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Inmates Can Reform Without Religion

Activist: Inmates Can Recover Without Religion

Freethought Books Project Challenges Faith-Based Dominance in Prisons

Portland, OR - Prisoners can reform without God, atheist activist says.

The Freethought Books Project, founded by activist Leslie A. Zukor of the Reed Secular Alliance, has been promoting secular reform among prisoners since the fall of 2005. The group has collected over 2,000 books free of religious content and distributed them to prison libraries, individual inmates, and prison-donating organizations.

"The goal of our project is to show inmates that they can lead an ethical life without God", said Zukor.

This runs contrary to the many prison programs promoting faith as the key to recovery and reintegration into society. Among the books that the Freethought Books Project distributes are: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, The Reason Driven Life, an antidote to Rick Warren's bestseller, The Purpose-Driven Life, The Born-Again Skeptic's Guide to the Bible, and Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism. The books, distributed free of charge, make their way into prisons across the United States.

Since the Freethought Books Project's inception, responses from those receiving donated books have been overwhelming.

"In a time when religious (Christian) education is becoming synonymous with rehabilitation, these books provide an alternative perspective and voice for people in prison." stated Jack from Chicago Books to Women in Prison, a group that has helped the Freethought Books Project place donated materials in prisons.

Prisoners have been equally thrilled with the freethinking materials.

"In this prison library - small as it is - there are no secular books dealing with Atheism, though there are plenty of religious texts and books like The Purpose-Driven Life. So the books sent are greatly appreciated," stated Brian, incarcerated in Wisconsin.

"I can't tell you how thrilled I was to receive your very kind package containing a number of freethought books. It is also important for you to know how extremely valuable your service is to people in my situation, for currently you represent the only source of distribution for such material. And for that, you deserve much praise. You most certainly have found a gaping niche and are filling it admirably," stated Ben, from a facility in North Carolina.

For more information on the Freethought Books Project, please visit http://www.freethoughtbooks.org.

The Freethought Books Project has received financial support from the Secular Student Alliance (http://www.secularstudents.org) via the Reed Secular Alliance. The Secular Student Alliance supports a network of over 140 atheist, agnostic, humanist, and skeptic groups on high school and college campuses.

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