Bullies for Christ

A public school in Giles, VA somehow thought posting the ten commandments in the school wasn’t a breach of separation of church and state.  An anonymous student at the school has agreed to be the plaintiff in the case against the school.  Now the Liberty Counsel is representing the school and trying to get the court to demand the plaintiff’s identity be revealed.

Ed Brayton hits the nail on the head.

…there is one and only one reason for such a demand — the hope that bullying and intimidation by others in the community would force them to drop the suit. In other words, thuggery in defense of Christian privilege.

Weren’t these the same people who wanted to keep major donors to the “Yes on Prop 8″ campaign anonymous?

Adults, hypocritical adults ganging up to intimidate…a high school student.  Think Damon Fowler and the Christian community that would sooner destroy the life of a teen-aged boy than obey the law was an isolated case?  Think again.

Think Christianity is a link to compassion or moral goodness?  Think again.

Religions like Christianity don’t win by having the best arguments – they win by being ideological bullies.  They win by constructing a world where fear of being ostracized from one’s family or fear of losing one’s job or any number of social penalties keep the opposition nice and quiet.  You want to win?  Show them those tactics won’t work!  Push back and push back hard! 

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • http://sheilacrosby.com Sheila Crosby

    Any suggestions for how we push back? I’m willing to help, but mad busy, and I doubt that I’m the only one.

  • John Eberhard

    Absolutely right. Greta also did an excellent post on pushing back recently.

    You were raised in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas, Son, and I am glad you learned that when someone pushes you, you push back!

    They want to keep us intimidated, silent, in the closet, and on the back of the bus. Put the spotlight on their bigotry and ignorance, call it what it is, and watch them scurry like cockroaches when the kitchen light is flicked on at night.

  • den1s

    @sheila #1 … one thing everyone can do is tell someone else what is happening to you. The bullies think that you will just keep quiet to keep your job or position within an organization/church or whatever. Just don’t keep it your self. Get nasty if you have to…. go to the papers, see a lawyer, and most importantly….file a police report and keep the number for future reference if updates are necessary. Start a diary if the bullying is ongoing.. dates, times, circumstances, pictures of injuries etc etc

  • julian

    There is something to be said for facing your accusers but it seems weak in this case. The school gets nothing (substantive) from knowing the name and family of this student. As you rightly point out the only thing this information would be good for is slander, intimidation and harassment.

    I’m not saying that’s what the school has planned just that given the nature of the suit, how often witnesses and plaintiffs are bullied into compliance and how nothing of any substance or weight would be added to the trial by knowing who the plaintiff is, there’s no reason at all for hir coming forward.

    • http://speropublishing.webs.com Alan Joseph

      Actually, if the school finds out the name of the plaintiff, then teachers and other students can…suggest…that he throw his case. He can be hazed, ostracized, assaulted, he risks losing friends.
      Thats what the article is all about. I’ve seen this kind of thing happen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000027906887 adampatrick

    Great post, JT. And I loved that last paragraph is very true. I’ve been thinking the same thing, but wasn’t able to put it in words.

  • Sastra

    Religions like Christianity don’t win by having the best arguments – they win by being ideological bullies.

    Well they can’t win through good arguments, can they? The whole point is to have a faith that goes beyond good arguments. There’s nothing left to defend their views with but various versions of “shut up” or “get out” or “go away.” And if someone doesn’t want to shut up or go away, making them do so involves some kind of force.

    Ultimately I think this problem is inherent in every view which comes down to “faith” — for faith comes down to choosing to believe in something extraordinary not because that’s where the evidence leads for everyone, but because you are the right kind of person and thus see what others can’t.

    Ordinary beliefs which don’t insist that a believer needs to have faith assume a common ground and common nature between people. We’re dealing with facts and evidence. Moral and character divides aren’t built into the conclusion if the process of discovering truth is seen as following a line of reasoning. But if the search is a test of character and the character is based on an ability or willingness to just “believe” or to be “open” to the divine– watch out.

    It’s never a good thing to be classified as a person who is closed to the divine.

    It’s funny. It’s often said that the more liberal, new age, spiritual versions of religion are divorced from violence and coercion — feel-good, tolerant, accepting. They don’t ‘bully.’ Oh yes they do. Their world view involves insiders who “get it” and outsiders who do not and when rationally challenged to support their views they immediately go for the personal attack. It’s not just all they have: it’s foundational to a belief system built on faith.

    If you can’t handle dissent from outsiders by rational persuasion, all you’ve got left is ‘shut up’ and/or ‘get out.’

  • Mark

    Not sure how it could ever be illegal to put up a sign that says “do not murder,” or “do not steal,” or “do not bear false witness.” But I can see how “do not commit adultery,” or “do not covet. . . your neighbor’s wife,” might be tough for some to swallow.

    • Parse

      I find it really amusing that, when people try to defend Ten Commandment displays, they always leave out the first: “I am the LORD thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
      Mark, can you see why that one would be illegal?

    • Sastra

      The part that makes it “illegal” (ie unconstitutional) is that this particular list of rules are rules because “God” said them — and we the people did not give the State the power to tell us what we ought to think about God.

      Or do you want to hand that freedom over to the government? Do we take votes on what religion is true?

    • Brownian

      Not sure how it could ever be illegal to put up a sign that says “do not murder,” or “do not steal,” or “do not bear false witness.”

      Or? Or?

      Do you actually not know what the ‘ten’ in the Ten Commandments indicates?

      Hint: it’s NOT “pick any fucking combination of 1 or 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 10″.

    • Rieux

      In addition to all the other points being made here, the Commandments do not begin with the words “Do not.” They begin “Thou shalt not.” That’s actually a fundamentally different idea, and thus your convenient alteration removes something that’s both vital and constitutionally suspect in and of itself.

    • Aquaria

      The first four rules from your genocidal scumbag deity are all in direct violation of the Constitution.

      You knew that…right?

      So which are you: Lying scumbag for jeebus, fucking moron, or both?