Another Story for the Book

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.

http://youtu.be/OroiFsPhEpk

POPULAR AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1360322113 aaronbaker

    Ah, Christian charity!

  • http://dododreams.blogspot.com/ John Pieret

    Ye shall know them by their fruits.

  • Doug Little

    Religion poisons everything.

  • countagion

    Ye shall know them by their fruits.

    Leave poor Lindsey Graham alone!

  • http://dododreams.blogspot.com/ John Pieret

    Leave poor Lindsey Graham alone!

    Thank Matthew for the … um … straight line.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Liars and intimidators for jesus!

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    The link to the newspaper story is incorrect. It just links back to the previous blog entry. The story can be found here: http://www.scnow.com/news/education/article_8e2f2a06-a574-11e2-aa67-001a4bcf6878.html

  • embertine

    I don’t see how they can claim to have “converted” the kids, when the poor little sods have been brainwashed pretty much from birth to accept Christ as their Saviour. “Reinforced through social conditioning” might be a better way of putting it.

  • busterggi

    Christian persecution is no myth, its just that its the Christians who practice it on others.

  • baal

    Thugs for christ.

    Anyone know of follow up from the local or related denominations? Could we send letters to the local priests, pastors and other figureheads asking them to sermonize on the value of treating non-believers with decency or are on the whole ok with the bad acts of their followers (commentariat)?

  • kermit.

    baal – in 1967 my algebra teacher explained to the boys in class that if they wanted to beat up Randy (the first boy in school to grow his hair long) they should do it off school grounds , so they would n’t get in trouble and the school wouldn’t be placed in the “awkward” position of having to chastise them for their behavior.

    The school superintendent at a pep rally said that “I don’t care what the state supreme court said*, if any boys came to school next year with long hair, I will cut it off with garden shears”. (He didn’t.)

    Sooo… going to the local moral authorities might only get them tips on how to be vicious and get away with it.

    On a happier note, my friend Randy dropped out of school when he was 16 and spent the next two years bird watching, canoeing, and going to the library. When he was 18 he got his GED, took the SAT, and started college with everybody else. I’m still jealous, 50 years later…

    * The NJ Supreme Court had decided that public schools could have a dress code, but not a hair code.

  • Nomad

    Calling resident tone troll dan4. I expect you to give Raven some serious ass kissing after the way you sneered at the statement that Christians would use threats and bullying to try to take back what they’re losing legally. I believe you suggested that to make such a statement one would have to be able to see the future.

    Well I expect you to be hailing Raven as having the ability to see the future now. I mean, there’s no other way that such a prediction could have been made, is there? You certainly didn’t see any.

  • grumpyoldfart

    If the Christians ever regain political power they will have no trouble recruiting torturers for the Inquisitions. Even the school children will be clamoring for a chance to turn the thumbscrew.

  • peterh

    A really terrible way to realize how John Proctor felt when others laid claim to his conscience.

    The wrong group will recognize the reference.

  • Nomad

    I’m still waiting, dan4. Come on, tell me how it’s unreasonable to predict that religiously motivated individuals will use threats of violence to enforce their belief system on people. Tell me how it’s “mind reading” to suggest that people will do exactly as has been documented in this thread. Come on Dan, tell me. Be the voice of reason that tells me, as an entire fucking community has committed to using threats of violence to enforce their primitive belief structure, that we all just need to be fucking nice. Come on, tell me.