Tell Christian Sheriff to Stop Persecuting Atheist
  • Petitioning US Senator Bill Nelson (Florida)

This petition will be delivered to:

United States Congressman
US Senator Bill Nelson (Florida)
Board of County Commissioners - Polk County, Florida
US Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
US Commission on Civil Rights - Southern Regional Office
Peter Minarik, Director

Tell Christian Sheriff to Stop Persecuting Atheist

    1. Petition by

      Atheists of Florida

Religious freedom is under attack in this country. Nowhere is this attack more defined than the malicious persecution of EllenBeth Wachs by Polk County, Florida, Sheriff Grady Judd.

EllenBeth, an activist for the separation of church and state, had, earlier this year, challenged Sheriff Judd, an outspoken evangelical Christian, over the illegal transfer of taxpayer property to local churches, which he had orchestrated in a politically motivated public relations stunt.

Additionally, she discovered, through her Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to Sheriff Judd, that Judd had illegally used his sheriff department’s credit card and other taxpayer resources for this purpose.

In retaliation over a dozen of Sheriff Judd’s deputies, in SWAT tactical gear, descended on EllenBeth’s home in March. She was arrested on felony charges, jailed, her home searched and personal items and documents seized. Why? Because EllenBeth, a retired attorney, had used the letters “Esq.” (an honorific used by both practicing and retired attorneys) after her name on those FOIA requests to the sheriff.

Among the items that deputies took in the search were incriminating documents sent by a sheriff’s department employee in response to EllenBeth’s FOIA requests. Moreover, the search included rummaging through areas that had nothing to do with the practice of law: searching her underwear drawer, her medical supplies, turning over her bed mattress, looking under chair cushions, probing into her cars as well as into her employees’ cars and purses, while holding them at gunpoint.

Then again in May, she was dragged from her home, arrested and jailed, including a week of solitary confinement, on another trumped up felony charge based on a neighbor’s alleged report that he had heard a sexual sound coming from the privacy of her home 48 days prior.

EllenBeth currently faces the possibility of years in prison.  Most incredulously, no one has ever been arrested, charged, let alone convicted on the allegations that have been leveled at her in these charges.

Clearly, EllenBeth has been maliciously persecuted for standing up against the sheriff in her campaign to secure her -- and our -- religious freedoms.

But she is fighting back and you can help her by signing this petition and passing it on to everyone you know.

Recent signatures


    1. Stop the Smear Campaign & Support Top Two Atheist Activists in Florida

      A new Petition has been generated on EllenBeth's behalf. Please sign that one as well!

      Stop the Smear Campaign & Support Top Two Atheist Activists in Florida

      No one should have to face character assassination alone or undefended. It harms all of us all when vicious attacks are made against any of us.

    2. EllenBeth's Story in Free Inquiry Magazine

      You can read a short version of EllenBeth's ordeal in the Aug/Sept issue of Free Inquiry magazine put out by the Council for Secular Humanism. Get more updates on EllenBeth's Facebook page. Simply hit the like button to get newsfeed.

    3. Reached 5,000 signatures
    4. Support and Follow EllenBeth on her Public Facebook Page

      You can get the latest developments and issues surrounding persecution of minorities. Simply hit the "Like" button


      The State Attorney has dismissed the felony charges against EllenBeth! The petition is still important as we need to get the rogue sheriff to cease his campaign of terror against this activist.

    6. Reached 4,000 signatures
    7. Polk County Inquisition

      Unfortunately for Sheriff Grady, he couldn’t arrest Wachs for being an atheist, because atheism is not a crime, no matter how much he might like it to be. Instead, though, he arrested her for other things things that are also not illegal.

    8. 7/27/2011 Examiner (Atlanta) article ...

      "According to ABC News, the whole thing began when the sheriff donated government material to a church -- in violation of both law and constitution. Since her "crime" of objecting to these donations, she's been arrested ..." Read more at link.

    9. Reached 3,000 signatures
    10. Day 4 -- Big bad Sheriff Judd takes underwear away from jail inmates

      Read Jonathon Turley's take on how Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd continues to bully/punish inmates of his jail, many of whom (~50%) haven't been convicted and are, by law, presumed innocent.

    11. Reached 1,000 signatures
    12. Ledger article: "Atheist Activist Wachs Has No Plans to Back Down"

      Except ...

      “Where is a vocal activist needed most?” Wachs said. “This is ground zero of religious intolerance. This is the new SelmaAla., for civil rights for atheists.”

      Read article at link ...

    13. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Scott Walker TUCSON, AZ
      • about 1 month ago

      The Stasi are here. Stand up to them.

    • Ralph Holmes VA BEACH, VA
      • 9 months ago

      I'm not Atheist but I believe in everyone right to believe or not.

    • Chuck Lowry FT. SCOTT, KS
      • 10 months ago


      • about 1 year ago

      Because I'm against christian thuggery.

    • Rachel Green DANIA BEACH, FL
      • over 1 year ago

      The writers of our Constitution knew the evils of state-endorsed religion. We as a people cannot allow this behavior to go unpunished


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