If there is a god, he likes atheists!! : )
Chuck Smalkowski, a member of American Atheists living in Hardesty, Oklahoma, has been found Not Guilty on all counts by a twelve person jury in Guymon, Texas County, Oklahoma.
Chuck, together with his family, is featured on the cover of the current issue of American Atheist Magazine. At the 2006 Annual Convention, the Smalkowski Family was presented the American Atheists Award for Valor, now prominently displayed on the wall of their home.
The Smalkowski case attracted national attention after Nicole Smalkowski was kicked off of the girls' basketball team after refusing to stand in a circle with her teammates on the gymnasium floor of the Hardesty public High School and recite the "Lord's Prayer." After school officials learned that she and her family were Atheists, lies were created about her as grounds to take her off of the team.
When her father Chuck discovered conclusively that public school and law enforcement officials had lied to him about his 15 year old daughter, he and Nicole and her mother Nadia went to the home of principal Lloyd Buckley to attempt to discuss the matter with him. Outside of his front fence, the principal struck Chuck, who blocked the blow. Both men fell to the ground and Buckley sustained minor injuries, the provable origins of which were strikingly contrary to his under oath trial testimony. Buckley then took out misdemeanor criminal assault charges against Chuck. After Smalkowski rejected the offer to drop the charges if he and his Atheist family left the state, the charges were raised to a felony. Chuck called American Atheists for help.
Ultimately a jury of twelve was seated who had sworn that they could believe the testimony of an Atheist over that of a Christian.
In closing argument, Edwin told the jury that it really should not be necessary for an Atheist to tell them it is wrong to lie under oath, as he reminded them the Christian school officials and the police had done in their sworn trial testimony. "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Ninth Commandment. Eight if you are Roman Catholic," Kagin said.
The jury believed the Atheists. Unanimously.
The night of the verdict, tornados of unusual violence descended on the panhandle of Oklahoma. The home of the Principal who had brought the false charges against Chuck Smalkowski was severely damaged.
This fact has no relationship whatsoever to the verdict.
A civil lawsuit in Federal Court, with the Smalkowski Family and American Atheists as Plaintiffs, is contemplated.