The Verdict Is In: Michigan Court Rules State Prisons Must Recognize White Supremacist

The Verdict Is In: Michigan Court Rules State Prisons Must Recognize White Supremacist

Due to a court decision, Michigan must recognize Christian Identity as a religious group, although the ideology surrounding it is inherently racist.

According to The Associated Press, in a 3-0 decision in June 2023, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of two white inmates who sued the Corrections Department. They were looking for their views on Christian Identity to be recognized with the ability to hold services in a Michigan prison.

The practice of Christian Identity believes that white people are God’s chosen people. It is steeped in white supremacy and racism, and the Corrections Department feels that recognizing the group would be risky. Prison officials claim that allowing this could pose a security threat within the prison.

Based on testimony from the prisoners, the judges believe the group will not pose a problem for prison officials and will prevent others from doing so.

“Each (prisoner) testified that he was nonviolent and would prevent others from acting aggressively at group services,” the court stated.

“The department offered silence in response—it did not, for example, present any evidence that plaintiffs or any other inmates who follow Christian Identity are violent,” Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Griffin wrote in his decision.

One of the prisoners, Scott Perreault, is serving a life sentence for murder. He informed the court that nonwhites would not be barred from the services, but they would be informed that the theme is “Caucasian history and heritage, Christian heritage.”

“It’s not about anybody being a supremacist. It is truly about being separatist,” Perreault said.

According to Fox 17, Perreault and another inmate, James Fox, initially filed the lawsuit in 2013.

Although the judges ruled in their favor, prison officials would not recognize Christian Identity officially. The prisoners who practice this ideology will not be entitled to group worship or special dietary options afforded other religions.