I Got Chills (not the good kind) When Reading This News Item

The infection from the fundamentalist belt is spreading up here with an odd coalition.

I never thought the teaching of evolution would be challenged up here in Ontario. 

How the province responds is going to be an interesting test for my countrymen. I hope we are up to it.


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The US is becoming the laughing stock of the world with this back to the dark ages mentality.  Other countries probably see their chance to jump ahead in the space race and other scientific advances while the US teaches creationism and rewrites the history books.  I trust Canada will look at this and make the right decision.

Lillie, I am so grateful for educators such as Howard Zinn who taught with a far wider vision of history than many of our trained teachers and of many parents. He suffered rejection by some, even as others rejoiced at having a broad view of events. I agree with you, "The US is becoming the laughing stock of the world with this back to the dark ages mentality."

Russell, get hold of the Dover case and make sure your anti-creationist guys up there have copies of it.  In effect, they re-tried Scopes and found him not guilty for the reason that "intelligent design" --creationism --according to the Republican judge, was dogma, not science; to inject it into the curriculum alongside Darwinian evolution a blatant example of violating the 1st Amendment.  The schools were trying to require study of intelligent design/creationism as an alternative to evolution and in a landmark opinion, chock full of those wonderful "findings of fact," the GOP appointee to the bench put the creationists' toes to the fire.  In the U.S., there is precedent for the proposition that intelligent design is bunk, something my prostate gland continually reminds me.

Thanks James.  I will check that out. 

I wrote a letter to this newspaper the day I read the item. I am hoping to be one voice of many responding. It is tough to get a letter published here because as Canada's largest newspaper they get so many every day. Also, I just got one published about the Olympics in August - so they may not want to have the same name appearing too frequently.

I should also write my local politician - got to be noisy now in my community and not be complacent about this stuff.

We actually have publicly funded Roman Catholic schools up here - but they don't teach creationist stuff.  The church leaders were up in arms about the anti bullying initiative and the how it related to gays in the community saying it went against their principles to be inclusive for this lifestyle - but there was a huge outcry and people started wondering why there isn't a single school system and they backed down quickly. 

It is the attitude of the community that dictates how these things go - a supposed religious school system (Catholic) but real science is taught in the classroom and when the Ontario Catholic leaders started questioning how we were handling homosexuality and bullying an outcry got them to back down.

I'm hoping for the same response to these people mentioned in the article.

I'm an optimist. Look on the bright side -- this solves the class/economic issue. Let them hold on to their religion, and let the rest of us hold on to education and jobs. Ironically, some of these are the guys advocating to do away with the welfare safety net. There's plenty of hard, menial labor to go around. God help them.

The problem is, our nation, following the Great Depression and WWII realized there had to be a safety net for unemployed, underemployed, injured, disabled, elderly and young and put in place programs to ease suffering of people who could not get on the merry-go-round called capitalism.

There has always been a group of people who thought that social welfare programs were "feeding at the trough," and claimed the poor were creating a "welfare state", "socialism" and who resented helping others unable to help themselves, especially when jobs started going overseas and forced down wages of unemployed skilled workers having to take unskilled jobs at lower wages and benefits. 

Then the real "feeding at the trough" began, except the feeders were the wealthy who felt entitled to tax breaks, created legislative loop holes, ended job security, health and retirement benefits for workers and ended much funding for education. Thirty years tore down the safety net.

Looking on the bright side is another way of saying put your head in the sand so you do not see, hear, or feel the growing needs of a decaying middle class. Looking on the bright side is a PollyAnna techniques that does not end hunger, lack of housing or education or retirement plans. 

Yes, the work of workers is to restore a safety net that empowers people to live a decent lifestyle without begging or pleading for crumbs. Workers made this country in partnership with capital. When that partnership gets out of balance, suffering occurs. 

In my opinion, religion has become the handmaiden of owners of capital and use the "Passive Gospel" to keep people in line. (By that, I mean, yield, pray, obey, turn the other cheek, crucify yourself daily and rejoice in your crucifixion.) Being passive in the face of cruel injustice is not healthy nor is it just. 

Workers are entitled to respect for their contribution to building this country. It was not money, alone, that created our cities, highways, hospital, schools, railroads, etc., etc. It was through hard physical labor, pounding nails, raising beams, pouring concrete, tilling the soil, tending to the sick, educating our young, caring for the elderly, that made this country the beacon on a hill.  It was not kneeling in prayer, taking care of those made poor by greed, or money spent on steeples and pulpits that built this great nation. Nor was it prayer or greed or religion that cleaned up the messes created by Mother Nature and compounded by poor engineering for greed's sake.

When you see people doing "charity" work, they are making it easier for greed to put people into the noose of needing charity. Pious pontificating about the "good" that religion does is an empty statement that would make one laugh, if it were not so terribly sad.  

Looking on the bright side is another way of saying put your head in the sand so you do not see, hear, or feel the growing needs of a decaying middle class. Looking on the bright side is a PollyAnna techniques that does not end hunger, lack of housing or education or retirement plans.

You are exaggerating. Looking on the bright side referred to Christians who, themselves, want to not to go school for science. This is clearly harmful to them, but not necessarily harmful to the rest of us. An answer to the needs of a middle class is still required to those who desire it.

I felt the same way when I read that after a friend sent me the link a couple of days ago. Truly scary stuff. One of the reasons why I moved to Canada was because I had had enough of religious nuts in Mexico. I'd hate for that follow me up north!

Looks like there was a good response in the Saturday paper against this practice.  My letter is somewhere in this link - so you don't have to scroll - I copied and pasted it after the link.


Societies evolve. Ancient religious texts don’t. We probably have all agreed for a long time that it is not right to sacrifice the life of a child based on instructions from God. Unfortunately certain things have taken longer to become acceptable.

In the United States there were some that pointed to their faith and ancient religious texts to deny interracial marriages. It took a 1967 Supreme Court decision to allow people that right.

The fundamentalist Christians and Muslims who have united to deny their children exposure to the iron-clad science of evolution and the replacing of tolerance for bullying with the homosexual lifestyle in public school discussions may express their opinions at home. 

I’m not happy with it, but they may also teach some of that reprehensible stuff in church. But these citizens of Ontario should not be allowed to deny future citizens the arguments that I believe the province as a whole embraces in taxpayer funded schools.

My children do not agree with all of my conclusions about this world and that probably is a good thing. They have actually challenged me and changed my mind on some issues as well. Those people who want to deny their children access to ideas should have more confidence in their arguments.

If we allow this faith argument to win to deny proper education, then we are increasing the chances of an ignorant society and an ignorant electorate.

Russell Pangborn, Keswick

Good stuff, Russell!  BRAVO!  Would that I saw more stuff such as that on the op-ed pages of the Plain Dealer.

Well said!

Thank you Karina and Loren.




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