From the Dallas Morning News Religion Blog:
ST. LOUIS (AP) â€” A Missouri inmate once labeled a white supremacist is fighting for his right to be served kosher meals in prison.
Norman Lee Toler, serving a 10-year sentence for statutory rape, insists he is Jewish despite guards at an Illinois penitentiary catching him with photos of Adolf Hitler and white supremacist literature. He also has several white supremacist tattoos, including a fresh â€œSS,â€? the name of a Nazi unit.
Toler argued in federal court that his soul will be in jeopardy if he is forced to eat nonkosher food.
In the lawsuit, Toler said prison officials repeatedly denied his requests for kosher food, violating federal law and his constitutional right of religious expression.
Missouri Department of Corrections spokesman Brian Hauswirth said the state may have to change the policy for verifying inmates’ religious preferences â€” they currently do it by checking a box â€” if Toler wins the case.
Prison officials and staff question the sincerity of Toler’s religious claims. He was sentenced in 1999 to more than eight years in prison for robbery in Illinois and was found with the white supremacist material, including seven photos of Hitler, before being released on parole in 2003. Toler is serving his current term for statutory rape of a victim under the age of 14.
Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.