Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, December 21, 2007

Secularists Place Their Faith In Corbett

The tale of Dr. James Corbett and his frothings against Christians and Conservatives before his high school Advanced Placement classes is big news -- it's now up to 398,000 hits on Google's blog search engine. And as you can imagine, those who believe in Secularism but are rabidly anti-religion nonetheless, have a lot to say.

Let's start with a post at The Seven Solitudes called, ahem, Dr. James Corbett is an American Hero:
It isn’t enough that the school system is still a breeding ground for religious indoctrination, and non-believers and other people who would rather teach their kids at home about religion have been ostracized and having failed previous attempts to bring these lawsuits to the courts, this Fascist Law Firm decides to copy the work of organizations like the ACLU. In these previous cases we, the secular taxpayers, have been found to not have standing. Our only victory was erasing mandatory prayer from school and the occasional Lemon Test success, but Christian proselytizing from the podium is not a phantom. If this brings about the demise of teacher’s personal freedoms of ranting about religion from either way… it is a victory for us.
What school district does this guy go to? Is he a time-traveler or something, perhaps confusing 2007 with 1907? I wasn't aware that Secularist home-schooling was a trend, and haven't heard of any public school districts that were forcing Christianity into, instead of out of, the schools.

Admittedly, Capo Unified, my district and Dr. Corbett's, isn't utterly devoid of Christianity. When Incredible Daughter #1 was in Jr. High chorus, they sang (beautifully) medieval vocal pieces with religious themes, and we even had an entirely voluntary parent-student Hallelujah Chorus one year. She also got a good grade on a paper on Abraham's travels for an ancient history class.

This seems to me appropriate in all ways because no one can deny the power of the church in the formation of our musical heritage, and the Abraham paper was a research exercise whether one were to agree the source material was historical or not.

What is wrong with Seven Solitudes, and indeed most of these posts, is that they don't want "Christian proselytizing" in the schools, but very clearly are comfortable with Secularist proselytizing, whether Christians are made uncomfortable or not.

A blog with the uncondensed name of Esoteric Dissertations of a One Track Mind fisked my most recent post on Corbett in a post called On the Religious Reaction to Dr. Corbett. The writer makes such universal statements like:
First, I find it rather inarguable that religious conservatives want to control women’s reproductive capacity.
I find this extremely funny, given the "anti-breeder" pressure that the Left slams parents with. Who, in fact, wishes to control women's reproductive capacity? He thinks conservative men dictate to their women, "Thou shalt calve," whereas in Christian circles the number of children is a decision husband and wife come to through discussion and prayer.

To compare fundamental Islamic childbirthing trends to Christian trends is silly because in dirt-poor Islamic countries, where humans and animals are the main means of production, the economics of child-bearing are entirely different.

Over at the "revolutionary" blog (Why would we want a revolution? So we could have what sort of system instead?) Blogging the Collapse, there's a post called Heroes and Zeros. Guess which one the blogger thinks Corbett is?
As you’ve seen, I have a general revulsion for all gods, prophets, angels, and higher powers in general. The wisdom that I would like to see kids arrive at through education is that there is no such thing as a cosmic hierarchy (which makes other hierarchies, such as corporate or governmental hierarchies, all the more meaningless); and that the universe doesn’t work through power or control.
How does he know this, if not by faith? Where is it written that there is no higher power in the universe?

I've saved the worst and the funniest for last because there is nothing sillier than a hater of intolerance being intolerant. Here's Dr. Naysay's Nay of the Day, Chad Farnan is a Douche and his Parents are Evil:
This piece of Orange County s*** hails from San Juan Capistrano and attends Capistrano Valley High School where he is enrolled in Dr. James Corbett's Advanced Placement European History class.

Recently this little f***ing twit and his parents filed a FEDERAL lawsuit claiming that Dr. Corbett violated his Constitutional Rights. How does a High School history teacher pull off such a feat you might ask?

By allegedly making statements that Mr. Farnan (and his evil parents) feel "make religious students feel like second class citizens."
I think Dr. Naysay makes a pretty darn good case for why morality and values ought to be taught more in school, because the Judeo-Christian tradition certainly teaches a greater deal of brotherly love, understanding and compassion than Dr. Naysay has picked up along his troubled way.

In closing, let's go back to the top post and the allegation that "the school system is still a breeding ground for religious indoctrination." In case you haven't been keeping up on your reading of The Bismark Tribune over the Christmas holidays, I offer this:
A Simle Middle School teacher has been suspended without pay after parents complained about a video he showed in a class.

Superintendent Paul Johnson outlined the investigation and discipline at the Bismarck School Board meeting Monday.

Teacher Michael Nider will be on unpaid leave starting today until Jan. 1. He showed a video called "A Letter from Hell" that he had found on in his fourth period eighth-grade health class Wednesday. It was not shown in any other classes.

In addition to the unpaid leave, Nider also must take a sensitivity training class by May 30. A letter of reprimand is part of his personnel file, and if he violates the school policy again, he will be fired. A new teacher will be assigned to the fourth period eighth-grade health class.

This is the first time in the four years Nider has taught with the district that he has been disciplined, and he has had good evaluations. He has taught 20 years prior to coming to the Bismarck district. Two messages were left Monday night on an answering machine at Nider's home. He did not attend Monday night's meeting.

Parents Steve and Hannah Balaban heard about the video from their daughter, who was in Nider's class. They sent a letter of complaint to the teacher, principal, school board, superintendent and other community members, because of their concerns about its religious content.
Let's review, class:
  • Nider has a 20-year-plus teaching record without complaint. This is the third time Corbett's radical Secularism has caused trouble at Capo Unified.
  • Nider showed one film in one class. Corbett routinely blasts Christians and their beliefs in his classes and has for years.
  • Nider was suspended without pay. Corbett is still teaching with pay.
  • Nider has to take sensitivity training, has a letter in his file, and will be fired if anything like this happens again. While it's early in the process still, no such action has been taken against Corbett.
  • The action against Nider was taken because one set of parents called to complain. Corbett continued to teach following many such complaints, including parents pulling their children from his class.
Again, the model that should be followed is that the teacher in a class like AP European history should, as Corbett did, encourage their students to think hard on provocative questions, but he should do so by asking pointed questions from all points of view, so his students have no idea what his personal beliefs are.

These beliefs should not be a factor. Students should learn from a teacher's character and qualities, not his political diatribes.

Update: The Capo Unified School District apparently feels the same way, according to this OC Register editorial summarizing its policies:
It shouldn't take a lawsuit to force a public school system to consider whether a teacher lives up to district policy, which requires that staff neither promote a religious viewpoint nor "interfere with the philosophical/religious development of each student in whatever tradition the student embraces." According to a Register report, district policy also calls on teachers "to ensure that all sides of a controversial issue are impartially presented with accurate and appropriate factual information."
I don't advocate that Corbett be fired, only that he be forced to follow these policies, and that the District itself develop a method for seeing that the protocols are followed. If Corbett isn't comfortable with that, then he doesn't have to continue taking a publicly funded paycheck.

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