Monday, August 28, 2006

RIP, Vashti McCollum

She may not have been a GI Joe, but she was a true American hero.

In 1948, Mrs. McCollum won her case before the United States Supreme Court. In an 8-1 decision, the Court ruled that not only is it impermissible for the government to privilege one religion over another, it is also impermissible to privilege religion over non-religion.

For Mrs. McCollum and her family, such a stand was not an easy one:

In the three-year legal battle, Mrs. McCollum received physical threats and was fired from her job as a dance instructor at the university. At Halloween, a mob of trick-or-treaters pelted the McCollum family with rotten tomatoes and cabbages. The family cat was lynched.

It strikes me how little has changed: outspoken supporters of public school-sponsored religion are numerous and politically powerful, and fanatics continue to physically threaten those who would oppose them. I only hope there are enough courageous Americans, like Mrs. McCollum, around today to stand up for their principles and ensure justice for all.

1 comment:

Alex Kim said...

Travis found this awful article in a publication called the Florida Baptist Witness... I don't think I'll be picking it up any time soon... The article is an interview with Katherine Harris, the country's most infmaous elections official who is now running for U.S. Senate.

Awesome quote:
"If you are not electing Christians, tried and true, under public scrutiny and pressure... then in essence you are going to legislate sin. ...[W]henever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong."

I never knew about Ms. McCollum before reading your post. Thank you for sharing. I hope we find it in ourselves to honor her memory.