Posts Tagged “public schools”
The problem of Christofascists imposing their religion on public school kids is an old one. It continues, especially in the South, in spite of court decisions like Engel v Vitale (1962) and Abington SD v Schempp (1963).
Let’s face it, people who are fanatic enough tend not to fucking care whether their desire to impress their religious beliefs on other people is legal or not. All they’re aware of is their rabid impulse to spread the gospel — which, they fantasize, no on else on earth could ever possibly have heard before. And when these fanatics are thwarted, they don’t take it well. The latest example of this, as WCRB-TV in Chattanooga TN reports, illuminates this tendency quite clearly:
“Bible Man” is known as a staple in Grundy County Schools. His name is Horace Turner, and he’s been visiting there for decades. But now his visits are raising legal red flags.
National groups warn that his message is unconstitutional. Many local supporters are fighting to keep his mission alive. But not everyone is comfortable with “Bible Man” in the classroom.
“We don’t want people to be mad, we just want people to make sure there’s an alternative something for the kids to do,” said one Grundy County mom. She didn’t want to be identified for fear of community backlash for her non-Christian views.
She said Bible Man’s religious convocations at her son’s school were uncomfortable. They included religious teachings like songs and Baby Jesus displays. Their family is Atheist.
“At first he did not know that he didn’t have to go,” she said. “As he got older, it bothered him that he had to sit through this because it’s not his religion.”
The good folk at WCRB helpfully tried to make it seem as though this unconstitutional practice was just fine:
Bible Man has been visiting Grundy County Schools for nearly 40 years without any problems, until recently.
The problem with that defense, of course, is that just because something has been done — even for a very long time — cannot and will never automatically make it right or legal. To think so is to fall for an appeal to tradition, and it’s fallacious. This ought to be glaringly obvious: For instance, for thousands of years, humanity thought the earth was at the center of a universe only a few thousand miles in diameter. We now know this not to be the case. Are we to dispense with modern astronomical science, because it conflicts with thousands of years of tradition? Of course not!
But really, all of this is an old story. As I said, Christianists hammering their Jesus into public schools is old news in many parts of the country. That it was happening in Grundy county, TN is unsurprising at best. The real point of this story, though, is this:
While the concerned mom says she’s glad it’s being addressed, she still worries about the lack of acceptance for those who don’t support Bible Man.
She points to threats made on Facebook against her child that include pictures of a burning house.
“We just can’t get over how much hate there is in their loving, Christian hearts,” she said.
Ah yes. There we have it. “Christian love” at its finest: Threatening people. Indeed, this is the “religion of love” doing what it does best — demanding deference, if not abject surrender, from everyone and everything else, and launching into full-bore sanctimonious rage when it doesn’t get it.
I can’t think of a finer example of the utter failure of Christianity to live up to its own professed ideals. Can it really be the divine religion its followers say it is? I can’t see how. It just doesn’t work.
All I can say to you Christianists is: By all means, please keep up your whining, bellyaching, sniveling and threatening! I can’t think of any better way for you keep showing — for the entire world to see — what’s really wrong with your fierce, dour religionism.
Hat tip: Raw Story.
Photo credit: WCRB-TV.
Tags: bible man
, grundy county
, grundy county high school
, grundy cty TN
, public school
, public schools
, religion in public school
, religion in public schools
, religion of love
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Conservatives have strange ideas about how teaching works. For instance, a lot of them think teaching evolution in science classes — which is currently the only known scientific explanation for our planet’s diverse life forms — is a form of persecution against Christianity and part of an effort to abolish that religion. Also, a lot of them think teaching kids things like slavery will cause kids to hate their country or something. They also worry that teaching kids about things will somehow force them to do them; e.g. teaching kids about communism will convert them to communism.
That the teaching of history, in particular, doesn’t work the way conservatives think it does, should be rather obvious. For instance, my 4 years in university learning medieval history didn’t make me into a crossbowman, swordsman or jouster, even though I learned about medieval military methods and read about a lot of tournaments.
An example of the outright-fucking insanity that erupts when conservatives get their hands on history curricula can be seen in this report by the New York Times on recent actions by the Jefferson County, Colorado school board (WebCite cached article):
A new conservative school board majority here in the Denver suburbs recently proposed a curriculum-review committee to promote patriotism, respect for authority and free enterprise and to guard against educational materials that “encourage or condone civil disorder.” In response, hundreds of students, teachers and parents gave the board their own lesson in civil disobedience.
On Tuesday, hundreds of students from high schools across the Jefferson County school district, the second largest in Colorado, streamed out of school and along busy thoroughfares, waving signs and championing the value of learning about the fractious and tumultuous chapters of American history.
“It’s gotten bad,” said Griffin Guttormsson, a junior at Arvada High School who wants to become a teacher and spent the school day soliciting honks from passing cars. “The school board is insane. You can’t erase our history. It’s not patriotic. It’s stupid.”
The Times article explains that the board’s conservative majority (3 to 2) has been stirring up trouble for several months, including driving out a 12-year superintendent. They’re really angry, and appear to have fallen for the prevailing conservative myth that public schools are nothing more than Marxist indoctrination camps.
In addition to the false notion that teaching kids about civil disobedience will force them all to become perpetually “civilly disobedient,” they appear to forget that civil disobedience has been used to promote conservative ideals and even to bring about changes that American conservatives approve of. Have they forgotten so soon about things like a western Rightist’s decades-long unrepentant refusal to obey federal law (cached) — a sterling example of civil disobedience if ever there was one? Or about the “Brooks Brothers riot” (in which Rightists working for G.W. Bush campaign used civil disobedience to try to derail the 2000 election recount in Florida)? Or have they forgotten about protests around the world, especially in eastern Europe, that toppled many communist regimes in 1989? Or even that many of their own number want the incumbent president removed from office, and wouldn’t object to civil disobedience or even revolt in order to make that happen?
My guess is, they’re blissfully unaware of this. They tend to be authoritarian, and demand unthinking adherence to authority. That they sometimes, themselves, object to some authority figures just doesn’t register with them all that often. In other words, they’re hypocrites — fiercely decrying civil disobedience if they find it inconvenient, but using it like a tool whenever they feel as though they can. Wah wah wah, little babies.
Photo credit: PsiCop modification of Sue Ream photo, via Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: advanced placement history
, ap history
, arvada CO
, history curriculum
, jefferson county
, jefferson county CO
, jefferson cty
, jefferson cty CO
, public schools
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Despite the fact that it’s relatively common … and mostly done in a completely non-religious way in the occidental world … there are Christians out there who can’t get over yoga. They don’t understand that, while it did originate within Hindu religious tradition, yoga can be — and almost always is — non-religious. They object to it anyway, just because they think they can.
A couple years ago I blogged about evangelical theologian R. Albert Mohler going on a tear against it, but he’s hardly alone. As the (UK) Telegraph reports, some Christians in California are suing their local school district because it plans to have yoga as part of the phys-ed curriculum (WebCite cached article):
The Encinitas Union School District plans to offer yoga instruction at all of its nine schools from January, despite a protest by parents who say they believe it will indoctrinate their children in Eastern religion.
The growing popularity of yoga is forcing US public schools to address the question of whether it is a religious practice or simply exercise.
The parents have their reasons … which are incomprehensible:
Mary Eady, a parent who has pulled her child out of yoga classes, said the pupils were learning to worship the sun and it was “inappropriate in our public schools.”
I’m not sure how or why Ms Eady thinks yoga is “sun worship.” She might be referring — perhaps — to something like Surya Namaskara, which might be called a yoga practice … however, it is, at best, a subset of yoga, and is certainly not the entirety of yoga.
It’s actually not uncommon for fundamentalist Christians to dismiss or condemn things they dislike as “sun worship.” They similarly dismiss Islam as “moon worship.” I’m not sure why, but they do.
In any event, as I blogged previously, these Christians forget that a lot of the meditative practices which are part of yoga, also happen to be traditional within Christianity … particularly in the monastic and mendicant movements. In other words, they’re condemning something that can also be found within their own religion. The meditative practices of Christian monks, friars, nuns, etc. may not be something these fundamentalist Christians are personally familiar with, but they’re no less “Christian” than any of their own rites or practices. That they’re ignorant of their own religion’s traditions, is the real problem here.
Photo credit: RelaxingMusic, via Flickr.
, encinitas CA
, encinitas union school district
, phys ed
, physical education
, public school
, public schools
, sun worship
, surya namaskara
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It took over two years, but the town of Enfield here in Connecticut finally resolved a lawsuit it brought on itself by holding its high school graduation in churches. The Hartford Courant reports on the settlement (WebCite cached article):
In a 6-3 vote, the school board decided Wednesday night to accept a settlement of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU over the school system’s practice of holding high school graduation ceremonies in a church.
The American Civil Liberties Union and another group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, filed the suit two years ago after the school board decided to hold graduation ceremonies for both Enfield High School and Enrico Fermi High School at First Cathedral in Bloomfield.
I’d blogged about this conflict, back when it erupted in spring of 2010. At the time litigation over this began, various Christianist legal outfits had promised the town and its Board of Education that they’d pay the legal fees, thus encouraging them to defend the lawsuit despite having no chance of prevailing. But I note, in the end, these promises proved bogus, because none of those groups are paying a dime:
The school board’s insurance provider, the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency, will cover the cost of the settlement up to $470,000, Superintendent Jeffrey Schumann said. The exact dollar amount of the settlement was not revealed.
I wonder if their Jesus taught these guys not to keep their word?
The Courant article includes the expected childish whining and bellyaching on the part of Christianists, both on the Board and in the town, who don’t like the vote and call the ACLU and AU “bullies.” Well … boo fucking hoo, you crybabies! What you were doing was unconstitutional, and you know it. If you had any integrity in the first place, you’d realize that, and would now show the courage to admit having been wrong. But you won’t, because you have no courage; you’re just juvenile religionists who can’t help but stamp and fume when someone dares thwart you.
Photo credit: Hartford Courant.
, american civil liberties union
, bloomfield CT
, enfield board of education
, enfield CT
, enfield public schools
, first cathedral
, graduation ceremony
, high school graduation
, public school
, public schools
, Separation of church and state
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I already blogged about the militant Christianists in Cranston, RI who threatened the student who won a court case over a prayer banner in her public high school. As the AP reports via ABC News, the school system has decided not to appeal this decision (WebCite cached article):
A Rhode Island public school committee on Thursday voted not to appeal a federal court decision ordering the removal of a prayer banner displayed in a high school.
The Cranston School Committee cast the 5-2 vote at a public hearing to discuss a lawsuit that had been brought on behalf of 16-year-old atheist Jessica Ahlquist, a junior at Cranston High School West.
Their vote was not a foregone conclusion. A lot of folks in Cranston wanted the board to appeal the case as far, as long, and as hard as they could:
Appeal supporter, Christopher Young, who is running for U.S. Congress, said he is talking to students about suing the school.
Student David Sears Jr., 15, asked the board to appeal.
“We have to appeal for the students of Cranston High School West and we have to appeal for our humanity,” he said.
These delusional Christianists actually think the US Supreme Court will overturn decades of jurisprudence, and numerous prior decisions, to allow them to put their prayer back into their public school. They just can’t handle the idea that they aren’t allowed to keep it there. They should form their own country somewhere else, and establish whatever Christocracy they want. Until they do, what they want remains illegal and unconstitutional.
Photo credit: Austin Cline, About.Com.
, cranston high school west
, cranston RI
, jessica ahlquist
, prayer banner
, prayer in public school
, public school
, public schools
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I guess I can add Indiana to the list of states that are falling under the sway of Christofascism. The AP reports via the Ball State Daily News that Indiana’s senate is set to take up a bill permitting Creationism to be taught in that state’s public schools (WebCite cached article):
Indiana’s public schools would be allowed to teach creationism in science classes under a bill endorsed Wednesday by a state Senate committee.
The Senate Education Committee voted 8-2 in favor of the bill despite experts and some senators saying teaching creationism likely would be ruled unconstitutional if challenged in court.
Committee Chairman Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said he sponsored the bill because he believes creationism should be taught among the theories on the development of life and that the proposal wouldn’t force any changes in schools teaching evolution.
Sen. Kruse claims there is more than one “theory on the development of life.” What he does not understand — or perhaps he does, and is simply lying — is that science has only one such theory: Evolution. All of the other “theories” that have been posited, including Creationism, are not scientific and thus do not belong in a science classroom. Kruse is appealing to the “teach the controversy” notion, which is invalid, because in science, there is no controversy about evolution; no more of a “controversy” about it, than there is about whether the sky is blue, water is wet, or 2+2=4. To claim there is one, and then use that supposed “controversy” as an excuse to present non-scientific alternatives, is disingenuous. Really, evolution is both a theory and a fact, and it is currently the only scientific explanation for the development of life. Militant Christians like the senator may not like that, but it’s true, and no amount of stamping their feet, thumping Bibles, or screeching and wailing about the evils of “Darwinism” (whatever that is) can ever change it.
That the bill is written so it “permits” school districts to “opt in” to teaching Creationism, is already being used an evasion of responsibility by its supporters:
“This is a local option and the local school board decides,” Kruse said.
There, you see? Kruse is not, himself, explicitly “making” anyone teach Creationism. If it’s taught anywhere, it will solely be on the heads of local school boards … he’s staying out of it. I’m sure he sees this as politically convenient, but this is a transparant dodge; there will no doubt be plenty of school boards in a red state like Indiana where the local communities are Christianist enough that they’ll apply pressure to teach evolution. And Kruse is counting on that, I’m sure.
What these Christofascists don’t care about that Creationism has already been forbidden to be taught in public schools by the U.S. Supreme Court, for example in Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), among other cases. It’s possible they’re hoping to revisit one or more of these decisions and have the current religionist-majority Supreme Court overturn them, but my guess is that’s not going to happen — even if they think it will. (This is another example of the Christianists’ delusional reasoning.)
Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum on Delphi Forums.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Tags: auburn IN
, creationism in schools
, dennis kruse
, indianapolis IN
, public schools
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The drums of the vast armies of Christofascism in the US are beating incessantly, and their forces are on the march. In skirmish after skirmish, they’re gaining victories around the country. The latest of these came in the Tennessee legislature, whose House approved a law that would teach religion in that state’s science classes. CBS News reports on this religionist debacle (WebCite cached article):
Tennessee’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that would protect teachers who want to challenge the theory of human evolution.
Thursday’s 70-28 passage of HB 368 [cached] was hailed by sponsor Rep. Bill Dunn, R-Knoxville, who said the proposal was designed to promote “critical thinking” in science classes.
It will be a cold day in hell before any Religious Rightist like Dunn ever truly gives a flying fuck about “critical thinking.” His promotion of this bill shows he has no comprehension of what “critical thinking” is.
The truth of the matter is this: TN HB 368 is NOT — and never was — about “critical thinking” at all. Religiofascists don’t like or want “critical thinking.” They demand, instead, “rigid dogmatic thinking,” and unwavering thralldom to their unbending, irrational metaphysics.
Rep. Dunn’s claim to be concerned about “critical thinking” is a lie, and that places him in my “lying liars for Jesus” club.
For anyone who’s not yet clear on this, “intelligent design” and its various relatives are all just variations on Creationism. It was none other than an evangelical Christian federal appellate judge — appointed by George W. Bush himself — who declared “intelligent design” a sham, a transparent cover for Creationism, in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District (2005). Prior to that, the US Supreme Court had ruled that Creationism was effectively a religion and is therefore forbidden in public schools, in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), and subsequently that evolution by contrast is not a religion, in Peloza v. Capistrano School District (1994).
It’s time for America’s religionists to grow up and get over the fact that science is not theirs to control. Evolution is science, at the moment, so that’s what should be taught in science classes. Period. End of discussion.
One final note for any other religiofascists out there who think they can force their religion on public school kids in the name of promoting “critical thinking”: To paraphrase V.P. candidate Lloyd Bentsen’s famous quip, I know Critical Thinking; Critical Thinking is a friend of mine. You don’t know what Critical Thinking is.
Hat tip: Mark at Skeptics & Heretics Forum at Delphi Forums.
Photo credit: Austin Cline / About.Com.
Tags: bill dun
, christian right
, critical thinking
, evolution model
, federal court
, HB 368
, intelligent design
, Knoxville TN
, liar for jesus
, liars for jesus
, lying liar for jesus
, lying liars for jesus
, nashville TN
, public school
, public schools
, religion in school
, religion in schools
, religious right
, science education
, tennessee house of representatives
, tennessee legislature
, theory of evolution
, TN HB 368
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