Now There’s a Sincerely Held Religious Belief

Now There’s a Sincerely Held Religious Belief June 21, 2015

Dennis Walker is a prison inmate who tried to emulate so many other Christians (he calls himself a “Christian Odinist,” which is common for white supremacist types) by claiming that having someone not white as a cellmate violates his “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals just unsurprisingly said no to that claim.

The inmate, Dennis Walker, is a devout racist who identifies himself as an Aryan Christian Odinist, which he said forbids him from integrating with or performing required “warding” rituals in front of members of other races.

The state refused to exempt Walker from its integrated housing policy, arguing that it would potentially violate the Equal Protection Clause by granting the white supremacist’s request to be assigned only an “Aryan” cellmate…

He sued the secretary of the Department of Corrections and the prison’s warden, claiming his rights were violated under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

Walker claimed that having a cellmate from another race would prevent him from communicating with the gods during a “spiritual circle of Odinist Warding.”

It’s quite an absurd argument, of course, but I’d love to hear those who demand such exceptions explain why it’s tyranny when anyone they agree with has to follow the law everyone else has to follow even if it violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs” but not in this circumstance. If, as they argue, the government can never force anyone to violate their “sincerely held religious beliefs,” why doesn’t “never” apply here? Or to Muslims, ever?

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