Jew Boy in Delaware

Okay. Another biscuit has been decisively expropriated. Words once again fall down on their duty and decline to give me the aid and sustenance I requested. My usual simple credulity is unable to encompass this particular manifestation. In short, I am stunned. And disgusted.

After the graduation, Mrs. Dobrich asked the Indian River district school board to consider prayers that were more generic and, she said, less exclusionary. As news of her request spread, many local Christians saw it as an effort to limit their free exercise of religion, residents said. Anger spilled on to talk radio, in letters to the editor and at school board meetings attended by hundreds of people carrying signs praising Jesus. “What people here are saying is, ‘Stop interfering with our traditions, stop interfering with our faith and leave our country the way we knew it to be,’ ” said Dan Gaffney, a host at WGMD, a talk radio station in Rehoboth, and a supporter of prayer in the school district.

No, actually, that’s not what people there are saying. What people there are saying is, ‘Stop trying to use a public facility that is by law open and free to all citizens in a more constitutional manner and instead put up with using it in an unconstitutional manner that we here, the majority who claim to have been here longer than you the outsiders and Jews have, prefer and want to impose on everyone including you you Jews because these are our traditions and our faith and those are two holy sacred words that stand for two holy sacred things that no outsider Jews are going to interfere with so stop interfering with them or else get out and actually we’d prefer you to get out because we don’t like Jews and if they get pushy we call them things like Jew boy.’ That’s what people there are saying.

More religion probably exists in schools now than in decades because of the role religious conservatives play in politics and the passage of certain education laws over the last 25 years, including the Equal Access Act in 1984, said Charles C. Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, a research and education group. “There are communities largely of one faith, and despite all the court rulings and Supreme Court decisions, they continue to promote one faith,” Mr. Haynes said. “They don’t much care what the minority complains about. They’re just convinced that what they are doing is good for kids and what America is all about.”

Yes. And that’s why people like me hate them and fear them. I do fear them. I wish I thought there’s no reason to, but I can’t manage it. They keep gaining more and more power. And they’re not nice people – but they think they are the very nicest people – even as they call other people Jew boy. That makes them scary. They’ll be banishing or killing people next, all the time thinking they’re just the nicest folks you’d want to meet.

Until recently, it was safe to assume that everyone in the Indian River district was Christian, said the Rev. Mark Harris, an Episcopal priest at St. Peter’s Church in Lewes.

No it wasn’t. The rev may have thought it was, but it wasn’t; it’s never safe to ‘assume’ you know what everyone thinks, and Christianity isn’t a genetic attribute, it’s what you think; you can’t just ‘assume’ everyone thinks it simply because you live in a small coercive narrow-minded parochial intolerant place.

“We have a way of doing things here, and it’s not going to change to accommodate a very small minority,’’ said Kenneth R. Stevens, 41, a businessman sitting in the Georgetown Diner. “If they feel singled out, they should find another school or excuse themselves from those functions. It’s our way of life.”

And they’re just a bunch of Jews, so that settles that.

Mrs. Dobrich…described a classmate of his drawing a picture of a pathway to heaven for everyone except “Alex the Jew.”…A homemaker active in her children’s schools, Mrs. Dobrich said she had asked the board to develop policies that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith. People booed and rattled signs that read “Jesus Saves,” she recalled. Her son had written a short statement, but he felt so intimidated that his sister read it for him. In his statement, Alex, who was 11 then, said: “I feel bad when kids in my class call me ‘Jew boy.’ I do not want to move away from the house I have lived in forever.” Later, another speaker turned to Mrs. Dobrich and said, according to several witnesses, “If you want people to stop calling him ‘Jew boy,’ you tell him to give his heart to Jesus.”

Notice, depressingly, that Mrs Dobrich herself doesn’t seem to get it – she doesn’t want separation of church and state, she doesn’t want secular schools, she just wants a little less detail and specificity. Notice that she originally asked the ‘school board to consider prayers that were more generic and, she said, less exclusionary’ – rather than asking them to drop prayers in school altogether. Notice that she wants policies ‘that would leave no one feeling excluded because of faith’ but apparently doesn’t mention feeling excluded because of no ‘faith’. Notice what a horrible clash of tyrannical certainties it all is. Why can’t they all just shut up about their ‘faith’ until they get home, why can’t they just go to school to learn stuff and do the praying in their living rooms?

But no. That’s not how that works. It works the other way. Hosannah.

The only thing to flourish, Mrs. Dobrich said, was her faith. Her children, she said, “have so much pride in their religion now. Alex wears his yarmulke all the time. He never takes it off.”

Peachy. One fanaticism creates another.

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