Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
...and hopefully the Good Guys will have more victories against dominionists

(Edited to make it a bit clearer that the dominionists *lost* for once. Never ever type before coffee :3)


Apparently, town with dominionist influence--which was actually invoking Jesus before town council meeting--gets sued by Wiccan, and the Wiccan *wins* (for once).

Town has only $15,000 insurance, and may have to end up paying over $65,000 in court costs in result (the courts are still ruling on whether court costs are to be awarded).

(Of minor interest--one of the major folks supporting the dominionists is (shock, shock) an AoG preacher at a church with a not-terribly-dissimilar name to the one I walked away from (though in a completely different state). They've claimed if the courts rule for payment of court costs by the town, the church will cover it...I dare say the next step after *that* should be revocation of the church's tax exempt status. If they can shell out $65,000 for court costs to spite someone who sued for violation of the *Constitution*, I think they can afford to pay their damned taxes.)


Here's some more info and backgrounder:


A good backgrounder on what exactly has happened...

http://www.free-times.com/archive/coverstory_05/ACLU_problems.html also has background info.

http://www.aclusc.org/Page/Clipping/breaking.html#breakdarla0 details some info:

Darla began attending Town Council meetings in 1999. Her goal was to get the crack sellers off a corner she frequently passed. But the council, rather than focus on cleaning up the community, made it an issue of her and her religion. “I tried to respect their faith and traditions by bowing my head, but when it got abusive, I put my foot down” said Darla.

She was reportedly not allowed to even testify about the crack dealers unless she joined them in a dominionist prayer (per http://www.heraldonline.com/local/story/4184335p-3965924c.html); a separate ACLU-SC article (noted below) gives further info:

Shortly after she arrived in Great Falls, Wynne said, she attended a council meeting to ask how to get drug dealers off a street corner near her neighborhood.

But Town Council members, she said, instead questioned her about bumper stickers on her 1995 GMC Sonoma truck that signified her Wiccan beliefs. The stickers bore slogans such as “Witches heal” and “Freedom of religions means all religions,” along with the pentacle symbol (an upright star within a circle), which is associated with Wicca.

And later:

Wynne said she became increasingly uncomfortable at the meetings, not because of the questions but because of the invocation that opened each meeting.

“A council member has always offered a prayer before our meetings,” said longtime Councilman J.C. Broom.

Broom himself often offered a prayer ending with the phrase “In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.”

At first, Wynne bowed her head silently during the prayer, but in 2000 she asked Mayor H.C. Starnes if a nonsectarian prayer could be offered that wouldn’t alienate non-Christians. She was refused.

Wynne then suggested members of different religions be allowed to offer prayers, but the council refused, according to the ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. She filed a lawsuit against the town in U.S. District Court in 2001.

Wynne initially worked the case on her own behalf, but she eventually received backing from the American Civil Liberties Union, with Buhl as her counsel.

After she won the case (with assistance of the ACLU-South Carolina), the dominionists have not only threatened to take the case to the Supreme Court but also have stepped up harassment:

Almost immediately after the District Court found in her favor, barring the Town Council from saying prayers to Jesus Christ, a very vocal minority of the town’s residents waged war against her. Darla says, “My home was vandalized nine times and people kept hurting my animals and I know this is not what Christianity teaches”. She believes their goal is to drive her out of town.

“Even an attempt to publicly exorcise me was made”, Darla says referring to the time when she sought to have her name removed from the side of a building that said, “Jesus Christ loves Darla Wynne”.

According to the Herald Online article:

Great Falls police responded to at least 10 calls of reported vandalism at Wynne's residence in the past year, Great Falls Police Chief Mike Revels said.

http://www.aclusc.org/Page/Clipping/State/040919Knauss.html gives more info on the extent of the harassment:

That harassment, according to Wynne and police reports, recently included someone’s breaking into her home and beheading one of her beloved parrots, an African gray she named “Little One.” A note attached to the bird’s body read, “You’re next!”

“I’ve been devastated by all of this here,” Wynne said in a recent interview. “People have asked me why I don’t just leave, but if I left, it would be like the people who did this won. You couldn’t pry me out of this town now.”

She said the parrot’s death is just the latest and most violent in a series of attacks against her animals, including the deaths of several cats and the beating of one of her Yorkshire terriers.

“The kind of people who have been harassing me are the kind of people who will hurt an animal to drive a point home instead of confronting me directly,” she said.

And according to the Free Times article:

In one incident after another, residents of Great Falls lashed out at her with the vehemence of a crazed mob. They killed her 8-year-old parrot, an African gray that could have lived to be 100 or older, Wynne says. “She was beheaded and her heart was cut out.”

They repeatedly vandalized her home. “And I mean, literally where they come in and flipped over the refrigerator, pulled up my heater, spray painted.”

They visited abuse upon her animals. “I’ve had cats poisoned,” she says. “I had one cat gutted and hung from a planter thing in my house.” Her 14-year-old Yorkshire terrier was blinded in one eye. Named after Wynne’s affection for a certain motorcycle line, Harley encountered many a threat in Alaska from owls, eagles, foxes and the like. But the dog was never the worse for wear over it. Says Wynne, “And I gotta come down to some redneck town, and some jackass, they’re not satisfied just killing my birds, almost killing my horses, but they’ve gotta pick on such a small old dog.”

(Yes, you're reading right. Dominionists literally *LYNCHED HER CATS* and *RANSACKED HER HOUSE* as a form of harassment. There's also reports she received threats from Klan groups on the town message board.)

There is evidence of dominionist influence, and dominionists are even starting to explicitly pander to the town hall members:

Great Falls, like most of South Carolina, is an overwhelmingly Christian community. Churches dot the rural highways leading into the town of 2,200 and line its main street. According to figures released by the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, 2.2 million of South Carolinia’s more than 4 million residents identify themselves as Christians. No more than 5,000 South Carolinians identify themselves as pagan.

“It’s a very important issue, especially from a religious standpoint,” Gibbons said. “Christianity is the prevailing religion in South Carolina, and it’s very important for Christians to be able to express their faith openly.”

Great Falls leaders’ position on prayer has gained support from South Carolina’s attorney general, Henry McMaster, who has said he would help the town fight the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Support for the town has also been voiced by a Virginia solicitor involved in a case similar to Wynne’s in Chesterfield County, Va., where a Wiccan has challenged a county council’s prayer.

And from a religioustolerance.org posting on the issue:

"TG" the administrator of "the world's largest prayer board" on a Fundamentalist Christian web site Annointed.net posted a review of the court ruling. Under the heading: "We must pray this judge who supports satan worshipers over us off the court" he quoted part of Circuit Judge Diana Motz's decision as: "Darla Kaye Wynne a satan worshiper brought this suit to prohibit the Town Council of Great Falls, South Carolina from engaging in prayers that specifically invoke Jesus Christ during monthly council meetings."

For what it's worth, South Carolina is also a state that has been specifically targeted by dominionists for invasion with the goal of ultimate secession.

Here are some of the folks responsible for the attack:

http://www.freehomepages.com/greatfalls/page2.html (Great Falls, SC Government)
http://www.sccounties.org/counties/chester.htm (county government)

Very interestingly, the following link is from the *official* website of the town government:


(Get a load of the whole eagle/flag/cross motif on the front page. Very common symbolism in AoG churches and other dominionist churches as well.)

And, how interesting, its solitary entry in the Church News entry (http://www.flopeye.net/church.htm) has *one solitary* listing--Evangel Temple Assembly of God.

Finding out the specific webpage of the site is rather difficult, as "Evangel" is an *incredibly* common name for AoG churches (to the point it's very nearly a *brand name*, especially in conjunction with such terms as "temple" or "tabernacle" or other known "code words" (like "world prayer center") in the dominionist community). A Google search on the church name is telling (http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&lr=&c2coff=1&q=%22evangel+temple+assembly+of+god%22&btnG=Search)

Searching by town, apparently this is one of the few "Evangel" AoGs that doesn't have a website. Flopeye's listing is as close as it comes officially.

Some further backgrounder:


Info on the other case that could be tried with this (should this go to the Supremes, as the dominionists are threatening to):



Here's the actual court docket, for the legal minded:


Fark.com has been reporting on this and many of the links regarding information are from the discussion thread (http://forums.fark.com/cgi/fark/comments.pl?IDLink=1622014). Props where props are deserved :3


Apparently, per at least one source, the Supremes refused to review the case, hence the court ruling stands (This per the Religioustolerance.org link above).

Also, not only is she *still* not being heard at town hall meetings (regarding a matter of public safety, at that), but the town is making noises about possibly defying the court ruling: