Sunday, November 20, 2005

Are fundamentalists just victims?

The fact is that born-againers are not just power hungry theocrats but a whiny bunch as well. They think they are unjustly being discriminated against. They look for such cases to publicize how they are being picked upon by evil secular humanists.

Often they seem to forget that when a gay man or lesbian says they are discriminated against that they have sided with the discriminator arguing that people shouldn’t have to “endorse” lifestyles of which they disapprove. Apparently that right to discriminate doesn’t apply when fundamentalist mental cases are the objects of one’s dislike.

Another form of “discrimination” that they whine about is the inability to use state funding to promote their own religion. Government schools have a captured audience. Mandatory attendance laws hardly make state controlled education a free choice. That many, if not most, parents would still send their kids does not eradicate the fact that students HAVE to be there. It is not voluntary. Neither is funding this state controlled institutions. It takes funds from everyone.

As a coercive state institution it would certainly be rubbing salt into the wounds if it could also ram the mythological fairy tales of religious nutters down throats of the students. It is not discrimination to deny fundamentalists access to state funded institutions when they wish to preach their message to the saner segments of society.

Often they whine about cases where discrimination either doesn’t exist or is actually warranted. Take the case now moving through the courts where a bunch of born-again types whine that state universities in California are discriminating against them.

A group of fundamentalist troglodytes claim, according to the New York Times, that the university system
”discriminates against students from evangelical Christian schools, especially faith-based ones like Calvary Chapel Christian School...” The whine is so high-pitched as to be annoying.

Notice carefully how only the fundies are allegedly the target of the supposed discrimination. Odd that these secular humanist agnostic, atheist, liberal, humanist, worshippers of the Devil, don’t apparently discriminate against other types of Christians. Their only alleged targets are the young martyrs of the American Taliban.

You would think that such minions of the Anti-Christ would be picking on Lutherans and Catholics as well. But apparently not. But then if you check with the fundamentalists they don’t think Catholics are Christians at all and they are very unsure of the Lutherans as well. One of the oddities of God, one among many alas, is that he apparently only revealed his true version of Christianity to a movement that grew out of uneducated, backwood's, hillbillies who were barely literate—if that much. Supposedly God revealed himself in a book written in Greek two millenniums ago in the Middle East. But the modern purveyors of the “gospel truths” are people who can hardly speak English and who aren’t even sure where the country of Greek is located.

The really funny ones are those who insist that only the King James version of the New Testament is inspired by God. Apparently God didn’t want to reveal his Word until 1611 and then picked the gay monarch of England as his vessel. But I digress.

According to these members of the Church of the Eternal Whinge born-again students suffer from “viewpoint discrimination”. They claim this is because universities “have refused to certify several of the school’s courses on literature, history, social students and science that use curriculums and textbooks with a Christian viewpoint.”

Remember this are the same idiots who think Genesis is a biology text!

Now I confess that I am a refugee from a Christian, fundamentalist high school. When I graduated I needed to take a GED test to prove I had the ability to think and had some education. I scored in the top 5% so I did well enough thank you. But it wasn’t because of the rubbish courses at that Baptist high school. It was because I read widely and could think.

What it comes down to is this. Each university sets a requirement for what kinds of courses one needs to have passed before applying for admission. A bunch of Bible-belters sitting around, holding hands, and praying for the second coming is not a class. Bible hermeneutics is not a recognized course. A course on the symbols of the Book of Revelations is not accepted. Genesis masquerading as science is not science no matter how often or loudly they claim it is.

And the courses that are not getting accepted are thinly veiled theology courses meant to teach a blinkered, inaccurate fundamentalist view of the world. Instead of basic history they get “Christianity’s Influence in American History; Christianity and the American Republic; Christianity and Morality in American Literature and biology texts from fundamentalist backwaters like Bob Jones University.

In fact the Bob Jones text didn’t even pretend to be anything but a fundamentalist diatribe. It said: “The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.” Remember this was supposedly a science book which makes science it's secondary concern!

So the chorus of whingers lament their plight. Their theology courses don’t get to count for credit as science courses. Their religious indoctrination classes don’t count as history courses. And they say that’s not fair. These are the same people who lament the decline of “standards” in America. Now they want any course that they stick together to count equally with real educational courses.

They are calling for the obliteration of all academic standards. If they say theology is science then who are the universities to disagree? A spokeswoman for the universities responded well: “This is not a viewpoint issue for us. Teach whatever you want. We don’t want to be in the position of dictating what is taught. But we do have a right to set standards for admission, and ours are not unreasonable requirements.” Sounds reasonable but then she is no doubt some Devil-worshipping, Jesus-hating secular humanist. Or worse! She could be Catholic. Or, God forbid, she could be, you know, Jewish!

Calvary Chapel Christian Schools is religious. That’s fine but they put their theology before learning. As they say on their web site: “CCCS is first and foremost a Christian school, which seeks to provide our student population with a Biblical world view.” So everything is interpreted through this world view much the way their science text puts science second!

In a Wall Street Journal article on the same law suit one student at this incubator for Christians said he didn’t want to go to a private Christian university because a Christian college wouldn’t challenge him enough. “I want to be in a setting where I can stand up for what I believe in and not back down.” Bizarre actually. You’d think he could that at a Christian school.

I think back to the rubbish I got at a fundie high school. I had history courses that were teaching far Right conspiracy theory. We didn’t have science course since who needed them anyway. And in one course the principle of the school argued for the genetic inferiority of blacks.

Calvary Chapel claims that one of their theology books was rejected for a course (that is rejected only in the sense that the course doesn’t count for admission to university) because it “truthfully explored our nation’s Christian roots.” The US can hardly be said to have Christian roots and even fundamentalists like Gary North admit that.

I went to the high schools web page. They have a section called “What We Believe”. So what does this school believe? I thought I’d find something about the role of education in a student’s life, why understanding the world around them is important or something along that line. But nope! Not a mention about the importance of education or the role of education at all.

We get that they believe the Bible to be “plenary, verbally inspired by God, inerrant in the original writings and the supreme and final authority in faith and life.” We get the trinity doctrine and a litany about who they think Jesus was. They tell us “all men are corrupted in body, mind, and spirit.” And that they believe in a “pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.” That’s the scary Tim LaHaye crap about anti-Christ and plagues and torment. In fact one of their history "texts" is written by Tim LaHaye.

I tried a page they have on “academics” thinking maybe something about the importance of rational thought and education might be found there. Nope! It says they offer “a curriculum rooted in a God-centered view of life” which “holds that God’s World is the standard for all truth.” Their teachers are “qualified Christian faculty” who teach courses “consistent with the Christ-centered teaching received at home and at church.”

I found a section entitled “Philosophy of Education” but it didn’t say much about the education at all. It starts out repeating their theology and said all their goals are based on the Bible and their “primary goal is to assure the salvation of all of our students.” Stupid secularists think the primary goal of a school is to educate. Not at all. The school is “an extension of the church.”

I did find that they don’t “discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin” when it comes to their admissions or other programs. But there is something very odd about their non-discrimination clause. They left out one area complete. They do not make any reference to not discriminating on the basis of religion.

Wow! Does this mean that they do discriminate on the basis of religion? And isn’t that the very thing they are whining about in their law suit? Well to get into the school each student must submit a reference from their pastor. And the form requires the pastor to report on the religious life of the student. It wants to know if the students parents are members of the church and if they active in the church. It asks the pastor to report how often the parents attend church and “Which members of the family are born again Christians?” “Does the applicant participate in any church activities?”

And it checks up on the pastor doing the recommending to make sure he is a fundamentalist. It asks him to verify that he believes in the born again doctrine. I presume if he doesn’t his word is suspect. The recommendation doesn’t ask much about the student except for these church matters. On top of that they give the parents of the student a “statement of faith” outlining their fundamentalist view of things. The parents are asked: “Are you in agreement with our doctrinal statement of faith?” “If not, where do you differ.” The student has to sign it as well!

The university has to set some sort of admission qualification. And when it does it will do so on the basis of academics. But if the church’s web site is any indication their school is not very interested in academics but in theology. Now it is their free choice to do so but does that mean they have a right to demand that universities lower their academic standards to admit students from a school that chose to put other issues ahead of academics. Even they say their number one goal as a school is the “salvation” of their students not their education.

The universities, if anything, have probably allowed too many theology courses to qualify for credit toward admission.


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