An atheist in Central Florida filed suit in Federal District Court in Tampa on Friday, accusing the Polk County sheriff, an evangelical Christian, of harassing and unnecessarily arresting her as retaliation for not believing in God and for her efforts to keep prayer out of public meetings.
EllenBeth Wachs, the legal coordinator for the group Atheists of Florida, asked the court to prevent the sheriff, Grady Judd, from conducting any new investigations, arrests or complaints resulting from her “nonreligious, atheist viewpoint in the predominantly Christian-oriented Polk County, Fla.” The sheriff’s actions, including two arrests and searches of her house, violated her First Amendment rights and her right to due process, the suit states. — NYTimes
It’s truly a bizarre story, stretching back several months. She became annoyed when the sheriff, a Christian who allegedly quotes biblical scripture in his agency’s newsletter, removed athletic equipment from the county’s jail and donated it to a church. When Wachs, a non-practicing lawyer, filed several public requests for records about the transaction and signed her name, “Esq.,” the sheriff arrested her for illegally posing as a lawyer.
The next arrest is even stranger. One early morning, Wachs asked her next-door neighbor’s son to stop making so much noise shooting baskets. He refused, so she started making orgasmic moaning noises and calling out “Oh John!” like a porn queen. Out comes the sheriff who arrests her “on a felony sex charge,” goes through the house and confiscates personal items, including a safe. A month later he arrests her again on marijuana possession, saying they found drugs in the safe.
Sounds to me like a fine upstanding law enforcement agent, and good Christian to boot. But I wonder why it took a month to “find” those drugs in her safe. I also wonder that if loudly faking orgasms in the privacy of your own bedroom is a felony in Polk County, what’s the penalty for having real ones? Somebody check the bible and get back to me.
(Hmm. Is there a pattern here? Fake lawyer then fake orgasms. Hmm.)
From this distance and this limited account, it’s hard not to stereotype the players. Ms. Wachs sounds like a crank and an irritant, who right or wrong makes it difficult to embrace her. The Sheriff strikes me as a sanctimonious, arrogant backwater tyrant whose faith in his own infallibility and confidence of his grasp of power encourage him to do whatever the hell he wants to, the rules be damned. I suspect these two would lock horns sooner or later anyway. Her atheism just renders it a holy war for him, clearly a battle in which he delights, and the back-asswards hinds of Polk County applaud. God’s work, you know. Thin the herd.
Obviously my sympathies rest with the atheist crank, even if she is a lawyer (or not). Any brand of tyranny sanctioned by the government, no matter its rationale, is abhorrent, and when blended with a religious mixer, it just gets worse. That’s how I read this one. So I’ll keep an eye peeled and report all developments.
PS Here’s a good discussion on faked orgasms. Photos, too. That’s what you REALLY want anyway.