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A Different Kind of Cross Burning

June 21st, 2008 | by Omnipotent Poobah |

God Wants to Talk

I’m an atheist, but I have no problem with believers who don’t force their religion on me. I’m OK with In God We Trust on our money. If school kids want to have prayer meetings, I don’t object as long as they don’t try to convert others and adhere to the same standards as any other school group. I couldn’t care less if you call the holidays Christmas or pledge allegiance to one nation under God. Personally, I view Jeremiah Wright as the flip side of the same wacky coin as John Hagee, but I believe both of them can say what they want because our Constitution and laws say they can - even if it’s the biggest load of hogswallop I’ve ever heard.

But, I’m not OK with John Freshwater, a Mount Vernon, Ohio “science” teacher under fire for teaching creationism. It’s not even the creationism that bothers me. I think it’s a wagon load of crap, but it might be usefully taught as one of many cultural concepts in a world studies, religion, or philosophical program - anything but science. Creationism aside though, Freshwater also showed bad judgment for failing to remove religious materials from his class - an infraction that had already cost his school system a lawsuit.

But the thing I’m REALLY not OK with is this idjit of enlightenment burning crosses onto his students’ arms. Let me emphasize this, Freshwater is a dangerous bigot much worse than Jim Piculas, the Toothpick Wizard. Freshwater used a “high-frequency generator” to burn his students, an act disturbingly close to other “religious” practices like genital mutilation and stoning unmarried pregnant women. To make matters worse, he tried to weasel-speak it away as an “X” instead of a cross. Some performance for an acolyte of a benevolent God, eh?

Some, including some of his students, are now defending Freshwater as a First Amendment patriot. They support his violation of classroom rules by keeping the religious paraphernalia on display and his crosses - which are no longer “X”s now that he has the soapbox - burned into another’s flesh.

I’m sure Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly will disagree, but here’s a newsflash - courts have already made many decisions on what’s allowable in the classroom and I don’t believe using kids as life-size wood burning kits has been approved. Further, court rulings already support the concept that religious paraphernalia isn’t allowed. You may say it violates your First Amendment rights, but the Supreme Court of your country begs to differ. You can prattle on about how you believe the decision should be something else, but we’re not living in a theocracy, we’re living in a democracy where the law of the land isn’t the King James, but the Constitution.

Many of the most conservatively religious people have absolutely no trouble condemning Muslim suicide bombers while defending this type of behavior as somehow superior. Those actions are what makes atheists and those of less-popular faiths cringe. The Freshwater’s of the world believe they live under a “higher” law than the Constitution. I’m tempted to recommend they leave for other, similarly intolerant theocracies or that simply firing Freshwater isn’t enough. But I won’t. I’ll charitably take a familiar page from their Bible instead.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)


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  1. 2 Responses to “A Different Kind of Cross Burning”

  2. By steve on Jun 21, 2008 | Reply

    Look… I get it…

    But think most conservatives and religious people would think what the teacher did was wrong.

    But how would you know what Rush and O’Reilly think? I bet it has more to do with the nature of their character behind their ideologies and how they present themselves than actually knowing what they think. I doubt Rush will even comment on this guy unless someone incinuated that he supported the guy. So was that exactly fair

    It has always been interesting to me that the left supports any and all ideologies to be taught in public school, except religious ones or one’s with religious conotations. The example I personally dealt with growing was one where my junior high school band couldn’t play a Christian based Christmas song like, The First Noel but could clearly play all the other secular Christmas songs and Hannukah songs. Obviously the band director wasn’t a kook branding crosses on us, he was just trying to teach us music. The Hindu kid from my recollection didn’t seem to care and participated…

  3. By Lisa on Jun 22, 2008 | Reply

    I was going to respond as well about O’Rielly and Limbaugh. I too doubt they would agree with this guy as most people do. They are not the equivelant to the right as what ,yes even the KOS is to the left.
    You may not like what they say but they aren’t as kooky as you would like to think they are.

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