Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pictures of a Pep Rally

The criminal contempt trial for Pace High School principal Frank Lay and athletic director Robert Freeman is well underway today in the Pensacola federal courthouse. Observers hoping to see the one and only faith vindicated began lining up outside the building at 3:00 a.m.

By nine o'clock, when we arrived, a couple of hundred protesters were getting drenched by a driving rain. They filled the boulevard median, restricted by local police and federal agents to stand no closer than fifty yards from the entrance to the courthouse.

Occasional, sketchy reports from inside the courthouse agreed that the Government's first witness, a Santa Rosa County school board member, took the better part of the first two hours on the witness stand. At that pace, if you will forgive the pun, it would be surprising if presentation of all evidence wraps up before five o'clock this evening.

Meanwhile, outside the atmosphere was rather like a pep rally at Dumbbell High. Some couldn't distinguish between free speech and religious indoctrination.

Others apparently missed the fact that today's criminal contempt hearing is precisely about whether Lay and Freeman contemptuously disrespected the authority of a federal judge.

The crowd was about evenly divided between perky, young, naive high school girls wearing matching T-shirts and older, rather used-looking men and women wearily propping up signs with various anti-ACLU and pro-prayer-in-the-school messages:

The big attraction was a four-member, avowedly "Christian" motorcycle gang that repeatedly circled the courthouse block, each time drawing cheers from the crowd as they idled by with prominently-displayed, mildly pornographic arm tattoos, crudely lettered "Christian" messages, and over-sized American flags. One couldn't help wondering how those in the crowd would have felt if these same toughs had come roaring down the driveway to their own homes.

Later, the motorcycle gang led a clutch of protesters in a spontaneous group prayer along the sidewalk. No one in the crowd could tell us who the gang members were or if they had the sort of character one would hope for from someone giving religious instruction. "They're praying out loud," one woman said to us. "That's enough for me."

As sometimes happens in such circumstances, it was a passing dog who had the most trenchant comment to make about the event, although his owner may not have understood the double entendre:

More Pace High School Religious Instruction

Sept. 18: Late Editorial Update ("Homo Neanderthalensis")
Sept. 17: Lay, Freeman Beat the Rap with the 'I'm Stupid' Defense
Aug. 22: Stupid, Not Contemptuous
Aug. 5: The One and Only Faith
Aug. 4: Frank Lay's Criminal Contempt Order
May 31: Principal Lay Has a 'Come to Jesus' Moment
May 27: Laying Down the Puritan Law
May 15: Southern Hos-Pee-Tility

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Understand things get confusing.

it's hard to tell the difference between a blogspot and left wing propaganda spun by a arrogant pompous ass