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Jewish Family “Forced to Move” Over School Lawsuit

“Stop the ACLU Coalition” Publicised Home Address, Phone Number

A special “hello” to all my extra readers, currently coming via Jesus’ General, Crooks and Liars, Christianity Today Weblog, and elsewhere.

Back in 2004, the Center for Reclaiming America for Christ (based at Dr D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries) praised the efforts of a school board in Delaware to promote Christianity among the children under its care (link added):

Despite threats of litigation from the ACLU, one Delaware school district has made it abundantly clear that they will not surrender America’s Christian heritage without a fight.

For years, the Indian River School District (IRSD) Board of Education of Sussex County, Delaware, has opened with an invocation. Recently, they received a threatening letter from the Delaware chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) demanding that they discontinue their tradition of prayer.

School Board Takes a Brave Stand

After seeking legal counsel, a meeting was called, and community residents gathered at the Frankford Elementary School. In response to the ACLU’s threats, IRSD board president Harvey Walls asked board member Dr. Donald G. Hattier to deliver a prayer. Amid the crowd’s loud cheers, Hattier rose and recited George Washington’s prayer which was offered during America’s fight for independence…

The Delaware Daily Times added:

…Many begged the school board not to take Jesus away from their children. Others read scriptures from the Bible citing instructions given by Jesus.

One parent announced that a petition was being circulated and so far more than 300 people had signed it.

Board members listened for more than an hour during the public comment period, making no opinion statements themselves.

Commenting on the ACLU’s complaint, Jan LaRue of Concerned Women for America asked (link in original):

“Where are the self-proclaimed, ‘Guardians of Liberty’ when a California school district is indoctrinating school kids with Islam?”…”This is one more example of the ACLU’s jihad to end public acknowledgement of the God of the Bible.”

(LaRue is referring to the California case discussed here)

However, the school board’s “brave stand” appears to be itself a bit of a “jihad” (as LaRue defines the term), according to Jews on First:

A large Delaware school district promoted Christianity so aggressively that a Jewish family felt it necessary to move to Wilmington, two hours away, because they feared retaliation for filing a lawsuit. The religion (if any) of a second family in the lawsuit is not known, because they’re suing as Jane and John Doe; they also fear retaliation. Both families are asking relief from “state-sponsored religion.”

The Jewish family is named as the Dobriches. Jews on First also gives an account of the 2004 meeting, with alleged details the CRAC report and the Daily Times left out:

On the evening in August 2004 when the board was to announce its new policy, hundreds of people turned out for the meeitng. The Dobrich family and Jane Doe felt intimidated and asked a state trooper to escort them.

The complaint recounts a raucous crowd that applauded the board’s opening prayer and then, when sixth-grader Alexander Dobrich stood up to read a statement, yelled at him “take your yarmulke off!” His statement, read by Samantha, confided “I feel bad when kids in my class call me Jew boy.”

…A  former board member suggested that Mona Dobrich might “disappear” like Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist whose Supreme Court case resulted in ending organized school prayer. She disappeared in 1995 and her dismembered body was found six years later.

The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to “go back up north.”

In the days after the meeting the community poured venom on the Dobriches. Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.

Alex Dobrich claims that he was called “Christ-killer” by classmates; the school board’s lawyer, Thomas Neuberger of the Rutherford Institute, suggests that Dobrich is lying. The family is in fact being represented by a Wilmington law firm rather than the ACLU, but this did not prevent the Stop the ACLU Coalition from deciding to publicise the Dobriches’ home address and phone number, as part of an “Expose the ACLU Plaintiff” campaign.

The Dobriches have a litany of complaints about the school board’s alleged promotion of Christianity, including the claim that members of Bible Clubs were allowed to jump the queue for lunch. One reported incident appears particularly egregious, concerning Samantha Dobrich’s 2004 graduation:

She was the only Jewish student in her graduating class. The complaint relates that local pastor, Jerry Fike, in his invocation, followed requests for “our heavenly Father’s” guidance for the graduates with:

I also pray for one specific student, that You be with her and guide her in the path that You have for her. And we ask all these things in Jesus’ name.

Jerry Fike is the pastor of Mt Olivet Brethren Church in Georgetown (there’s a photo here). Apparently, even board member Hattier had to concede that the pastor’s involvement was out of line:

…Hattier added that the district had to change the practice of inviting pastors to give invocations at high-school graduations because it is against the law and had been for decades.

The Delaware Wave gave further details about the current litigation back in March:

Cheers of joy echoed through Sussex Central High School on Monday night when the Indian River School Board announced they would not pay a “six-figure” settlement to end prayer litigation.

The motion, made by Nina Lou Bunting and seconded by Donald Hattier, was unanimously carried.

“Put that in your pipe and smoke it, ACLU,” said David Bennett, a preacher at the Dagsboro Church of Christ, when the announcement was made.

Just two hours prior, while executive session was held, Bennett led nearly 100 spectators in song as they waited patiently for the news.

…”If these kids are taught evolution — that they came from apes — and they’re not given the basis of faith, what’s to stop them from acting like animals?” he said.

In fact, science appears to be a far lower priority for the school board than getting a Jew to convert, and students who wish to be excused biology lessons that cover evolution are reportedly allowed to attend a Bible Club instead.

But it seems that all this reported religious indoctrination is having only a limited effect, and the Indian River State Board would like the threat of violence to keep the kids in control. Delaware State News reported in April:

A Downstate lawmaker’s legislation to give school districts the ability spank misbehaving students has set off a stinging debate.

Rep. John C. Atkins, R-Millsboro, said he recently filed House Bill 376 at the behest of officials from the Indian River School District, which he represents.

“They are having a hard time controlling students and this would serve as a deterrent, especially if the kids see a teacher or administrator holding the paddle in the hallway when they walk by,” he said.

…They are talking about a couple of swats on a student’s buttocks, done in the privacy of an administrator’s office.

(Hat tip: Dispatches from the Culture Wars; the “Stop the ACLU Coalition” publication of the Dobriches’ home details was found by a commentator there)

UPDATE: Jesus’ General gives his take; Stop the ACLU responds. See my new entry here.

30 Responses

  1. This whole affair reminds me of some bad TV movie about an oppressive group terrorizing some hapless, innocent family because they committed some minor infraction of the local laws and regulations. On TV, these heroes come in and kick the oppressors’ butts, and we all cheer.

    I had always thought those stories were fictional. Now it looks like they were based in fact. This school district is just a few steps away from being a theocracy. I hope the judge hearing this case will kick some butts in IRSD.

  2. […] in Jewish Family’s Flight Posted on July 5, 2006 by Richard Bartholomew Back on Monday I blogged on a report from Jews on First about a Jewish family who had allegedly been forced to leave town […]

  3. Ironically, the ACLU is not representing the Dobriches in this case. The Skadden law firm in Wilmington is representing them.

    An ACLU representative did try to speak on the district’s religion policy at the raucous 2004 school board meeting described in our piece, but the crowd yelled “go back up north.”

    We appreciate the details you added, Bartholemew, and will incorporate them with acknowledgement in our update.

  4. I can only suspect that Jesus is looking sadly at this and saying, “Good Grief, back to the Veda and start over again!”

  5. When an isolated town in Delaware tells an ACLU speaker to go back up north, we have a big red state problem. Not only is this district a theocracy, it is run by Christian taliban. The fundamental problem is that there are Christians in this country who are not comfortable with their faith unless it is affirmed and promotied by their government. That, my friends, is a theocracy.

  6. This is sickening! I’m no longer willing to be moderate and reasonable and tolerante to his kind of hatemongering and despicable behaviour.

  7. This whole affair reminds me of some bad TV movie about an oppressive group terrorizing some hapless, innocent family because they committed some minor infraction of the local laws and regulations. On TV, these heroes come in and kick the oppressors’ butts, and we all cheer.
    In real life:

    (a) The oppressive group tries to (and often succeeds in) passing off their anti-semitism and desire to bully as acting on their religious beliefs; (b) Those heroes who come in and kick their butts would be the ACLU; and (c) Consequently, the Jew-baiters try pass off their hatred of the ACLU as a form of piety.

  8. So much for that weaselly neologism, “Judeo-Christian.”

  9. Oh boo hoo. The Jews have been running our country since the 1960s. Now that some people are fed up with the BS they promote, some examples being homosexuality, abortion, sex among pre-teens, and secular humanism in the public schools, suddenly it’s the end of the world, right? Fuck you Jews. This is our nation, one nation under God! OUR GOD! Not the demon that you worship. Get thee back to Israel, Jews, because we’re at the end of our rope, and this time it’s going to be 30 million, not six.

  10. What lots of these folks conveniently forget are:
    1) Jesus Christ himself was Jewish.

    2) The Jewish religiou hierarchy decided that Christ’s views were heretical and blasphemous, as such he threatened their hold on power.

    3) They conveniently forget that the Roman occupiers had a role in the death of Christ. They also forget that inscription (Though this is latinized) INRI or Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

    Honestly – those who haven’t the first clue about biblical studies annoy the crap out of me.

  11. Hey Oy Ze Hate!

    My god can beat up your god. WHHAAAAAAA!!! U ‘tard.

  12. Religious supremacy is no differnet than racial supremacy. It should viewed as such and dealt with accordingly.

  13. Details for “Oy Ze Hate”, for anyone who’s interested:

    Commenter’s name: Oy Ze Hate!

    Email address: truthseeker@gmail.com

    Web site: http://www.vanguardnewsnetwork.com/

    IP address: 64.205.57.18

    Domain name: mail.shieldfire.com

  14. This is hatred, pure and simple. But I wonder if they can “justify” it by saying that they need all the Jews to go back to Israel so that Jesus can come back?

  15. Give to God what is God’s, and to Caesar, what is Caesar’s… is it really that difficult to keep the two separated!?!?

  16. Bartholomew, thanks for clearing that up for us, but geez, I wish I hadn’t clicked on the site. I need a massive bleach powerwash for my brain to gt that all out. The ick factor is higher than I can count!

  17. Sick. I must admit to being surprised that this took place in Delaware and not somewhere in the Protestant Bible Belt. I’m conservative myself and no fan of the ACLU but if what is being described here is accurate, this is so beyond the pale it’s pathetic. It sounds like the Dobrich’s have a good case and if the facts bear out I hope they score big. If the school board is willfully disobeying the courts, whether one agrees with the courts or not, its members should be held in contempt and the board dissolved. If the state refuses to step in and take over the schools, perhaps the court should appoint an official to handle matters until such a time as a new board can be elected. Believe me, as a conservative who very much detests how far liberals have pushed the bar on religion, this is not easy for me to say. However, as much as I disagree with extremists on the Left I cannot abide nutjobs on the Right either. The Dobrichs have the right to practice their religion without proselytization from the government, just as you or I do. I’ll check into this story a bit more and blog about this at my site tomorrow or Friday.

  18. Yikes. I was really hoping that the name Oy Ze Hate! was a sign that his post was a failed, tone-deaf attempt at irony, a reductio ad absurdum of idiotic anti-semitism. Boy, was I the optimist there. (And that almost never happens.) Anyone tempted to click on the site will be taken to the sort of straightforwardly racist site advocating views that Tony Snow (or D’Souza, or…) claim no longer exist.

  19. From the Bible belt: Just wanted to say that I read this post at work to a few of my Yankee co-workers. Not only did they agree with what the Indian River School distric is doing, but they said its just like our immigration problem. How is keeping Jesus in schools like our immigration problem? Not sure, but I’m totally disappointed that my co-workers could possibly agree with the schools on this one. Isn’t it obvious that the separation between church and state isn’t happening here? This is just like the 10 commandments issue. A list of the 10 commandments never saved anyone, and neither did a prayer at graduation. So why do the conservative Christians insist on keeping it? Why can’t we just educate the kids, and let the parents worry about “saving” them?

  20. So, I went to http://www.ShieldFire.com and used their contact page to leav the following message:

    Dear ShieldFire,

    Maybe you already know this, in which case I’ve wasted some time.

    Someone, probably an employee of yours, or someone using your
    computer servers, is posting hate speech on the internet.

    This particular post was made on July 5th, 2006. The user gave
    their e-mail as truthseeker@gmail.com and their website was listed
    as http://www.vanguardnewsnetwork.com. These could easily have
    been faked.

    Their IP, which is unlikely to have been faked, was listed as
    64.205.57.18, which resolves to mail.shieldfire.com

    The comment made was this:

    [snipped for brevity]

    This was signed “Oy Ze Hate!”

    This comment was made on the blog Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion,

    Thank you,
    Josh Narins

    P.S. Feel free to contact me if you still have any questions.

  21. Josh – thanks. But how did you know he/she is “probably an employee of” shield-fire? This sort of thing is a bit mysterious to me.

  22. They’d have to be fairly computer savvy to fake the IP. They obviously aren’t particularly bright, but, if they did fake it, why’d they pick this random company? It doesn’t seem consistent, but it might be. If they didn’t fake the IP, then the request came from a shieldfire.com machine. Since it is a company, chances are that only employees can use it.

    The ShieldFire IT person responded:

    Mr. Narins,

    Hello, I am the Network Administrator at Shield Fire Protection, Inc. I have
    been forwarded your E-mail and been instructed by our President to
    investigate this matter. I want to assure you that we do in fact take this
    very seriously, and disciplinary action will be forthcoming once the
    individual or individuals have been identified. In fairness to our people, I
    am not ruling out some type of outsider possibly using our mail server as a
    proxy to cloak themselves, but as you probably know, that is unlikely.
    Please advise if you would like to be updated in this matter.

    Thank you,

  23. As a Jew who has lived in a small town and went to a public school in the so-called “bible belt” and has experienced this kind of thing, I think that these kinds of stories are proof that Jews shouldn’t live in these areas. I’m sorry, no amount of litigation is going to stop the hatred in places like this. It will only exacerbate it. I don’t want my kids, if I’m so blessed, to have to deal with the kind of crap that I had to put up with. It’s just NOT RIGHT to do that to your children.
    Sure, armchair peeps who have never been there are probably sitting at home saying, “But we shouldn’t have to stay away.” Yeah, you’re right, and the worlds richest nation shouldn’t have any poverty either, but it’s the culture. If you don’t want your kids to experience anti-Semitism at school, send them to a public school in the city that has a diverse population, or if you can afford it, send them to a Jewish school. (Most Jews can’t afford this today.)

    To send your kids to school in Small Town Xtianland and expect them to be treated as equals in nothing short of NAIVE. Trust me.

  24. Josh – excellent news. “Oy Ze Hate!” is a name that pops on a number of far-right discussion boards, I see.

    Shmuel – that’s an eye-opener. I always imagined that Jews in the Bible belt might have to put up with a cloying philo-Semitism based on Christian Zionism, but not real old time Jew-hatred. Seems the spirit of Gerald LK Smith lives on.

  25. Well the Jews use their positions of influence to attack the values of other people. Case in point:
    It was interesting to note that the editor of the Danish paper who published the “Muslim Cartoons”, Mr. Rose is Jewish and describes himself as a “good friend” of Mr. Daniel Pipes – described in wiki as “America’s leading Muslim hater.”

    Yet the media made no mention of this connection nor questioned Mr. Rose for his claim he published the cartoons out of “freedom of speech.”

    No, I don’t sympathize with this Jewish couple and their 6 figure lawsuit. Nor do I sympathize with Jews in general for always claiming “victim status.” Seems they are the ones, throught their positions of influence in the media, and their over representation in the neo-con movement; who are promoting their agenda even though it conflicts with America values of liberty and JUSTICE FOR ALL.

    The treatment of the Israel-Palestine issue being a case in point.

  26. Where I was from xtian Zionism wasn’t all that popular, like it is where I am now (although I’ve still been the victim of anti-Jewish threats here, too). I’m not aware of who Gerald L K Smith is. My beliefs were seen by many, probably most, as a threat to the town, b/c most people stayed there because of it’s generally xtian character, which was the general reason most people lived there.
    I think a lot of Jews who grew up in suburbs and stuff think that anti-Jewish hatred is just something their parents or grandparents experienced and not something that exists in modern day America, so when they move out to places like this they don’t really know what they’re getting into. They think the public school system at least will protect their children but they won’t. And while lawsuits may help individual people like the Dobriches, they won’t solve the problem at large.

    Best to just take the Talmud’s advice, and don’t put yourself in a bad situation. There’s no use in trying to be a hero in a culture war, much less making your kid a soldier in it.

  27. I didn’t think much of several of those cartoons, and I dislike Daniel Pipes – but that wasn’t about “the Jews”. Rose published the cartoons because he was the culture editor of a conservative newspaper, not because he’s a Jew, and far less because he represents “the Jews” as a whole. I also recall that the cartoons started a massive debate in which the newspaper’s motivation was brought under considerable scrutiny. And if the media is supposedly controlled by “the Jews” for the benefit of the neo-cons, why is there so much critical opinion about the war in Iraq?

    As for the US treatment of the Israel-Palestine issue, I’m a strong supporter of Palestinian rights; but it’s uphill work when innocent Israeli civilians are being blown up in cafes and so much pro-Palestinian discourse is polluted by stupid anti-Jewish conspiracy theories such as your own.

    Oh, and don’t go on about “JUSTICE FOR ALL” when you’ve just explicitly stated that you don’t care about a Jewish family suffering abuse in a US town.

  28. What’s going on in this part of Delaware is nothing new. The Ku Klux Klan regularly held meetings and crossburnings near Dagsboro in the sixties and seventies.

    And for those who are surprised by this, rural Delaware’s latitude, slightly north of Washington, D.C., has little to do with its attitude. The “Delmarva” peninsula is an entirely different world than that on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay.

  29. Are Your Children or Grandchildren, Kids/Goats?
    We really should try to speak like we love GOD and all HIS Creation, especially HIS Children.

    In Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Concordances: His Children

    On your website on Internet we see the words Kid/Kids , if we looked at the language of the Bible we see Goats. In Strong’s Concordance the Old Testament Hebrew word Kid is Strong’s number ryes sa’iyr of res sa’ir, bn, zn from TWOT-2274c, 2274e KJV – Kid 28, Goat 24, Devil 2, Satyr 2, Hairy 2, Rough 1. In the New Testament Greek we see Kid used once. In Luke 15:29 it is also defined in Strong’s Concordance number as Goat. We read in Matthew 25:31-32: When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep [His Children] from the goats : And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues [the language of God’s word, the Bible].

    Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues*, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

    * not the language of the world.

    Let God be Magnified!

    In Christian love, Sincerely,

  30. Para-dice,

    I liked the words of Harlan Ellison on this subject the best. You charge “the Jews’ with attacking the views of others, and go on to say that you have no sympathy for this family because “the Jews” attack others.

    Harlan Ellison responded to a crack of someone about the “Jewish Monetary Conspiracy’ with something like “Would someone please tell the comptroller that I havn’t recieved any of my checks?”

    In other words, whatever your paranoid views of some sort of Jewish uber-plot to destroy other religions, you should be able to recognize that individual Jews might or might not have anything to do with it (difficult to prove a connection to something that doesn’t exsist, but that’s your problem), and you should at least feel some responsibility to find some actions or quotes, or something to link them before you make an accusation.

    Collective punishment is supposed to be anti-American, after all.

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