While the school board would appear to have a commanding case, Freshwater and his supporters managed to persuade a large part of the town, on the edge of the Appalachia region, popularly regarded as culturally backward and home to about three dozen churches and an evangelical university, that the issue is about his religious rights.
The teacher allied himself with a militant rightwing group, the Minutemen, and held a rally in Mount Vernon's town square at which he announced he had been sacked for refusing to remove a Bible from his desk.
The school denied that was the motive but the claim prompted a wave of support. Students held a "take a Bible to school" day and wore T-shirts proclaiming that God supported Freshwater.
Pretty crazy stuff, seems like it must have been going on for a long time but nobody had dared speak out about it...