Schools Teaching Religious Fundamentalism Are Endangering Creative Thinking WORLD-WIDE

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posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 08:07 AM
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Schools Teaching Religious Fundamentalism Are Endangering Creative Thinking

Public education and free thought are under attack by both austerity programs and religious fundamentalism. So where are our new creative thinkers supposed to come from?

I wanted to post this in Social Issues, as I think it's appropriate and a CRITICAL part of the world's unrest today - but, as it discusses religious indoctrination primarily, I guess it should go here.

There are a couple of ongoing threads right now addressing the atrocities committed by members of one culture against another culture - and it is a CULTURAL problem more than a racial problem.

When the city of Chicago closes 49 “underperforming” schools in poor neighborhoods, who gets hurt?

When fundamentalist parents control what information their kids are exposed to by home schooling them, who are the victims?

In both cases, children are being hurt. But they are not the only ones.

We live at a time when, according to environmentalists, our continued existence on this planet is at risk. More than ever, in the years ahead, people will need both scientific and humanistic knowledge to confront this challenge.

Now, the author of the article goes into discussion about climate change - but that's not the main reason I'm choosing to post this thread. What I'm concerned about is the lack of progress in humanities education, mostly. That links back to climate change, but it is appropriate to many other social issues ongoing as well.

I have posted threads before regarding the Fundamentalist Agendas of some Christian groups - and denounced the 'training up' of children in these extreme "faith" issues.

This article states the case quite well, in my opinion.

But neoliberal austerity programs are not the only threat to education. Fundamentalism is another.

Eighty-eight years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union decided to bring a test case against Tennessee’s Butler Act, which prohibited the teaching of evolution in its public schools.

...

Today as in 1925, religious fundamentalists are trying to control education in places all over the world.

ALL OVER THE WORLD - not only in developing or only in theocratic or only in SOME countries. ALL OVER, including here in the USA. My point is that religious education is not appropriate for the general public's children EXCEPT to teach them that there are a variety of religions in this world with which they will have to contend with and eventually step up to LEAD - because the rest of us will all "age out" or die.

The middle aged and senior adults in charge right now are doing an abysmally poor job of grooming the upcoming generations for the problems they WILL have to face. Why????

Over religious friction? I don't understand how so many people are still living with mindsets that were common THOUSANDS of years ago, and which we have now moved so far past that those mindsets are totally irrelevant, counterproductive, and just plain bizarre - such as a 6,000-yr old Earth - or the subjugation and exploitation of women. KIDS NEED REAL FACTS, and tools with which to navigate their FUTURES - which will likely be far more science-fiction-like than desert-nomad-like - unless, of course, we DO nuke most of the world into uninhabitable wastelands.

How do you want your kids - OUR KIDS - to be thinking and problem-solving, to be stepping up to take the lead - as primitive, superstitious crusaders or raping marauders who force women to CONTINUE to live as 'commodities' and be treated like trash? Or as scientists, mathematicians, inventors, philosophers, PROBLEM-SOLVERS?

In my mind this question is totally rhetorical - yet in the minds of some it is quite literal. (same as The Bible and other ancient "holy texts")

PAKISTAN: (There are many Pakistani/Bangladeshi immigrants in the UK, according to our members there, who are ganging up and exploiting white girls - here is one possible REASON for it):

[E]ven secular education in Pakistan is not all that secular; both public and private schools are required to use a state curriculum for Islamic studies and Pakistani history which has been described as teaching “a narrow interpretation of Islam that encourages religious intolerance and extremism through negative references to Pakistan’s minorities (religious and other).


EGYPT/SAUDI ARABIA: (Contrast this anecdote with the 12-year old Egyptian boy who put many adults to SHAME with his youthful insight. We want to stifle him? Please, God, no!)

[A] young Egyptian who went to an international high school in Saudi Arabia, says their English science texts as published included sections on evolution and human reproduction, but the teacher was required to rip out all those pages and teach creationism. When she tried to order social science or other secular books online, she couldn’t get them because of internet censorship.


ISRAEL:

In Israel, fundamentalist opposition to secular education has become an economic as well as a political problem; the haredi (ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews), a growing percentage of the population because of their high birth rate, are almost unemployable because they don't study anything but religious texts.


INDIA:

“Since the late 1990s, national education has become a battleground, drawing in many distinguished historians, scientists, and other academics who have refused to tolerate any move away from a strictly secular education system; who have protested against the mingling of myth alongside history, and pseudoscience alongside science.”


USA:

“Since the late 1990s, national education has become a battleground, drawing in many distinguished historians, scientists, and other academics who have refused to tolerate any move away from a strictly secular education system; who have protested against the mingling of myth alongside history, and pseudoscience alongside science.” ... In the US, despite the constitutional separation of religion and the state, there are constant battles over the teaching of creationism, prayer and religious symbols in public schools, voucher systems which allow parents to send their children to religious schools at public expense, and the use of school buildings for prayer meetings.


UK:

In the UK, where there is no constitutional separation, the state actually funds religious education; as Gita Sahgal observed in 2011, “large sums of public money [are] being made available to a programme of work that transforms education from a system that encourages questioning and inquiry to one where, according to Christian evangelicals, even the existence of doubt is due to Satanic influence.”


The article also mentions Canada as having mandated 'religious' studies (except for Quebec), as well as Catholic struggles between a University in S. America and the Vatican.

The conclusion is one I profoundly agree with:

[There are] two great obstacles to human progress: the dog-eat-dog, market-driven ideology of neoliberal economics, and the growth of religious fundamentalist movements.

Creative thinking requires time and money for education; it also requires secular space for freedom of thought. For this reason, education is a crucial front in the struggle for planetary survival.


Have at it, ATS. What are your thoughts/reactions?
~wild
edit on 9-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)
edit on 9-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 08:47 AM
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Is the author of this article really trying to imply that religious schools produce less well educated children than their public counterparts? Nonsense.




Local private high school students averaged much higher ACT and SAT scores than their public school counterparts in 2012, according to our study of schools across the Miami Valley, although the top individual scores belonged to public schools. “The old model was to say ‘X’ type of school is better than ‘Y’ type of school,” said Tom Lasley, University of Dayton professor and the school’s former dean of education. “Now people realize student success is more about how invested families are in the education of their children.” These 13 private high schools in our study were Alter, Badin, Bishop Fenwick, Carroll, Catholic Central, Chaminade Julienne, Cincinnati Christian, Dayton Christian, Lehman Catholic, Miami Valley School, Middletown Christian, Spring Valley Academy and Troy Christian. The composite average for these private schools on the ACT was 23.6 for 2012 graduating seniors, as compared to the 21.7 average of the nine-county region’s 81 public high schools. The private school scores also topped the state (21.8) and national (21.1) averages of students at all institutions for 2012.


www.daytondailynews.com...

My own experience was similar. I went to a Catholic school for K-12 and it was much more academically rigorous than the local public schools, even with an hour a day dedicated to theological studies.

And one more thing, if public schools were truly outperforming their private counterparts, why do nearly all politicians send their children to private schools?
edit on 9-7-2013 by SirMike because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 08:57 AM
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reply to post by SirMike
 


I believe the author is implying that "fundamentalist" education lacks appropriate knowledge being taught - not 'private schools' such as the one you attended. It addressed the home-schooled kids in the US who have been taught 'biblical' "facts" rather than current knowledge.

Certainly there are private learning institutions that teach very well - no doubt about it, and there are public schools that do so also. My daughter attended a private University on a scholarship for engineering - she just got her Master's last year and is working on alternative fuel cell research and development. Of course, her university is accused of being "liberal".

The article, and I, are both talking about the Fundies, NOT the academically oriented, progressive, rigorous private schools. Did you read it? (I suspect not) - but, thanks for responding.
edit on 9-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:09 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Well, you're not going to like this post very much, my friend, but here are my thoughts.

First off, let's have a look at the bio of the author of your article, one Meredith Tax.


Meredith Tax has been a writer and political activist since the late 1960s. She was a member of Bread and Roses, and founding chair of International PEN’s Women Writers’ Committee. From 1994 to 2005 she was founding President of Women’s WORLD, a global free speech network that fought gender-based censorship. Meredith is currently the US Director of the Centre for Secular Space.

Okay, she's a far left feminist, and a proponent of secularism. So she has an axe to grind here, and we can dismiss any notion that this article will be unbiased. Indeed, as I read the article, up through the bit about the United States, this article is nothing more than a rant against people who view education differently than she does.

So, you'll excuse me for dismissing it, entirely. She wants to stop homeschooling, I think that's none of her business. She seems to be implying that closing a bunch of schools in Chicago is intended to deny children an education, but the article that she sources makes it very clear that those schools were terrible and that, by consolidation, the goal was to improve the education of those children by getting them into better schools.

 

Now, on to your points:


My point is that religious education is not appropriate for the general public's children EXCEPT to teach them that there are a variety of religions in this world with which they will have to contend with and eventually step up to LEAD - because the rest of us will all "age out" or die.

Now, if you're saying that public schools should be teaching comparative religion and nothing else, I'd agree with you, except that can't possibly be what you're saying, because that is already the case. So, I am left with the understanding that you propose banning parochial education in the United States.

There are two problems with that -- first, it is patently unconstitutional. You cannot repress the religious practices of others, simply because you do not agree with them. Parents who send their children to parochial schools do so on their own dime, there is no taxpayer funding of Catholic, Lutheran or "fundamentalist" schools. So it is really none of your business, or none of the government's business, what kind of school a parent chooses to send their child to.

Here is your second problem:


KIDS NEED REAL FACTS, and tools with which to navigate their FUTURES

How do you want your kids - OUR KIDS - to be thinking and problem-solving, to be stepping up to take the lead - as primitive, superstitious crusaders or raping marauders who force women to CONTINUE to live as 'commodities' and be treated like trash? Or as scientists, mathematicians, inventors, philosophers, PROBLEM-SOLVERS?

Parochial schools, as well as home schools, are required by the state to provide the same level of education that public schools do, so in my local Catholic school, there are classes in history, science, maths, language, etc, that every student is required to take. So claiming that having one class in Catholic history or theology makes them ignoramuses in science or maths is incorrect.

In addition, across the board, both parochial and homeschooled students outperform public school students, so the act of banning parochial schools and home schooling would hurt that segment of the population, not help it.


The Archdiocese of New York's 132 city elementary schools continue to outperform public schools by leaps and bounds in reading, and to a lesser extent in math, new statistics show.

Seventy-eight percent of Catholic-school eighth-graders aced the state reading exam -- 21 percentage points higher than the public-school kids -- and 82 percent passed the math test, 9 percentage points better than their public-school counterparts.

In fourth grade, 85 percent of Catholic-school kids met or surpassed state benchmarks in reading -- 16 percentage points above the public schools -- while 88 percent did so in math, 3 percent higher than the public-school youngsters. (Source)

And, as a picture is worth a thousand words, here are two


(Bigger: files.abovetopsecret.com...)

(Bigger: files.abovetopsecret.com...)

So, seeing through the veil of Meredith Tax's rant, we can see that her agenda is one that is not only unconstitutional, but is fundamentally (har-har) wrong, and would result is worse education for the segment of the population that she views as supersticious and ignorant.

edit on 9-7-2013 by adjensen because: oopsies



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:12 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


I did read it and I find it ironic that while one the one hand the author of the article laments what she sees as a lack of rigorous scientific instruction in "fundamentalist" schools (which Catholic schools would most certainly qualify as) and home schooled students she bases her argument completely on anecdotal evidence.

Had the author been interested in presenting the facts instead of a screed, she might have stumbled upon this:



A new study published in The Journal of College Admission suggests that homeschool students enjoy higher ACT scores, grade point averages and graduation rates compared with other college students. The finding are especially interesting because there has been a paucity of research focused on how homeschooled students fare in college.

www.cbsnews.com...

Homeschooled children, private non-religiously schooled children, and religiously schooled children all perform better than their public peers.

Based on my own experience, I would conclude that the differences are even more stark when one considers every student at my high school was required to take both the ACT and SAT as a prerequisite for graduation while the local public schools had participation rates in the mid 70%.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:20 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


While some might dismiss your characterization of the author as an attempt to smear her, I think it was well worth the background. Based on what I read she appears to be yet another closed minded control freak who is upset that she (and her like minded comrades) don't have control of all children during their most formative years and how else can she and her activist buddies stomp out ways of thinking they despise?

Get em while they're young.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:21 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Now, if you're saying that public schools should be teaching comparative religion and nothing else, I'd agree with you, except that can't possibly be what you're saying, because that is already the case.

Whu??? Yes, that is EXACTLY what I'm saying, and that's NOT what the schools or households mentioned in the article are doing.


So, I am left with the understanding that you propose banning parochial education in the United States.

You've misunderstood then, my friend.
I already stated above in my reply to the other member that some parochial schools are MUCH BETTER than public schools - that is obvious. I worked in the education field for many years - both in inner city schools and in suburban public schools.

There are poor public schools in every big city - no question about it. MANY of the kids in those areas are sent to parochial schools for the better teachers, curriculum, etc., and I think that's great. My own daughter went to a private (but not parochial) university after a public school k-12 education. The district she and her brother grew up in is a more "affluent" one than many 'typical' public schools.

I am bemoaning the LACK of comparative religious education that exists in SOME SCHOOLS - including the Zealous Home-schooled kids -
here's a quote by a young man who was home-schooled in Missouri in the US:

“I’m a 19 year old from Missouri, recently liberated from my parents and my home school. I was taught via the curriculum offered by Alpha Omega Academy, a YEC-oriented set of curricula which taught the wrong things and didn’t even teach them well.

I learned that Pi = 3, that the Earth is 6,000 years old and that the ‘only’ way fossils could possibly exist is if a great flood happened. It also tended to use History class as indoctrination, and tried to teach 9 and 10 year olds that they should only vote for Christians in elections because ‘otherwise, we’d have to live by Man’s law, and not God’s.’

All of this, of course, paled in comparison to the largest problem this caused. I was completely isolated from civilization for most of my life, with the exception of the internet.”

THIS ^^^ is the kind of education I'm protesting.


The humanities used to be REQUIRED COURSES for EVERY undergraduate - whether they were going into science or not. NOW schools are teaching to 'trade only' - and leaving out all the important world history and humanities courses that enable youths to navigate the world well.

That's all I'm talking about, adj. I didn't look into the author herself - I read the opinion piece and agreed with it, based on my own private research and study over the last 20 years. But, if you dismiss her out of hand, then I guess you are dismissing the points she made that are valid, as well as dismissing ME??



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:27 AM
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reply to post by SirMike
 


a lack of rigorous scientific instruction in "fundamentalist" schools (which Catholic schools would most certainly qualify as)

NO, THEY DO NOT QUALIFY AS "fundamentalist" curriculum schools! How many times do I have to SAY THAT - I am NOT DISSING good private schools! For crying out loud


I am talking about the Evangelical Apocalyptic Jesus-Camp type people - and the Extremists in all religions who are NOT TEACHING things like evolution, open-minded cultural competence, and world studies!

Good God, you guys!
Okay, whatever. Teach your kids the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that women are evil. I give up. It's not about CONTROL, it's about FREEDOM of thought, and keeping up with modern knowledge!!

edit on 9-7-2013 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:39 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



THIS ^^^ is the kind of education I'm protesting.

Well, that's obviously an extreme case, and it isn't a good example of what the author of the article you cited is proposing. That person would clearly massively fail a standardized test, so he is not demonstrative of "real" home schoolers, who would not.


The humanities used to be REQUIRED COURSES for EVERY undergraduate - whether they were going into science or not. NOW schools are teaching to 'trade only' - and leaving out all the important world history and humanities courses that enable youths to navigate the world well.

Times change, and educational focuses change, as well. I ran across this yesterday: Can you pass this 101-year-old test for 8th graders?, and my answer to that question, despite a graduate school degree, would be "no".

As one who has a fondness for the humanities, as well as history, no, I'm not in favour of dropping those programs, but so far as I know, they're still a part of high school curriculums, and not every college is dropping the requirement.


That's all I'm talking about, adj. I didn't look into the author herself - I read the opinion piece and agreed with it, based on my own private research and study over the last 20 years. But, if you dismiss her out of hand, then I guess you are dismissing the points she made that are valid, as well as dismissing ME??

Well, those are two questions, and given the fact that I responded to you, I obviously didn't dismiss you.

But, yes, I generally dismiss biased writers who go on with an irrational rant. Unlike what you posted above, Ms. Tax DOES favour the elimination of parochial education and home schooling, and, given that those educational methods are demonstrably better than public education, her views are irrational, manipulative and irrefutably wrong.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:47 AM
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Originally posted by adjensen
Well, that's obviously an extreme case, and it isn't a good example of what the author of the article you cited is proposing. That person would clearly massively fail a standardized test, so he is not demonstrative of "real" home schoolers, who would not.


The author is using extreme anecdotes because she has no empirical basis for her argument that all non secular, non state schooling should be abolished. At the end of the day, its about control.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:50 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
Okay, whatever. Teach your kids the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that women are evil. I give up. It's not about CONTROL, it's about FREEDOM of thought, and keeping up with modern knowledge!!


So, you want to make a broad policy requirement based on a few outlying cases when you cannot make an empirically based argument that this small minority of home and parochially schooled group performs poorly against its peer group?

Who died and made these children your wards?



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:55 AM
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reply to post by SirMike
 

She didn't say that!! I've already said I didn't look up her background or reputation - the only thing I AM TALKING ABOUT is the EXTREMISTS teaching their children EXTREMIST THINKING like only voting for Christians, or making women wear burkas. If she said anywhere else that she wants to eliminate ALL non-state non-secular schools, I would disagree with that IMMEDIATELY.

Give me a break, dude. Or do you think kids should be taught that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and evolution is a lie?? Or that Muhammed flew up to heaven on a horse and that women and girls are unworthy of respect and education?

She may have only anecdotal evidence, but the kids interviewed were CERTAINLY unhappy with their educations - why are being so stubborn and not seeing MY point?




posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 09:58 AM
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reply to post by SirMike
 



Who died and made these children your wards?

I happen to have an advanced degree in Social Work, specializing in Children & Families, pal. ALL children are the responsibility of ALL adults -

Either stop attacking me, or expect mod intervention.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:01 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


That person would clearly massively fail a standardized test, so he is not demonstrative of "real" home schoolers, who would not.

sigh.
Adj, I am only addressing the FEW, but NUMEROUS nonetheless, institutions and home-schools that ARE NOT teaching to science, math, etc. And it's more widespread than you might realize. The Evangelical Christian home-schoolers and the Islamist Extremist schools are doing damage. THOSE ARE THE ONLY SCHOOLS I'm talking about.

For Christ's sake - my own son was having a hard time dealing with the public school system, and I registered as a Home School myself in case he wanted to switch out! He was in their GIFTED program, and was still unchallenged and stifled.
:shk:



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:07 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimesI happen to have an advanced degree in Social Work, specializing in Children & Families, pal. ALL children are the responsibility of ALL adults -


My children are MY responsibility and no one elses. You must have missed that lesson in your advanced social work courses.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by adjensen
 


That person would clearly massively fail a standardized test, so he is not demonstrative of "real" home schoolers, who would not.

sigh.
Adj, I am only addressing the FEW, but NUMEROUS nonetheless, institutions and home-schools that ARE NOT teaching to science, math, etc. And it's more widespread than you might realize. The Evangelical Christian home-schoolers and the Islamist Extremist schools are doing damage. THOSE ARE THE ONLY SCHOOLS I'm talking about.

Well, that's fine, so long as you recognize that this is not what the author of the article is limiting herself to. As you are no doubt aware, extremists in the humanist camp are known to declare that ANY religious education is a form of child abuse, which is ludicrous and insulting to those who really have suffered physical and emotional abuse.

Now, how do you propose to deal with these schools? Arrest the parents who send their kids there or teach such nonsense at home? Take the kids away from the parents and make them wards of the state? How are you going to legislate a differentiation between a Catholic school that teaches evolution and a "fundamentalist" school that teaches creationism? What about a private school that teaches both? Or a parent who, outside of "home school hours", says that evolution is bollocks and creationism is what's true?



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:23 AM
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Homeschooling
The Christian right sees homeschooling and private schooling as a viable alternative to secular education. In recent years, the percentage of children being homeschooled has risen from 1.7% of the student population in 1999 to 2.2% in 2003.[54] Much of this increase has been attributed to the desire to incorporate Christian teachings into the curriculum.[55] In 2003, 72% of parents who homeschooled their children cited the ability to provide religious or moral instruction as the reason for removing their children from secular schools.[56]

Education
The Christian right has worked to modify the public school curriculum in a number of ways. It has made inroads by having its followers win school board elections. Research suggests that these candidates run solely to propagate their religious or moral beliefs as school policy.[41] The smaller the jurisdiction, the greater the tendency for the Christian right pragmatically to support favorable candidates who can win, regardless of political-party affiliation.
The Christian right has strong opinions on how American children should be educated, speaking out in support for activities like state-sanctioned prayer in public schools.

Educational choice
The Christian right strongly advocates for a system of educational choice, using a system of school vouchers, instead of public education. Vouchers would be government funded and could be redeemed for "a specified maximum sum per child per years if spent on approved educational services".[42] This method would allow parents to determine which school their child attends while relieving the economic burden associated with private schools. The concept is popular among constituents of church-related schools, including those affiliated with Roman Catholicism.

Evolution
See also: Creation and evolution in public education
The Christian right has promoted the teaching of creationism and intelligent design as opposed to the teaching of evolution.[43][44] The Christian right has not supported the teaching of evolution in the past, but it does not have the ability to stop it being taught in public schools as was done during the Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee, in which a science teacher went on trial for teaching about the subject of evolution in a public school.[45]

en.wikipedia.org...

Guys, I'm talking about the hard-line Literal-thinking Bible-thumping Young Earth Creationist people here!!
And the Islamists who are teaching their little preschool-aged kids to hate Israel, roll around in fatigues under barbed wire, and carry machine guns!!



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:30 AM
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reply to post by SirMike
 


You are trolling, and I'm done feeding you.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 10:36 AM
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reply to post by adjensen
 


Well, that's fine, so long as you recognize that this is not what the author of the article is limiting herself to. As you are no doubt aware, extremists in the humanist camp are known to declare that ANY religious education is a form of child abuse,

SOME forms of religious education ARE child abuse. NOT ALL, but enough to have people like Newt Gingrich and Michelle Bachmann on capitol hill - do YOU want a theocracy here? Do you want kids to grow up believing the Earth is only 6,000 years old? That it is the center of the universe? That dinosaurs are fake?

That Adam and Eve were the first humans?

I don't.

I don't have any plans to legislate anything, or take away anyone's kids, I just want our youths to be able to handle the MESS that they are inheriting. Literalist Holy-Text-Thumpers are not adequately equipping them.
Religious training is the parent's responsibility, NOT THE SCHOOL'S, unless it is ONLY comparative religious studies that teach respect for diversity and a basic knowledge of which religions exist in the world.



posted on Jul, 9 2013 @ 11:32 AM
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Originally posted by wildtimes
reply to post by SirMike
 


You are trolling, and I'm done feeding you.


If you call poking holes in a poorly thought out rant as "trolling", I suppose I am guilty as charged.





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