Christian Court Watchers Keep Tabs On Judges

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - A handful of mountain churches are moving away from their traditional role as a refuge for the poor and addicted. They've become frustrated with widespread drug abuse - especially of easily accessible prescription painkillers. Now they're more interested in law enforcement.

The Community Church of Manchester, southeastern Kentucky, is leading the way through "Court Watch," a program in which volunteers attend court hearings to monitor judges overseeing drug-related cases.

Community Church pastor, the Reverend Doug Abner says the presence of Court Watch volunteers puts "mild pressure" on judges "to do the right thing."

Some other people of faith say the program cuts against Christian values.

Director of the Catholic Committee on Appalachia, the Reverend John Rausch says churches should focus on drug counseling and ministering to inmates.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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