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  • One woman filed a historic lawsuit that forever changed the relationship between religion and schools.

    One woman filed a historic lawsuit that forever changed the relationship between religion and schools.

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  • A marked up newspaper photo of Vashti McCollum, sent to her anonymously.

    A marked up newspaper photo of Vashti McCollum, sent to her anonymously.

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  • Vashti McCollum in court.

    Vashti McCollum in court.

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  • Jim McCollum in court.

    Jim McCollum in court.

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  • Vashti and Jim McCollum.

    Vashti and Jim McCollum.

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  • Vashti and Jim McCollum in front of their house.

    Vashti and Jim McCollum in front of their house.

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  • Vashti McCollum with her attorney and her father at the trial.

    Vashti McCollum with her attorney and her father at the trial.

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The Film

She was called “that awful woman” by her neighbors, and “that atheist mother” by virtually every newspaper in the country. Her friends stopped returning phone calls rather than risk speaking with her. She received up to 200 letters a day, some of the writers claiming they would pray for her; many wishing her harm. She was branded a Communist, and the Illinois State Legislature nearly banned her and her husband from ever teaching at the state university again.

All this because, in 1945, this young mother of three from a small central Illinois town, Vashti McCollum would file a historic lawsuit that would forever change the relationship between religion and public schools in America.

The Lord is Not on Trial Here Today tells the compelling personal story behind one of the most important First Amendment cases in U.S. Supreme Court history, the case that set the foundation for the separation of church and state in public schools. The film recounts what Vashti McCollum later described as “three years of headlines, headaches, and hatred,” but which eventually led to a decision that still resonates in the church-state conflicts of today, 60 years after the original decision in McCollum vs. Board of Education.

The Filmmaker

  1. Jay RosensteinProducer/Director