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American Madrases?

During this Christmas season and in the afterglow of an election that seems to have been decided on moral or more specifically Christian values, there is more and more pressure on public schools and people in general to conform the the teachings of Christ or at least to stay quiet if you don't believe. My purpose in writing this post is to simply point out the dangers of hijacking a religion, any religion, and making it fit certain needs of those in power. Christianity has been hijacked in the past to justify the Salem Witch Trials, slavery in the Old South and even dangerous group think in Nazi Germany (more on this later.) Not only are those in power suppressing critical thought in the name of God and country, but more and more parents are choosing to send their children to Christian schools, creating a whole new generation of group thinkers.

I know I'm probably going to take some heat for comparing Christian schools in America to the madrases in Middle Eastern countries, but I think the comparison is appropriate. The Middle Eastern madrases teach students that Islam is the only correct answer and any other religion or point of view is to be hated and destroyed. I fear more and more children are getting the same teachings in American Christian schools and then having that reinforced by those at the pinnacle of political power. Please understand upfront that I'm not saying in any way that private schools don't have the right to teach their students in this way, they clearly do. And if parents want to spend their hard earned money sending their kids to these schools they are free to do so. My point is two-fold however. First, with enrollment in Christian schools on the rise there will be more and more young adults that have been educated in this way, and that will shape our political future. Second, this is why God, your God, my God any God MUST be left out of public schools. Whatever your faith or lack thereof, you most certainly don't your child exposed to religious teachings that you don't agree with. If public schools allow talk of Christianity, then they must also allow a Mormon teacher to express their beliefs, a Moonie to do likewise and so on. So with that disclaimer, here are some interesting stories about "Christian" teachings in American Madrases.

The Heritage Christian School in Bozeman Montana.
At Heritage students are taught in History class that, "God has blessed America" and that "the truths of the Bible made America the greatest nation on the face of the earth." One can see how maybe a Muslim might be offended by a society teaching their youth that God has chosen a specific nation to be the greatest.

On the subject of other religions, here is an excerpt of a discussion on African religion, "Comparing traditional African religions with Christianity, Kneeland told students that Africans generally believed there were spirits all over the place, who could be tricked or flattered.That is similar to Christianity, one girl said, because there are demons around, and Satan, and angels.Yes, Kneeland said, but we don't believe in tricking or flattering spirits. Witchcraft is not a good thing, she added." Again, some Africans may take offense to children in American being thought that their religion is "witchcraft."

Continuing the discussion of Africa, "What does scripture have to say, Kneeland asked the class, about women in Africa doing virtually all the farm work.One boy quoted from Ephesians, saying that wives should submit to their husbands as to the Lord. A girl quoted from the same Bible verse, saying that husbands are supposed to love their wives and help them out. After the class, Kneeland explained that the Bible teaches not that women must submit to men, but that wives should submit to their husbands." Even American women would take offense to that.

Cary Christian School in Cary North Carolina.
I know I covered this one in a previous, but it seems appropriate to cover it again here. Cary Christian is using a booklet entitled "Southern Slavery As It Was." The purpose of the booklet is to "provide a biblical justification for slavery and asserts that slaves weren't treated as badly as people think." The principal at Cary Christian says the school uses the book because, "it is hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery." I would imagine it is.

One of the authors of the booklet is Steve Wilkins who is on the board of directors of the League of the South, which is a group classified as a hate group the the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Here are some excerpts from the booklet,

"To say the least, it is strange that the thing the Bible condemns (slave-trading) brings very little opprobrium upon the North, yet that which the Bible allows (slave-ownership) has brought down all manner of condemnation upon the South." (page 22)

"Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care." (page 25)

"Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence." (page 24)

Teaching two sides of an issue is one thing, teaching lies is another. What's next? Teaching that the Jews loved the Nazi's and enjoyed being taken care of by them?

Carson Newman College in Jefferson City Tennessee.
This one troubling on many levels. "Messengers to the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Sevierville asked the education committee of their Executive Board to investigate what is taught at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City. The action came in response to an allegation from Brady Tarr, a current Carson-Newman student, who told messengers some of the college's professors--particularly in the religion and science departments--teach that the Bible has errors and contradictions." Perish the thought that the Bible may have errors and contradictions. The school responded thusly, "Carson-Newman doesn't teach the Bible has errors," the president said. "I believe every single member of the religion department is called by God, and they all believe the Bible." I'm not sure which is more troubling, that a student would "blow the whistle" on professors for bringing up the possibility that the Bible may not be perfect, or the college's president feeling he has to defend his school by saying, in effect, that's not true, we would never challenge these students to think for themselves when the Bible is perfect.

I know the next part of this post is going to rub some people the wrong way as well, so again let me explain before hand. My purpose here is not to compare Republicans to Hitler and the Nazi's in any way other than the fact that both groups favor Christianity in education. My purpose in passing this on is to simply point out the possible perils of allowing religion in public schools and in allowing religion and only religion to guide a nations leaders.

The bulk of the following can be found here in a post by Maureen Farrell.

"I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself" this is from Hitler's writing in Main Kampf but one can easily imagine George W Bush saying it in regards to Iraq.

On the recent rise of "moral" issues in the way people vote Bob Fitrakis wrote, ""When was the last time a Western nation had a leader so obsessed with God and claiming God was on our side? If you answered Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany, you're correct. Nothing can be more misleading than to categorize Hitler as a barbaric pagan or Godless totalitarian, like Stalin."

John Patrick Michael Murphy points out that, "Hitler, like some of the today's politicians and preachers, politicized "family values." He liked corporeal punishment in home and school. Jesus prayers became mandatory in all schools under his administration. While abortion was illegal in pre-Hitler Germany, he took it to new depths of enforcement, requiring all doctors to report to the government the circumstances of all miscarriages. He openly despised homosexuality and criminalized it."

And then there is this, "Once the mercy of God shown upon us, but we were not worthy of His mercy. Providence withdrew its protection and our people fell, fell as scarcely any other people heretofore. In this deep misery we again learned to pray," Hitler said in 1936, sixty-five years before Falwell and Robertson blamed abortionists and feminists for the tragedies of Sept. 11.

"Speaking in Berlin in March, 1936, Hitler said, 'I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany,' he said, before launching the preventive war heard round the world."

Both Bush and Hitler promised peace while planning a pre-emptive war, "We seek peace. We strive for peace. And sometimes peace must be defended," Bush said, in his State of the Union address in Jan. 2003, two months before launching a preventative war in Iraq. "Never in these long years have we offered any other prayer but this: Lord, grant to our people peace at home, and grant and preserve to them peace from the foreign foe!"Hitler said in Nuremberg on Sept. 13, 1936.

Here is one last quote from Hitler during this time when everyone seems to want Christianity to be a part of public schools, "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." (The German Churches Under Hitler, p.241)

Again, to clarify, I'm not saying Republicans or George W Bush are as diabolical as Hitler and the Nazi's. I understand that they are not now nor will they ever round up gays and non believers and send the to concentration camps. I do believe, however, that we are in danger in this country of ceasing to participate in critical thought and critical discussions in order to fall in line with the political and religious pressures brought to bear by those in power. While we fight the perversion of Islam around the world, we are allowing a perversion of Christianity right before our eyes.


At 12/16/2004 01:16:00 PM, Blogger anna said...

Sort of unrelated, but sort of related: yesterday's Argus had an article about Christians who are calling for widespread boycotts of businesses who display "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays" messages, as opposed to "Merry Christmas." It seemed to imply that these religious conservatives were emboldened by Bush's victory to push this. Incredible.


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