This is one of those stories that has everything it takes to make me really angry - bigotry, intolerance, and the smug, self-satisfied smirk the religious right gets on its face when they do something particularly evil and oppressive.
The story starts with Jews on First, with a post titled, Jewish family flees Delaware school district's aggressive Christianity:
A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."
The behavior of the Indian River School District board suggests the families' fears are hardly groundless.
The district spreads over a considerable portion of southern Delaware. The families' complaint, filed in federal court in February 2005, alleges that the district had created an "environment of religious exclusion" and unconstitutional state-sponsored religion.
Among numerous specific examples in the complaint was what happened at plaintiff Samantha Dobrich's graduation in 2004 from the district's high school. She was the only Jewish student in her graduating class. The complaint relates that local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for "our heavenly Father's" guidance for the graduates with:I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus' name.
See what I mean? But that's not it - not by a long shot. The suit alleges that:
The district's "custom and practice of school-sponsored prayer" was frequently imposed "on impressionable non-Christian students," which violated their constitutional rights.
The district ignored the Supreme Court's 1992 Lee decision limiting prayer at graduation ceremonies -- even after a district employee complained about the prayer at her child's 2003 graduation..
District teachers and staff led Bible clubs at several schools. Club members got to go to the head of the lunch line.
While Bible clubs were widely available, student book clubs were rare and often canceled by the district.
When Jane Doe complained that her non-Christian son "Jordan Doe" was left alone when his classmates when to Bible club meetings, district staff insisted that Jordan should attend the club, regardless of his religion.
The district schools attended by Jordan and his sister "Jamie Doe" distributed Bibles to students in 2003, giving them time off from class to pick up the books.
Prayer --often sectarian -- is a routine part of district sports programs and social events
One of the district's middle schools gave students the choice of attending a special Bible Club if they did not want to attend a lesson on evolution.
A middle school teacher told students there was only "one true religion" and gave them pamphlets for his surfing ministry.
Samantha Dobrich's honors English teacher frequently discussed Christianity, but no other religion.
Students frequently made mandatory appearances at district board meetings -- where they were a captive audience for board members' prayers to Jesus.
According to JoF, "The Dobriches said the prayers to Jesus' ruined the graduation experience for Samantha. Mona Dobrich, Samantha's mother, repeatedly called district officials to complain. A board member told her she would have to get the matter put on a meeting agenda -- then refused to put it on the agenda. The school superintendent slipped the topic onto the agenda and then told Mona Dobrich she would need to raise it during the public comment period."
Are we done? Nope. Things get worse. This is one effed up nazi community. Here are just a few of the reactions to complaints.
The board opened the June 15, 2004 meeting at which Dobrich was prepared to speak with a prayer in Jesus' name. The board was not forthcoming to her request that official prayers be in "God's name" rather than in Jesus' name. The high school athletic director veered from his agenda topic to encourage the board to keep praying in Jesus' name.
The district board announced the formation of a committee to develop a religion policy. And the local talk radio station inflamed the issue.
On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meetng. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.
The complaint recounts that the raucous crowd applauded the board's opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him: "take your yarmulke off!" His statement, read by Samantha, confided "I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy."
A state representative spoke in support of prayer and warned board members that "the people" would replace them if they faltered on the issue. Other representatives spoke against separating "god and state."
A former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might "disappear" like Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. O'Hair disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.
The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north."
In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.
Classmates accused Alex Dobrich of "killing Christ" and he became fearful about wearing his yarmulke, the complaint recounts. He took it off whenever he saw a police officer, fearing that the officer might see it and pull over his mother's car. When the family went grocery shopping, the complaint says, "Alexander would remove the pin holding his yarmulke on his head for fear that someone would grab it and rip out some of his hair."
Nice little nazis for Jesus, huh? The families finally moved out. For the religious right dickheads, it was mission accomplished. Done now? Not even close.
Two rightwing legal groups got in on 'defending the school district'. See, this wasn't a case so much of a bunch of antisemitic cavemen harassing families, as it was an attack on christianity. That's right, if you complain about being forced to be christian, you're attacking them.
The first group was the Rutherford Institute, which prepared a prayer policy for the school district. You have to take their word for it, though. The district hasn't made the policy public.
At this point, we come to the second rightwing group, Stop the ACLU. For Stop the ACLU, driving the families from the district wasn't enough - they had to be punished. This is where things take a particularly evil turn. From Dispatches from the Culture Wars:
The lawsuit was actually filed almost a year and a half ago, flatlander. Among the things I Googled up about it was a STACLU page which gave out the Dobrich's home address and telephone number.
In a STACLU writeup of the board's rejection of the settlement offer, there's this marvelously garbled sentence:
"The Indian River School District deserves a standing ovation from us for boldly and unanimously rejecting the ACLU's claims of monetary extortion and intimidation in trying to persuade them from public prayer before their meetings. "
The information at that link has been removed and replaced with this - demonstrating what deepthinkers Stop the ACLU are:
To All Liberal Lovin' ACLU Lefties:
You may think you have gained the upper hand by the removal of this previous page's content. I assure you that is not only not the case but we will be doing many other things to annoy you and tell you the truth about the ACLU.
It was suggested, NOT compelled or mandated, by our legal counsel to delete the content and thus take this page out of your arsenal. In its place, we will continue to post ACLU supporting lawyers and companies like Progressive Insurance and the Ford Foundation so that we may boycott them from ever getting our money and business.
In addition, we will put up more stories with commentary on the ACLU and many others tangible and legal ways we can to thwart them. So we are going nowhere, whether you like it or not.
And if you don't think we should exist, you should read the 1st Amendment.
And here's a challenge to you ACLU loving lefties. Point out to me in the U.S. Constitution where the phrase "separation of church and state" exists. Anyone who can find that will be handsomely rewarded.
So take the challenge.
What a dick, huh? Jesus' General jumped into the fray and wrote Kareiva this congratulatory note:
Director, Stop the ACLU Coalition
Dear Mr. Kareiva,
Please allow me to be the first to thank you and the staff of Stop The ACLU for all you did to make the Indian River Pogrom such a resounding success. It isn't easy to run a Jewish family out of town in these politically correct times. Usually, they just hunker down, hiding behind antiquated interpretations of the Constitution and the good will of those who wrongly believe that non-Christians are entitled to all of the benefits of citizenship.
But this time, the family fled, and I think you deserve partial credit for making that happen. After all, you did publish their name, address, and phone number on your web site (see screen cap below) as part of your "Expose ACLU Plaintiffs" project. It certainly wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that such information gave people the tools they needed to drive the Dobrich family from their home.
Of course, you didn't do it all by yourself. The good god-fearing Christians of the Indian River School District deserve most of the credit. They took to the task of ethnic cleansing with a vengeance , not sparing anyone discomfort, not even the Dobrich children:
[stuff I've already covered omitted; Wisco]
Congratulations again for the success of your pogrom. I'm sure it's only the first of many more to come as we retake our great nation in Jesus' name.
Gen. JC Christian, patriot
Not only was Karieva totally uninsulted by the word 'pogrom', he wrote JC back saying he was 'pleased we had an effect in this case'.
Pogrom? I'm not sure I want to call it that. That is not an appropriate term, however, I am pleased that we had an effect in this case. We have others we want to put up on the site to shame them but have not gotten around to it. And I'm not so sure I can take credit for it. However, if an ACLU speaker was booed, that's music to my ears.
I would appreciate it if you would sign your actual name rather than JC Christian.
He's not sure he wants to call it a pogrom... Nice to have that grey area between being a dumbass and a bigot wide open, huh?
This is it, this is the face of the religious right - and this is why I despise them. Anything short of being a fully-programmed evangelical robot is an attack on their religion. They are remorseless, thoughtless, shameless, and hateful. Despite their talk about a nation based on 'judeo-christian principles', they are antisemitic. Heretics must burn, dissent must be crushed, and only the state-sanctioned religion must be allowed.
I can say it without hyperbole; they want to be the American Taliban. The religious right is a supremacist hate group.