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Woman Sentenced To Read The Bible? Yes, But There's More To The Story


There's news from South Carolina that's beginning to get attention because of headlines like this:

-- "Judge Sentences Woman To Read Bible For Drunk Driving Conviction." ( CBS Local in Charlotte)

And that's generating outraged comments like these from the liberal-leaning Indecision blog run by Comedy Central:

-- "I guess this is what creeping Sharia looks like."

We suggest, though, reading this story byThe Herald in Rock Hill, S.C. There, you'll find that:

-- After Cassandra Belle Tolley "pleaded guilty to driving drunk and crashing into a car, seriously injuring two people," Circuit Court Judge Michael Nettles late last month sentenced her to "eight years in jail followed by five years of probation and substance abuse counseling."

-- Then, with Tolley's consent, he added this assignment: She "must read the Old Testament book of Job and write a summary."

As New Vision Free Will Baptist Church Rev. Daggett Duncan tells the Herald, "I think (Nettles') faith and his compassion led him to use the book of Job. Job made it through, and he wants her to know she can too."

Tolley's attorney tells the newspaper his client has started working on the assignment. And Kenneth Gaines, a professor of law at the University of South Carolina, says Nettles couldn't have added that task to her sentence unless Tolley "was in entire agreement with it. ... You can't just arbitrarily add anything you want to a sentence."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.