IFAS | Freedom Writer | Summer 2001 | morons.html

'Redneck morons'

Inverness, Florida Several months ago, under the leadership of school board chairwoman Patience Nave, the Inverness School Board voted to open its public meetings with Christian prayer. Ever since, Charles Schrader, a Wiccan, prayed aloud with the board. However, he prayed a Wiccan prayer, while Patience Nave prayed a Christian prayer.

On May 22nd, Patience lost her patience while opening the meeting with prayer. As she prayed, Schrader prayed his pagan prayer. Nave stopped, and said, "Mr. Schrader, you are out of order. We have someone else speaking.I'm going to ask you to respect other people."

Schrader said that he had just as much right to pray as she did. She called upon a deputy sheriff to remove Schrader. The deputy told Schrader that he was violating the law by disrupting an educational function, and that he would have to leave the meeting. Not to be dissuaded, Schrader lay down on the floor and asked, "Am I under arrest?" "If I put my hands on you, you will go to jail," the deputy said.

Schrader had recently been assaulted as he prayed a Wiccan prayer at a Marion County Commission meeting, and said that he had received threats, so, not wanting to go to jail and fearing for his safety, he stood, gathered his things and left with his wife, who videotaped the episode.

Schrader concluded that the incident was "about what we'd expect[ed] from redneck morons and their police department."

© 2001 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.