9.01.2005

A title that has nothing whatsoever to do with the content of this post

Is our children learning?

I have a few basic beliefs—men shouldn’t have opinions on abortion, women shouldn’t have opinions on prostate exams, and home-schooled kids shouldn’t dictate what happens in public schools. It’s really simple—if it doesn’t directly affect you, then shut the fuck up.

So, when Renew America’s resident homeschooled teen Rudy Takala tackles the issue of religion in schools (and court houses), I can’t resist pointing out what a fuckwit he is. Particularly when he’s dumb enough to title his column "Evolution is unconstitutional."

Takala begins with the usual tripe—the 7th Circuit Court defined atheism as a religion, which built upon a Supreme Court decision in 1961 which defined Secular Humanism as a religion, meaning that people have the right to deny the existence of god, and therefore Hurricane Katrina wipes out Bourbon Street. Okay, so he didn’t work in the hurricane, but he’s just about the only one these days.

So far, basic wingnut logic, right? The judiciary decided that religions other then Christianity are legal, and therefore the world is going to end. Or something like that. But then Takala tries his hand at what I can only assume is logic (or a right-wing derivation thereof), and declares evolution unconstitutional because it’s atheist, and since atheism is a religion, evolution is now creationism. Except he doesn't. I think. Frankly, he lost me at the first sentence:
Because non-religion is now a religion, the Establishment Clause of the Constitution now requires all court houses in the United States to publicly display a copy of the Ten Commandments. When religion was defined simply as a belief in God, it was unconstitutional to display religious monuments anywhere near court houses. However, the absence of God has also become a religion. At best, the amount of space in court houses filled by religious paraphernalia will have to be equal to the amount of space without any religious things.
First of all, for legal purposes, religion was never "defined simply as a belief in God," but rather a belief about deity—this is why the Supreme Court decided in Torcaso v. Watkins (1961) that Secular Humanism is a religion: it adheres to a system of beliefs about god, mainly that he doesn’t exist, or that his existence cannot be proven.

Secondly, the absence of religious paraphernalia is not atheist in nature—it just is. My desk isn’t atheist because I don’t have a Virgin Mary statue on it. When I burn my toast, and it doesn’t resemble the Shroud of Turin, have I made atheist toast? Or is it just burnt? And Secular Humanists don’t worship oak-paneled walls, so the lack of a Ten Commandments display posted on them doesn’t make the walls atheist, either.

Then Takala goes on to talk about vouchers, which bores me. Except when he says this: "That's the fifth or sixth reason public education is unconstitutional, anyway. Maybe when we get to ten, it'll be enough to do something about it."

Disclaimer: I make a distinction between homeschooling and de-schooling, mostly because I have several nieces and nephews who are de-schooled (ironically, because their parents believe there is too much religious influence in public schools). So, if anyone here is de-schooling, rest assured that I’m not talking about you. However, for the homeschooled set—are you fucking crazy? Sitting around the kitchen table and reading Scripture is not an education. Nor is it a great way to socialize your kids for the real world, where they will be subjected to people with *gasp* different opinions than yours. Public school in America is hardly ideal (mostly because of douchebags like Takala who revel in its appalling lack of funding), but at least these kids are learning math and science from teachers who have degrees in math and science.

And for all of Takala's blustering about atheism being the new state religion, he never even mentions evolution--and it's in the fucking title! This is why homeschooling is a bad idea. The title of an article should relate in some way to its central thesis--I learned this in the third grade. Apparently, when Takala was in the third grade (whateverthefuck that means when your homeschooled) he learned that putting quotation marks around a phrase (see "secular humanism" or "gay marriage") is the wingnut version of rebuttal.

annamaria at 9:06 AM

2 spoke

2 Comments

at Friday, September 02, 2005 7:48:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

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