The fundamentalist fanatics in the United States are absolutely intent on cramming their stilted theology and warped world view down the throats of American school children.
Now I won’t mince words, as if I ever do. The public school system itself is utterly corrupt. It is populated by students who are forced to be there by law, funded with stolen money from taxpayers, and is basically a welfare scheme for the teachers and their labor union.
The institution is a contradiction in terms. Education requires thinking. Thinking requires freedom. State education is based on coercion which is the antithesis of freedom.
And that is why the religious lunatics on the Right want to grab hold of the schools. These Jesus authoritarians love force. They love big government. Just witness how they worship at the feet to their new prophet, Georgie Bush—the first president qualified to wear a dunce cap when addressing Congress. Even with cue cards he can’t speak more than a few sentences without stumbling over two syllable words -- just witness his recent “endorsement” of Alito for the Supreme Court. It was a shambles.
Now a judge in Pennsylvania slapped down the attempt by Bible bigots there to try and teach the ludicrous story of Genesis as science. Fundamentalists are prone to lying. And they lie when they try to present their religion as “another scientific view”. It’s not science. It’s a belief in the supernatural. It’s as rational as Tarot Cards, Astrology and spoon-bending. It is the crutch that the terminally dumb cling to in the hopes of having answers that they are simply incapable of figuring out on their own.
When the creationist nonsense was slapped down yet again numerous people suggested that such ideas could be taught in philosophy or in comparative religion classes. And that sounded reasonable. But fundamentalists use what ever wedge they can find to push their agenda. Their belief concerning “sinners in the hands of an angry God” is such that they can’t avoid any opportunity to recruit children into their cults, cathedrals and faux tabernacles. They pride themselves on their dishonest tactics to “win souls for Jesus”. They see nothing warped and sick about their concept of a vicious God who would torture people for eternity. The Jehovah of the fundamentalist is a demented dictator who makes the crimes of Stalin, Hitler and Mao pale in comparison. They may have killed millions. But the God of the fundamentalist tortures billions of people, without end for all of eternity. And he does so for the simple reason that it gives him pleasure to do it. If Jehovah had a childhood, as opposed to being the figment of the imagination of some really sick people, he would have been the kind of child who tortured kittens and set dogs on fire.
Now to protect “souls” from the warped wrath of their angry God the fundamentalist Christian has to get people ‘born again” and active in their silly cults. And they love unwilling audiences. That is why they want to capture school children and feed them their silly Bible stories and fantastical theological garbage.
Now there is a place for philosophy and even comparative religion in education. But it’s purpose is to teach students what the various religions teach or to teach various ways of understanding the world. Of course the true believers in the carpenter don’t see it that way. All that is smokescreen so they can push their real, hidden agenda.
A course on the philosophy of the origin of life would certainly cover Christian irrationalities. It would cover Hindu absurdities and the ridiculous views of “indigenous peoples” around the world. It might even mention the scientific theory. But when Christians say they want “intelligent design” taught in philosophy then don’t mean as part of the course. They mean as the entire course. And they don’t mean that they want it taught in conjunction with other religious fictions. They want it as the only fiction taught.
This is what happened in Lebec, California at the Frazier Mountain High School.
A “special education” teacher, Sharon Lemburg, proposed a course on “intelligent design, creationism and evolution” as part of the philosophy department. The school board meet in an emergency meeting on New Year’s Day to ram it through.
Now what qualifications does this teacher, who normally works with the retarded, have to teach philosophy? She is the wife of the local Assemblies of God minister. In other words she and her husband are part of the American Taliban. These are people who work themselves up into an emotional lather and burst out in incoherent babbling which they think is “the Holy Spirit” speaking through them. They shout and jump around and wave their arms. Some of the more spry among them will run around the church shouting and screaming and having what, by all appearances, is a mental breakdown. Some fall to the floor in divine epileptic fits. These are people who are so mentally disturbed they almost make Jerry Falwell look sane.
Now I can see why this woman was a “special education” teacher. It made her feel like she was with her own congregation again. She isn’t very shy about admitting that her motivation is not educational but religious. She told one interview: “Did God guide me to do this? I would hope so.” When Lemburg wrote a statement on her motivation for the course she began it with a Bible quote saying: “In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct they paths.” She also admitted: “I believe that this is the class that the Lord wanted me to teach.”
Of course this “soul winner” isn’t attempting to present a balanced course at all. That would defeat the purpose for the subterfuge that they use to try and warp the minds of children. And this is what has caused some parents to complain. Instead of getting a course in philosophy their children are being taught the nonsense believed by this “tongues talking” troglodyte from the Assemblies of God. The syllabus of the course showed that 24 videos would be shown to the students.
That the course relies so heavily on video is no surprise. I will bet dollars to doughnuts that the tongues talker has no significant training in the topic she is addressing and is utterly incapable of having a discussion on the topic without resorting to quoting some ludicrous passage from the Bible. This is a woman who mainly teaches people who are mentally retarded. She might be qualified to teach someone how to tie their shoe or make change from a dollar but what qualifications does she have to teach philosophy? And when you consider the course was approved on January 1 and is scheduled for completion on February 3 there simply can not be that many days in the class. Even if it meet each school day this would pretty much indicate that this woman’s entire contribution is to push a video into a machine. Why? Probably because she knows absolutely nothing and is merely using a hour a day of education time to push her religious agenda. And you don’t have to know anything to be a fundamentalist. In fact many of them pride themselves on how stupid they are. It’s the “wisdom of this world” and God condemns it.
Lemburg whined to the press that she just wants to “teach”. She means push buttons on a video machine. Even the syllabus she prepared admits she won’t do much teaching. Her own syllabus says: “Much of the teaching will be done by way of videos and discussion.” So she will show them movies and then guide their discussion. Guide it the way God guides her no doubt.
Out of the 24 videos that were going to be shown 23 of them were produced by religious nutters. So much for the balanced course theory. After the course was approved parents expressed concerned. So the tongues talker changed the course title from Philosophy of Intelligent Design to just “Philosophy of Design”. Now it sounds like some home decorating course but it’s still fundamentalist rubbish. And the syllabus Lemburg put out makes it clear that very little of the course is actually about philosophy but about evolution bashing and promoting creationism.
Other teachers in the district told the school board that this course would undermine science at the school. But 3 of the 5 school board members pushed it through during this extraordinary New Year’s Day session. I would love to see someone investigate these politicians because I would bet they are fundamentalists themselves. Remember that years ago the Religious Right said they would run people for offices like school board in order to take over the country and impose the rule of God.
The tongues talker supposedly told the school board that there would be two guest speakers as well. Presumably they will speak in English and not ecstatic gibberish. Only problem is that one of the guest speakers, a local parent who is a scientist, said he had refused the invitation when it was offered and he is now one of the parents suing to prevent the course. He told Lemburg weeks before she passed out her syllabus he wanted nothing to do with her course. Yet one school board member said, “I was reassured when I saw Dr. Hurst’s name as one of the speakers.”
The other guest speaker listed was as Francis H.C. Crick. Crick is one of the men who discovered DNA and would be impressive. Lemburg is so uninformed that on top of not knowing he was dead she misspelled his name.
Her list of guest speakers indicates her intent to push her theological clap-trap. Other than the dead Krick she lists one other scientists as a speaker but he says he never agreed to speak to the class. She lists a Ross Anderson as a speaker. His “science” degree comes from a fundamentalist college that prides itself on teaching “the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture which affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days.” A second speak , Joe Francis, was also associated with the same fundamentalist college. A third speaker, David Kopich, is listed as a “Creation Scientist” which is sort of like dry water.
Lemburg tried to excuse the falsehoods on her syllabus by saying: “Everything happened quickly. I had to have a syllabus overnight. I’m not an expert on this subject.” So exactly why is she “teaching” the course? It makes no sense that a woman who knows nothing about the subject matter but who has a clear bias for extremist religion is teaching this class. Lemburg also told the school board that the high school’s science department “is going to help with the course.” That also turned out false. Dr. James Selgrath of the science department had never heard of this arrangement and said: “I have no plans to do that.”
Since Lemburg is incompetent to teach on the subject she is relying on the videos to do the teaching for her. She was asked about the origin of the videos and she replied: “I don’t know. They were lent to me by a friend. They are at my house. I haven’t watched them yet.” This woman is not just a fanatic but inept as a teacher. She has cribbed together a course on a topic she is unqualified to teach. She is using course material that she has not even seen. She lists “science” speakers for the course yet one said he turned her down, a second said he was never asked, and the a third was dead. All that remained where fundamentalist Christians as speakers.
The local newspaper in Lebec actually investigated the videos that were listed. They reported that only one was a reputable science video and that all the rest “are produced and distributed by advocates” of Biblical creationism.
Dr. Hurst has said that a course on this topic can be constructed in a balanced manner “but not with this syllabus and not with this instructor.”
Lemburg finally admitted that she, in fact, had no scientists lined up to speak on behalf of science. She she bought some videos to do that and she will be presenting the scientific case. How? She knows nothing about science and is a confirmed creationist with religious motivations. But she wants people to believe she will give a “balanced” view. And while she changed her course to include some actual science videos that doesn’t mean she intends to show them. As she herself admitted; “Some portions of videos may be used and others may not be used at all.”