Another Look at Life Under Christianist Domination

In 1980 JoAnn Bell noticed blatant violations of the law in her local school in Oklahoma. The reaction of the Christianists was very typical. I’ve heard several stories like this. She filed a law suit and the school was ordered to cease the illegal activity. They refused and the violence kept escalating.

One day JoAnn went to the school to pick up her children. She was attacked by a woman and suffered a concussion and a dislocated shoulder. The attack only stopped after the principal, who had been watching the entire time, finally said “ok, she’s had enough.” JoAnn pressed charges for the assault. The school held a fundraiser to pay her medical bills and also paid the fine for the woman who made the attack.

JoAnn was assigned an FBI agent.

JoAnn’s son was the school president and a member of the football team. He received honors in math, science and history. The awards ceremony was cancelled because the principal didn’t want to give JoAnn’s son his awards. When he received his awards, they were thrown at him. Her son went to high school the next year and played on the football team. The family was at an out-of-town football game when two police officers walked up to JoAnn and said “go home, your house is on fire.” They could smell the fire over five miles away. The volunteer fire department was made up of people who did not like JoAnn. The fire department eventually arrived but didn’t bring any water. People came to watch the fire and laugh. The family did not have fire insurance.

The next day JoAnn made a large sign and put it on her lawn. It read “QUIT LAUGHING, WE AIN’T MOVING.”

It was later determined by the fire marshal that the fire was an arson caused by a Molotov cocktail. A witness at the scene identified the perpetrator’s vehicle as that of a member of the school board. JoAnn’s family moved in with her parents who lived nearby. They would not bow to the pressure of making them move out of the school district and therefore lose standing in the lawsuit.

JoAnn’s youngest son was five years old at the time. He was a small, quiet boy who was easy to pick on. Three months after the fire he was playing on the school playground during recess. The superintendent called the teacher inside and then (allegedly) pushed JoAnn’s five year old son off the swing. His arm was broken and his bone was sticking out yet the child was kept at school all day and his parents were never called.

and on and on.

She is now director of the Oklahoma ACLU and was was honored for her courage by the ACLU of Oklahoma in 1983 with their highest honor, the Angie Debo Civil Libertarian of the Year Award.

read more here: http://www.inquiringminds.org/newsletter/0503/hypatia.html

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