15 Oct 2014

Atheist sent to jail for refusing to believe in higher power during drug rehab awarded $2 million.

An atheist in Northern California has been awarded nearly $2 million in a settlement with the state and a nonprofit drug rehab organization for violating his religious liberty by sending him to jail for refusing to submit to a “higher power” as part of a treatment program, local news outlets reported.
After serving a year behind bars for methamphetamine possession, 46-year-old Barry Hazle Jr. of Shasta County was ordered to participate in a residential drug treatment program.
When he arrived at the Empire Recovery Center in Redding, Calif., the atheist was told that the center’s 12-step program, which was modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, involved submitting to a “higher power” through prayer, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
When Hazle balked and asked about secular drug rehab, he was told that Empire was the only state-approved facility in Shasta County — and that it wasn’t picky about whom that higher power should be — the Chronicle said.
“They told me, ‘anything can be your higher power. Fake it till you make it,’” he told the newspaper.
But when Hazle still objected — the program included prayer and references to God, according to the Redding Record Searchlight — he was sent to jail at the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco for more than 100 days. Probation officials said they did so because Hazle was allegedly being "disruptive, though in a congenial way, to the staff as well as other students ... sort of passive-aggressive,” the Searchlight said.
In 2007, Hazle sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and WestCare California, a Fresno-based substance abuse treatment organization contracted by CDCR to coordinate rehab for parolees, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Six weeks later the CDCR, citing federal case law, issued a directive saying that parole agents can’t compel a parolee to participate in religious-oriented programs, and that they must offer a nonreligious alternative if they object, the Bee reported.


  1. Who's paying?
    And what about the morons who got that guy jailed? Are they gonna be sent to jail now?

  2. The money should be taken right out of the worker's pension funds any time a state employee violates a citizen's Constitutional rights they should pay the damage award.

  3. How is one supposed to control themselves if they are told that they cannot control themselves? I find it hilarious when I see all these idiots standing outside an AA meeting puffing on their tobacco addictions or shoving sugar down their throats. AA does not stop addictive behaviors but rather becomes a new form of enslavement.

  4. Congrats to this guy, the fairytale believers have to pay for there lunacy.

  5. I know ex alcoholics who never went to an AA meeting. They just QUIT .

  6. When I lived in the USA. I remember the county sending young kids to AA meetings when they were caught at a kegger party. The AA then convinced them they were alcoholics and made them pray to some invisible guy in the sky. Total lunacy. America is a bunch of retards.,

  7. Barry won't live long enough to enjoy his $2M. As soon as he gets his hands on some $$$ he'll buy enough blow/meth to fry his mind and body in a week.