Let’s say you lived in Giles County, Va., a rural enclave of about 17,000 people in the southwestern portion of the state. Let’s say you were a high school student and you were opposed to the school board’s decision to post the Ten Commandments in your school.
Would you be eager to be public about it?
Nope. I’ve learned too much about how a great many people feel about perceived attacks on their religion.
At AU, we know from experience that plaintiffs in church-state lawsuits can and do experience harassment. When we sued Judge Roy Moore, Alabama’s infamous “Ten Commandments judge,” the plaintiffs were named. That means people could track them down – and some did.
During the litigation, plaintiff Melinda Maddox , who was newly married, returned from her honeymoon to find that the windows of her house had been shot out.
As I noted in a February blog post about plaintiffs in church-state cases, it can take real courage to stand up for church-state separation in court. Consider the case of Joann Bell, a mother in Little Axe, Okla., who protested religious activity in her children’s public schools in 1981. Her home was burned down by an arsonist.
But don’t forget: religion makes people better.