A few weeks ago, I interview Joann Bell on my radio show about her experiences when she filed a lawsuit over school prayer in Oklahoma. She was assaulted by a school employee, had her own obituary sent to her in the mail and had her house firebombed. But she’s hardly alone. I’m gonna post some other stories, taken from a brief filed by Americans United in a court case asking that their client be allowed to remain anonymous in a church/state lawsuit.
In almost every church/state lawsuit I’m aware of, there is harassment and intimidation of the plaintiffs. In most of them there are also threats of violence. In many, there is outright violence and vandalism. Here are a couple of older examples from famous Supreme Court cases:
For example, after Vashti McCollum brought a suit in 1945 objecting to the practice of allowing public-school students to attend religious classes held in public-school classrooms (see McCollum v. Bd. of Educ., 333 U.S. 203 (1948)), his house was vandalized, he received hundreds of pieces of hate mail, and his son was physically
attacked (see ROBERT S. ALLEY, WITHOUT A PRAYER: RELIGIOUS EXPRESSION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS 84-89 (1996))…
Similarly, the children of one of the plaintiffs in Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963) (in which Bible reading in the public schools was held unconstitutional), were beaten on their way home from school, and their house was firebombed.
Unfortunately, things haven’t gotten any better since those two landmark cases. Some of the more recent cases, like Bell’s were just as outrageous. More in a future post.