Pharyngula

Going back to our Puritan roots

The ACLU is suing Union Public School Independent District No. 9 of Oklahoma. The reason is bizarre: administrators at the school have harrassed and violated the civil rights of a young woman named Brandi Blackbear because — and I’m a bit ashamed to admit this can go on in my country — they accused her of witchcraft. They say she used a magic spell to make one of her teachers sick. In retaliation, she has been subjected to searches and public humiliation, and the school has banned the wearing of non-Christian paraphernalia.

I’m pretty sure this is the 21st century, not the 17th. You would have a tough time noticing it if you relied on religious attitudes to tell.

The article mentions that they’d like to see the school show some evidence that Blackbear actually hexed anyone. This is not a good idea. From their track record so far, the Oklahoma school administrators might think the appropriate way to do that is to call in a witchfinder and throw Blackbear into a pond, or search her for witchmarks with a large needle. And if those don’t work, there are always thumbscrews and the rack. They’ll get a confession eventually.

Comments

  1. #1 Nerd of Redhead
    January 30, 2009

    Jebus, how dumb can school administrators get? They should know a suit they will lose was in the offing.

  2. #2 Libbie
    January 30, 2009

    I cannot frigging believe this is going on IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. Granted, it IS happening in the second-most ignorant country in the world, but still.

  3. #3 Hauntedchippy
    January 30, 2009

    Actually, the article states that this event happened in 1999. So the 20th century.
    I understand people were a lot more backward and superstitious then.

  4. #4 Dan DeLeon
    January 30, 2009

    The article is from 2000, and the event took place in 1999, as per the article. So, this took place in the 20th century, not the 21st. Give Oklahoma credit for being one less century in the hole.

  5. #5 Ompompanoosuc
    January 30, 2009

    Burn her!

    What also floats?

    Very small rocks.

  6. #6 David Utidjian
    January 30, 2009

    Erm… as embarassing as this whole thing is, it appears we are almost 9 years late on this incident. Top of link has ’10/26/2000′ and most of the incident happened back in the 20th century. Not that there is any evidence that the situation has improved much since then.

    -DU-

  7. #7 David Utidjian
    January 30, 2009

    Erm… as embarrassing as this whole thing is, it appears we are almost 9 years late on this incident. Top of link has ’10/26/2000′ and most of the incident happened back in the 20th century. Not that there is any evidence that the situation has improved much since then.

    -DU-

  8. #8 Richard Harris
    January 30, 2009

    “The actions of the school have inflicted severe emotional damage on a very sensitive young woman.”

    So, she believes in a non-Xian religion. Some Xians, (presumably), want to persecute her. Nothing new there.

    I’d have more sympathy for her if she were an atheist being persecuted.

  9. #9 Nick
    January 30, 2009

    A DUCK!

  10. #10 Nick
    January 30, 2009

    A DUCK!

  11. #11 El Pruno
    January 30, 2009

    Yeah, that looks like it was a while ago. Is at least the outcome of the case known now?

  12. #12 Dr. Bad
    January 30, 2009

    She turned me into a newt!

    I got better.

    Seriously, does any one have a link to how this all turned out for her?

  13. #13 Simon Scott
    January 30, 2009

    wtf?

    My jaw is on the floor – is this for real?

  14. #14 Mrs Tilton
    January 30, 2009

    To be fair to the school administrators, Blackbear did turn the teacher into a newt.

  15. #15 Jonathan
    January 30, 2009

    My grandma is a missionary with the Elim cult and she really believes that all sickness is the result of demonic oppression. So the “Holy Crap you think evolution is a lie… what about the germ theory of disease” line doesn’t work on her. My parents are with the much more elightened assemblies of god and so at least I got to go to the doctor from time to time… but I still got prayer in the heavenly language. googoo gaga anyone.

  16. #16 fcaccin
    January 30, 2009

    Soundtrack: Melissa by Mercyful Fate

  17. #17 FrodoSaves
    January 30, 2009

    As Ompompanoosuc points out, it’s quite simple.

    If she weighs the same as a duck, then she’s made of wood. In which case, she’s a witch!

    BURN her!! BURN her!!

  18. #18 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    I wonder if she turned anyone into a newt?

    Anyone have a follow up link as this was nearly a decade ago?

  19. #19 debaser71
    January 30, 2009

    The article is from 2000.

  20. #20 j.t.delaney
    January 30, 2009

    Evidently, it was the basis for a made-for-TV movie in 2006:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0787498/

  21. #21 Immunologist
    January 30, 2009

    We are not alone: I just read that the administrators of a NHS hosptial in Britain is trying to get the CoE to exorcise a ghost that has terrified some member of the staff. Comments following the article contain serious disagreement concerning whether this is a job for a priest or a psychic. Of the 20 or so comments, only two were dismissive of the idea that the hospital was haunted. Sigh. So much for the enlightenment.

  22. #22 scotth
    January 30, 2009

    This is almost 10 year old news. The discrimination happend LAST century. The lawsuit was filed in the first year of this one.

    They’ve even released a made-for-TV movie of this in 2006 called “Not Like Everyone Else: The True Story of Brandi Blackbear”

  23. #23 Wowbagger
    January 30, 2009

    Unfuckingbelievable. I hope this young woman and the ACLU tear each and every idiot responsible for this a new corn chute.

  24. #24 Immunologist
    January 30, 2009

    We are not alone: I just read that the administrators of a NHS hospital in Britain is trying to get the CoE to exorcise a ghost that has terrified some members of the staff. Comments following the article contain serious disagreement concerning whether this is a job for a priest or a psychic. Of the 20 or so comments, only two were dismissive of the idea that the hospital was haunted. Sigh. So much for the enlightenment.

  25. #25 Nick
    January 30, 2009

    According to the Wikipedia article on the made for TV Movie “Not Like Everyone Else” They LOST. You have got to be SHITTING me! The “Judge” dismissed the case before it even went to trial and ordered the Family to pay $6000 in court costs…

    I guess the only thing worse than being a witch in Oklahoma is standing up for your right to be a witch!

  26. #26 aarrgghh
    January 30, 2009

    via wikipedia:

    finally, her parents went to the aclu, where they were told they had a good case against the school for violating her civil rights. the aclu sued the affluent school for $10 million, even though the blackbears were not sure they deserved that much based on what brandi had suffered. still, the aclu argued that the school wouldn’t take any lesser claim seriously. when the school offered a settlement, the blackbears refused. they were not interested in the money, despite needing it; what they really wanted was to have their story heard in court to inform the public that the school had mistreated brandi. unfortunately, the judge ruled to dismiss the charges rather than going to trial, and ordered the blackbears to pay $6000 in court fees, which they could not afford. eventually it was agreed to drop the fees if the blackbears dropped their appeal.

  27. #27 PZ Myers
    January 30, 2009

    I hadn’t noticed it was 9 years old when it was sent to me.

    I’m sure Oklahoma has progressed greatly since.

  28. #28 Tony Sidaway
    January 30, 2009

    Here is an Associated Press story about Brandi Blackbear losing her case.

    Looking at the judge’s ruling, it does seem as if he made the right decision. PZ’s account isn’t borne out by the statement of the judge.

  29. #29 Ompompanoosuc
    January 30, 2009

    To FrodoSaves: Who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?

    Ohhhhhhhhh. It happened in the last century. No wonder. People were so ignorant back then.

  30. #30 T_U_T
    January 30, 2009

    They say she used a magic spell to make one of her teachers sick. In retaliation, she has been subjected to searches and public humiliation, and the school has banned the wearing of non-Christian paraphernalia.

    I guess the spell she used was the patronus charm

  31. #31 debaser71
    January 30, 2009

    The article is from 2000.

  32. #32 Justin Chase
    January 30, 2009

    One of the beneifits of realizing there is no god is that you also realize there are no such thing as hexes. So she can hex someone all she wants (if she even did it) and it doesn’t really matter.

  33. #33 Tony Sidaway
    January 30, 2009

    Here is the press release from ACLU Oklahoma on filing the case on behalf of Brandi Blackbear on October 26, 2000.

    A search of the ACLU site on the name “Blackbear” doesn’t return anything else relevant.

  34. #34 Hugh M.
    January 30, 2009

    Maybe 9 years old, but it still made me chuckle.

    “It’s a fair cop”.

  35. #35 DrBadger
    January 30, 2009

    from the ap article:

    Eagan’s order also said Blackbear has admitted that religion played no role in the decision to discipline her in December 1999.

    Not that I’d put all my trust in an oklahoma judge, but it seems like the “witch” made some things up and later admitted to it.

    One of the beneifits of realizing there is no god is that you also realize there are no such thing as hexes. So she can hex someone all she wants (if she even did it) and it doesn’t really matter.

    though, i’d bet if you put hexes on someone in public school, you’ll get punished.

  36. #36 Nangleator
    January 30, 2009

    I a bit bumfuzzled by one thing. I always assumed believers in any religion felt about other religions the way atheists feel about all religions: That they are ridiculous poppycock.

    But xtians actually believe in witchcraft… they think witches have actual super powers… they just think it’s a bad personal choice. What other religions to xtians believe in?

  37. #37 Cuttlefish, OM
    January 30, 2009

    Some people just have a strange sense of time
    Which once in a while will fail ‘em.
    PZ dropped back to a decade ago
    The Okies dropped back to Salem.

  38. #38 Wowbagger
    January 30, 2009

    But xtians actually believe in witchcraft… they think witches have actual super powers… they just think it’s a bad personal choice. What other religions to xtians believe in?

    I’d say they mostly believe this sort of thing is the work of Satan. But in the Old Testament there are at least a few other gods, and the biblical scholars (the honest ones at least) explain that the early Israelites were quite clearly polytheistic before they went obsessively mono.

    But remember, their religion is based upon manufacturing problems where none exist; they like to feel like they’ve got powerful enemies and persectutors.

  39. #39 Reginald Selkirk
    January 30, 2009

    and the school has banned the wearing of non-Christian paraphernalia.

    Does that mean all non-Christian religious paraphernalia, or all paraphernalia that is not explicitly Christian?

  40. #40 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 30, 2009

    From the Freedom Forum link:

    Specifically, two of Blackbear’s classmates had alleged they were “fearful” because she allegedly was claiming to be a witch and to possess the power to harm people by casting spells on them, the order states.

    If you teach your kids to believe in supernatural bullshit, then it’s your fault when someone else takes advantage of their inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

  41. #41 Justin Chase
    January 30, 2009

    One of the beneifits of realizing there is no god is that you also realize there are no such thing as hexes. So she can hex someone all she wants (if she even did it) and it doesn’t really matter.

  42. #42 Vic
    January 30, 2009

    #39

    Does that mean all non-Christian religious paraphernalia, or all paraphernalia that is not explicitly Christian?

    I’m sure if you asked them you would just get a blank stare back.

  43. #43 Katkinkate
    January 30, 2009

    Posted by: Nangleator @ 36 “I a bit bumfuzzled by one thing. I always assumed believers in any religion felt about other religions the way atheists feel about all religions: That they are ridiculous poppycock. But xtians actually believe in witchcraft… they think witches have actual super powers… they just think it’s a bad personal choice. What other religions to xtians believe in?”

    They believe all other religions are Satan-inspired. All ‘powers’ not from God are from Satan and is witchcraft.

  44. #44 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 30, 2009

    Does that mean all non-Christian religious paraphernalia, or all paraphernalia that is not explicitly Christian?

    I’m guessing the first. Either way, it’s a First Amendment violation. Either ban all religious iconography or none of it.

  45. #45 TC
    January 30, 2009

    So, reading the AP’s account, this kid told other students she was going to hex them and she got suspended for that. It wasn’t that the school officials thought she actually was hexing people – it’s that her threat of hexing people disrupted the educational process.

    Sounds like the suspension was completely fair. The federal judge thought so too.

  46. #46 TC
    January 30, 2009

    So, reading the AP’s account, this kid told other students she was going to hex them and she got suspended for that. It wasn’t that the school officials thought she actually was hexing people – it’s that her threat of hexing people disrupted the educational process.

    Sounds like the suspension was completely fair. The federal judge thought so too.

  47. #47 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 30, 2009

    Sounds like the suspension was completely fair.

    It’s certainly easier for the school than actually educating students.

  48. #48 ndt
    January 30, 2009

    PZ, this story is over 8 years old. I remember when it first happened. Blackbear’s family eventually lost.

  49. #49 Eddie Janssen
    January 30, 2009

    Dear TC

    I thought Christians are supposed to not do certain things otherwise God will punish them. That seems like a threat to me, a threat which certainly would disrupt the educational process.

  50. #50 Reader5000
    January 30, 2009

    The incident and the lawsuit’s submission both took place in the twentieth century. The twenty-first century did not begin until January 1, 2001. There is no zeroeth year of the first century of the Common Era.

    I thought this was all settled years ago.

  51. #51 Michelle
    January 30, 2009

    Dudes, the story IS 8 years old but the story right now is that the ACLU is suing the district.

  52. #52 Alverant
    January 30, 2009

    PZ, I hope in the future you will check the dates before posting an article like this without noting when it happened. It’s still tragic and relevant, but it was also 2 presidential administrations ago. I was scared this was still happening this year. It doesn’t help our image as Atheists if all we’re doing is reporting events 10 years ago. Critics can point to that as evidence persecution by christians is rare.

  53. #53 Endor
    January 30, 2009

    We get it. The story is old. PZ already covered that. move on.

  54. #54 ndt
    January 30, 2009

    Posted by: TC | January 30, 2009 9:27 AM

    It wasn’t that the school officials thought she actually was hexing people – it’s that her threat of hexing people disrupted the educational process.

    Sounds like the suspension was completely fair.

    What?!? That sounds fair to you? Suspending students who badmouth teachers to other students? Schools would suspend 98% of their students if that were the case.

    The federal judge thought so too.

    No, he thought it was legal.

  55. #55 Reader5000
    January 30, 2009

    And #40, you took the words right off of my keyboard.

    QUESTION:
    I suspect that some of you here are reality-based educators. How would you have dealt with this situation, especially in the days after the Columbine High School massacre?

  56. #56 Ramases
    January 30, 2009

    I was outraged as anyone when I first saw this story, but apparently the claims made by the litigant are not bourne out by the facts….

    The order indicates that Blackbear received a five-day out-of-school and 10-day in-school suspension for “disrupting the educational process.”

    Specifically, two of Blackbear’s classmates had alleged they were “fearful” because she allegedly was claiming to be a witch and to possess the power to harm people by casting spells on them, the order states.

    Burden said July 18 that the suspension had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with Blackbear’s “terrorizing” students.

    She said the whole “religious freedom” allegation appeared to be a ploy to make the lawsuit more exciting to the media.

    The order states that Blackbear also was suspended in late April 1999 for 19 days for making threats against students.

    http://www.freedomforum.org/templates/document.asp?documentID=16571

    As a former teacher I can easily imagine this happening, and that having a student make threats against other students would be a very disruptive form of bullying and intimidation. The school authorities had an obligation to take some kind of action.

  57. #57 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    WAIT A MINUTE ARE YOU SAYING THIS STORY IS OLD?!?!?

  58. #58 Endor
    January 30, 2009

    We get it. The story is old. PZ already covered that. move on.

  59. #59 Sven DiMilo
    January 30, 2009

    Is there a statute of limitations on hex spells?

  60. #60 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    A lesson to commentors.

    If you get the submission error message…

    DO NOT resubmit your comment. Hit the back arrow and refresh the page. It will show up.

    This will keep you from double, triple and quadruple posting.

  61. #61 Nangleator
    January 30, 2009

    There’s a terrible echo in here.

    …terrible echo in here.

  62. #62 LTE
    January 30, 2009

    But in the Old Testament there are at least a few other gods, and the biblical scholars (the honest ones at least) explain that the early Israelites were quite clearly polytheistic before they went obsessively mono.

    Not exactly; polytheistic implies worship of multiple deities, whereas the early Israelites were closer to simply recognizing the existence of other gods. A great example of this is the commandment about not putting other gods before that Yahweh fellow.

  63. #63 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    January 30, 2009

    The school authorities had an obligation to take some kind of action.

    And suspension was so much more sensible than pointing out that there is no such thing as magic.

  64. #64 Benjamin Geiger
    January 30, 2009

    Sven DiMilo:

    There’s a reason I occasionally wear a 7404 IC around my neck.

  65. #65 Thanny
    January 30, 2009

    This is almost 10 year old news. The discrimination happend LAST century. The lawsuit was filed in the first year of this one.

    The suit was filed in 2000, which was the last century. No year zero, you know.

  66. #66 raven
    January 30, 2009

    Wichcraft doesn’t exist. Or work anyway. The evidence for this is overwhelming and has been known for centuries. That is one reason the xians stopped hanging witches.

    There are a few people who call themselves witches. Fewer yet who actually have books of spells and use them. And no evidence that they actually work.

    The best line of evidence is among the result oriented institution of society. If witchcraft worked, the military would have brigades of elite specialists, the sorcerors, mages, and warlocks on par with the medical branches. Wall Street would employ whole departments of hexers, spellers, and chanters. Corporations would have Magic Technology departments.

    When it comes to killing or being killed or making money, what works counts for everything. One M16 is a lot more effective than a whole Grigmoire.

  67. #67 Gingerbaker
    January 30, 2009

    This case was stopped in its tracks because of a worrisome judge, and the family’s inability to suffer court costs.

    Does the ACLU routinely fail to pay costs for cases that it picks up?

  68. #68 TJ
    January 30, 2009

    I cant believe this. This is incredible. If they want to go back to the 17th century, they should pack up and head for a deserted island or something and allow people to live there life.

  69. #69 Evolving Squid
    January 30, 2009

    Hey, some of the local Wiccans have told me that they consider me to be one of the most “crafted” non-believers that they have ever met.

    I’ve never been sure what to think of that.

    And they actually seem to believe in spells and hexes, but any dealings I’ve had with them always emphasized the positive… like they were some kind of Wiccan Jedi who only used the light side.

    They contend that you can’t use magic to harm people… at least on that bit we agree.

  70. #70 SteveM
    January 30, 2009

    Benjamin Geiger @64:

    A “hex inverter*”? really? That is too clever. No really, I am not being sarcastic. Very funny, but only to TTL nerds.

    * and, no, I did not have to look it up.

  71. #71 Alyson Miers
    January 30, 2009

    Obviously this is old news, and not an honest lawsuit, but I still find it really, really funny that this girl’s peers believed her when she said she could hex them. The woo was strong in Oklahoma in 1999.

  72. #72 mayhempix
    January 30, 2009

    This on CNN today:

    A brain surgeon performed what he called a “life-saving” surgery on a teenager by removing a large brain tumor using a method he read about on CNN.com just three days earlier.

    “I am inclined to believe that it is the work of God that I came across your article that very night” the surgeon told CNN.”

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/01/29/tumor.surgery.lifesaving/index.html?eref=rss_tech

    This surgeon reads an article, gets the new laser tech “scalpel”, successfully removes a brain tumor saving a young child and then claims it be “the work of God”.

    It was not the work of God… it was the work of science that produced the communication systems, the laser device and the doctor’s medical education. “God” let’s children die from diarrhea dehydration, mosquito born diseases and religious wars. That’s “God’s work”.

  73. #73 Zeno
    January 30, 2009

    Richard Harris: I’d have more sympathy for her if she were an atheist being persecuted.

    First they came for the Wiccans…

    You’re an ass.

  74. #74 RamblinDude
    January 30, 2009

    Yes, a witch! Quite possibly a shapeshifter, too. More than likely a drunk one.

    Praise Jesus!

  75. #75 Peter Ashby
    January 30, 2009

    Surely instead of suspending Blackbear the teachers should have told the two ‘fearful’ students to grow up and live in the real world? If those two had been sensible and level headed there would have been no problem, but lets not go there because that would violate their freedom to believe in nonsense.

  76. #76 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    “I am inclined to believe that it is the work of God that I came across your article that very night” the surgeon told CNN.”

    Way to stay up to date on your job, buddy. Getting information on new techniques from CNN.

  77. #77 DiscomBob
    January 30, 2009

    Dude, you do yourself no favors by knee-jerk blogging on a court filing without further review. I’m sure you’re aware that lawyers will sensationalize there cases with the most inflammatory rhetoric they think they can get away with.

  78. #78 JD
    January 30, 2009

    Her last name is Blackbear eh? Must be a witch. This is a job for Denyse O’Leary. BTW, that’s *denyse* to you out there.

  79. #79 E.V.
    January 30, 2009

    But… but… but… We haven’t talked about the goat who was arrested for car theft in Nigeria last week. It seems the human thief transmogrified (thank you Bill Waterson) into the goat just before he was apprehended.

  80. #80 raven
    January 30, 2009

    Surely instead of suspending Blackbear the teachers should have told the two ‘fearful’ students to grow up and live in the real world? If those two had been sensible and level headed there would have been no problem, but lets not go there because that would violate their freedom to believe in nonsense.

    Why should even superstitious students be afraid of alleged witches. Shouldn’t they just call on the Head Witch Opposer aka as “god”. One of the core concepts of xianity is that god is much more powerful than satan, his minions, and the other gods. Satan is just a fallen angel that god keeps around for some obscure reason, maybe for laughs.

    The teachers should have just told the kids that god is omniscient and omnipotent and protects his followers from evil spirits. If god isn’t able to do that, why call her god and why worship her?

    Seems to me, the school administrators are expressing grave doubts that god still has any mojo left.

  81. #81 Ian
    January 30, 2009

    How did this case turn out?

  82. #82 Barklikeadog
    January 30, 2009

    I live here in oklahoma & somehow this has fallen under the news radar locally, or maybe I’m just sheltered. Doesn’t surprise me though. There are some pretty backwater places. But still? Good grief? Do they not have have cable or something? Witchcraft? Really? And they believed it? They all deserve each other.

  83. #83 Ian
    January 30, 2009

    “In US District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 7/17/2002 Judge Claire Eagan ruled in favor of Tulsa Union Public Schools and issued a summary judgment in favor of the school district. This ruling was handed down just days before the trial was schedule to start.

    The Tulsa World reported on the outcome of the case in a report dated 7/19/02 and titled “Judge rules in favor of district”. That report quoted Judge Eagan’s order as indicating:

    Blackbear testified during a deposition that she is not, has never been and has never wanted to be a Wiccan.

    Blackbear also admitted that the defendants have not done anything to keep her from practicing any religion.

    In view of this testimony, the court finds that Brandi does not hold a sincere belief in the religion of Wicca.

    Blackbear has admitted that religion played no role in the decision to discipline her in December 1999.

    The referenced report went on to quote Blackbear’s attorney John M. Butler as stating:

    The order may not be “exactly correct” on those points and said his client’s purported statements may have been “taken out of context.”

    The report went on to quote Mr. Butler as indicating an appeal is probable and that he is optimistic that Blackbear will prevail at that level.”

    but what happened…

  84. #84 E.V.
    January 30, 2009

    In the news last week:
    A report about Albinos being hunted down by witch doctors despite a ban on the practice. It seems a man with achromasia was having dinner when he answered a knock at the door. Hired men killed him and hacked one of his legs off with either machetes or an axe. The assassins delivered the leg to a local witch doctor who paid them a relatively sizable bounty.

  85. #85 Ian
    January 30, 2009

    @Barklikeadog: probably the issue is that the case is 9 years old. :D

  86. #86 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    mmmmmmmmm Roast leg of Albino.

    One of my favorites.

  87. #87 Alverant
    January 30, 2009

    Ramases #56, you have a point about the student being disruptive, but what do you think would have happened if instead of casting hexes she told the other students she prayed to God to smite them? There’s no real difference between a spell and a prayer, both invoke unnatural forces to affect someone else. Do you really think a student doing that would have been suspended in OK? Chances are the teachers would have calmed the “terrorized” students down and told the spiteful one to stop. I highly doubt there would have been any suspensions. Also what doesn’t seem to be addressed is why the Wiccan student did what she did. Were the victims terrorizing or harassing her and she was just defending herself? Or was she just trying to freak people out?

    In the US all religions are considered equal in the eyes of the law, I think it’s pretty clear this student was punished differently because of her religion. That’s wrong, plain and simple.

  88. #88 RayB
    January 30, 2009

    Benjamin Geiger @64: A hex inverter. What a great idea! I think I’ll buy a bunch, make them into pendants, and sell them at the next psychic fair. I’ll daisy chain them together: “The output is the reverse of the input, but six times stronger! Since I started wearing this no hexes have worked on me…” Sounds like a sure winner!

  89. #89 Quotidian Torture
    January 30, 2009

    Wow. This took place in Broken Arrow. Why am I not surprised? Luckily, my parents managed to flee that cesspool before I was born.

  90. #90 fev
    January 30, 2009

    The suit was dismissed in July ’02, and the family dropped its appeals in fall ’02. The matter was covered in the local paper and picked up by the AP for regional distribution (that’s all I’ve seen so far).

    It sounds like a series of overreactions — the initial gun search came shortly after Columbine, then the purported woo-woo threats around Halloween of that year. The judge seems to have been correct in noting ‘several red herrings’ in the claim of religious harassment, and the student appears to have admitted that she made that up.

    Interesting case (and stuff from Tulsa — where Oral Roberts built his university, after all — is always worth watching), but generally, it looks like you can secure from general quarters on this one.

  91. #91 Emmet, OM
    January 30, 2009

    Thus spake Benjamin Geiger

    There’s a reason I occasionally wear a 7404 IC around my neck.

    And I thought I was a nerd.

  92. #92 E.V.
    January 30, 2009

    RevBDC:
    I assume it’s smoked Roast leg of Albino that you like. The secret’s in the sauce.

  93. #93 mayhempix
    January 30, 2009

    Rev. BigDumbChimp
    “Way to stay up to date on your job, buddy. Getting information on new techniques from CNN.”

    Why keep on the latest medical innovations when God will let you know at the right time via CNN.

  94. #94 SteveM
    January 30, 2009

    RayB:

    Stole my idea. :-)

    I recommend updating Benjamin’s use of 7404 to the faster 74S04. Or market the “green” version using the lower power 74LS04.

    Could it be the next “pet rock”?

  95. #95 JackC
    January 30, 2009

    Wow! Cool! Some other TTL folks out there! Anyone else get to read issue #1 of KiloBaud or Dr. Dobbs? Anyone else build a COSMAC Elf from the Pop Elect. article or an Altair? (I built an IMSAI Z80)

    Now I feel really old and uber geeky…. Hell – I even have a few 7404s down stairs, along with pretty much the entire 70xx series.

    JC

  96. #96 mayhempix
    January 30, 2009

    My first computer was a Commodore 64 for sequencing music. The next was a PC to run a more advanced music program called Cakewalk. Then I discovered the Mac, Pro Tools, Photoshop, Avid and never looked back.

  97. #97 Joshua Zelinsky
    January 30, 2009

    Dammit, I saw this headline and I immediately thought of making a joke about her weighing as much as a duck and then I saw that there were already multiple such comments.

  98. #98 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    PZ- You got the century wrong. Not the day, or the month, but the freaking century. I know biology is a bit of a softer science but c’mon man.

    ACLU. Ain’t them the chaps that ponyed up for the defense of NAMBLA? Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..

  99. #99 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    PZ- You got the century wrong. Not the day, or the month, but the freaking century. I know biology is a bit of a softer science but c’mon man.

    ACLU. Ain’t them the chaps that ponyed up for the defense of NAMBLA? Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..

  100. #100 E.V.
    January 30, 2009

    And the Stupid Troll of the Day Award goes to… CHEYENNE!

  101. #101 Moggie
    January 30, 2009

    I still remember a bunch of 6502 opcodes in hex… but I can’t remember where I left my keys this afternoon.

  102. #102 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    PZ- You got the century wrong. Not the day, or the month, but the freaking century. I know biology is a bit of a softer science but c’mon man.

    ACLU. Ain’t them the chaps that ponyed up for the defense of NAMBLA? Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..

  103. #103 B. Scott Andersen
    January 30, 2009

    This is what we’re up against:

    “It’s just a shame that the United States Government has placed restrictions on the Biblically-mandated practice of witch burning.”

    http://www.landoverbaptist.org/sermons/witches.html

    Though the Landover Baptists are on the very far edge of this, there are lots of “decent” folk who still believe this–but they’re more “polite” about it.

  104. #104 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    hee-hee – a 3 ‘peat post! shweeeeeet. ;)

  105. #105 Pierce R. Butler
    January 30, 2009

    Reading the headline and the first sentence of our host’s post, my first thought was of cowboy hats with big buckles on them.

    Rev. BigDumbChimp @ # 59:

    If you get the submission error message…

    DO NOT resubmit your comment. Hit the back arrow and refresh the page. It will show up.

    This will keep you from double, triple and quadruple posting.

    Not if you’ve been hexed with the curse of the SciBlog Stutter!

    Perhaps some of you secularist skeptic types think the multiplication of multiple posts following the transition to “improved” software here is a mere coincidence, but those of us who’ve previously encountered the Dark Arts recognize the signs of bad juju juju juju…

  106. #106 SLW13
    January 30, 2009

    The only thing that could have made this better is if it had happened in Salem, MA.

  107. #107 Moggie
    January 30, 2009

    #103:

    Though the Landover Baptists are on the very far edge of this

    Er yes, you could say that. While you’re at it, would you like to get outraged at a story in the Onion?

  108. #108 Anomic Entropy
    January 30, 2009

    Unfortunately, whether this case took place in this century or the last, it doesn’t suprise me. I lived through something all too similar.

    In my case, I was 13/14 (1988-89) in a small town in Wyoming when a string of idiocies led to a large percentage of the local population deciding I was a satanist trying to start up a cult in the middle school. I was suspended, ordered not to talk to any of the kids in school and ultimately ostracized by most of the Good Christians in town (this meant that very few people in the small town would even look at me – during a time when my mother was hospitalized for cancer treatment in Montana (which many believed was my fault for hexing her or some such thing) and I was trying to care for my younger siblings and desperately needed some community support). The local sheriff went so far as to hold meetings in his house to teach townspeople how to deal with me and my cultmembers.. Seriously. It was scary and awful. My mom still has clippings from the local paper. They were reporting on me, and the dangers I posed. I wish I’d known, then, that I wasn’t alone and that there were parties like the ACLU that would help out in cases like that.

    I should write about this elsewhere, I suppose, rather than taking up so much space in PZ’s comments. I just wanted to chime in with my experience. Anecdotal as my evidence may be, it causes me to have no doubt that these things occur even in our “enlightened” age.

  109. #109 Steve_C
    January 30, 2009

    Cheyenne. Sit down.,.. your brain is getting cold.

  110. #110 DominEditrix
    January 30, 2009

    103: Er, you do understand that the Landover Baptist site is a satire, don’t you?

  111. #111 Holbach
    January 30, 2009

    If I recall correctly, the witch was tied to a chair and dunked several times in the pond. If she floated on top, she was guilty and executed. If she sank, then she was declared innocent. So the dunker stuck his head underwater and burbled, “I guess your innocent; you’re free to go!” Oh, the tolerance and inequities of glorious religion! Oh, the insane “bible”!

  112. #112 Steve Taylor
    January 30, 2009

    Just to show that superstition and silliness are not uniquely American phenomena !
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/derbyshire/7860217.stm
    And this is in the 21st century !

  113. #113 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    ACLU. Ain’t them the chaps that ponyed up for the defense of NAMBLA? Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..Sick…..

    Not too bright are you Cheyenne?

    They defended NAMBLA’s rights to free speech. A right I think is somewhere in a document called the Constitution.

    A quick search easily would have taken you to this statement.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    NEW YORK–In the United States Supreme Court over the past few years, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the side of a fundamentalist Christian church, a Santerian church, and the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. In celebrated cases, the ACLU has stood up for everyone from Oliver North to the National Socialist Party. In spite of all that, the ACLU has never advocated Christianity, ritual animal sacrifice, trading arms for hostages or genocide. In representing NAMBLA today, our Massachusetts affiliate does not advocate sexual relationships between adults and children.

    What the ACLU does advocate is robust freedom of speech for everyone. The lawsuit involved here, were it to succeed, would strike at the heart of freedom of speech. The case is based on a shocking murder. But the lawsuit says the crime is the responsibility not of those who committed the murder, but of someone who posted vile material on the Internet. The principle is as simple as it is central to true freedom of speech: those who do wrong are responsible for what they do; those who speak about it are not.

    It is easy to defend freedom of speech when the message is something many people find at least reasonable. But the defense of freedom of speech is most critical when the message is one most people find repulsive. That was true when the Nazis marched in Skokie. It remains true today.

    Further more Ed has a post at his place, but typically links to him get lost so you can just do a search on google for “ACLU Defense of NAMBLA Dispatches from the culture wars” and it will take you right to it. Here’s a snippet.

    Here are the facts of the case. A 10 year old boy named Jeffrey Curley was tortured and murdered by two men, Charles Jaynes and Salvatore Sicari. The men were caught, tried, convicted and sentenced. Furthermore, the parents of the victim filed a civil lawsuit against the two men and won a $200 million verdict, which they will surely never collect. But then the parents went a step further by suing NAMBLA, an organization that advocates that the age-of-consent laws be changed to allow sexual relations between adult men and juvenile boys. Jaynes was a member of NAMBLA and the police found that he had 8 issues of their publication in his home and had accessed their website at the Boston Public Library.

    The legal argument that the parents of the victim are making is that NAMBLA’s publications fostered an atmosphere that caused the crime to take place. That’s right – they do not allege that there was anything that specifically instructed Jaynes to rape and kill a child, that either their publications or their website provided any material support for the crime, or even that it advocated committing such a crime, only that the “totality of the child sex environment” advocated by NAMBLA somehow caused this to happen. In fact, the defendants filed a motion early on in the case asking that the plaintiffs spell out specifically what statements or expressions in either the group’s publications or website could reasonably be construed as causing Jaynes to commit this crime. The amended complaint did not do so, referring instead only to the general “climate” fostered by NAMBLA. And herein lies the crux of the case.

    It’s not illegal to advocate a change in the laws, and nowhere in their complaint do the plaintiffs point to any statement made in any NAMBLA publication that urges that one violate the laws in place currently. And in most cases, it’s not even illegal to advocate breaking the law. Multiple court rulings have established that only if the advocacy carries a “clear and present danger” of an “imminent breach of the peace” can speech that advocates criminal behavior be censored and punished by law. This is known as the Brandenberg test because of the Supreme Court case it stems from, and the standard has been upheld several times by the Court, as recently as 2000. But the question at stake here is not so much whether the government can censor such speech, but whether the person or organization that advocates a change in the laws should be held responsible for the actions of someone who reads their material and thereafter breaks those laws.

    You know, rights. Rights that extend to everyone.

    Further more, the ACLU defends your rights as well.

    Here’s a nice list of cases in which the ACLU defended Christians. I’m sure you’ll chose to ignore that though.

  114. #114 JackC
    January 30, 2009

    Anomic Entropy – horrid story – but you DO know what they say about Montana…

    “At least our cows are sane.”

    JC

  115. #115 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 30, 2009

    Here is an Associated Press story about Brandi Blackbear losing her case.

    And there, it says:

    Specifically, two of Blackbear’s classmates had alleged they were “fearful” because she allegedly was claiming to be a witch and to possess the power to harm people by casting spells on them, the order states.

    [The district superintendent, Cathy] Burden[,] said July 18 that the suspension had nothing to do with religion and everything to do with Blackbear’s “terrorizing” students.

    I’ll say it out loud in public: if those classmates really were terrified because they really believed in witchcraft, they fucking deserved it, and they deserved the shame of being paraded around by the newspapers.

    though, i’d bet if you put hexes on someone in public school, you’ll get punished.

    Would be ridiculous. You should get laughed at in public, not punished.

    But xtians actually believe in witchcraft… they think witches have actual super powers… they just think it’s a bad personal choice. What other religions to xtians believe in?

    Oh, I don’t think any Christians believe in witchcraft outside Third World countries (…Red States included) anymore. Where I come from, they are atheist about all religions except their own, even though many believe in astrology and/or various New Age stuff that isn’t too obviously tied to a religion.

    The twenty-first century did not begin until January 1, 2001. There is no zeroeth year of the first century of the Common Era.

    I thought this was all settled years ago.

    Only if you’re a historian.

    If you teach your kids to believe in supernatural bullshit, then it’s your fault when someone else takes advantage of their inability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

    Thread, meet winner.

    So, reading the AP’s account, this kid told other students she was going to hex them and she got suspended for that. It wasn’t that the school officials thought she actually was hexing people – it’s that her threat of hexing people disrupted the educational process.

    Sounds like the suspension was completely fair.

    Suspension?!? They should have laughed at her! “Sure, hex away, LOL! ROTFL!”

    As a former teacher I can easily imagine this happening, and that having a student make threats against other students would be a very disruptive form of bullying and intimidation. The school authorities had an obligation to take some kind of action.

    Yes. They had the obligation to laugh till the fundaments of the building would tremble.

  116. #116 KI
    January 30, 2009

    What does cheyenne have against Marlon Brando look-alikes?

  117. #117 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    Why keep on the latest medical innovations when God will let you know at the right time via CNN.

    Ahhh Touché

  118. #118 Ktesibios
    January 30, 2009

    Posted by: Sven DiMilo | January 30, 2009 9:49 AM
    Is there a statute of limitations on hex spells?

    I dunno. I cast all my spells in octal. Call me old-fashioned.

  119. #119 Eamon Knight
    January 30, 2009

    You folks saying “But witchcraft is fake and they should know that” are missing the point: a threat does not have to include a credible MO to be taken seriously by the authorities. If you tell me: “I’m gonna make bad things happen to you”, it doesn’t matter whether you leave the details unspecified, or additionally wave a knife, Bible, pentagram or whatever in my face. You are threatening me, and I should be able to appeal to the authorities from protection from such harrassment. It’s the expressed intent that counts: after all, if your hex/imprecatory prayer/voodoo doll doesn’t work, you might very well decide to take more direct action.

    Now, whether the school was justified in their actions in the case under discussion is buried in the details of exactly what Blackbear said and did. The judge, rightly or wrongly, sided with the school — but presumably he at least heard those details first.

  120. #120 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    @RevBigDumbChimp-

    No, no I’m clearly not as bright as you. Thanks for your epic enlightment.

    So the ACLU did invest money in defending NAMBLA right? My statement was correct. Cool.

    So there are people that go to work thinking “Gee, I need to go in and defend some man on boy pedophile action today. Yeppers, need to make sure that can keep on keeping on. It’s free speech afterall. Let’s send out some fundraising letters. We have a worthy cause here!”

    Yeah NAMBLA has a right to free speech. Protected by the constitution. And to their defense comes not themselves, or some court appointed attorney – but the privately funded ACLU.

    I don’t know, I’m just somebody that doesn’t like pedophiles and feels, sorry if you are sensitive about the ACLU, that people that go out and defend them (when there are 5 million other things much more worthy and not nearly as nasty) are just twits.

    And why on earth would I possibly care about the ACLU defending Christians? What does that have to do with anything? So yes, I’ll choose to ignore that because I couldn’t give a flip.

  121. #121 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    One one person’s rights are violated it weakens the rights of everyone Cheyenne.

    That’s why you should care.

    Tell me what cases the ACLU should have taken up but did not because they took up this NAMBLA case?

    Go ahead I can wait.

  122. #122 Evolving Squid
    January 30, 2009

    Suspension?!? They should have laughed at her! “Sure, hex away, LOL! ROTFL!”

    No, she should have been suspended. If they laughed at her she would definitely have been able to claim they were picking on her because of her ludicrous beliefs. By suspending her, they are punishing her for what amounts to “uttering threats.”

  123. #123 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 30, 2009

    Cheyenne, I want to thank you for pointing out why I should never take into consideration what you have to say.

  124. #124 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    That should have read “When one person’s..”

  125. #125 raven
    January 30, 2009

    In my case, I was 13/14 (1988-89) in a small town in Wyoming when a string of idiocies led to a large percentage of the local population deciding I was a satanist trying to start up a cult in the middle school.

    Sounds pretty weird. What did you do, if anything, to set the wingnuts off? Or what do they think you did?

    Why didn’t the local god bothers just run an exorcism or two and sell some hex signs and call on The Man to sling some lightening bolts. God is a powerful being after all.

    I’m always amazed at how the nutters look at their god. Apparently he hasn’t aged well and is now comatose in a hospice or something. They have to continually defend him. When faced by kids invoking the Dark Powers, he never bothers to show up or defend his followers from those mean teen agers.

    Time was, when he got mildly annoyed with humans, he flooded the earth with miles of water and killed all but 8 people. He used to wipe out whole ethnic groups such as the Canaanites and Amelakites to give his favorites some Lebensraum. These days he can’t even seem to stop a middle school kid.

  126. #126 GreyTheory
    January 30, 2009

    Don’t worry.. PZ’s just caught in the time loop. I just hope he can stay away from Charles Widmore and out of the maniacal machinations of the Dharma Initiative.

  127. #127 Jeff
    January 30, 2009

    They. Think. Shes. A. Witch.

    Wow. They should not be allowed to breed. Their children need to sterilized too. This is just disgustingly pathetic. It would be so funny if it werent so painful to my brain.

  128. #128 Facilis
    January 30, 2009

    Wichcraft doesn’t exist. Or work anyway. The evidence for this is overwhelming and has been known for centuries. That is one reason the xians stopped hanging witches.

    You do realise that a person can be a witch even if witchcraft doesn’t work right?
    That would be like claiming that there are no Christians because prayers do not work or God doesn’t exist.

  129. #129 Laser Potato
    January 30, 2009

    “You do realise that a person can be a witch even if witchcraft doesn’t work right?”
    [CITATION NEEDED]

  130. #130 Nerd of Redhead
    January 30, 2009

    Facilis, failing at logic again I see. Please take your idiotic posts elsewhere. We already know how stupid you are.

  131. #131 Sven DiMilo
    January 30, 2009

    Facilis, pass that shit over here, man. That’s deep.
    Hey, dude, if barrels were impossible would there still be coopers? Wow…

  132. #132 E.V.
    January 30, 2009

    “You do realise that a person can be a witch even if witchcraft doesn’t work right?”
    [CITATION NEEDED]

    Ahem, is Aunt Clara not proof enough for you?

  133. #133 Facilis
    January 30, 2009

    @Laser potato.
    As I said, claiming this woman isn’t a witch because withcraft doesn’t work is like claiming I am not a Christian because you think my prayers do nto work.

  134. #134 peter
    January 30, 2009

    “Blackbear” – what a cool last name. I wish that was my last name – then I’d be Peter Blackbear. But then I would want to change my first name to Thor or Smoky.

  135. #135 raven
    January 30, 2009

    “You do realise that a person can be a witch even if witchcraft doesn’t work right?”

    Wow is that stupid?

    I’m a 7 foot green alien from Krypton. Of course, I’m not really a 7 foot alien from Krypton. After all, Krypton blew up a while ago and they weren’t green anyway. Must be from some other planet.

    No I don’t realize that making false claims makes them true.

  136. #136 MH
    January 30, 2009

    Oklahoma? Is that somewhere in Africa?

  137. #137 Marc Abian
    January 30, 2009

    No, Facilis. To be a witch you have to actually be able to do magic. Xians just believe that they can.

  138. #138 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    Gitmo detainees, 3 strikes laws, mandatory minimums, insane drug incarceration laws, racial discrimination laws in drug sentencing, predatory lending, eminent domain abuses, environmental regulations, every single freaking decision the Bush Supreme court has handed down – do you want more? The above is a bit to chew on for an appetizer.

    The once great ACLU used to be a pioneer of rights. Not anymore. They still do some good work, I shouldn’t berate them all that much. But the NAMBLA case is the perfect example of how far they’ve fallen. Civil Rights organization fighting the good fight? Buh-bye. No more.

  139. #139 MH
    January 30, 2009

    Yay, “The Witchsmeller Pursuivant” episode of Blackadder is on YouTube (in four parts).

    If you have never watched it, do so now. It’s a classic.

    First part here.

  140. #140 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 30, 2009

    Huuummmm… Still no reason to pay attention.

  141. #141 raven
    January 30, 2009

    If someone claims to be a Werewolf or Vampire, does that mean they exist?

    If someone claims that many Theothuglicans are Zombies, do Zombies exist? This claim even has a lot of evidence for it.

  142. #142 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    @Janine, Leftist Bozo-
    Yeah but you’re still reading it aren’t you luv? Give us a smile there now. Go on. :)

  143. #143 Holbach
    January 30, 2009

    Facilis @ 128

    That last sentence is fraught with insanity. Negative on both accounts. Prayers don’t work, and your imaginary god definitely does not exist. Now what is so hard to comprehend about these realisms? Let’s see your god. Pray to it, talk to it, convulse to it, I bet you cannot make it appear. Prayers and a god; convulsions and madness all wrapped up in the useless and non-existent. Your god is nothing, but you are something else. What a maroon.

  144. #144 Janine, Leftist Bozo
    January 30, 2009

    Oh, please be nice to Facilis. He is just sad that he cannot act on the idea that one should not suffer a witch to live.

  145. #145 Merrydol
    January 30, 2009

    Man, this brings me back. I was in high school right about then and the post-Columbine atmosphere included intense paranoia and a severe crack-down on any behavior that the Powers That Be didn’t like/understand or hadn’t heard of. At my school, people were suspended or expelled for everything from wearing too much black to keeping a sketchbook (yes, the art classes had pretty low attendance by the end of the year). Arbitrary searches, fenced in campus, the whole deal. In other words, it’s entirely possible that she was being hassled for social reasons. I still think that’s a harmful environment for young people to be trapped in, but since it’s not illegal to discriminate based on social tribe there’s not much a student can do.

    As for laughing at her threats… in junior high I knew a “witch” who wanted a popular guy to like her. She decided to cast a “love spell.” Turns out that the particular kind of woo she believed required that she sneak some of her blood into his drink. Threats are threats.

  146. #146 Anomic Entropy
    January 30, 2009

    @ raven, #125,

    In retrospect, I did quite a lot to piss off a few people. It just so happened that those few people were just the right people at just the right time and they rode the coattails of the satanism scare that was popular at the time.

    A few of the highlights of what I did wrong were (in no specific order): I was born and raised LDS and had been quite argumentative and antagonistic about what I perceived to be innacuracies and inequalities and had thereby alienated the people who would have been most likely to support me through what they could have perceived to be persecution against a church member. Oops. My bad. ;o) But my LDS upbringing already made me seem a little cultish to the more mainstream christian groups, so I was kind of screwed either way on that one. As my mother became more and more ill, I spent increasing amounts of time with a good friend whose family, at the time, was not particularly relgious. This friend’s family enjoyed occult horror movies and my friend’s older sister gave her a ouija board for her birthday. We played with it. While doing so, I thought it was kind of funny to mess with (scare) her and anyone else who joined in. This was probably my biggest mistake and, admittedly, pretty mean. It was around this time that my mom was admitted to the hospital (100 miles away) for treatment so I didn’t have a parent to moderate or buffer the shitstorm that came down when my friend’s family were saved/born again and, around the same time, I was discussing – at school – my suspicion that Christianity did not have all the answers. So, in retrospect, I did offer plenty of fuel for that fire, but even today I am still a litte confused and appalled at the ridiculous drama that exploded and went on for almost a year. I am astounded at how many people believed my links to satanism (links that did not exist – not that it matters) caused my mom’s cancer and that I was out at night killing animals and babies. Freaky stuff. But I was certainly uppity and antagonistic enough, early on, to help feed the fires.

    On the bright side, I learned at a young age how dangerous religious thinking and groupthink in general can be. :o)

  147. #147 Capital Dan
    January 30, 2009

    It always amazes me to see these gomers belch out how great America is for our freedoms in one breath, and then they turn around and prattle about the horrors of the ACLU.

    They will probably never understand the depths of their foolishness or fascism.

    Anyway, aside from that, in seeing that this case is from a decade ago, the only thing left to do is ask if this sort of thing could happen in today’s world. And, part of me thinks that we’ve moved forward to where it couldn’t. But, when it comes to the paranoid people of faith, there are always surprises, I guess.

  148. #148 CitizenVA
    January 30, 2009

    Actually, this story does NOT have a happy ending:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Not_Like_Everyone_Else

    What brought this to attention now I wonder?

    CVA

  149. #149 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    Cheyenne, you did not answer my question.

    Show me the specific cases that they did not get involved in directly as a result of them working on this case.

    Show your work.

    I also see you conveniently ignored the part about everyone’s rights being weakened.

  150. #150 Dark Jaguar
    January 30, 2009

    Okay, I had to check, and it’s in Tulsa, where I live. Not some remote countryside wasteland, Tulsa! I’m sickened by this. I just imagine she was an average goth girl, except this is an elementary school according to the listing I checked. At worst, she’s decked out in trinkets from Hot Topic. What’s wrong with these idiots? I never had to worry about this stuff when I was going to school, and I did go to school here!

    I get the distinct impression the longer I live here that the more the younger generation of Oklahoma turns progressive, the faster the older generation regresses in some sort of misguided attempt to keep things from changing. What an embarressment…

  151. #151 raven
    January 30, 2009

    @anomic entropy

    Sounds really terrible and weird.

    You didn’t do much wrong. If anything, you underestimated the terror, superstition, and bad judgement of the adults around you.

    It is easy to do so in the 21st century. Most of us are beyond that. Or so we think and hope.

    Horror/fantasy novels and movies are called “fiction” for a reason. They aren’t real and aren’t supposed to be considered real.

  152. #152 Donnie B.
    January 30, 2009

    Cheyenne,

    I happen to be a long-time member and contributor to the ACLU. I have no problem with them defending NAMBLA in that action — in fact their justification seems exactly right and I wholeheartedly support their defense of that principle. And no, in no way do I support the things NAMBLA advocates.

    So I ask you, are you (or have you been) a member and/or financial supporter of the ACLU? If so, I suggest you contact them directly to voice your objections. If not, what makes you think you have the right to tell them what cases they should take on?

  153. #153 Captn John
    January 30, 2009

    It would appear that the judge in this case ruled in favor of the school board. See: http://bubbaworld.com/witches.html

  154. #154 Patricia, OM
    January 30, 2009

    Facilis is the outcome of a badly done diarrhea spell.

  155. #155 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    @RevBigChimp
    “I also see you conveniently ignored the part about everyone’s rights being weakened.”

    Your rights and my rights are not being protected by having the ACLU defend people publicly promoting man on boy rape. And again, do they have a right to free speech? As disgusting as it is – yes. They do. It’s an entirely different matter to have a private organization take up their charge with lawyers and funding to defend them. I’m not denying their rights – I’m saying the ACLU is bottom feeding pathetic to have taken up this case. And it’s sad because they used to be a great organization.

    And I’m sorry but I’m not going to take the time to look up all the cases that they could have taken on instead of this one. There are 15 million statewide cases filed in the US every year (I don’t know the Fed number). Are you really going to say that there were absolutely no other cases that they could have handled instead of this one? No other cases of a black guy going to prison for 20+ years for a gram of crack while the white dude gets a home collar for 2 months for 20 grams of fluff? Their potential case load is staggering. And they chose (as one case) the boy rapers to defend.

    As an aside your name sounded just a bit familiar from something before (another science blog) so I googled it. Looks like you have a nice blog. I mean, not that I agree with you on this at all. Just saying, nice blog.

  156. #156 skyotter
    January 30, 2009

    “Your rights and my rights are not being protected by having the ACLU defend people publicly promoting man on boy rape.”

    way to make shit up

    *applause*

  157. #157 Jafafa Hots
    January 30, 2009

    “So, reading the AP’s account, this kid told other students she was going to hex them and she got suspended for that. It wasn’t that the school officials thought she actually was hexing people – it’s that her threat of hexing people disrupted the educational process.
    Sounds like the suspension was completely fair. The federal judge thought so too.”

    Well cool then – that means we can get people suspended for saying “I’ll pray for you…” right?

  158. #158 Cheyenne
    January 30, 2009

    No I’m obviously not a member of the ACLU. I really don’t want my money going to the boy raping group defense team.

    “If not, what makes you think you have the right to tell them what cases they should take on?”. Um, well, the Constitution for one I guess. I’m pretty sure I have the right to post a blog comment criticizing them. “Is this Russia Danny? This isn’t Russia.”

    I didn’t vote for George Bush or give money to his election either. Does that mean I shouldn’t criticize him? I can only criticize people I give money to?

  159. #159 Laser Potato
    January 30, 2009

    #155: Concern troll is really, terribly, awfully concerned.

  160. #160 BMcP
    January 30, 2009

    This says it all

    This article is over eight years old…. This girl would be out of college by now, I am sure we can find the resolution to this case. Heck we can even claim it was last century.

  161. #161 BMcP
    January 30, 2009

    This says it all

    This article is over eight years old…. This girl would be out of college by now, I am sure we can find the resolution to this case. Heck we can even claim it was last century.

  162. #162 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    Your rights and my rights are not being protected by having the ACLU defend people publicly promoting man on boy rape.

    Yes they are and that is specifically the point. Anyone’s rights to free speech are as important as any other person’s right. Just because you and I both find NAMBLA disgusting does not mean their right shouldn’t be protected. It is the same reason that NAZI’s and Ku Klux Klansmen’s right should be protected. It is the protection of the most vile people’s right that makes our rights stronger.

    What happens if your opinion isn’t one that someone find appealing and they try and stifle it.

    And I’m sorry but I’m not going to take the time to look up all the cases that they could have taken on instead of this one. There are 15 million statewide cases filed in the US every year (I don’t know the Fed number). Are you really going to say that there were absolutely no other cases that they could have handled instead of this one? No other cases of a black guy going to prison for 20+ years for a gram of crack while the white dude gets a home collar for 2 months for 20 grams of fluff? Their potential case load is staggering. And they chose (as one case) the boy rapers to defend.

    No you are MISSING THE POINT. You made a claim that they could be out there involved in other cases rather than this one. You have to show that this case is keeping them from being involved in any case, other wise that statement is meaningless.

    As an aside your name sounded just a bit familiar from something before (another science blog) so I googled it. Looks like you have a nice blog. I mean, not that I agree with you on this at all. Just saying, nice blog.

    thanks

  163. #163 spurge
    January 30, 2009

    Time to draft another check to the ACLU.

    I do this every time some moron starts whining about them.

  164. #164 Silverwhistle
    January 30, 2009

    From the student’s name, would I be right in assuming she’s Native American/First Nations?

  165. #165 Jonathan
    January 30, 2009

    When I was ten years, in Africa, with my missionary parents, I was helping to translate for a team of medical doctors from America. A woman had back pain and explained to one of the doctors about how a black dog had looked at her with an evil eye and that was when the back pain started. Later that day, the doctors and missionaries all laughed at the ridiculous superstition before praying in tongues for a successful evening service and rebuking any evil spirits that might try to interfere with the gospel message.

  166. #166 C. M. Baxter
    January 30, 2009

    Assistant Principal Charlie Bushyhead — LOL!

  167. #167 H.H.
    January 30, 2009

    Facilis @ #128 wrote:

    You do realise that a person can be a witch even if witchcraft doesn’t work right? That would be like claiming that there are no Christians because prayers do not work or God doesn’t exist.

    I would agree with this if the person self-identifies as a witch. I’ve heard of some people claim to be “white witches.” Yes, they are delusional and their spells don’t work, but as you point out, this is no more delusional than Christians’ belief in the power of prayer. But in this case, the girl self-identifies as a Wiccan, and the witch label seems to come from her accusers. So it would be considered derogatory and inflammatory to call this young girl a witch.

  168. #168 Leon
    January 30, 2009

    Or perhaps they could use the Witchsmeller Pursuivant’s test: “The defendant’s head is placed on a block and an ax is aimed at his neck. If the ax bounces off he is a witch, so we burn him. If the man is innocent, the ax will simply slice his head off.”

  169. #169 Rey Fox
    January 30, 2009

    Wait, wait, wait, hold up here. This case is NINE YEARS OLD?!

    “How would you have dealt with this situation, especially in the days after the Columbine High School massacre?”

    I’m thinking…complete and total scorched earth. Suspension for the witch, suspensions for the students who complained about the witch, a stern talking-to to the sick teacher, and the fields plowed with salt.

    Checking out that AP article, it appears that the school charged Blackbear with “disrupting the educational process”. I heard that one a lot in school. Basically, it’s for when administrators don’t like your attitude, but can’t pin anything specific on you. It’s also a convenient excuse for banning anything they don’t happen to like, such as baseball caps. To paraphrase Bill Cosby, “School administrators don’t want justice, they want QUIET.”

    In this case, I imagine that Blackbear was a somewhat quiet and unpopular student who found a convenient way to get the local Heathers off her back, little realizing that they would flip out to quite the degree they did.

    “Facilis is the outcome of a badly done diarrhea spell.”

    WIN.

  170. #170 Rivet Heretic
    January 30, 2009

    They made a TV movie out of this story in 2006 according to the Wikipedia article.

    According to the article, they lost the case.

  171. #171 JohnnieCanuck
    January 30, 2009

    74HCT04 would be my preferred amulet. Much faster reaction to the hex inputs and minimal draw down of your primary power source. It is also effective when converting from an older religion (TTL) to a modern (!) one.

    Strange how after all these years I still react when seeing street addresses in the 7400, 4000 and 8000 blocks. Those plus others like 741, 1489, 555 and 377.

    Well, at least I no longer have the pinouts memorised.

  172. #172 mayhempix
    January 30, 2009

    Between Cheyenne and Facilis, I can’t decide which one is more deficient in logic skills and reasoning.

  173. #173 Prometheus
    January 30, 2009

    “From the student’s name, would I be right in assuming she’s Native American/First Nations?”

    1/2. Her mom is Italian, she was raised catholic.

    When she was in school she liked Stephen King. The faculty was on the look-out for anybody with a copy of “Rage” because it was associated with Columbine and they confiscated one of Brandi’s short stories about a school bus shooting and flagged her.

    Mr. Kemp was the teacher she was accused of cursing. He had appendicitis, liked Brandi, and had no idea any of this was going on.

    She was writing a paper on the Goddess movement and had done that thing with a ball point pen on her palm where you can trace a Pythagorean pentagram on the lines of your hand.

    It was a fiasco and had to do with class issues as much as anything else.

    Of course it didn’t help that it all happened in Broken Arrow which is a constantly swirling vortex of conflict between Daddy Hagin’s flavor of Pentecostal crazy and Oral Roberts unique brand of cash and carry sensationalist Christianity.

  174. #174 Donnie B.
    January 30, 2009

    Cheyenne wrote:

    “If not, what makes you think you have the right to tell them what cases they should take on?”. Um, well, the Constitution for one I guess.

    Would that be the same Constitution the ACLU is actually making an effort to defend? If so, you owe me a new irony meter.

  175. #175 James
    January 30, 2009

    @163

    How the heck are you not completely broke by now.

    I tried that with a different cause, I had to give up after a short time for such things as food and rent.

    James

  176. #176 Tom L
    January 30, 2009

    “Your rights and my rights are not being protected by having the ACLU defend people publicly promoting man on boy rape.”

    It protects your right and my right to say something else — something completely unrelated to NAMBLA or pedophilia; say, maybe, that the war in Iraq is a unjustifiable enterprise, being conducted for the enrichment of an essentially criminal elite — that some powerful segment of society might find objectionable, and would seek to punish me for having the temerity to utter.

    As revolting as those people and their argument are, free speech is not free when only acceptable speech is protected. Yes, it really is that simple,

    “And again, do they have a right to free speech?”

    Better go read your Bill of Rights again. Slower this time. Move your lips, if it helps you understand the words.

  177. #177 Ramases
    January 30, 2009

    Posted by: Alverant | January 30, 2009 10:42 AM

    “Ramases #56, you have a point about the student being disruptive, but what do you think would have happened if instead of casting hexes she told the other students she prayed to God to smite them? There’s no real difference between a spell and a prayer, both invoke unnatural forces to affect someone else.”

    Alverant,

    A responsible school would take action against a student for bullying whether it involved threats about god or witchcraft, or anything else, or simply prolonged verbal abuse.

    It has been pretty clearly demonstrated that constant verbal bullying or abuse does have a very negative effect on kids, and can do considerable damage to their psychological state and educational achievement. It really does not matter whether it is about witchcraft or god or whatever, and it is incredibly naive to think you can simply tell 15 year old kids to get over it.

    In the past that is what schools did too often in the face of bullying.

    Ten days seems a rather excessive time for a suspension, but then I don’t know the full details or how long it went on for.

    The point is this really had nothing to do with suspending a student for witchcraft, but with taking action against what was probably prolonged bullying.

    Having been a teacher in the past I have some sympathy for the position of the school. If they had ignored they bullying and it had led to a psychological issues on the part of the students or even physical violence (which can happen if bullying is ignored) than the school would have got flack from the other direction – except that it would have been deserved.

    The whole story is an incredible beat up.

  178. #178 The Chemist
    January 30, 2009

    Bah! The term “witch-hunt” gets thrown around a lot these days if you ask me.

  179. #179 Karnalis
    January 30, 2009

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I have got to get the hell out of Oklahoma.

  180. #180 Romeo Vitelli
    January 30, 2009

    “Bah! The term “witch-hunt” gets thrown around a lot these days if you ask me.”

    Perhaps because witch-hunting is still happening. Children are certainly dying over it.

    http://drvitelli.typepad.com/providentia/2008/12/ghana-news-spiritual-leader-kills-boy-7-for-witchcraft-breaking-news-news-in-ghana-news.html

  181. #181 Thunderbird5
    January 30, 2009

    How reassuring to see more are reading the story and then coming on over to tell us either 1) that its 9 YEARS OLD!. And she LOST! or 2) the ZOMG/SM! terrible! Okies! kneejerks which show that this school district isn’t the only place possibly in need of some ability to discern beyond face-value. That’s ironic, that.

    Let’s also sort out the UK hospital ‘ghost’ while we’re at. Today (30/01) The Sun (one shitty tabloid) reported that said hospital was looking for an exorcism to be done on the chapel because some staff reported seeing a black-clad ghost.
    This story got taken up all over the shop but usually with some effort to add the facts. Which are: the hospital have denied all reports of exorcisms etc. All they’ve done is suggest that maybe the hospital chaplain might have a reassuring word with a couple of worried employees who think they saw ‘something’ in the new building.

    The Church of England would never perform or sanction an exorcism.

  182. #182 Ray
    January 30, 2009

    I know no one will probably read this, but while this case did happen almost a decade ago, and it was last century (the 20th), it also rolled over since then from the second to the third millennium. Pretty cool huh?

    Cheers and Happy Monkey,
    Ray

  183. #183 Pony
    January 30, 2009

    “The Church of England would never perform or sanction an exorcism.”

    Of course not. That would be CRAZY.

  184. #184 John Morales
    January 30, 2009

    Thunderbird5,

    The Church of England would never perform or sanction an exorcism.

    No?

  185. #185 R Hampton
    January 30, 2009

    Self-described witch claims UNL fired her unfairly
    Lincoln Journal Star, Dec 13, 2008

    A woman hired by the University of Nebraska to direct a youth program says in a lawsuit filed Dec. 5 that she was unfairly dismissed from her job. ?Plaintiff is a witch and the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft is her religion,? the suit says. In February 2007, the woman, identified as Jane Doe, took a job with the university and was satisfactory in her performance, according to her lawsuit. Then, her employer discovered she was a witch. ?When the defendant learned of plaintiff?s religion, plaintiff was terminated from her position, and was replaced by a non-witch,? the suit says.

    http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2008/12/13/news/local/doc4942c95fa06bc553104199.txt

  186. #186 Merkin Muffley
    January 30, 2009

    PK always takes things to extremes. They would only resort to torturing a witch if there was a hex threatening an entire city.

    I learned this by watching Jack Bauer on 24.

  187. #187 Stevo Darkly
    January 30, 2009

    167: ” ‘You do realise that a person can be a witch even if witchcraft doesn’t work right? That would be like claiming that there are no Christians because prayers do not work or God doesn’t exist.’”

    I would agree with this if the person self-identifies as a witch. I’ve heard of some people claim to be “white witches.” Yes, they are delusional and their spells don’t work, but as you point out, this is no more delusional than Christians’ belief in the power of prayer. But in this case, the girl self-identifies as a Wiccan, and the witch label seems to come from her accusers. So it would be considered derogatory and inflammatory to call this young girl a witch.

    Hold on a second. Are you aware that “Wiccan” and “witch” can be synomyms, as both derive from the Old English word “wicca”? Although use of the terms is apparently inconsistent (even when self-applied by people who presumably would know better) often Wiccans themselves will use the term “witch” to mean “adherent of the religion of Wicca” and describe themselves by that term.

    Can’t tell from the news sources, but it is very possible the girl did describe herself as a “witch” and by that term meant “adherent of the religion of Wicca.” If so, it is correct to say that she is a witch in that sense — regardless of whether the tenets of her religion are true, or whether she can cast spells as a “witch” in the more widely understood meaning of that term.

  188. #188 Xangi
    January 30, 2009

    This is bullcrap, I can’t believe that human beings are still this stupid.

  189. #189 Sitakali
    January 30, 2009

    Somehow the fact that she’s Native American makes the whole thing that much worse. I think it’s time for the South to secede from the Union.

  190. #190 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    Somehow the fact that she’s Native American makes the whole thing that much worse. I think it’s time for the South to secede from the Union.

    As a southerner I ask you to kindly go fuck yourself.

    Sir.

  191. #191 Sven DiMilo
    January 30, 2009

    No, no, wait…if there was no, like, heavy equipment? Like, backhoes ‘n’ shit? Then could there be heavy equipment operators??? Riddle me that one, Batman!

  192. #192 Pierce R. Butler
    January 30, 2009

    I hope this young lady from Mississippi has a better lawyer (and movie agent) than did the Blackbear clan.

  193. #193 T
    January 30, 2009

    #184. Wow. Woo.

    Odd. But having read it, I note the schtick by this self-formed Anglican group (presumably the Synod are still overly busy bending overly backwards placating anti-gay Commonwealth pensioners) is that ‘something’ (unsure what and the grauniad typically doesn’t pursue it) is done in consultation with psychiatrists as a ‘form of alternative medicine for the religious.’ And as some form of getting to and/or differentiating the religiously-inclined mentally ill.
    W.T.F.
    I find the half-informed presumption that these ‘psychiatrists’ are going along with yet another form of alternative medicine bollocks as infuriating as the truth this purports to report. And lo, good old latter-day lack of journo inquisitiveness and thoroughness strikes yet again. Did they just read some self-important Anglican coterie’s press release or did they actually bother to maybe seek further contact with these participating psychiatrists and inquire- entirely outside any risk to confidentiality and that – whether this was being done on the NHS? And maybe get a description of a typical example of what goes down and how it goes down and who gets to go home afterwards?

    Ok, so presumably the dear doddery Church of Cake-or-Death are not yet up to the Vatican level on exorcism (for viz. one Anneliese Michel being a blessed trolley for human sin and not a schizophrenic starved and harried to death by a self-fueling idiot circle of parent and priests). I have no torch to carry for the CoE (nor for any god-bothering crowd) but this post-modern touch of bandwagoning up on the plague of Daily-Mailesque hysteria, fakery, quackery and woo makes me almost as sick.

    oh n ZOMSM, did you guyz know that Okla witchy story was, like, so many 9 years ago it was not what century? it wuz last century! roflcopter! Wicca is blah blah blah blah blah

  194. #194 Thunderbird5
    January 30, 2009

    #193 self-edit.
    Penultimate para, line 5. Strike the ‘but’ (cue Beavis…) which makes it look like I’m defending Church of Cake-and-Death which would be al rong. Subs ‘and’ or ;

  195. #195 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 30, 2009

    #193 self-edit.
    Penultimate para, line 5. Strike the ‘but’ (cue Beavis…) which makes it look like I’m defending Church of Cake-and-Death which would be al rong. Subs ‘and’ or ;

    I anoint you in the royal order of typoists.

    I am your king.

  196. #196 plum grenville
    January 31, 2009

    ACLU press release on NAMBLA case:

    The legal argument that the parents of the victim are making is that NAMBLA’s publications fostered an atmosphere that caused the crime to take place. That’s right – they do not allege that there was anything that specifically instructed Jaynes to rape and kill a child, that either their publications or their website provided any material support for the crime, or even that it advocated committing such a crime, only that the “totality of the child sex environment” advocated by NAMBLA somehow caused this to happen. In fact, the defendants filed a motion early on in the case asking that the plaintiffs spell out specifically what statements or expressions in either the group’s publications or website could reasonably be construed as causing Jaynes to commit this crime. The amended complaint did not do so, referring instead only to the general “climate” fostered by NAMBLA. And herein lies the crux of the case.

    It’s not illegal to advocate a change in the laws, and nowhere in their complaint do the plaintiffs point to any statement made in any NAMBLA publication that urges that one violate the laws in place currently. And in most cases, it’s not even illegal to advocate breaking the law. Multiple court rulings have established that only if the advocacy carries a “clear and present danger” of an “imminent breach of the peace” can speech that advocates criminal behavior be censored and punished by law. This is known as the Brandenberg test because of the Supreme Court case it stems from, and the standard has been upheld several times by the Court, as recently as 2000. But the question at stake here is not so much whether the government can censor such speech, but whether the person or organization that advocates a change in the laws should be held responsible for the actions of someone who reads their material and thereafter breaks those laws.

    Doesn’t anybody else (besides cheyenne, who obviously can’t see past her hatred of pedophilia) think the ACLU’s defense of NAMBLA is strange? They seem to be saying that NAMBLA is advocating for a change in law to permit child rape and murder. I doubt that very much. To the best of my knowledge, they promote consensual sex between men and boys.

    Leaving aside the issue of whether children can meaningfully consent to sex (clearly they can consent – the issue is whether their consent should count), there is a big difference between sex involving force or threats of force (i.e., rape) and sex without force (generally called sexual abuse, not rape, when a child is involved).

    So the link between whatever HAMBLA wrote and the actions of the rapist/murderer is even more tenuous than the ACLU suggests. This sounds like a case of grieving parents succumbing to greed.

  197. #197 John Morales
    January 31, 2009

    Thunderbird5, it seems from the CofE site that they don’t take exorcism seriously, but symbolically, but they do have it (by popular demand!).

  198. #198 anon
    January 31, 2009

    Anomic Entropy

    Don’t you ever blame yourself- your kid self, your mixed up self, your pretty darn responsible at an age when no-one should have to be self for those fucktards actions. Don’t. I have never used the word fucktard before, but I will tell you that in the 1980′s I left my religious school because of groupthink. I left because people sincerely believed that listening to rock music was going to send me to hell. The administration would allow tribulation movies for grade seven and up to watch- movies about beheadings and tortures all because those who did not believe had been left behind. We had a speaker come in and tell us he had a satanic double that did bad things and scared us all about the devil. Our science presentations were on creationism. I always went to a mainstream church and this shit was scary, having had no frame of reference for it. We just loved everyone- really. There was no fire and brimstone, just a focus on helping others. Our church outings involved current music and current movies- unlike school. Because of my church, my choice of music, and someone ELSE thinking they were pregnant by someone I had once dated all of a sudden i became a target. It was crazy making, and it took me years to not be the afraid of god person that I am today. Even though when i was just 16 I had serious doubts. I don’t give a shit what you did- those people were horrid, evil and sick, and they should never have treated you like that. Ever. But because of their own stupidity and fear they made your life horrible during a most difficult time. Fucktards plain and simple. FUCKTARDS.

  199. #199 Paul
    January 31, 2009

    I can’t believe that Nambla case is still being dragged up. Why not bring up the ACLU’s defense of the Ku Klux Klan for a change? That was more recent. Apparently some people don’t get that the main point of the ACLU isn’t to defend individual people, it’s to defend the constitution.

    It doesn’t matter if the individual is a pedophile or a racist… or a wannabe spellcaster. If the constitution is getting trampled it’s a worthy cause for the ACLU. In fact in opinion the ACLU has been too squeamish about which cases they take up of late.

  200. #200 Parker
    January 31, 2009

    I graduated from Jenks high school. We were Union’s op rivals in sports and only about 10 miles apart. I can’t believe this shit happened so close. I’m shocked, ashamed, and deeply concerned for the present state of Oklahoma.

  201. #201 Chas
    January 31, 2009

    Well, as an Okie, I’m glad to see that story was from the last millennium. Now, if only I was confident that this could not happen in this millennium.

  202. #202 Sitakali
    January 31, 2009

    Rev. BigDumbChimp Said:

    As a southerner I ask you to kindly go fuck yourself.

    Sir.

    I would very kindly, but I don’t have a penis. Sir.

    Would you feel comfortable going outside of the city of Charleston wearing a pentacle around your neck? How about if you’re not white? How would you feel if you no longer had to deal with the superstitious nitwits who force their religion and values down your throat?

    Let’s face it, the states in the United States are like their own nations, and many of the Southern “nations” may as well have time-travelled from the Civil War. I’m sure you’re working your hardest to change South Carolina from the inside, but sometimes, you may understand this, people get sick of fighting and just want all the dipshits to go away. The idea that anywhere in the US, it is still dangerous to walk around in broad daylight if you’re gay or black, or may get persecuted if you’re not Christian, just makes me moderately peeved.

  203. #203 Twin-Skies
    January 31, 2009

    Up until now, several large Christian churches here in Manila STILL think Magic Cards, Pokemon (WTF???) and Harry Potter have a Satanic agenda.

    You’re not alone in the world, Oklahoma.

  204. #204 Bezoar
    January 31, 2009

    aghast!

  205. #205 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 31, 2009

    I would very kindly, but I don’t have a penis. Sir.

    Ooops. Sorry. Ok that was harsh.

    Would you feel comfortable going outside of the city of Charleston wearing a pentacle around your neck? How about if you’re not white? How would you feel if you no longer had to deal with the superstitious nitwits who force their religion and values down your throat?

    I would go outside in Charleston in all the above. Do you think that blacks and gays or atheists are auto-attacked on sight in the streets of every city in the south? Yes I’d love to not deal with superstitious nitwits but painting the entire south with the same brush is sloppy reasoning and incorrect.

    Let’s face it, the states in the United States are like their own nations, and many of the Southern “nations” may as well have time-travelled from the Civil War.

    Ignorant and wrong. Some people in those states sure, but entire states, no. Come to Charleton and Mrs. BigDumbChimp and I will take you out for a drink and I can prove this in seconds.

    I’m sure you’re working your hardest to change South Carolina from the inside, but sometimes, you may understand this, people get sick of fighting and just want all the dipshits to go away.

    Throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    The idea that anywhere in the US, it is still dangerous to walk around in broad daylight if you’re gay or black, or may get persecuted if you’re not Christian, just makes me moderately peeved.

    So you plan on throwing Every state out because those things happen EVERYWHERE. Racism and Homophobia are not sole possessions of the south. Sure I’m willing to admit that there are probably a larger percentage in some areas in the south, but that doesn’t mean the whole south. It’s a huge leap of logic to try and make that assertion or even one that most people think that way. It’s a Fallacy of composition and doesn’t help your point one bit.

    What if I said I wanted Idaho kicked out of the Union because of the number of White Supremacists I the state? Or maybe just the Coeur d’Alene area?

    I really think you’ve got some completely ignorant and provably false opinions on the south. My gay and black friends walk around Charleston just fine. As do people I know in Charlotte, Atlanta, Wilmington, Jacksonville, Winston-Salem, Birmingham, etc.. Sure there are places that even I wouldn’t go in the more back woods areas but that’s more to do with the people not the location. And yes Crimes do happen, but they happen everywhere.

    Maybe we should kick California out? New jersey? Humm, looks like Mississippi and Alabama are pretty safe.

    Yes I know reporting is probably an issue in some states but California seems like it definitely needs to be kicked out of the union.

    Make arguments against people who are responsible. When you use a broad brush to include entire geographic locations you weaken your argument.

    Where are you from?

  206. #206 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2009

    As for laughing at her threats… in junior high I knew a “witch” who wanted a popular guy to like her. She decided to cast a “love spell.”

    Laugh her out of the room at that stage.

    Turns out that the particular kind of woo she believed required that she sneak some of her blood into his drink. Threats are threats.

    How is that a threat? Can malaria or something be transmitted that way?

  207. #208 Facilis
    January 31, 2009

    I’m curious as to how people here berate Catholic priests for having relationships with boys but still defend NAMBLA. But then again if atheists had to be consistent….

  208. #209 Nerd of Redhead
    January 31, 2009

    Facilis, ever wonder why you haven’t been plonked yet? Free speech. Either everybody has it or nobody has it. Also, since you seem too dense to pick it up on your own, speech is not actions. The Cat-o-lick priests did nasty things to the boys, actions. The RCC tried to cover it up. That made them morally culpable.

  209. #210 Patricia, OM
    January 31, 2009

    I wonder why he hasn’t been plonked yet.

    I’m also wondering where SC and Emmet are.

    Slutty minds are inquiring.

  210. #211 chat
    January 31, 2009

    bvery good sites

  211. #212 Matt Heath
    January 31, 2009

    I’m curious as to how people here berate Catholic priests for having relationships with boys but still defend NAMBLA. But then again if atheists had to be consistent….

    Either:
    1) show me one commenter who has supported NAMBLA’s right to free speech but denied the RCC’s right to free speech;

    2) show me one commenter who has supported NAMBLA’s boy-fucking but not priests boy-fucking (or even just one who has supported NAMBLA’s boy-fucking) or;

    3) stfu.

  212. #213 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 31, 2009

    I’m curious as to how people here berate Catholic priests for having relationships with boys but still defend NAMBLA. But then again if atheists had to be consistent….

    You’re an idiot or your reading comprehension sucks… or both.

  213. #214 Patricia, OM
    January 31, 2009

    I’m beginning to think Facilis shops at the same poker factory as Walton.

  214. #215 Nerd of Redhead
    January 31, 2009

    Patricia, Walton is young, and he often reminds me of participating in bull sessions in college where we solved the problems of the world for that night, often with whacky ideas. This may not be the best forum for that type of discussion, but Walton has an idea of his limits and has a respect for scientists. He’s a bit prudish, but I suspect that will change rapidly when he finds a special someone.
    Facilis, on the other hand, knows not his limits (he is way past them), and has no respect for scientists. And has a huge buttplug up his wazoo. I’m still seething at him calling what he does as science. Now, if we could just get him to make fun of PZ’s beard…

  215. #216 Patricia, OM
    January 31, 2009

    Nerd, you’re right about Facilis. Unfortunately the funding to hire the Lady Chablis to remove Walton’s poker is a failure, so we’re just going to have to live with it.

    Somebody could always morph Facilis saying he’s seen better beards than PZ’s on a nanny goat….

  216. #217 Sondra
    January 31, 2009

    I also noticed the date was 2000 – so now I’d like to know how it turned out.

  217. #218 Sondra
    January 31, 2009

    I searched their website and it looks like they won.

    American Civil Liberties Union : ACLU Cases Defending Religious Freedom
    … prevailed in their case on behalf of an … As a result of the ACLU’s advocacy, a federal court … (This case is also listed in Part I. … 9 on behalf of 15-year-old Brandi Blackbear, an honor student …
    http://www.aclu.org/religion/govtfunding/26526res20060824.html

  218. #219 Sitakali
    January 31, 2009

    Rev. BigDumbChimp:

    For god’s sake, my comment about the South seceding from the Union was joke. It was in poor taste, inspired by anger at a country that I felt so uncomfortable in that I ended up leaving it altogether. Don’t treat me like an idiot. I’ve been to the South; my ex-boyfriend is from College Station, Texas. I felt ill the whole time there. I was surrounded by Bush/Cheney bumper-stickers and people making jokes about “niggers.” Even southern Ohio was too much for me; I lived there for three years.

    My second post was trying to explain why I made the joke, but apparently you thought I was trying to back up a conviction about separating the South from the US. I’m not the only one who has made that joke; when I talk to people about all the shit that goes on there we all make jokes about getting rid of the South.

    As for the states, they are very much like countries, with their own laws and governments. I liken it to the EU; each state is a European nation. And yes, the South is definitely unique. The confederate flags waving, the KKK handing out pamphlets to all the “scared whites” (this happened at my college in Southern Ohio).

    Yes, there is racism in the North. But it’s more like someone saying something stupid about a specific stereotype, not about scaring minorities half to death. Do I think minorities are threatened with their life in the South? Yes. And I most certainly didn’t pull that out of my ass.

    My other experience with the South was when my ex was given a harsher sentence for having marijuana than someone would if they were carrying a concealed, unlicensed weapon (or if they had cocaine on them instead); this was in Atlanta, Georgia, supposedly the most liberal part of Georgia. But the state laws still apply to every city in that state. And there aren’t any cities I’ve been to in the northern US that have mega-churches with big neon crosses.

    I work very hard every day to see human beings for what they are: human beings. I defend liberals to conservatives and conservatives to liberals. So you’ll have to excuse me if I get a little pissed off every once in a while, and I let my “open-minded sensitive girl” guard down.

    As I said, sometimes I just want all the dipshits to go away. I hardly see how that’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I was specifically referring to the dipshits; was there a baby in there that I missed?

    Don’t call me ignorant. You don’t know me. You don’t know about how I take the opportunity to talk sincerely to proselytizers about spirituality; you don’t know about my backround in mediation and conflict resolution; and you certainly know nothing about how half the time when I try to be open minded, I get a smack in the face as my reward.

  219. #220 maezeppa
    January 31, 2009

    ACLU needs to demand evidence of casting the ‘hex’ and evidence the ‘hex’ sickened the teacher.

  220. #221 Sebastian
    January 31, 2009

    As I understand the AP article about the lawsuit, the judge dismissed the case before trial, because he felt, based on her depositions, that she was not a real believer in the wiccan religion and therefore her suspension and the prohibition against wiccan symbols and paraphernalia could not be violations of her constitutional rights.

    That sounds both technically legal and incredibly weaselly.

  221. #222 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 31, 2009

    Sitakali

    Ok. I over reacted to a joke and subsequent comments you made.

    I’m willing to admit it. However

    My second post was trying to explain why I made the joke, but apparently you thought I was trying to back up a conviction about separating the South from the US. I’m not the only one who has made that joke; when I talk to people about all the shit that goes on there we all make jokes about getting rid of the South.

    This supports my point. You may consider them a joke, but many people actually think that the south is a mostly homogeneous place filled with idiots, racists and homophobes. I get tired of the stereotypes. And the thing is, those things you mention above are such a small small and infrequent occurrence that bringing them up in a discussion like this makes it seem like they are frequent, or at least you think that any given day i can walk down the street in Charleston or Atlanta or Birmingham and have someone hand me a KKK flier. I have never in my 37 years had that happen or seen it. Herd about it, maybe once or twice a long time ago.

    My other experience with the South was when my ex was given a harsher sentence for having marijuana than someone would if they were carrying a concealed, unlicensed weapon (or if they had cocaine on them instead); this was in Atlanta, Georgia, supposedly the most liberal part of Georgia. But the state laws still apply to every city in that state. And there aren’t any cities I’ve been to in the northern US that have mega-churches with big neon crosses.

    Are you trying to reinforce my point? Those are attended by certain people. Not everyone. Yes we have some stupid laws but so does every state. Try getting busted in Utah with Mushrooms or Pot some time.

    Attacking “the South” instead of ” the redneck fundamentalist assholes” is a completely different thing.

    Don’t call me ignorant. You don’t know me.

    True, but the statements you made above and the continued use of specific anecdotes make me question if you understand that you are still trying to paint a whole giant area with the same brush.

    Yes, there is racism in the North. But it’s more like someone saying something stupid about a specific stereotype, not about scaring minorities half to death. Do I think minorities are threatened with their life in the South? Yes. And I most certainly didn’t pull that out of my ass.

    Why don’t you go after California. Did you see the per capita hate crimes there in the map I linked to? See how most of the southern states are blue and see how blue represents less per capita hate crimes? I think you’re drawing inferences from stories you’ve been told that reinforce the stereo type that the south is dangerous no matter what for blacks and gays. It’s just not true. if you didn’t pull it out of your ass show me the data that backs it up.

    and you certainly know nothing about how half the time when I try to be open minded, I get a smack in the face as my reward.

    No I don’t. But you certainly weren’t being open minded here. You claimed it was all a big joke and then went into a long anecdote quoting post about all the reasons it isn’t a joke.

    Seriously. I’m sure you are a stand up woman who in any other circumstance we’d agree on many things but on this I find you to be coming off as reacting instead of thinking.

    I apologize for any name calling and such on my part. It was uncalled for.

  222. #223 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    January 31, 2009

    bah stupid typos

  223. #224 CortxVortx
    January 31, 2009

    In the interest of improving infrastructure, I say, build a bridge out of her.

  224. #225 Sitakali
    February 1, 2009

    BigDumbChimp:

    I am not going to argue with you anymore, as I have obviously hit a nerve regarding your home. Many people feel this way about their own country as well, that no matter how much they disagree with it, if someone from the outside insults it, they have no right to.

    The fact of the matter is I left the States because it never felt like my country, it was alien to me in a lot of ways from the day I was born. I moved to New Zealand with my family two years ago to get away. I have never felt that connected to a place, so maybe I’ll never understand.

  225. #226 Patricia, OM
    February 1, 2009

    Come sit by me Chimpy. I got a bacon sandwich and some apple jack. We can go on about TV weather forecasters. Discussing the late unpleasantness upsets my delicate nostrils.

  226. #227 Patricia, OM
    February 1, 2009

    I got – typo’s too.

    DangDumbChimpess

  227. #228 Uncle Glenny
    February 2, 2009

    I can’t believe no one mentioned Sarah Palin or Thomas Muthee!

  228. #229 MNO
    February 2, 2009

    Scott H (#22) is correct. The accusations took place ten years ago, after Columbine. Girl was scaring her classmates, boasted that she’d made the ceramics teacher ill, and wrote what she called a “hit list” of her own. Lawsuit filed in 2000, dismissed on summary judgment on July 17, 2002 in favor of the defendants. (U.S.D.C., Northern District of Oklahoma, Court file No.00-cv-0922-EA (X)). In a 30 page opinion, each of the claims she made were debunked, the discipline imposed found to be reasonable, and the case wasn’t even allowed to go to trial. The Court specifically found that the high school officials weren’t aware of her religious affiliation when they first disciplined her. Brandi and her father were ordered to pay the costs of the other parties. They apparently started to appeal to the Tenth Circuit, but dropped it in December 2002.

  229. #230 Dave
    February 5, 2009

    It’s already been addressed, but I got back a response from O PS (I had also missed that it was very old). Suit was dropped as frivolous, and current policy doesn’t address Christian v. non-Christian clothing.

  230. #231 hery
    January 25, 2010

    I thought it was kind of funny to mess with (scare) her and anyone else who joined in