Are your state's tax dollars funding the teaching of religious supremacism and bigotry? What about Creationism? The answer is undoubtedly yes, if you live in a state with a voucher or corporate tax credit program funding "school choice."
Religious schools across the nation are receiving public funds through voucher and corporate tax credit programs. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of these schools use Protestant fundamentalist textbooks that teach not only Creationism, but also a religious supremacist worldview, with a shocking spin on politics, history, and human rights.
"...is it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls... The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke... Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years" --- from Bob Jones University Press biology textbook Life Science 3rd. Edition (2007). Used widely in Christian schools that would receive dramatically increased funding under Mitt Romney's education plan, BJU's biology, history, English, and religion textbooks have been rejected by the University of California for course credit.
Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has declared, "Here we are in the most prosperous nation, but millions of kids are getting a third-world education." As ABC reports, Romney's proposed K-12 education plan for America would redirect $26 billion in federal funding for low income and special needs students, that currently goes to public schools, to pay for students to attend private schools; some of those would be religious schools that use Bob Jones University Press curriculum -- which speculates that humans may have lived with fire-breathing dinosaurs and teaches that Romney's own Mormon Church is a "cult".
"During the years of the Third Reich, every German carried with them a document that had to be on their person at all times. It was not a driver's license, not a passport, not even proof of citizenship but a record of their racial heritage as attested to by their pastors and their baptismal certificates. Baptism had once stood as a sign of equality. In the Third Reich, baptism became a dividing line - between heroes and heretics, between compassion and catastrophe." - Narrative introduction to Storm Troopers of Christ: Baptism and the Jews in the Third Reich
[update: I originally posted this essay in early 2008. Recently, Steve D.Martin, author of the 59-minute documentary below, originally titled Storm Troopers of Christ: The Jews and Baptism in Nazi Germany, renamed and publicly released the documentary, which chronicles the long-overlooked complicity of German Protestant clergy and theologians in supporting Hitler's rise to power, in demonizing Jews, and even determining the official racial heritage of Germans, a life and death decision.]
[note: I'm re-posting this story because the Ugandan Parliament may this week be fast-tracking the so-called "kill the gays" bill for a vote. Since 2010, Pastor Fred Hartley of the Lilburn Alliance Church has been fund-raising for the ministry of Julius Oyet, one of the professed co-authors of the bill, which would make homosexuality punishable (for various reasons) by death, as well as force health professionals and Ugandan citizens generally to turn in to authorities all Ugandans suspected of committing homosexual acts.]
"Lord, teach us to pray," begins COP International President Hartley...
Next, we see an African infant on a blanket, blankly staring, belly distended. Then a plaintive little girl's voice peeps, "We children are suffering here in Africa. Heal us from the AIDS epidemic." So your church's cash dollars will save the children? Well, no...
Does it amount to a money pitch for attempted genocide? Some might say yes. But let's start here:
Standing in his book-lined office Fred Hartley III, the spiffy can-do pastor of the Atlanta-area Lilburn Alliance Church whose chiseled features and peppery close cropped hair could win him a Hollywood role playing a drill Sargent, enthuses, "Today, I want to welcome you to the world of the College of Prayer and introduce you to some of God's most dynamic leaders around the globe."
Up first is COP's cheerful Ugandan star, born-again potentate Julius Oyet--who openly advocates the execution of homosexuals and has helped to launch a bill that appears designed to categorically legislate Uganda's gay citizens out of existence, but the fund raising pitch doesn't mention those aspects. Rather, Oyet needs more money so he can teach other Ugandans to pray: properly, that is. [update: on April 1-2, 2011, two colleagues of Oyet's, Pat Francis and Os Hillman, will be speaking at a conference at Harvard University.]
[College of Prayer fund raising video, below: the bogus "save the children!" theme comes in at ~1:00. Then Fred Hartley III introduces Julius Oyet, professed "kill the gays" bill co-author, who shows up at ~1:36. The fund raising pitch comes later in the video.]
"I went down there and joined this church. We were taught to vomit demons into bags. It was a very, very weird situation." -- Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, on his experiences at John Hagee's San Antonio Cornerstone Church
"Last night at Cornerstone Church we were privileged to have, as our speaker, Newt Gingrich. He gave a wonderful delivery of the theme, 'Rediscovering God in America.' " -- John Hagee
Does Newt Gingrich know that pastor John Hagee, whose San Antonio Cornerstone Church Gingrich recently gave a speech at, claims cops across America are conspiring with satanists who ritually slaughter their own babies as sacrifices to the devil? Does he know Hagee is an avowed exorcist who claims to have cast out a demon from a woman whom Hagee says had the face of a cat? Does Gingrich know Hagee has promoted a variant of Hitler's favorite anti-Jewish conspiracy theory, that Rothschild bankers control the world economy and are scheming against the common folk?
Lisa Graybill, of the Texas ACLU, spoke in Houston to the local chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Lisa is the legal director of the organization. She directed her audience to understand that the biggest complaint she had about the mingling of church and state is in the arena of public education.
We are delighted to welcome Dan Quinn, Communications Director of the
Texas Freedom Network, as a guest front pager. His post is a reminder that the culture war remains hot as a wildfire and is being waged on many fronts. -- FC
In March the Texas State Board of Education succeeded in opening public school science classrooms to creationist attacks on evolution. Having done what it could to muck up the science curriculum, the board's far-right bloc is now moving to politicize the state's social studies classrooms. How? By stacking an important "expert" curriculum panel with religious extremists like David Barton and the Rev. Peter Marshall -- two prominent names in the movement to destroy church-state separation and convince Americans that the country should be run on conservative Christian biblical principles.
Each of the past few springs I have helped man a period display at the Sam Houston Museum. About thirty miles from my home is what is billed as the largest statue of its kind...a huge statue of Houston. When Sam Houston was baptized in a tributary of the Barzos River, the Baptist pastor asked the leader how it felt to have his sins washed away? Houston was supposed to have responded, "Lord help the fish down stream." The famous Texan was known as the general who defeated Spanish troops. His largest legacy, for which he lost friends and influence in the state, was to call for Texas to stay in the union after the Civil War. Houston, like Lee, wanted to keep the country united as one. Such a vision would make it the most powerful nation in the world in the future.
From time to time I have made note of the actions of the Slavic Evangelical immigrants here in Sacramento. A couple of days ago a group of Slavic Evangelical students were able to pull off a coup which is unprecedented in California community colleges or university history as they sit on the Student Council of the American River Community College, Sacramento, and passed a resolution to support Proposition 8, a ballot initiative which would overturn the recent California Supreme Court ruling allowing same sex marriage in California.
(In light of the recent decision of the Louisiana House to allow the teaching of creationism in the state's public schools, and Governor Bobby Jindal's recent notoriety, Barbara Forrest's guest front page post last Fall is as timely now as it was then.) We are honored to welcome Barbara Forrest back as a guest front pager. She was a key expert witness in the landmark federal case Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District. Her testimony proved that "intelligent design" was nothing more than hastily dressed-up creationism -- the teaching of which had already been found to be unconstitutional. She is a member of the board of the National Center for Science Education -- FC
Bobby Jindal participated in a televised gubernatorial forum in Louisiana on September 27, 2007, at which a journalist asked him whether he supports the teaching of intelligent design. Jindal’s answer clearly indicated that this Rhodes scholar and Brown University biology graduate does indeed support teaching creationism.
His position has not changed since he voiced such support when he ran for governor the first time in 2003. However, the striking aspect of his comments both then and now was his use of talking points that suggest his familiarity with the semantic strategy with which ID is being promoted by its proponents at the Discovery Institute, the headquarters of the ID movement.
There are times when “neutrality” isn’t neutral, when a desire to appear unbiased betrays a bias. The Texas Education Agency’s reluctance to appear biased in favor of evolution and against intelligent design (ID) creationism is one of those times.
Proponents of the intelligent design theory of the universe have apparently forced out the science curriculum director of the Texas Education Agency. What precipitated the resignation the Austin-American Statesmanreports, was that Chris Comer forwarded an email from her office computer promoting a public talk by Barbara Forrest, a prominent academic critic of ID. Comer is accused of being biased over the matter, which is still a matter of considerable contention in Texas education politics.
The 2006 federal court decision in Kitzmiller vs. Dover, which thorougly debunked ID as legitimate science, was based in considerable part on Forrest's testimony.