Kids were not allowed into the school while the religious instruction was going on. If the students wanted to get warm, they had to participate in the prayer meeting. And it wasn't just a prayer meeting: it was a very conservative prayer meeting, where kids were told rock & roll was the Devil's music & anyone who disagreed with the sponsoring church's theology was going to hell.
So, she tried talking to the school board where she was met with hostility. Bell recalled that board members told her “they did things the way they wanted to. If I didn’t like it, that was my problem.” Those at the meeting chanted “atheists, go home!” and one school board member handed out homemade placards to the crowd that said “Commies Go Home.” She was called those names despite the fact that she is a Christian & attended church in the community.
Here's a quote from Dr. Prescott's blog:
While all this was going on, then-Superintendent Paul Pettigrew told the National Catholic Reporter (click here for article), “The only people who have been hurt by this thing are the Bells and McCords. The school goes on. They chose to create their own hell on earth.”
I got my own obituary in the mail. My kids were threatened constantly -- their lives. I was told my kids were not going to survive. They said my house would be burned. The threats to burn my home was the one that I probably should have taken the most seriously. I just couldn't see in an civilized area -- I considered that these people would not ever do that. But my home was firebombed. Unless you've ever had a fire -- the devastation is something you cannot even begin to describe. To lose everything you've ever had. And with four children you really accumulate a lot of things -- the trophies. Everything that you saved, your baby pictures, the little things -- your marriage license. You lose everything. There's nothing hardly that can be saved. One of the things, the very few things that survived the fire was the christening dress of my daughter. We have three sons and we have a daughter that we're very proud of and this was her christening dress and that little hat was melted. It's one, it's one of the things that you'd like to pass on and let them use it for their children. This is just an example of things that were ruined and what our family lost in the fire. Because we essentially lost everything we had.
Hmmm. "Atheist." "Commie." "Go away if you don't like it." "We'll run you out of town." "It hurts your family & reputation." "This is the way we do it around here." "Don't be surprised if you suffer consequences."
Houses burned down. Physically & verbally assaulted.
That sort of stuff doesn't bode well for our witness, does it church?
Though Ms Bell eventually won in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals years later, the battle just shifted to other school systems, other city councils, other areas of Godslinger control. Fundamentalism doesn't care about the witness but about the notches on the Spiritual Evangelism Belt. And the more notches the Godslingers can make, the more control & power they will have.
Godslingers are modern day Pharisees --- & they still complain about taking Jesus to the "sinners & tax collectors." Some things never change.