Published On: Sun, Sep 24th, 2017

Shari Webber-Dunn sues Kansas prison with atheists AHA over ‘Christian propaganda’

Shari Webber-Dunn, an inmate serving a murder charge in Kansas, said her First Amendment rights were violated by “Christian propaganda” imposed by the all-female prison.

Webber-Dunn is suing department administrators to have it removed. She is working with the American Humanist Association (AHA)—a nonprofit organization atheist group working under the guise of separation of church and state and an elimination of religion from the public square.

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The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, alleged that the Topeka Correctional Facility in Kansas unconstitutionally embraces Christianity by displaying an eight-foot-tall wooden cross in its basement, publically posting prison-related prayers, soliciting book donations for a spiritual library and offering prayer request submission on a Christian bulletin board.

Christian movies are also broadcasted on facility televisions and spiritual quotes are posted at the laundry room workplace, the lawsuit alleges.

Webber-Dunn believed that the correctional center was “imposing strong Christian values on inmates” and creating “a coercive atmosphere where inmates are pressured to spend their time in a highly religious atmosphere and to participate in religious activities and prayers.”

Inmates are prohibited from removing anything from the public bulletin boards, which Webber-Dunn said violates the establishment clause prohibiting government agencies from establishing a religion.

“There is no valid reason why Christian materials should be displayed there in a state-owned and operated correctional facility,” the lawsuit said, referring to the prison laundry room, where inmates are required to drop off and pick up clothes three times a week.

Webber-Dunn wants the religious items removed and the eight-foot cross covered when it’s not being used for Christian religious services.

“Prisons are not exempt from the Constitution,” said AHA legal director David Niose in a statement. “Prisoners do not lose the shield from state-sponsored religion provided by the Establishment Clause.”

Webber-Dunn, 49, has been incarcerated since 1995, according to prison records, and will not be eligible for parole until 2034.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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