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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This is enough to set me off for weeks!

I saw this on Bitch PhD's site and couldn't believe what I was reading. I went back to the original article and found several other articles, non in mainstream publications. I believe that this wasn't covered because the minority that was being oppressed were Jews, and it's acceptable to act as this town did, if it's directed at Jews. Other disturbing commentary can be found here, here, here and here.

One classically anti-semetic quote that keeps appearing in all the web sites linked:

It isn't easy to run a Jewish family out of town in these politically correct times. Usually, they just hunker down, hiding behind antiquated interpretations of the Constitution and the good will of those who wrongly believe that non-Christians are entitled to all of the benefits of citizenship.
Read these articles and weep for America.

Jewish family flees Delaware school district's aggressive Christianity

by JewsOnFirst.org, June 28, 2006

A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they're suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from "state-sponsored religion."

The behavior of the Indian River School District board's behavior suggests the families' fears are hardly groundless.

The district spreads over a considerable portion of southeast Delaware. The families' complaint, filed in federal court in February 2005, alleges that the district had created an "environment of religious exclusion" and unconstitutional state-sponsored religion.

Among numerous specific examples in the complaint was what happened at plaintiff Samantha Dobrich's graduation in 2004 from the district's high school. She was the only Jewish student in her graduating class. The complaint relates that local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for "our heavenly Father's" guidance for the graduates with:

I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus' name.

In addition to the ruined graduation experience, the Dobrich-Doe lawsuit alleges that:

  • The district's "custom and practice of school-sponsored prayer" frequently imposed ... on impressionable non-Christian students," violating their constitutional rights.
  • The district ignored the Supreme Court's 1992 Lee decision limiting prayer at graduation ceremonies -- even after a district employee complained about the prayer at her child's 2003 graduation..
  • District teachers and staff led Bible clubs at several schools. Club members got to go to the head of the lunch line.
  • While Bible clubs were widely available, student book clubs were rare and often canceled by the district.
  • When Jane Doe complained that her non-Christian son "Jordan Doe" was left alone when his classmates when to Bible club meetings, district staff insisted that Jordan should attend the club regardless of his religion.
  • The district schools attended by Jordan and his sister "Jamie Doe" distributed Bibles to students in 2003, giving them time off from class to pick up the books.
  • Prayer --often sectarian -- is a routine part of district sports programs and social events
  • One of the district's middle schools gave students the choice of attending a special Bible Club if they did not want to attend the lesson on evolution.
  • A middle school teacher told students there was only "one true religion" and gave them pamphlets for his surfing ministry.
  • Samantha Dobrich's honors English teacher frequently discussed Christianity, but no other religion.
  • Students frequently made mandatory appearances at district board meetings -- where they were a captive audience for board members' prayers to Jesus.

The Dobriches said the prayers to Jesus' ruined the graduation experience for Samantha. Mona Dobrich, Samantha's mother, repeatedly called district officials to complain. A board member told her she would have to get the matter put on a meeting agenda -- then refused to put it on the agenda. The school superintendent slipped the topic onto the agenda and then told Mona Dobrich she would need to raise it during the public comment period. (more found here...)

I'd like to start a discussion about this, because I honestly don't think that some folks actually see a problem here. Like the townspeople in Delaware, it appears that some people want their religious agenda pushed down the throats of other, non-believing people, regardless of the US Constitution and the reason this country was founded in the first place: freedom from religious persecution.

I want to understand how this appalling behavior could be appreciated by any American knowing how our country was both founded, and how our founding fathers placed freedom of religion at the very forefront of the rights of every citizen here. I just don't get it. Why is this kind of persecution not only allowed by a town government and a school department, but supported by it's townspeople to the point of threatening to 'dissapear' the complaintant. Where is the morality? Where is the Christian love I hear so much about? What is wrong with this picture?

Reading about this school district so saddened me. Thankfully, I don't have to worry for my family that this kind of behavior would ever happen in our town, where the Mayor is Jewish, as is the school superintendent and about 50% of the student body. But we have friends who live in less accepting areas of the US, and they do get treatment like this. Never so severe, but there is an underlying undercurrent of anti-semitism in this country that just cannot be denied. The incidence of anti-semetic acts has steadily risen in the past 10 years. Sometimes anti-semitism isn't overt. It's the little comments "He tried to Jew me down", "Cheap Jews", "They control the media", "They are SO sensitive." None of those things is acceptable, either in public or in private. Ever. Some are less overt: " You are a Christ Killer", "You're going to hell because you don't accept Jesus", "Jews are all loaded/control the banks/ control the media/are doctors and lawyers/are smart..." Fill in the blank. It doesn't matter. It's ALL incorrect stereotyping.

Lastly, there is the kind of anti-semitism that makes the news. Swastikas on synagogues, synagogues burned down, Jews attacked in the streets, Jewish children beat up and called Christ Killers, and terrorist attacks on Jewish institutions like the day school in Los Angeles (the second largest Jewish population in the country).

These things go on because people feel the need to belittle minorities. And yes, Jews ARE minorities. Do you know how many Jewish people there are in the USA? In the world? What is the percentage of Jews in the US? Are there more Jews or African Americans in the US? Are there more Hispanics or Jews in the US? Check out the numbers here. Surprised? You shouldn't be. Jews are the smallest minority in the US, and yet the ONLY minority that isn't considered a minority. We get no special anything. Except hatred and loathing and misunderstanding. There are less than 15,000,000 Jews in the world. There are 224, 457,000 Christians in the US. Jews make up less than 2% of the US population. Christians make up more than 85% of the US population.

Jews are a tiny tiny minority. The might be a vocal minority, but they do not deserved to be shunted aside and disrespected and run out of town because of their religious beliefs. If what happened in Delaware was applied to African Americans or any other minority, what do you think the outcome of the lawsuit might have been? What this story clearly says is that Christians think it is perfectly OK to attack any non-Christian, but especially Jews, and to turn them out of their schools and homes with no fear of reprisals. I say that this is un-American, specious, and a very sorry state that we're in here in the US.

Excuse me while I go vomit.
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5 Comments:

Blogger Domestic Chicky said...

Absolutely shameful. No other words seem adequate.

5/7/06 11:24 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

This disgusts me, too, and I consider myself a Christian (albeit a really, really liberal one). For what it's worth, I'm sorry that anyone feels the need to act this way toward anyone else. It is simply unacceptable, in my opinion. But thank you for writing about it - awareness needs to be raised.

5/7/06 11:25 PM  
Blogger Croila said...

I'm absolutely stunned to read your post. Here in Scotland we just don't have this problem - although we do have our own sectarian problems between Catholics and Protestants - and I am completely staggered to read how bad it is in the US. I mean, I had NO IDEA. I've studied a lot of German history, particularly the Nazi period, and I'm sickened and very frightened to read of the parallels between that and what you describe is happening over in your country. It's terrifying the way the Christian fundamentalists are moving, absolutely terrifying. Dark days indeed.

6/7/06 8:42 AM  
Blogger Emily Barton said...

I’ll join you in the bathroom to vomit. What appalls me most (especially as a Christian myself – again, a very, very liberal one) is that these people have the gall to call themselves “Christians.” If they were to open those Bibles they love to pass out to everyone and that they wander around hugging to their chests, and actually to read the things that Jesus said (not what others in the Bible said, but what HE said, which should be the basis of all those calling themselves “Christians,” they might be surprised to find he’d consider this behavior to be completely unacceptable). Also, trace their families back a few generations, and it might be interesting to discover how many of them have Jewish roots. Meanwhile, if there’s any truth to the old adage “misery loves company,” many, many other groups are victims of this same type of discrimination. Try being a homosexual in a town like the one described in Delaware or an atheist or a Latina. Oh yes, and try being a Southerner who has not a trace of an accent living in the Northeast. I’m personally exposed on a regular basis to comments about “dumb Southerners,” “incestuous Southerners,” etc.

8/7/06 12:26 PM  
Blogger Carmi said...

Frightening as sin. As I've published often in the last couple of years, society has become deluded into believing that racism has been stamped out. It is, in fact, as bad as it's ever been. And the concept of Never Again is laughably weak.

9/7/06 8:25 AM  

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