I can’t afford to be militant in the Bible Belt
Would it be dangerous, Mriana, if you did, or just inconvenient? (Only wondering…)
It can be dangerous. My aunt lives in a very conservative small city, and she is a very tolerant, open-minded person. Ten years ago, she wrote a letter to the local newspaper editor to the effect of “we should all get along, regardless of our beliefs” and that “god would want us all to love each other” after the only local synagogue was spray painted with swastikas.
After the letter was published, she had a flaming Molotov Cocktail thrown at her house. Her car tires were slashed. They received over one hundred death threats on their answering machine from different people with different voices. Someone tried to run her car off the road. Someone let her horses out of their pasture, near a main road. The sheriff “investigated” but was not very sympathetic. She still, 10 years later, has people who won’t speak to her or look her in the eye at the grocery checkout. They call her “the atheist” and “the jew lover” behind her back. She’s infamous, but not giving up her home or her land over these idiots.
Of course in most cases, people will NOT go to these extremes. They will just disagree, petition or protest. But it can, and does, get dangerous. There are dozens of cases that I’ve read about over the years across the country. People’s dogs getting killed, kids getting beaten up at school, brake lines being cut…
This one is a good example of just how dangerous fundamentalist christians in our own country can be - a whole community coming together to ruin someone. She wasn’t even a humanist or atheist. She was a catholic who opposed the “mandatory” baptist classes her children were forced to take part at in public elementary school. She, and another mother opposed to the classes, were told “too bad” when they didn’t want their kids in religious classes at public school. So they filed a lawsuit to stop them, and then this happened:
Hell In Little Axe: An Oklahoma Mom’s Chilling Battle With Religious Bigotry
“Bell’s house was burned down by a firebomb. McCord’s 12-year-old son’s prize goats were slashed and mutilated with a knife. Bell was assaulted by a school cafeteria worker who smashed her head repeatedly against a car door. (School authorities praised the cafeteria worker, and she was forced to pay a $10 fine and Bell’s hospital bills, community residents raised donations on the assailant’s behalf.) McCord and Bell were both mailed their own obituaries.
They eventually won their case, Bell v. Little Axe Independent School District, in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals years later. But it wasn’t the court battle that resonated. Rather, it was the difficulties that their families had to endure in order to maintain their religious liberty. Their story shows why it remains so important to protect the separation of church and state.”
Even after the house was burned down, the pet goats were killed, and the mother was horribly assaulted, the school district’s superintendent stated on public record that the school did no wrong, it was all the fault of the two mothers, “The only people who have been hurt by this thing are the Bells and McCords… They chose to create their own hell on earth.”
(Edited for typo)