December 8, 2012

"Court keeps alive inmate's quest for pork feast."

Headline at the National Law Journal makes the "quest" sound more absurd than it is. The prisoner, Derek Kramer, is an Odinist and he's suing in pursuit of his rights under the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

From the 7th Circuit court's opinion (PDF):
Odinism is a polytheistic religion, which was practiced for millennia in northern Europe before the rise of Christianity and has been revived in recent decades. The practice of Odinism includes group worship ceremonies. Pork is a sacred food to Odinists....

Specifically, Kramer asked for a feast on December 21st for the “High Feast of Yule” and “further requested that HAM/PORK be included in with the FEAST MEAL.”...
Kramer had a larger problem with the group worship at the Green Bay Correctional Institution: The Department of Corrections lumps the "Pagan" religions together for group worship purposes, and he objected to a specifically Wiccan ritual at the service. The demand for an annual pork feast was part of a larger effort to separate the Odinists from the Wiccans.

Kramer's loss on everything but the pork feast (which he hasn't yet won) is based on procedural matters that are probably only interesting to lawyers — unless you know how to be interested in the way procedure can operate to undermine rights.

21 comments:

chickelit said...

Enchanted Porkfist by the Meat Puppets from their 1985 LP, "Up On The Sun"

john said...

Can't the citizens of Wisconsin make this guy a ham sandwich?

It's the least a Christian could do.

john said...

Derek Kramer appeals an order affirming a prison disciplinary decision. A hearing officer found that Kramer's possession of white supremacist publications, recruiting materials and symbols violated WIS. ADMIN. CODE § DOC 303.20 (Group Resistance) and § DOC 303.47 (Possession of Contraband). Kramer argues that the finding was arbitrary and not supported by the evidence because he received the materials through the prison mail room or property room and they do not appear on the list of prohibited publications, and the materials relate to an external group, not an inmate group. He also argues that his First Amendment and Equal Protection rights were violated by prohibiting his possession of these documents.(1) We reject these arguments and affirm the order.

Kramer's civil rights are being trammeled.

The Drill SGT said...

My God! Thinking that an Odinist is anything like a Wiccan with their namby pamby Godess stuff.

Odinism is the proper religion for a Biker gang or a boat load of Vikings :)

Mitchell the Bat said...

Reminds me of Ezekiel Farragut demanding his morphine just before the ward supervisor opens up his skull with a chair.

Ah, those were the days.

Aridog said...

If this is "Derek M Kramer" the 23 year old previously convicted Wisconsin sex offender, then this spurious "Odinist" claim is bull crap.

Sex offenders, IMO, are all about one thing...control. Mr Kramer is manipulating the corrections system and the courts at will...e.g., he thinks he is in control.

traditionalguy said...

What more do Teutonic pagans calling themselves the Thule religion want? They have their own day of the week called Wodensday. It comes one day before Thorsday.

Incidentally, The Thule Gesellschaft was the parent group in 1918's Munich that gave the world the Nazi murder cult's leader who went on to torture and kill 100,000,000 passive Europeans over the next 25 years.

Do we want to empower that again?

PETER V. BELLA said...

Eventually some one with common sense must rule that inmates rights are limited to three hots and a cot and humane treatment. Anything else is nonsensical.

The Drill SGT said...

PETER V. BELLA said...
Anything else is nonsensical.


Unfortunately the "rights ratchet" only turns in the direction of more and greater rights...

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Sentenced to prison with no possibility of ham balls is cruel and unusual punishment.

Paddy O said...

I for one see nothing wrong with such demands.

Sounds like a right and proper religion to me.

john said...

I suspect that Kramer made an innocent spelling error on the prison form where he had to identify religious preference. He was trying to write onanism.

Now they're punishing him for that mistake.

robinintn said...

Did I miss something? I thought the headline didn't fully capture the absurdity of his quest. It actually underperformed.

Bob Boyd said...

If you want to eat what you want when you want stay out of prison.

Next.

Zach said...

Should the supposedly very strong correlation between Odinism and white supremacy have any bearing on the issue? It was my understanding that Odinism is very strongly associated with white prison gangs.

kentuckyliz said...

Do religious freedoms for prisoners draw a distinction between:

1. being forced to do something your religion teaches is wrong (a Jew or Muslim forced to eat pork)--a compulsory positive action.

2. whether or not things are provided for the positive practice of religion. (Odinists being supplied their pork, Rastafarians their ganja, voodooists their live chickens and a knife for sacrifice, Native Americans their peyote)

A Muslim suing because he's forced to eat pork is different than an Odinist suing because he's not provided pork for his festival.

Paddy O said...

It should be noted that I utterly and absolutely despise anything to do with white supremacy.

Paddy O said...

Odinists, the original actual, non-made-up--build-your-own-religion-sort, were berserkers. Other folks focused on other gods in that pantheon, but the odin followers particularly were the crazy fighting kind.

One does not want to encourage berserking in a prison.

Baron Zemo said...

Jeez Kramer has really sunk pretty low since Seinfeld went off the air.

Is he in prison because he used the "N"-word?

Clyde said...

traditionalguy said...
What more do Teutonic pagans calling themselves the Thule religion want? They have their own day of the week called Wodensday. It comes one day before Thorsday.

Incidentally, The Thule Gesellschaft was the parent group in 1918's Munich that gave the world the Nazi murder cult's leader who went on to torture and kill 100,000,000 passive Europeans over the next 25 years.

Do we want to empower that again?


No, because we'd end up with buyer's re-Norse.

lgv said...

What, that can't spare a can of spam? He can sculpt it into whatever he wants.