Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kooks At School

A public school district in Ohio says it has hired an independent investigator to look into allegations by parents that a teacher used an electrostatic device to burn crosses on to students' arms.

The Mount Vernon City School District has assigned an administrator to monitor the classroom of eighth-grade science teacher John Freshwater until the investigation is over.

It's the district's latest run-in with Freshwater, who last week refused to obey an order to remove a Bible on his desk from view of students.

OK, that teacher is one kook in this story. Let's continue and find another.

School district officials say they are required by the U.S. Constitution not to promote religious beliefs.

So let's see if I get this straight. This nutjob might be burning crosses into students' arms, and they're worried that the problem is a 1st Amendment issue? Is no one worried about assault, battery, or child abuse?

Here's how stupid these administrators are. Their fear that this is a "promoting religious beliefs" issue is about as valid as if this teacher claimed his actions were acceptable under a "freedom of religion" argument--I cannot believe anyone is brainless enough to buy either one. The Constitution doesn't require the district not to promote religious beliefs; Good God, I'm so tired of that ignorance. Let's go through the laundry list again:

1. Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion. You don't have to practice it, but you can't forbid everyone around you from practicing it.
2. Our national motto
3. A chaplain in the House of Representatives and the Senate
4. Chaplains in the military, and chapels on military installations
5. You can argue it, but "under God" is still in our Pledge of Allegiance
6. You can swear "so help me God" in court
7. God is mentioned in the constitutions of all 50 states, including those that were admitted after the 1st Amendment was ratified
8. Thanksgiving is a federal holiday--and we give thanks to whom?
9. Christmas is a federal holiday (I accept, however, that the purely secular Christmas might be celebrated, as opposed to the religious Christmas)
10. US Ambassadors to and from The Vatican

That's enough for now. You get the idea.

This teacher has a screw loose. Those administrators are too dense to figure that out or too milquetoast to say so, so they have to make up some flimsy chickencrap pseudo-1st Amendment charge to throw at him instead.

Are there any sane, rational adults in that district?


Lord Holdhurst said...

It has been made clear to me many times recently that nearly no one knows what the 1st amendment means. The only hope left is that judges still understand what it means because they are called to interpret it (at least at the supreme court level)

But until I see hard evidence that judges understand and defend the 1st amendment I must say R.I.P.

Darren said...

You're too young to be so cynical. Leave that for oldsters like me!

Marbel said...

What a story. Unbelievable.

Thanksgiving... it's carbo-load day to prep for all the shopping Friday morning. Thankful to? Walmart, of course, for all the great doorbuster deals.

Seriously, even some Christians I know do not think of Thanksgiving as a day of thankfulness to God.

Donalbain said...

Each and everyone one of your points is wrong.

1) Nobody suggests that you should be free from religion, but the state (or representatives of the state, like teachers) should not advance one religion over another be that Christianity, Hinduism or Scientology

2) Very possibly that is an issue, but is generally held to be ceremonial and not binding

3) Which was argued AGAINST by many of the Founding Fathers

4) None of whom are allowed to promote any particular religion. Their role is to serve the needs of people of their faith and other faiths

5) Which is not legally binding on anyone.

6) You can also swear "so help me Allah" or not swear at all.

7) Not mentioned in the Federal constitution though.

8) You can give thanks to whoever you like, Allah, Jesus or Native Americans or your mom and dad.

9) Christmas is not just religious these days

10) The Vatican is a nation state, just like Belgium is.

Darren said...

Your points are wrong. Get a clue. My points *clearly* show tht the atheistic view of the 1st Amendment is incorrect, and the fact that government doesn't tax church property is yet *another* example that our government can aid religion--it just can't *establish* one a la The Church of England.

Your funniest point is the last one. I guess the Pope isn't a religious figure--or if he is, that's completely separate from his being the HMFIC in the Vatican.

Go drink another pint.

Donalbain said...

I notice that you do not actually ADDRESS any of my points, you just jump straight to the insinuation that I am drinking. Fascinating discussion style. Now, onto your actual "claims".

It is NOT an "atheistic" view of the 1st amendment. In fact, most of the 1st ammendment cases wrt schools were brought by Christians or Jews. The state has no role in saying that one religion is better or worse than any other. That is long established jurisprudence in the USA. And the constitution does not say it "cant establish" a religion. It says it can "pass no law regarding the establishment of a religion", where "the establishment" is a noun, not a verb.

And I dont see what is funny about pointing out that the Vatican is a city state. Every single international body recognises that the Vatican is a city state, and the vast majority of them have some sort of diplomatic relationship with it. Just like they do with another theocratic state like Iran. Having diplomatic relations with a state says NOTHING about any government endorsement or promotion of the religion of that state. Hell, Iran has an ambassador to the state of the Vatican and vice versa! But then, that is not surprising, since they are both states, and states have ambassadors.

allen (from Michigan) said...

1) Extinguishing even tangential religious references from all government documents, buildings and symbols seems very much like freedom *from* religion to me.

2) Neither is a barely noticeable cross on the seal of the city of San Diego yet it was cause for a law suit seeking its removal.

3) *Everything* was argued against by the founding fathers yet the decision was to keep the religious functionaries.

4) Their duties, and titles, are religious in nature.

5) The oath most assuredly is binding. Bill Clinton might be able to clarify the binding nature of the oath for you.

6) But you're not precluded either and if the establishment of a state religion can spring from a cross on a city seal or a Christmas creche scene in front of city hall there's no telling what else might do the same thing.

7) But it is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps I shouldn't have brought that up though.

8) It's an official holiday and it doesn't matter who you give thanks too the danger of establishment of a state religion is just as real, or unreal, as it is for the presence of the creche scene.

9) Oh come on. It's a religious holiday whatever else anyone's made of it. And, it's an official holiday.

10) Engaging in the usual pursuits of diplomacy are they? I don't think so.

Ellen K said...

There's always the question of who atheists call out to when having sex.....just for a thought.

Donalbain said...

I call out to the woman I am making love to. Why do you ask?

CrypticLife said...

5) The oath most assuredly is binding. Bill Clinton might be able to clarify the binding nature of the oath for you.

The Pledge of Allegiance is binding????

That's an even better argument for it being unConstitutional, then.

Donalbain said...

I believe that allen confused the pledge of allegiance with the inauguration oath. Interestingly though neither of them, as written originally, contained any mention of a god. As I am sure you will all be aware, "under god" only appeared in the pledge during the 1950s and the phrase "so help me god" is not part of the required oath at all.