Posts Tagged “blocking”

The Indianapolis Public School system has crossed the (obvious) line of separation of church and state, not to mention religious freedom, by blocking the viewing of atheist Web sites — as well as those of “alternate” religions, such as Wicca, voodoo, New Age, and anything dealing with the paranormal. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has denounced this draconian policy:

This policy does not prohibit or even mention religious views such as Christianity. A website like FFRF.org, which educates on freethought and nontheism, would, however, be blocked under this policy. This promotes religion over nonreligion, which is forbidden under the Establishment Clause.

In her letter, Foundation Staff Attorney Rebecca Kratz pointed out that, in addition to the illegality of the policy, it discriminates against the 15% of the population that is nonreligious, the fastest growing segment of the American population (American Religious Identification Survey 2008).

The policy leaves the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religions unmentioned — and therefore, one may assume, not blocked or filtered. The policy itself, furthermore, blocks site dealing with “the paranormal or unexplained events.” The scope of this could be interpreted rather widely. For instance, the excellent Web site the Skeptic’s Dictionary mentions many paranormal and unexplained phenomena, however, it also includes lessons in critical thinking that I daresay students in every school system — including Indianapolis! — desperately need to see in order to become thinking, functioning adults. The way this policy is written, it sure looks to me as though SD would be blocked.

There are many large and useful online references — such as encyclopedias (e.g. Encyclopedia.Com and Answers.Com) — which Indianapolis school kids ought to be allowed to visit, but which would also have to be blocked, because they happen to contain entries on these topics.

The category of things which are “unexplained events” could, also, be quite large. For example the Big Bang is, as yet, “unexplained” in the strictest sense of the term. Does this mean any Web site mentioning it, must be blocked? It looks that way to me. If so, virtually any site dealing with astrophysics — including bona fide education resources such as NASA’s Web site — would have to be blocked.

Seems to me the Indianapolis Public Schools have created a policy which is so vague and inclusive as to require almost every Web site to be blocked! Perhaps someone ought to rethink their effort to stifle religious dissent in Indianapolis schools.

Hat tip: Unreasonable Faith.

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