The trial of John Freshwater has polarized the town of Mt. Vernon, Ohio. According to a story in the Chicago Tribune:
"There's a battle of ideology going on here," said Don Matolyak, pastor of Trinity Worship Center and a Freshwater supporter. "I believe the ultimate issue is the Bible on the desk."
No way, argues Beth Murdock, who runs a downtown bakery. "This makes us look like a bunch of hicks, and that's not what this is," Murdock said.
"I don't think he meant to burn anybody. He got some bad counsel to make this all about the Bible and God. All he needed to do was say he was sorry, but he wouldn't do that," Murdock said.
There have now been suggestions that the "cross-branding" was, in fact, not on purpose:
The alleged branding occurred last December during a classroom science experiment. Freshwater was using an electrostatic device common in science classroom demonstrations. Science teachers at the school say they have used the device for many years to identify the color of gases.
Freshwater told investigators, according to an independent probe, that students often ask if they could touch the device, which carries high voltage but low current. On that day, several students volunteered, including one unidentified child whose parents complained that the crosslike mark left a "burn that remained on their child's arm for three or four weeks," the report said. The parents are suing Freshwater and the school system.
It reminds me of the old Vorlon addage: "Understanding is a three edged sword: There is your side, their side, and the truth" I wonder if we will know it in the end.