Archive for July 31st, 2006

Even in Delaware

July 31, 2006

Check out this article on one Jewish family’s struggle to be treated fairly in the Delaware public schools. I didn’t talk to the Dobriches directly, but I did talk to the legal director of the Delaware ACLU about the Indian River school district problem when I was at Americans United. This story is the kind of thing I heard every day in that job (well, that and the nutjob e-mails). Reading it now still makes my blood boil. The lingering resentment I have against Christianity comes precisely from this story, which plays out every day in schools and communities across the country. A lot of people who call themselves Christians are hateful, bitter, tribalistic people. They’re fine with you (as long as you’re white, but that’s a separate story) until they find out you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal lord and savior — or that you don’t vote Republican, wave the flag, etc., or, God forbid, that you have pro-choice leanings. Then, they raise their eyebrows in disapproval; but you can stay in their communities if you’re willing to accept the fact that you’re a second-class citizen, if you “know your place.” You have to be willing to accept the harassment of their vicious children and take it with the good humor that a lost soul should. But if, like the Dobriches, you want to be treated as a full member of the community and you fight to get that, the gloves come off and the vitriol comes out. Make no mistake about some of the more extreme of this group. They will threaten your life, they will kill your pets, they will break your windows, they will slash your tires. Most likely, if you report this to the police, nothing will be done about it. Heathens don’t deserve police protection, you see, and the folks who commit these acts are just standing up for God, so they aren’t really crimes. But most of all, these people will say things that it is beyond the bounds of decency to say. I will never forget the story of Lisa Herndahl, a mother of five in north Mississippi who wanted to be the one to teach her children religion, not the schools. Many, many things happened to her and her children, but nothing worse than when, after her young daughter lost her hand in an accident, was people in town telling Lisa that it was God’s punishment for participating in a lawsuit against the school district.

Where does this level of hatred come from and why are so many people who don’t feel it still complicit in it? I have never understood it and still don’t. No one should have to endure this kind of treatment.

Schism Over Politics Strengthens Church

July 31, 2006

I don’t know how many people are out there reading now, but I knew that Al at least would really enjoy this article from the New York Times about a Baptist minister who boldly, and to the consternation of many of his flock, preached that the church should not be taken over by conservative politics. He sounds like a right-on guy even if he is Baptist. 🙂