Remember a couple years ago when a South Carolina middle school held a mandatory assembly featuring evangelist Christian Chapman and horrible Christian rapper B-SHOC? A suit was filed and the school agreed to a consent decree forbidding a huge range of clearly unconstitutional actions by the school. A South Carolina newspaper now tells the story of the abuse endured by the family that filed that suit:
“I had tons of bullying, just awful stuff I don’t even want to repeat,” Jordan said. “When some people make those death threats, they almost make you think they’ll really kill you.”…
A year after “winning” their case — the family received a $2 monetary reward along with assurances that the district would change its ways — Jordan and company are still dealing with the fallout, which has ostracism and worse.
The real question facing the family now may not be whether Jordan goes back to school, but whether he goes back in Chesterfield County…
As Jordan got older and learned more about science and read more about religious history, parts of the Bible he had taken as fact just weren’t adding up for him any more. After a lot of research, including looking into both Judaism and Islam, Jordan, like his father by that time, decided that he wanted no part in organized religion. Belief in a higher power just didn’t match up with what he knew to be true, so he decided he was an atheist, too.
Of course in the small, homogenous community of Chesterfield County, a largely rural area near the heart of the Bible Belt, that didn’t sit well with his peers, or his teachers, as he learned over several years with the educators.
After Jordan professed his belief during classroom discussions, word got out.
Young girls attempted to pray over him on the school bus, trying to convert him. Teachers singled him out in class for not being a believer. One year a teacher told her class that Jordan was the reason they couldn’t play Christmas-themed games in school, since he wasn’t a believer. (Jordan said he actually loves the festive spirit of Christmas, and like his classmates was disappointed).Even fairly mundane infractions with middle school rules turned into a proselytizing expedition. When Jordan got in trouble for not wearing a belt — part of the school’s dress code because of sagging pants issues — then-principal Larry Stinson required him to write an essay as punishment. For the essay to be accepted, Jordan said, it had to end by thanking both Stinson and God for allowing him to write the essay and by proclaiming how God would help him remember the dress code in the future…
School got tougher and tougher.
“I’ll put it bluntly,” Jonathan said. “There were a couple of kids telling him if he doesn’t get himself to God, they’re going to kick his ass. Yeah, it’s very Christian-ly.”
Before long the whole family was feeling the community backlash.
“People pulled up right at the edge of the road and cussed Amy out,” Jonathan said.
Said Amy, “Oh yeah, people would drive up in our yard, honk the horn and flip us off. We are still called ‘the dark forces’ sometimes. I’ve heard that a lot.”…
“You can only take so much of people telling you your husband needs to have his head bashed in and your son needs to do this or that before you go, ‘OK, really?’” Amy said. “We just had plenty of death threats.”
I’m trying to contact the Anderson family right now, through some South Carolina people I know and through their attorneys. I’d really like to interview them. Here’s a video from B-SHOC that was deleted, but the FFRF saved it. Pay particular attention to it from about 2:30 on, when a local pastor is instructing a bunch of adult volunteers on how to get the kids to come to Christ after the assembly. And at about 3:05, when Christian Chapman is in front of the students delivering a sermon about how they need a “relationship with Jesus.” And then at about 4 minutes, Chapman tells parents that the principal of the school told him that he didn’t care if he got in trouble for this, he was going to make sure the students heard the Christian message. And then around 5:00, they brag about how many kids they converted.