Editor’s Note: The names and locations have been altered to protect the identity of the author.
“Southern man better keep your head,
Don’t forget what your good book said…”
–“Southern Man,” Neil Young
Having my daughters experience school-sponsored religious pressure at school and going through the tough process of challenging it legally was no walk in the park, but the judge’s decision in our favor felt really good. We knew that the school wouldn’t try again to explicitly promote religion, specifically Christianity, and that future students of that school would not have to go through what my daughter did. The problem is the “Christians” in our area carried on the abuse and hatred towards us that students and faculty of the school had started.
Soon, we began to receive numerous threats and were subject to other acts of intimidation. People began driving by my house yelling insults, throwing trash in our yard, and letting my dogs out of the pen that we used to house them. People even started rumors about us, about how we were thieves or Satanists and other childish ideas like that. Unfortunately the police wouldn’t do anything, and some cops even commented in the discussion forums in our local paper that we were in the wrong and deserved to be punished. It seemed like we were doomed to keep on experiencing this abuse as the people who were supposed to protect us instead turned a blind eye to those who attacked and slandered us.
Still, we refused to budge. As a result my business started to suffer and suddenly it seemed that no one needed the services I used to provide regularly. My dogs were poisoned and one of them, a beautiful female boxer, died, while my male boxer was very ill for a long time. Then my very Christian landlord suddenly decided to evict us without prior notice. He said it was because our lease was up, which it had been for a while and we’d been paying on a month-to-month basis, but I was also told that he didn’t feel comfortable with us there because we didn’t believe in God.
So rather than fight over this discrimination we found another house in the area, as Kendra was in the last few months of 8th grade and we didn’t want her to have to change schools so close to the end of the year. A month passed in the new house and then we started having more problems. Dogs were let out of the pens again, and we received even more death threats. My wife was followed to and from work, and my dogs were poisoned yet again. Tragically, one of the puppies died, and the male boxer almost died but instead remained ill for a very long time just as before. Then the new landlord’s daughter-in-law came to the house one day, and we realized she was a teacher at North Central Middle School and was one of the teachers who told Kendra she needed Jesus.
It seemed that there was always going to be something going on because of this issue, and that the discrimination and intimidation wouldn’t stop anytime soon. We were starting to get more and more scared. Where was the Christian love and tolerance we heard about? When were they going to go from threats and harming my dogs to more extreme things like running my wife off the road or chucking a firebomb through the window? We decided that a more drastic change was in order.