Atheists’ Home Vandalized September 23, 2007

Atheists’ Home Vandalized

Perhaps in response to Rob Sherman‘s atheist activism or his daughter’s recent (successful) campaign to get God Bless America off of the Homecoming Dance song list at her high school, the family evoked a response from the suburban Chicago community.

Their home was vandalized Friday night:

… with eggs tossed at the house and cars, and crosses and religious words scrawled in chalk on the driveway.

A church bulletin also was stuck on the front door.

The police department thinks it was the “work of youngsters”:

The vandalism likely was the retaliatory work of youngsters, police Sgt. Mike Millett said — since it came on the heels of the school incident and because one of the chalked words, “Jesus,” was misspelled.

Not sure how you misspell “Jesus”… but obviously, a working brain isn’t possessed by whomever did this. (***Update***: It was spelled “JESSUS”)

Let’s get this statement out there: This was the work of one person or a small handful of people. It’s not representative of all Christians (if they are the ones who did this).

That said, it would be nice for local churches or Christian leaders to put out an announcement this morning that this type of action is never tolerated — while you might disagree with the Shermans’ beliefs, there are more positive ways to handle the situation.

[tags]atheist, atheism, crime, Christian, church, Dawn Sherman[/tags]

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  • geetha

    somewhat similar to what is happening in India particularly Chennai and Bangalore on the ram sethu issue.

  • since it came on the heels of the school incident and because one of the chalked words, “Jesus,” was misspelled.

    If my house were vandalized in the same manner, I don’t think I could stop laughing. I’d bring all my friends over, I’d snap pictures and post them on the Internet.

    Something meant to intimidate and harass proves more an embarrassment to the harassers.

  • Wow! I’ll keep that in mind!

  • Whatever your response, I apologize on behalf of the Church. This is NOT how Christians ought to be acting and I have serious doubts that this is how Jesus would have responded.

  • Kate

    Well said, Calvin. I know several Christians who echo your sentiments and if Jesus does exist…well then, I bet he’s banging his head against a wall for this one (and for a lot of other things done “in his name”…).

  • Thank you for taking the high road and not using this as an opportunity for a cheap shot.

  • Susan

    *sigh* A few idiots with misguided notions can make it so difficult for the rest of us to get along like civilized people.

  • Karen

    You know what would be really cool would be to see a church crew showing up to help the family clean up their premises.

  • Mriana

    No, it is not how Christians should act, but they have acted like this since time in memorial. Thing is, it really looks bad that they misspelled “Jesus”. I feel sorry for the parents who had hoped their children were learning something in school or maybe the parents focused too much on teaching their religious beliefs and not enough on education. Either way, it does look bad. 🙁

  • On top of that, someone’s going to have to pay more attention during Sunday School….Doesn’t say much for Christian language education does it?

  • At least they can eliminate Homer Simpson; he calls him “Jebus”.

  • @ Calvin Moore:

    Perhaps you may find it easier convincing your fellow Christian if you focused more on what they should do as people than as Christians — maybe that way you can cut out the language of your special club and prevent that mentality in the first place.

  • Eliza

    Hemant, I want to express concern over one comment you used in this story; it seems perjorative to people with brain injuries & developmental disabilites imo:

    Not sure how you misspell “Jesus”… but obviously, a working brain isn’t possessed by whomever did this.

    A working brain is possessed by whomever did this. It’s just a brain that has probably been educated in a certain way, in a certain culture, to a degree that many of us would consider under-educated, and mis-educated, and perhaps the person attached to it hasn’t been used to using that brain to think about his or her (probably his, don’t you think?) reactions and actions (much less spelling).

    This reads like an overly PC handslap, but that’s not my intent. I just think it’s unfair to people who really suffer from brain injuries & cognitive dysfunction. (Some of my patients have those problems…and they wouldn’t do anything like this.)

    As a side comment, the one that really bugs me is: alot of Christians misspell “Isaac” (their bibles seem to have it down as “Issac”, at least that’s how they remember it). I’ve had occasion to see birthday cards, etc, over the past few years to a child in my family named Isaac, & I wince over and over at how often well-meaning C’s massacre the name, which (after all) they should know well…but Jessus, now that’s quite the creative spelling.

  • HappyNat

    This is NOT how Christians ought to be acting and I have serious doubts that this is how Jesus would have responded

    I bet he would at least spell his name right.

  • stogoe

    A few idiots with misguided notions can make it so difficult for the rest of us to get along like civilized people.

    A few? They run the frelling military and the entire executive branch. Focus on the Anus pulls the strings on Chimpy McFlightsuit himself.

    Granted, the Egging for Jessus is a silly prank, but Christians are driving civilization towards the cliff.

  • As a local Christian pastor (i.e. in the Chicago are), I just want you to know that I’ve written a letter to the editor of the Daily Herald expressing my disappointment at the actions of these vandals. We’ll see if they publish it or not. I wrote:

    As a local Christian pastor I want to express my deep regret and disappointment at the hateful and immature behavior of those Christians who took it upon themselves to vandalize the home of local outspoken atheist Rob Sherman as reported in the Herald this Sunday. Given that Jesus taught us to love others, and especially those with whom we disagree, this type of behavior should not be tolerated among Christians. These people have given all of us a bad name. Speaking on behalf of many others in my faith whom I know would agree, let me express my deep apologies and sympathies to Mr. Sherman and his daughter.


    Mike Clawson, Pastor
    Via Christus Community Church
    Yorkville, IL

  • Apparently there’s another twist to this story as well… it’s a non-story. That is, Dawn Sherman never got the song taken off the program because it was never on the program in the first place. As this school administrator explains, Dawn was simply on the brainstorming team picking the songs. Someone suggested God Bless America, and several other students shot it down for a number of reasons, in part because it wasn’t secular, but in part because it was too slow. It was just a suggestion in a brainstorming session that got rejected and the kids moved on.

    Maybe the headline should have read: “Students Brainstorm Songs. Some Choices Rejected.” But of course, that’s not nearly as inflammatory and isn’t even a story really.

  • Richard Wade

    So the whole “story” was cooked up by the press just because of Dawn’s father’s reputation?! Aaugggghhhh! That’s infuriating!

    Mike, thank you for writing your letter to the Daily Herald. It would be encouraging if there were any gesture on the part of the clergy in the Sherman’s community to condemn the vandalism.

  • Karen

    Good on ya, Mike C. I’m proud to know you! 🙂

  • -30-

    Hmmm. Had this incident involved parties other than Christians and atheists (eg: Muslims and Christians, or whites and blacks), might it have been called a hate crime?

  • Siamang

    Ahhh… it’s just kids.

    Probably a kid with a crush on the girl.

    Although it did occur to me that he might have egged his own house.

    Come to think of it, it explains the misspelled “Jesus”… maybe he honestly never read the word before.


  • TXatheist

    Very cool of you Mike, good letter.

  • “It’s just kids.” Of course I agree with that. Any reasonable person would. It’s just a little scary these day how often incidents that start off as “just kids being kids” end up being blown all out of proportion, usually by some adult with an axe to grind (or the press!). Let’s hope cooler heads continue to prevail in Chicago.

  • Keith

    Way to go, Mike C.

  • […]From The Friendly Atheist (he’s a cutie too):[…]

  • Mriana

    Hemant? Yes, he is. His mama did raise a cutie, as well as a great guy. Too bad I’m too old for him. 😆 Ooops! :blush: Somehow I don’t think anyone was talking about Hemant. Who are you guys talking about?

  • Eliza

    Mike C, thank you!

  • I’m an education blogger (former school professional) enjoying this thread as insight into what we might call “the religion of public school politics.” Secular schoolfolk can be disturbingly dogmatic about standardized-school-as-salvation, which makes them politically evangelical about imposing their beliefs on us all, for our own good. It’s a belief-based blind spot imo, that needs the “friendly” illumination of truly free (not hidebound) thought.

    For anyone interested in that aspect of this conversation: “God Bless America: School Fight Song for Our Times”. In any case, thanks for the inspiration!

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