There’s a soon-to-be-released documentary called “The Separation on State Street.”
I haven’t seen it, but the synopsis looks right up this blog’s alley:
Anonka, the creator of a museum dedicated to the witch trials, awakened a wasp nest in her conservative, Christian town when she decided to ask the county commission a very simple question:
“Why is the Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn?”
A longer synopsis is after the jump.
The film is the work of award-winning filmmaker & journalist Robert St. Mary.
Here’s the trailer:
A longer synopsis:
When Anonka’s Witch Museum opened on Street Street, the main drag, in downtown Caro, Michigan in early 2000 the town of just over 4,000 didn’t know how to react, Having a curiosity shop showcasing the Inquisition was a bit unusual in this small, farm town so far away from the last site of an American witch persecution – Salem, Massachusetts in the late 1600’s – but Anonka’s ideas were bigger than that. This middle-60’s great-grandmother wanted to show how the mix of religion and government had dangerous results in the past.
In December 2001, another Christmas season came to Caro and with it the annual placement of a Nativity scene on the courthouse lawn. This left Anonka wondering who paid for the Nativity set it up and why it was there in the first place. She would take these questions to her county board of commissioners – they didn’t want to hear them.
At a Tuscola County Commission meeting two-weeks before Christmas, Anonka and her daughter Tammra asked for their five-minutes to make public comment on their objections to the Christ scene. Instead, they were cut off, not allowed to speak and mocked by several of their elected officials for their lack of religious faith.
Feeling powerless, Anonka turned to the Federal Court. She decided to sue the county commission for not only the placement of the Nativity scene on government property but for the discrimination she felt she suffered at the meeting by those who did not respect her right as a citizen to speak before their government.
As soon as the case was filed, the town started to attract media attention. With the exposure came attacks against Anonka, her family and grandchildren. Anonka’s Witch Museum continued to push along against public opinion, legal setbacks and personal hardships during the two-plus-years the case rumbled through the Federal Court system. Along the way an interesting cast of individuals – from a minister to a newspaper editor to a State Representative to an “enlightened master” – would all converge on the issue of Anonka’s complaint, Church/State separation and “The Separation on State Street.”
[tags]atheist, atheism, independent film, documentary[/tags]