When Sissy Bradford stood up for the Constitution, she was rewarded with intimidation and death threats.
Bradford, an adjunct criminology professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, complained in 2011 about a taxpayer-funded tower featuring four Christian crosses being built near the entrance to the campus. The tower was on private land, but it was built with city funds, featured the university seal and was on track to someday become the property of the public school.
Thanks to her protest and a letter from the Americans United Legal Department, the crosses were subsequently removed. That should have been the end of the story, except it wasn’t.
Although she was scheduled to teach four classes in the fall, Bradford was informed by the university on May 16 that her services would no longer be needed. No reason was given, according to the San Antonio Current.
This development comes after Bradford had been subjected to months of vicious backlash from cross defenders. The Current reports that Bradford received an email on Nov. 27 that asked, “As a professor, do you have the right to live?” Another email called Bradford the offspring of Satan and suggested she marry Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Things got so bad that Bradford asked campus police to protect her, but her requests were ignored. (The university declined to comment on the matter). According to the local paper, she later complained to Texas A&M at College Station, which allowed her to file a statement with university police on Dec. 5.
In that statement, Bradford said: “I am being stalked & harassed & threatened by student(s) & community members because I am not a Christian. There exists a clear & prolonged pattern of unwanted communication, contact, threats, & invasion of privacy.”
The Current learned that school police did open an investigation, but closed it without taking any action.
To take up the slack, students loyal to Bradford began escorting her to her car, according to the news report. But soon even Bradford’s supporters came under fire from cross defenders. When Kirsten Verdi, who has since graduated from Texas A&M-San Antonio, defended Bradford in class, another student told her, “You need to be beaten,” according to the Current.
Although Bradford is no longer a university employee, she continues to be a target of hatred. Commenters leaving messages on the Current article within the last week said things like:
“Professor Bradford is stupid for debating over a cross. If she does not like it, she should get another job. That is good that she felt harassed [sic] after that email because that is the same way we as Christians felt. Welcome to our world. I feel bad for you Sissy Bradford.”
Bradford was brave to take an unpopular stand on behalf of church-state separation in a community where many clearly feel very strongly about religion. She risked her job to stand up for religious liberty, and instead of getting a gold medal, she ended up with a pink slip. That’s just plain wrong.
Prof. Bradford, we salute your courage and your commitment to the Constitution. And university officials should be ashamed of themselves for the action they have taken.