EllenBeth Wachs is the Legal Coordinator for Atheists of Florida, and a staunch Atheist Activist. She is infamous in her community of Polk County, Florida and is quite possibly the most reviled woman in town.
Wachs claims her experience in Polk County has been marked by harassment from the locals: her home and car have been vandalized; she's been called a "loon," "pervert" and "witch." Moreover, she's been advised to "kill herself," and it's been suggested that she should be "boiled in oil."
It seems this all started when, last year, Wachs and the Atheists of Florida "sued the Lakeland City Commission over public prayers, protested invocations before Polk County School Board meetings and challenged Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd's donation of basketball goals from the county jail to a church."
Polk County Residents have not taken too kindly to this type of behavior. Many view Wachs' Activism as a form of bullying. Perhaps Lynne Breidenbach, a Christian Activist, sums up the feelings of the believing residents best: "This is a community of faith, and faith is very important to the people of Polk County, and if they (Wachs and other atheists) would like to live and work here as members of this community, they need to be more accommodating of us."
In a recent turn of events, Wachs has been arrested twice. Wach's office has denounced Sheriff Judd's recent arrests as a form of retaliation and persecuation. Wachs has filed a suit in against him in which she asserts that "the sheriff’s actions, including two arrests and searches of her house, violated her First Amendment rights and her right to due process."
Wachs herself was charged with "unlawfully practicing law, and simulating a sex act in the presence of a child."
In the first incident , Wachs, " A nonpracticing lawyer...signed the requests with the designation Esquire after her name. Sheriff Judd sent a team of officers to arrest her and charged her in March with illegally posing as a lawyer, a felony." But according to her lawyer, Lawrence G. Walters, “This does not violate any bar rules...she is allowed to use esquire.”
In the second incident, "Wachs asked her next door neighbor's son to stop playing basketball because the racket was bothering her. When he continued to play, investigators say Wachs made loud noises of a sexual nature, and deputies were called."
Her second arrest resulted in Wachs spending "six days in solitary confinement in a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell." She claims that she was denied her medication, and that "the arrests and jail experience have exacerbated her multiple sclerosis symptoms." She has recently been undergoing treatment for post traumatic stress disorder related to her experience.
Please Support EllenBeth Wachs!
If you’re a resident of Florida, join Atheists of Florida (chapters in Cape Coral, Gainesville, Lakeland, Orlando, Port Richey, Saint Petersburg, Sarasota and Tampa) and attend the "I Have a Dream Benefit" in support of EllenBeth Wachs in Lakeland, FL on August 28th.
Tell your friends to do the same!
Get Atheist ‘n Science themed T-Shirts, Stickers ‘n Buttons at EVOLVEfish.com!