Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Roll 18 to Worship

If you're going to convince someone that your D&D paraphanelia is somehow necessary to the practice of your religion, you'd better come up with an argument better than this (via Volokh Conspiracy):

From Kay v. Friel, 2007 WL 295556 (D. Utah Jan. 26), a prison religious freedom case (emphasis added):
Plaintiff's allegations are insufficient to make a prima facie showing that his beliefs are religious in nature, and that they are sincerely held. Plaintiff's Complaint does not include any facts to support his conclusory assertion that he is a "sincere and devout" practitioner of the Wicca religion. More importantly, however, Plaintiff has not alleged any facts showing that the items being withheld from him--tarot cards, Dungeons and Dragons game, and metal religious symbol--are necessary to the practice of the Wicca religion. [FN: It appears that Plaintiff is permitted to possess a plastic religious symbol. Plaintiff's Complaint does not state how the composition (i.e. metal versus plastic) of the unidentified religious symbol is relevant to Wiccan religious beliefs or practice.] Similarly, Plaintiff has not clearly described the nature of the "religious ritual" he was prevented from conducting, or its relevance to the Wiccan religion. In the absence of such basic factual allegations the Court cannot conclude that the restrictions challenged by Plaintiff amount to a burden on his exercise of religion. Thus, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's Complaint is insufficient to state a Free Exercise claim under the First Amendment.

"Plaintiff" was hesitant to describe the "religious ritual" he was prevented from conducting because he would have had to confess to the court that it involved pretending he was a chaotic-good magician with mercenary tendencies living in an age of fantasy when magic ruled the Earth. Still, I find this argument to be completely irrelevant to any effort to practice Earthdawn in prison, as that game's links to Wicca are much less tenuous.


adam said...

That's crazy.

Nat-Wu said...

Hey, all I know is if I'm ever locked up, I'm getting my game on. They can try to stop me.