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Diggs Speaks of Compassion in Prison

Quiet and constant social reformer Lawrence Diggs told the Green Aberdeen Chautauqua yesterday about his work with South Dakota’s prisoners. Among other projects, he spoke of having a group of inmates study and present information about a wide variety of religions. When they finished and he engaged the prisoners in an evaluation of the project, he asked them, “What is the common denominator in all of your religions?” Their response, says Diggs: “They thought it was compassion.”

Funny that inmates can recognize compassion as the one compelling and unifying trait of all religions, but so many Christians on the other side of the wall ignore that Christian tenet when they vote.

My suggestion for prison reform: for every two traditional prison guards, hire one Lawrence Diggs.


  1. mike from iowa 2019-09-22 18:58

    Wingnut Kristians have compassion for the koch bros and military spending. Real people in actual need…not so much.

  2. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-09-22 21:15

    I don’t mind shutting some people away from the rest of us, but I have grown quite tired of the social distress caused by policing, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people whose actions were simply annoying to some people, most of whom were not affected in the least by those actions.

    They refer to their cages as “correctional” institutions. The cruel and unusual punishment meted out to people who should not even be in jail is so horrible that most people can’t accept that it actually happens. Many say, “It’s what you get when you break the law.”

    As if passing a law against something makes it, by definition, a smart move.

  3. grudznick 2019-09-22 21:31

    Bob, you may recall my Opening Rant from last month’s business meeting of the Conservatives with Common Sense, where I spoke about not doing the crime if you can’t do the time. The soft-brained and hard-hearted legislatures will have to sort out their conflicts on the demon weed, and Mr. Qualm is probably getting his mellow on right now with a package delivered by UPS last Friday.

  4. Debbo 2019-09-22 21:31

    Mr. Diggs is a good human being and serves as a role model.

    The inmates have a clearer sense of religion that many religionists, not only Christianists and Islamists. Hindus in India are marginalizing and even killing Muslims. It seems that religion is one of the favorite tools of despots to achieve power through fear and demonization of the Other.

    Holy Books like the Koran, the Talmud and Torah, the Bible and others generally have a central theme. The theme is the point, the overarching reason the religion exists. Manipulators of the religion ignore that theme in their search for specific words that suit their goal or that can be twisted to further their aim.

    The overarching theme of the Holy Christian Bible, articulated by Jesus Christ himself, is open ended love and forgiveness. It’s really stunning how hard it is to hear that theme in many churches. It doesn’t lend itself to power over. It’s not intimidating or frightening. It doesn’t extract a price. It’s not useful for any kind of gain.

    If you can find a bleeding heart, light on doctrine and dogma, limited to no hierarchy church, that’s probably pretty close to the real deal.

  5. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-09-22 21:58

    “All religion poisons everything.”

    Christopher Hitchens said this, and I have adopted it. Many religionists are fine, compassionate people, and they do more good than harm.

    But, without exception, the politics of any religion preach exclusionism of significant segments of society from the blessings of “salvation.”

    I am unable to grasp “faith” in a being whose love for me is exhibited in such self-contradictory displays.

  6. Debbo 2019-09-22 22:41

    “But, without exception, the politics of any religion preach exclusionism of significant segments of society from the blessings of ‘salvation.’”

    You’re wrong, CIRD. There are exceptions. Some denominations of Christianity, like the United Church of Christ and segments of Lutheranism admit that they don’t know who gets salvation and who doesn’t.

    That completely appalls the rest of Christendom, because it removes their gatekeeper status.

    In addition, Universalists believe everybody is saved, though they don’t claim a specific religion or any religion. In fact, believing in an afterlife at all is optional.

    Personally, I think I’m going to switch to the FSM Church. Any church that let’s me wear a colander on my head and ends prayers with “Ramen” has to be the best.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-23 12:46

    Religion is like labor unions: it can create corruptible hierarchies, but it can also do good for its members and society as a whole.

  8. Debbo 2019-09-23 13:14

    Good comparison, Cory.

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