Lawsuit challenges Nebraska’s requirement for man to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings

Nebraska man sues the state for being forced to attend AA meetings.

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By MARGERY A. BECK  Associated Press
July 31, 2014 – 5:55 pm EDT

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OMAHA, Nebraska — A Fremont man is suing the state of Nebraska, saying his constitutional rights were violated when he was required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings even though he objected to the organization’s religious foundation.

Marvin Sundquist, 43, of Fremont, was issued a probationary massage therapist license in late 2012 based on Sundquist’s history of drunken driving and other minor convictions. One of the requirements for him to move off probationary status was to attend weekly AA meetings.

The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office moved to revoke his massage therapy license last year when he objected to mandatory attendance of AA, Sundquist said.

“AA is a religious organization,” Sundquist said. “I do not believe the state should be telling anybody to go to them, and it cost me a career as a massage therapist because I didn’t go.”

Sundquist instead asked to see an alcohol counselor who offers a non-religious program, but was denied that option by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, he said.

“They would not accept my alternative or provide any other alternatives,” Sundquist said. “Their only option was to attend AA.”

On Thursday, the health department provided documents showing that it had issued Sundquist a license earlier this year, rejecting the attorney general’s revocation request because Sundquist had established a sobriety support system and had proved his sobriety through random testing.

But Sundquist’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday, said the revocation action cost him his massage therapist job and caused him to be evicted from him home.

The lawsuit names the state, its Attorney General’s Office, the state health department and several individual state employees with those agencies as defendants in the case.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said her office had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment on it. A spokeswoman with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office said Thursday that she was looking into the lawsuit.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program that seeks to help people overcome alcohol addiction. Several of the steps have religious overtones, such as those that have the participant pray, strive for moral reform and seek help from a higher power.

Some courts have held that it’s unconstitutional for authorities to order people who declare a religious objection to attend AA meetings. In 2007, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, found that a parole officer can be sued for damages for ordering a parolee to go through AA.

Sundquist — who is acting as his own attorney — is asking for $200,000, saying the state cost him a promising career as a massage therapist. He is also seeking an injunction to prevent the state or its employees “from requiring similar religious activities against their religious objections.”

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14 thoughts on “Lawsuit challenges Nebraska’s requirement for man to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings

  1. Keep the hits coming ! If you do a search on “Alcoholics Anonymous Lawsuits” the list is growing. This is good news. People need to know this stuff is happening. It needs to be common knowledge that one can’t be forced into the AA occult cult and there are legal remedies if you are and something bad happens. I mean, come on, all kinds of organizations are coercing people to go participate in an occult cult with criminals and predators and people awaiting trial for all sorts of crimes. How does any of that make sense? If it weren’t for AA’s secrecy request to the press, the overall situation would be front page news. Constitutional rights violations, lack of separation of church and state, murders, all kinds of sexual and financial predation happening in meetings all over the country. If just one of those things happened to the Boy/Girl Scouts, it would make the front page of many news outlets. But with AA? It might get picked up locally like this one, but it is a national problem and is happening everywhere. AA has a sordid, deceitful past and a sordid and deceitful present and that needs to be exposed. It does not deserve its current place in society. It deserves to pay dearly for 75+ years of misleading the public and causing significant damage in the lives of many more millions of people than it supposedly “helped”.

  2. I do not think AA should even be offered as one of the alternatives. Not unless it drops the religous angle, and offers up some proof that it is effective at all. Other than increacing your chances of further incarceration and death.

    • Agree!. There mere claim that AA constitutes a “treatment” for anything is laughable. Its the “recovery rocking chair”: something to do, but it doesnt get you anywhere 🙂

      • Free Agent- I agree..

        Treatment? Its a fellowship….Its not a Drug Treatment program. Ok if the law says it is then it needs to be regulated by the State.

        If not then it needs to call itself a religion and you can’t send ANYONE THERE!!!

        AND Insurance can’t pay for religion as “treatment” for a made up “disease”

  3. I would love to see a class-action lawsuit from AA members who feel they have been harmed by the quack science and religion. Bankrupting AAWS would be wonderful.

    • thedoctorisin- Yes..I see it coming. The wrongful deaths lawsuits will be first. Then internal sexual harassment will be next. .. those would be lovely.

      Then the pilots will sue the FAA. Then the Doctors will sue what ever governing body forced them to AA. They could even sue their employer ….The class action will happen. They are so f**ked. And they are so arrogant they think they are untouchable. That is when a non profit is very vulnerable to lawsuit ….when they think they are “special”

      The Los Angeles Times just printed another pro AA piece. I can’t wait to find out who in the top there is in AA.

    • my guess is lawsuits like this are being discussed and formulated right now. 20 years ago, there was no easy way to connect all the dots that needed to be connected. Research of the idiocy and danger of AA and the 12 Step model, plus the ability to discuss it all openly with large numbers of people from various geographies simply didn’t exist. With the internet, plus all the new research and hundreds to thousands of people voicing extremely similar stories of AA manipulation, deception and wrongdoing, the nonsensical, faith-healing, occult cult of AA will be in the firing line for some time to come. They can’t run and they can certainly no longer hide behind the self-imposed club house rule of anonymity. This is going to get really ugly because the tentacles are far reaching. Can a family of someone that committed suicide sue the AA sponsor for perpetuating known faith-healing occult nonsense that has been proven to force others to attempt or commit suicide? Show me one legal disclaimer an AA sponsee signs that frees a sponsor from any legal obligation if the information they dispense for dealing with a chronic, fatal and progressive disease turns out to be dangerous or deadly. Remember, AA indoctrination strives to create a psychic change in the individual. Psychic changes for self-destructive behavior are generally handled by professionals, not laypeople that use a book of occult nonsense from the 1930’s. Yep, its gonna get ugly.

      • spj- Yup! Its gonna get really ugly. When I was blogging on ST there was a woman who helped me leave with her story. We spoke on the phone a few times. She said the reason she left was that her sponsor was ripped off for 2 million dollars and when she asked her why not sue her she felt obligated to her for helping her in those early days …F **king nuts.

        She saw the light and left AA. She had many years in AA….I think like 25 …

  4. I wonder….how can AA and sponsors take credit for member successes while not being responsible for their wrongdoings?

    • I had an AA “friend” who had a new sponsee commit suicide. The friend will never be the same. The bizarre concepts of AA and sponsorship, put that guy right on the firing line of having to deal with how someone else processes AA indoctrination and “psychic change” techniques. The real shame is, the establishment KNOWS AA indoctrination methods result in people becoming murderers or suicidal, yet the practice continues. The high rate of suicides from Dr Drew celebrity rehab should have clued people into a larger problem. But no, just look at all the good those selfless AA people do…. They say the word gawd a lot, so that makes it all ok.

      When the hammer comes down on AA – and it will – it is gonna come down hard. There is simply too much wrong with the entire ecosystem for it to escape final justice.

  5. Pingback: Don’t Stand for Forced Religion | Nel's New Day

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