (source)
OH! Speaking of that wonderful organization, the ACLU, I was SO glad to see that they are spending precious time and valuable resources on ACTUALLY protecting American liberties... In this tumultuous time when Osama is touting an imminent attack and our borders resemble a ripped sponge, the ACLU has ensured that a boy in New Jersey will be able to wear a skirt to school! (H/T: Jay @ Stop the ACLU)