Because Teaching “Vile, Contemptible Nonsense” Is Bringing Down America

19 08 2009

(More from our epic examination of what conservative Christian curriculum really teaches, even when it claims to double as mainstream academics.)

“My biggest curiosity factor, however, is why do you care?”

Indeed.

Up-thread Lynn and I do talk about how the wonderful world we all live in together is threatened for all, when any indoctrinating power including if not especially patriarchal fundamentalism, gets power-hungry in public policy. Look at the history of the Catholic Church or modern-day middle eastern theocracy, or just turn on cable news in America to the current town halls.

The entire state of Texas is (unconstitutionally in my view) implementing by public policy a new curriculum to literally indoctrinate students in this armed and dangerous version of Christianity — yet you’re asking US instead of those elected public servants, why we should care what kids grow up believing? Do you seriously mean to claim that all curriculum and all education is just competing indoctrination anyway, so what does it matter??

If so, you answer your own question: THAT is why it matters. Because believing that lie spoils everything good, true and beautiful that is real and dehumanizes us all so we can devolve back into warring religious tribes.

Even if you can’t believe as I do, that the AR-15 semi-automatic assault weapons at a presidential event are part and parcel of irrational minds crippled by indoctrination in dysfunctional lies and that fundamental religions foster that social threat, you will hear more obvious evidence.

I did just this minute, typing this response:

At Rep. Barney Frank’s Dartmouth town hall on health care reform last night, a young woman took the mike demanding to know why he’s supporting the president’s “T-4″ Hitler/Nazi extermination program that treats certain lives as not worth living.

Frank is of course Jewish. (Also gay, which would have gotten him exterminated *twice* in Hitler’s Germany, I suppose.)

So Frank pokes fun at her monstrous ignorance by saying that in keeping with his “ethnic heritage” he’ll answer her question with another question: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?”

He then says “It’s a tribute to the First Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated” and that “trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.”

Calling a Jewish public servant a Nazi as public debate.
Calling a black public servant a racist as public debate.

There’s two good reasons why I care, right there.

On a smaller scale, homeschooling families might consider that their own educational freedoms are most at risk when homeschooling is confused in the minds of politicians and the public with conservative warfare waged through Christian indoctrination, but as a public policy specialist in my former professional life, I care about a lot more than that.

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13 responses

19 08 2009
lori

Barney is too much — gotta love how he gives it right back. My favorite Barney anecdote was told in a New Yorker profile in January:

//Not long ago, Paul Begala, the political strategist, was speaking at a fund-raiser for a gay-rights group and said, “When I told my father, back in Texas, that I was speaking to an L.G.B.T. group, he said that sounded like a sandwich.” From the audience, Frank called out, “Sometimes it is!”//

Heh, heh, heh.

And from the same piece, here’s how he sees Obama’s reaching across the aisle:

//“Obama tends to overstate his ability to get people to change their opinions and underestimates the importance of confronting ideological differences,” Frank told me.//

I guess he’s putting that philosophy into action.

19 08 2009
Nance Confer

It’s about damned time!

Nance

20 08 2009
JJ

But the thing between Barney Frank and the woman waving a picture of Obama as Hitler, didn’t seem much like “confronting ideological differences.”

It was more like confronting the reality that we’re just confronting each other now.

20 08 2009
COD

I saw it more as confronting idiocy. For the record, I’m just as fine with conservative lawmakers confronting the left wing loons that thing 9-11 was a govt operation, or that we never landed on the moon, or whatever.

20 08 2009
Nance Confer

Are those left-wing things? I guess I never paid attention to those particular loons.

Anyway. . . I don’t read it as confronting ideological differences with the other person, JJ. I read it as confronting our own inabilities. Our inability to believe that the other person doesn’t have some sort of point we should be including in the discussion. That they could be doing/saying what they are doing/saying with no regard for anyone else or for right and wrong. We trust and get the football snatched away — every time. And we must finally learn or be defeated. And if we can’t see our own failing in having been too trusting, too willing to compromise, too generous in our thoughts about others, if we can’t acknowledge those differences — ideological or simply shrouded in ideology — we will be defeated again.

Nance

20 08 2009
Nance Confer

Remember the end of the forums at NHEN? When, after endless hours of trying to work with those loons, it was finally agreed that we needed firm moderation? Not that that was a success either but to try it we first had to get to the stage of realizing we were not arguing with people who were arguing in good faith, who wanted success, or who wanted anything but “NO.”

Nance

20 08 2009
JJ

Oh, good example — and then, ONE hostile lunatic not arguing in good faith was brought into the moderation tent and given unearned power (like Chuck Grassley?) and singlehandedly trashed the place. End of conversation and cooperation for all.

20 08 2009
Nance Confer
21 08 2009
JJ

An even more blunt reason why fundamentalist indoctrination sold as “curriculum” matters to everyone — you may have observed that as in Casablanca, wherever patriarchal fundamentalism is in charge, life IS cheap.

. . .in a large slice of the world, girls are uneducated and women marginalized, and it’s not an accident that those same countries are disproportionately mired in poverty and riven by fundamentalism and chaos.

. . .The world is awakening to a powerful truth . . .Our interviews and perusal of the data available suggest that the poorest families in the world spend approximately 10 times as much (20 percent of their incomes on average) on a combination of alcohol, prostitution, candy, sugary drinks and lavish feasts as they do on educating their children (2 percent).

If poor families spent only as much on educating their children as they do on beer and prostitutes, there would be a breakthrough in the prospects of poor countries. Girls, since they are the ones kept home from school now, would be the biggest beneficiaries.

Moreover, one way to reallocate family expenditures in this way is to put more money in the hands of women. A series of studies has found that when women hold assets or gain incomes, family money is more likely to be spent on nutrition, medicine and housing, and consequently children are healthier.

(hat tip Valerie Moon)

But what do the Pearls and purity balls (and the reproductive control freaks still in the majority of our highest court, and daring to call themselves moral and “pro-life”) claim is the divine plan? The exact opposite. Obey the Father Meme.

Mrs. C pointed Snook readers to a very earnest blog discussion among conservative homeschool moms last week, normal-sounding American women poring over bible verses that told them women must stay home out of the work force to be breeders and helpmeets, so more men could have jobs and money and make the decisions. Which is good for families.

They talked to the point they sincerely began to believe it might be their duty to support a secular legal BAN on women working. In America. Terri Schiavo was only four years ago and John Roberts has a six-vote Catholic majority for the next power play against women and girls. If it’s not this law, it will be something worse.

Yep, we all need saving — not by patriarchy but from it.

22 08 2009
Nance Confer

so more men could have jobs and money and make the decisions.

******

Because all those wars were started by women?

And would women have designed a healthcare system that ignores children?

Etc.

Nance

22 08 2009
JJ

Hmmm, Obey the Father Meme. Catchier than conservative Christianity or patriarchy, and it includes fundamentalists from other religions such as the Taliban, plus authoritarian conservatives like Michael Savage who may be religious but don’t sound very Christian about it . . .

What do you think? Got a good beat and we could dance to it?

31 08 2009
More T-Shirts and Dress Message Stories, From Stupid to Dead Serious This Time « Cocking A Snook!

[…] Thinking Parents have studied school messages from curriculum to t-shirts to “serious hats.” But now Nance — oh, those shoes are better but […]

23 12 2009
JJ

So armed to the teeth at the Capitol isn’t right-wing fringe lunacy but conservative public service, that even the Secret Service finds acceptable if it’s wearing a bowtie?

Armed man near Obama’s health care speech was long-time Bush employee

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