I Got Chills (not the good kind) When Reading This News Item

The infection from the fundamentalist belt is spreading up here with an odd coalition.

I never thought the teaching of evolution would be challenged up here in Ontario. 

How the province responds is going to be an interesting test for my countrymen. I hope we are up to it.

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/education/article/1254611--stock-le...

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I agree, Loren, based on personal and professional experience. And I feel very strongly that teachers must be prepared to correct mistakes made by parents and religion in matters of values. How else but through education can we begin to question traditional values that come from customs based on attitudes and beliefs, not evidence?

Asa, I agree. Thanks for the clarification. There are certainly things that could be said that would create problems, but I think most teachers have been given enough sensitivity training and coached in an appropriate handling of this situation. 

My cousin's daughter is lesbian and she and her partner have three children conceived of her partner and a close friend, I'm sure you aren't interested in the method they used, but those three children are developing into the nicest, very savy young people and I credit their two mom for doing such a good job. 
Many in our family had terrible times with the thought of that family form and I think most, if not all relatives have come around to not only loving this courageous little family, but respecting their lifestyle. We had some pretty hard-core Roman Catholics and fundamentalist Christians. 

Asa, this is such a tender subject and children, vulnerable in their innocence, may not have the skills necessary to deal with superstition and prejudices. As a teacher and as a member of a family with several GLBT members, I have had to have this discussion within the family group and between family units. 

For some, it is hard to understand that chromosomes and hormones cannot be changed. Each person exists as created. Why is it so difficult for some to realize our bodies are not all made the same way ... different skin colors (only a pigment difference and genetic), different eye colors (a genetic inheritance), different sexual orientations (different genes). The issue of sin or bad or evil or whatever has to be confronted in age appropriate ways.

It seems to me that the purpose of education is to learn about things in life and one of the things is homosexuality. If we, as teachers, remain silent the prejudice continues. If we teach biology, and even the youngest are curious and learn what their parents teach them, we should teach facts not myths and tradition. It is the job of the teacher to correct mistakes made by parents.  I guess that is why so many people are willing to pay for private education ... so they have a community that believes the same things, whether fact or fiction. 

I respect your concern; you bring up valid questions. I guess it gets down to fundamental meaning of education: do we teach customs and traditions whether true or false, or do we teach the best science available at the time?

if even HEARING differing points of view might destroy your 'faith', or worldview, then it is probably not that strong to begin with.

I'm POLITICALLY conservative on a few things, to a moderate degree, but religious conservative fundamentalism is a mental disease that fosters narrow mindedness and ignorance. And people like these existing in such large numbers are why I'm more anti-theist than 'live and let live'. I won't bring the topic up unless asked around religious friends, but will also not hesitate to state my opinion when asked BLUNTLY.

No, not every Christian is that narrow minded, but as long as we continue to support the idea that there is any valid reason to take the Bible more serious than any other god myths, many people will use it to be narrow minded and not THINK. The issue is religion itself. Not the so called "abuse" of it.

Brad, I agree with you 100%. 

The US is becoming the laughing stock of the world with this back to the dark ages mentality.  Other countries probably see their chance to jump ahead in the space race and other scientific advances while the US teaches creationism and rewrites the history books.  I trust Canada will look at this and make the right decision.

Lillie, I am so grateful for educators such as Howard Zinn who taught with a far wider vision of history than many of our trained teachers and of many parents. He suffered rejection by some, even as others rejoiced at having a broad view of events. I agree with you, "The US is becoming the laughing stock of the world with this back to the dark ages mentality."

I agree with you Lillie.  We are a laughing stock.  Other countries don't admire us anymore in my opinion.  The U.S. has a reputation of thinking we are "All that and a bag of chips."  Maybe we were in the past, but not anymore.  As I've said before, I'm GLAD I'm an American, but I'm not necessarily PROUD to be an American all the time.

Russell, get hold of the Dover case and make sure your anti-creationist guys up there have copies of it.  In effect, they re-tried Scopes and found him not guilty for the reason that "intelligent design" --creationism --according to the Republican judge, was dogma, not science; to inject it into the curriculum alongside Darwinian evolution a blatant example of violating the 1st Amendment.  The schools were trying to require study of intelligent design/creationism as an alternative to evolution and in a landmark opinion, chock full of those wonderful "findings of fact," the GOP appointee to the bench put the creationists' toes to the fire.  In the U.S., there is precedent for the proposition that intelligent design is bunk, something my prostate gland continually reminds me.

Thanks James.  I will check that out. 

I wrote a letter to this newspaper the day I read the item. I am hoping to be one voice of many responding. It is tough to get a letter published here because as Canada's largest newspaper they get so many every day. Also, I just got one published about the Olympics in August - so they may not want to have the same name appearing too frequently.

I should also write my local politician - got to be noisy now in my community and not be complacent about this stuff.

We actually have publicly funded Roman Catholic schools up here - but they don't teach creationist stuff.  The church leaders were up in arms about the anti bullying initiative and the how it related to gays in the community saying it went against their principles to be inclusive for this lifestyle - but there was a huge outcry and people started wondering why there isn't a single school system and they backed down quickly. 

It is the attitude of the community that dictates how these things go - a supposed religious school system (Catholic) but real science is taught in the classroom and when the Ontario Catholic leaders started questioning how we were handling homosexuality and bullying an outcry got them to back down.

I'm hoping for the same response to these people mentioned in the article.

I'm an optimist. Look on the bright side -- this solves the class/economic issue. Let them hold on to their religion, and let the rest of us hold on to education and jobs. Ironically, some of these are the guys advocating to do away with the welfare safety net. There's plenty of hard, menial labor to go around. God help them.

The problem is, our nation, following the Great Depression and WWII realized there had to be a safety net for unemployed, underemployed, injured, disabled, elderly and young and put in place programs to ease suffering of people who could not get on the merry-go-round called capitalism.

There has always been a group of people who thought that social welfare programs were "feeding at the trough," and claimed the poor were creating a "welfare state", "socialism" and who resented helping others unable to help themselves, especially when jobs started going overseas and forced down wages of unemployed skilled workers having to take unskilled jobs at lower wages and benefits. 


Then the real "feeding at the trough" began, except the feeders were the wealthy who felt entitled to tax breaks, created legislative loop holes, ended job security, health and retirement benefits for workers and ended much funding for education. Thirty years tore down the safety net.

Looking on the bright side is another way of saying put your head in the sand so you do not see, hear, or feel the growing needs of a decaying middle class. Looking on the bright side is a PollyAnna techniques that does not end hunger, lack of housing or education or retirement plans. 

Yes, the work of workers is to restore a safety net that empowers people to live a decent lifestyle without begging or pleading for crumbs. Workers made this country in partnership with capital. When that partnership gets out of balance, suffering occurs. 

In my opinion, religion has become the handmaiden of owners of capital and use the "Passive Gospel" to keep people in line. (By that, I mean, yield, pray, obey, turn the other cheek, crucify yourself daily and rejoice in your crucifixion.) Being passive in the face of cruel injustice is not healthy nor is it just. 

Workers are entitled to respect for their contribution to building this country. It was not money, alone, that created our cities, highways, hospital, schools, railroads, etc., etc. It was through hard physical labor, pounding nails, raising beams, pouring concrete, tilling the soil, tending to the sick, educating our young, caring for the elderly, that made this country the beacon on a hill.  It was not kneeling in prayer, taking care of those made poor by greed, or money spent on steeples and pulpits that built this great nation. Nor was it prayer or greed or religion that cleaned up the messes created by Mother Nature and compounded by poor engineering for greed's sake.

When you see people doing "charity" work, they are making it easier for greed to put people into the noose of needing charity. Pious pontificating about the "good" that religion does is an empty statement that would make one laugh, if it were not so terribly sad.  

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