UCC supports religious practices for native Hawaiians

Specifically, the resolution passed this evening (July 5) raised concerns about the ability of native Hawaiian prisoners to practice their religion when housed in mainland prison facilities.
More than 800 prisoners from the state of Hawaii are housed at the Diamondback Correctional Facility in Watonga, Okla., operated by the private Corrections Corporation of America. According to estimates, up to 2,500 native Hawaiians are held in mainland correctional facilities in Oklahoma, Arizona, Mississippi and Colorado. “The free exercise of religion for Native Hawaiian prisoners has been prohibited, hindered or occasionally allowed in a hostile environment,” the resolution states.
The UCC’s Kansas-Oklahoma Conference has been working closely with Hawaiian spiritual leaders to minister to minister to Hawaiians in Diamondback. The resolution claims that requests by UCC clergy and yohana – “qualified, trained and ordained advocate” – have been denied by Diamondback officials.
UCC delegates urged state and federal officials to ensure that the constitutional rights of native Hawaiians to practice their spirituality is upheld and that routine visits from spiritual leaders are allowed.
Categories: United Church of Christ News

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