Inmate sues prison over spiritual worship

AP, Nov. 17, 2002
http://www.wvgazette.com/static/apnews/?story=ap0011r.php

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) — The founder of the West Virginia Mountaineer Militia, who was imprisoned for plotting to blow up an FBI fingerprint center, has filed a lawsuit against the federal prison in Ashland over religious practices.

Floyd Raymond Looker, 62, claims his constitutional right to worship has been abridged by prison authorities. Looker, who said he is a Messianic Jew, alleges prison officials make him attend Protestant services and have canceled Jewish services.

Messianic Jews worship in the Jewish tradition and believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah — Jews for Jesus is an example of one Messianic group.

Looker sent out a statement about the case this week in which he refers to himself in the third person.

“Mr. Looker states that they, the Protestants, do not keep the Commandments of God or follow the dictates/mandates of the scripture,” Looker wrote .

“Mr. Looker feels that such teachings are Scripturally illegal and refuses to be forced to deny that which he believes. Mr. Looker is especially upset that a Catholic priest has forced the cancellation of all Messianic Jewish services at the prison.”

The lawsuit was filed Oct. 1 in Ashland. Lawyers for the prison have not yet responded to the suit in the court record, or in a public statement.

Looker, who said he has a doctorate in theology, has written books about his faith. The most recent is “Messianic Prayerbook,” published in February. It ranked 1,266,966th in Amazon.com’s sales rankings.

The FBI has depicted Looker, a former real estate developer, as the mastermind of a plot to assassinate U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

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