Why “nobody speaks up” about separation of church and state violations.

Hemant has a post up about the ten commandments case at Valley High School in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.  Three plaintiffs, two of them students at the school, are suing the school which has refused to remove a monument to the ten commandments.  This is yet another foredoomed lawsuit that will cost the students, in the form of tax dollars earmarked for education, and not the obstinate administrators who think their school is a recruitment ground for Christianity.

Like many such cases, the plaintiffs have requested anonymity.  It is also commonplace for the groups defending the Christians to fight against that request (a memorable occasion was the Liberty Counsel trying to have the students names in the Giles, VA 10 commandments case revealed).  As Ed Brayton put it

…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.

Look no further than Jessica Ahlquist for why these students want to remain anonymous.  It’s not because they are ashamed of what they are doing, but that they see the death threats and harassment and don’t want to add that to their lives.  Thankfully, the Judge in the Giles case allowed the student to maintain his/her anonymity, and the Judge in the New Kensington case has elected to do the same.  Hemant has all the details, but what I wanted to point out is the rank dishonesty from large swaths of Christians that necessitate anonymity for students in situations like this.

When these 10 commandments cases come up, or when a school wants to hang a sectarian prayer banner despite complaints from non-Christians, one of the first things we’ll hear is the tradition argument.  The fundamentalists think they should be able to continue breaking the law because they have been doing it for X number of years and nobody has complained, as though the reason nobody has complained is nobody has taken exception, rather than because they were afraid of how miserable Christians would make their lives in response to being told they are not outside the law.

And the conservative legal groups who fight to reveal the names of the plaintiffs know exactly what they are doing, and they are counting on the fundamentalist thugs in these towns to start tormenting these students the moment their names are made public.  And the good, bible-believing, “America-is-a-Christian-nation” Christians deliver.  And then, when the next case comes along, they feign bewilderment that nobody has ever spoken up against that particular violation of separation of church & state.

Dishonest bullies, the lot of them (and you too, Liberty Counsel).  And there are enough of them to make this an issue time and time again.  This makes perfect sense if faith can circumvent reason to empower any idea or quality, even the worst of humanity.  It makes no sense whatsoever if Christian faith makes people kinder or better.

A big salute to the Judge in New Kensington for doing the right thing.

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