July 15, 2009

When The Suburbs Get Scared

On Monday night, deep in the heart of Fairfax County, Virginia - a large, affluent community just outside the nation's capital - the Board of Supervisors heard about plans to expand a school. The discussion was - or should have been - centered around rezoning the area, giving the school a bit more room to sprawl. But it wasn't that easy. Especially since it's an Islamic school. And, as a result, the zoning issue has blossomed into a full-scale investigation of the curriculum, the students, the criminal affairs of its alumni.

I get the concern, I really do. The institution is a little (not a lot - I'd never heard of it before and I've lived here for 20 years) notorious. Notorious because there have been long standing allegations of teaching conservative and some would say intolerant Islamic teachings. Notorious because a few former students were arrested in a half-baked plan to assassinate a former president. Notorious because another alumni boarded a plane with a knife.

I'm happy leaving well enough alone as I'm loathe to get myself all worked up. But the interviews with school opponents that I've been hearing have absolutely astounded me. One even stated that the school should not exist because it is not - I'm quoting here - "a Christianity-based learning institution." I call bullshit.

I attended a private school when I was young. It encouraged a perverted version of faith in a perverted god that I still don't understand to this day. A god who preferred white people. A god who needed cash. And while there are many good Christian institutions across the country there are bad ones, like my old school, teaching intolerance, racism, materialism. And yet I've never heard a public outcry to shut them down.

I get why people are concerned. It wasn't a bunch of blond-haired, blue-eyed American boys who hijacked planes on 9/11. But it was a couple home-grown American kids who killed 13 people and injured 21 at Columbine. It wasn't an apple pie-baking grandmother who tried to bring down a plane with explosives hidden in shoes. But it was an 88 year-old World War II veteran who shot and killed a guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, having left a note in his car stating: Obama does what Jew owners tell him to do. Jews captured America's money. Jews control the mass media. The First Amendment is abrogated -- henceforth.

I'm not saying that Christians or the religion they believe in is bad. Nor am I saying that those who subscribe to religion as an institution are bad. What I'm saying, instead, is that people who subscribe to one religion are no more evil than those who believe in the tenets of another. There are, quite simply, enough bad people to go around, regardless of faith. And those bad people don't - and shouldn't - define a faith.

So, while I'm sure we all believe in the freedom of speech, do you believe in the freedom of education? Where's the line between education and free-speech? And is there a double-standard for non-Christian faiths?

Posted by Chris at July 15, 2009 6:28 AM
Comments

I believe in freedom of education....but, since the government has gone in and take all religion out of most schools, and since most schools teach kids to "get along with all others" (or at least try) I am not for a religious school that teach intolerance and also teaches that women are worth less than a donkey and non believers should be killed. Perhaps I am still shattered from 9/11. I think we all should be a little. If for no other reason than to keep the homeland safe from another attack.

Posted by: Maribeth at July 15, 2009 7:16 AM

It's interesting what kind of prejudices emerge during this sort of "consultation." I was listening to a Radio Canada piece on the hijab in Quebec (there is a move to all religious symbols in the Civil Service there). You have to wonder if we (in the royal sense) would do much better if we (again) practice the tolerance the Christians preach.

Two cents from the Buddhist Atheist Agnostic... ;)

Posted by: Nat at July 15, 2009 7:39 AM

To put it bluntly, people who are closeminded are afraid of anything and everything that doesn't fit their idea of what's acceptable. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people who would describe themselves as "devout" or "good christians" and who praise God are some of the most intolerant people I've ever met when it comes to folks who are different - black, gay, Jewish, on welfare, foreign, etc.

Posted by: Traci at July 15, 2009 7:48 AM

This is so difficult, because I think it also touches on issues of immigration and assimilation. We've had cases in Minneapolis where authorities and community members were upset about: a special foot-bath being installed at a local (private) college, airport taxi drivers refusing to take passengers carrying alcohol in their luggage, and (as I'm sure everyone's heard by now) young Somali men who'd grown up here turning up dead in Somalia. The FBI thinks they were recruited at a local mosque.

Some of the facts in these cases speak to the intolerance of Christian/European Americans, and some of the facts seem to show that the Muslim Americans in question are not willing to compromise in order to assimilate themselves.

The problem is I don't always know which facts are more persuasive, or whose job it should be to decide.

Posted by: Julie at July 15, 2009 7:57 AM

There's no room in education for faith. Leave faith at the door and teach it as fable which is what it is. The sooner we stamp out this plague called religion, the better all people will be. There would be no need to blow up planes, stone 13 year old girls to death because they had the misfortune to be gangraped by 3 grown men or protest in the most grotesque manner outside of soldiers funerals. Faith has no place in secular education and the curriculum should be very carefully monitored in faith-based schools of all stripes. Science is what matters and the sooner these lunatic stone age myths die out, the better.

Posted by: ChocolateChip_Wookie at July 15, 2009 8:05 AM

Phew, that's a difficult one.

Let's start by saying that there's no such thing as a value-free education. It is in the content, it is in the teachers and students. Even atheism is in its own way a faith with norms and values. With religious education this is simply more obvious and out in the open.

Then again, I do believe that schools should teach tolerance and, preferably also, understanding of different world views. Question is whether non-religious schools would be better at this. My catholic school for instance also taught (without a lot of judgment) judaism, islam, buddhism and humanism.


Biggest problem in my eyes is the question of how tolerant a society can be, should you be tolerant of views not tolerant to others or even you? And most importantly, who decides where to draw this line?

Posted by: mikkie at July 15, 2009 8:05 AM

Chris, one thing I'm not clear on-- is this school a public or a private one?

If it's private, well, the same Powers That Be that allowed your alma mater to open and operate also protect that school's existence. Personal feeling aside (and they are conflicted, believe me) if we don't protect other's freedoms how long is it before yours and mine are attacked?

Oh, and the previous comment, "The sooner we stamp out this plague called religion, the better all people will be"? AMEN!

Posted by: leslie at July 15, 2009 8:35 AM

Ok, maybe these are the kinds of posts I don't like because they make me think too early in the morning. ;)

No profound answer here, but maybe fear breeds irrationality. And maybe that's just being overly cautious as well as judgmental. Maybe I'd have had to been there to really know.

As a product of Catholic schools 1-12, where being gay was wrong and taking the pill was considered an abortion, I try really hard to judge schools based on religion on the type of moral students they put out, not whether their religion looks like mine. Which, um, I'm non-practicing, so I think that last paragraph of mine is sorta stupid.

Posted by: Theresa at July 15, 2009 8:42 AM

I met a Muslim friend for coffee last week, in Fairfax! We ended up in a long conversation about the differences between Islam and Christianity. I learned more about the Islamic faith in an hour than I had in my entire life up to that point. Suffice it to say that 99% of what you hear about Islam in the media is wrong. It is much more like Christianity than it is different.

On the education issue, we partake of the freedom of education in the most extreme way. Neither of my teenagers have ever been to school. Of course there is a double standard. Every time some right wing wacko homeschooler does something incredibly stupid, the calls go out to force all 2 million homeschooled kids back into the school system. The basic fact is that the poor persecuted Christians have an 80% majority in this country. Thank God (and I mean that in the most ironic way possible) that the Constitution makes it so difficult for them to force their views on the rest of us.

Posted by: COD at July 15, 2009 8:47 AM

I applaud you, Chris, for making several fabulous points without being mean, pointing fingers, or calling names.

I don't have an answer to the questions you pose, but because your post was tastefully written, I did read it through to the end, and will spend many days pondering what you've presented.

Thank you.

Posted by: Roses at July 15, 2009 9:31 AM

Religion in any form makes me break out in hives, and you start the day like this? Thanks a lot, boner. Now I have to scratch at my neck for an hour.

Posted by: Rebecca at July 15, 2009 9:52 AM

I find it amusing that people bitch and moan about nationalized health care, screaming that it is "socialism". Those same people scream about the government bailing out banks, calling it "socialism". They don't want the government touching their money.

Yet, those same people have no issue with sending their most precious possessions to the largest government-run institution in the country. Public school. "Public" is the sweet euphemism for socialist. Tax payer paid, government designed and run. Somehow, there is no issue when it comes to our children, but heaven forbid the government messes with our money.

And when you think about it, by the time those children graduate from the "public" high school, they will spend more time interacting with their government-trained, government-paid teachers, learning from government approved texts, studying government-dictated curricula, than they will with their parents.

So, whose values system are those children most going to identify with? Their government trained nannies that spend nearly their entire day with them, or the parental units that they see for an hour or two a day before bed, if they interact with them at all?

And when the 14-year0old daughter is screaming at her parents saying "You don't understand me at all!". Why do they look so surprised? Of course, they don't understand her. They don't even know her. How could they? Someone else is raising their children.

Freedom of education? You bet I think its important. And you aren't going to find it in a school run by the government.

Posted by: Jon (was) in Michigan at July 15, 2009 10:00 AM

I think (obviously) there is a TON of concern that pops up when people don't understand something. Traditionally, this is a fairly Christian country, Christianity came from Judaism, there is a lot of familiarity there in regards to both religions and so I think that people are better able to process the "far extreme bad examples" as just that, the exception. Islam is "new" around here. People don't really understand and unfortunately the few bad extreme examples are taken as a legitimate snapshot.

I do think, however that it's perfectly acceptable to review a curriculum, even at a private institution. If there were allegations that a Catholic school was beating and brainwashing their students into white supremacy, I'd like to believe that someone would go and check that one out too. Government has a role when it comes to ensuring the safety of our citizens (read: protecting the children from something that is harmful or inappropriate, I don't mean homeland security, although there is that too I guess), freedom in this country doesn't mean that government is required to turn a blind eye to harmful environments of fanaticism. Freedom in this country DOES mean that a legitimate private Islamic school has every right to exist and operate, and their rights should be protected.

Posted by: chatty cricket at July 15, 2009 10:04 AM

What's very interesting about freedom of religion is that you can't restrict it or it goes away for everyone. You start restricting Mormons and then you can restrict Catholics, and on and on.

Even though some groups are known to be bad, but are religious, and I'm not singling any particular group out, but they still have the right to worship as they see fit.

The separation of church and state, when read properly, states that the government shall not establish a state religion.

If the people really wanted to stop the zoning, they should have attacked it from the angle of dropping property values.

That said, and I partially agree with you, I do not want a public school teaching morals or religious values. Educate on facts, not feelings or morals. You can educate on character. Which is odd that if you truly read the Bible, you can teach the character and values of Christianity - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Who's against that? What you believe is up to you.

Posted by: Knot at July 15, 2009 10:05 AM

The Columbine tragedy did not have a terrorist agenda.

The man at the Holocaust Museum did not have a terrorist agenda.

The 9-11 attacks were terrorist acts propagated by a terrorist agenda.

You are correct, most MUSLIMS are not terrorists.

But most TERRORISTS that have attacked U.S. citizens are Muslims.

Unfortunately, that makes people question Muslim education and doctrines. It might be a sweeping generalization, but it has at least some merit. Stereotypes that have zero truth extinguish themselves; it doesn't take rallies or blogs to extinguish them. And before you jump to the conclusion that I just made an ignorant or racist statement, take race out of the equation, and ask yourself how long a belief like "people with wide feet are smarter than people with narrow feet" would perpetuate.

And atheism is a religion, you are just unable to realize it because you are so busy practicing it religiously. Religion doesn't require a God or Deity, it just requires a set of values that you uphold vehemently, whatever the source.

While I believe that school officials are the professionals and should be in control of the curriculum, it should be transparent, and the community that school serves should have some voice.

Posted by: Brian at July 15, 2009 10:19 AM

After reading the comments above, I felt compelled to delurk today.
Not one of us is wise enough to judge what is in another's heart or mind, so we have to go by their actions. And this is mind-blowingly difficult because many times a few bad individuals can ruin things for others - this is a fact of life.
And so I understand that when I tell people that I am a Christian that it might not portray me in the best light in their minds, based upon the actions of others. As is the case with any label you place upon a person.
But the comment that all religion needs to be stamped out just shows ignorance. A person's beliefs, either in a deity or in science are just another tool - one that the individual chooses to use for their own good or evil purposes. And both religion and science have been used for both good and evil.
The extremes of both sides are usually what cause the problems, but diversity of belief is what keeps us moving ahead as a people.
We've seen what happens when people are forced to give up their beliefs when they have committed no crime, and the result is mind-shattering.

Posted by: emeraldlawbabe at July 15, 2009 10:27 AM

"And atheism is a religion, you are just unable to realize it because you are so busy practicing it religiously."

Atheism isnt a religion. There is no requirement to believe in a fictitious super entity. There is no requirement to persecute people for their lack of faith, neither is there a compulsion to force others to subscribe to unsubstantiated myth. Atheism is absense of belief, not absense of morality. All animals have an inate sense of what is right or wrong and we, being animals are no different. In many cases, animals would not do what we humans do in the name of 'morality' and 'religion'. You dont get many mammals standing around watching an innocent person burn at the stake. Animals will kill for food, for territory, for breeding rights, but never out of jealousy that another has more than they do and certainly never in the name of a mythical entity. Atheism is the certain knowledge that the universe adheres to a certain set of predefined, observable and demonstratable laws that are (for the most part) unchanging since the dawn of time and will continue oblivious long after our puny species has become extinct. Our planet is an insignificant M-Class carbon/water sphere orbiting an minuature G-Type star. Our solar system is located in the outer precincts of the Sagetarius Sector of a small galaxy we call the Milky Way. To the universe, we are nothing, less than molecules since they atleast build something worthwhile. It is the inability to deal with these facts and cosmic hubris of the Human Race which has led our species to invent 'God'. It's time to grow up and move out of the safe little craddle we've called home for the past 40,000 years and move onwards unafraid of non-existant devine intervention. God did not make us, s/he/it doesnt exist any more than there are fairies and goblins camped at the bottom of my garden and it's frankly pathetic that grown adults still cling to this childish 'belief', worse, it is somehow wrong for the rest of the adult population who have long outgrown these fantasies to question their sanity and fitness to be part of our society, such as it is. I'm not afraid of those who wish to cling to their stone-age myths and weird practics, but I am not going to pretend that they are entirely sane or well-rounded adults. At best they are an object of ridicule to the rest of us and at worst, downright dangerous, something to be monitored, discouraged and ultimately ignored for the childish silliness that it is.

Posted by: ChocolateChip_Wookie at July 15, 2009 10:45 AM

Yes, I do believe in the freedom of education just like I believe in the freedom of speech. As much as it pains me to hear and see people preaching/teaching hate and intolerance, we can't condemn them without condemning us all. No one is 100% innocent or morally just.

Posted by: Brad at July 15, 2009 10:45 AM

i love reading all the comments so far. suffice to say that anything i would have said has already been covered in some way or another.

but henceforth... such as... like, this is the kind of thought-provoking post that keeps me reading your blog!

Posted by: kati at July 15, 2009 11:05 AM

Agreed with your salient talking points. I'm a fan of the Marxist quote...religion "is the opiate of the people." Hate is hate no matter who is preaching it and I find myself in opposition to so much of the Christian agenda (gender roles/education/abortion/science/medicine) that I do not even lift an eyebrow at radical Islamic teachings. I'm used to being in the margins. The more multifaceted we can become as a country, the better off we are. Go ahead- expand that school and leave the good folks of Islam alone. It'd be *great* if we could get those folks who insist upon keeping America "Christian" to leave me alone too.

Posted by: rebecca at July 15, 2009 11:20 AM

You asked yesterday why we readers keep reading... for me, this is why. You got me thinking this morning and I appreciate it.

I see religion as a way for men to control other men. I'm using "men" in the general sense but let's face it, for most of history it's been men controlling other men. If the school (any religiously affiliated school) is teaching messages of love, then I am OK with it. But if the messages are of fear or hate? Well, that's not helping anyone.

Posted by: erin at July 15, 2009 12:11 PM

Religion doesn't kill people.

People kill people.

Just be careful that being anti-religion doesn't in itself become a religion. There are a lot of atheist zealots emerging. This happens to be a current debate in my home.

Posted by: harmzie at July 15, 2009 12:15 PM

There are fundamentalist Christian schools that do just as much, if not more, harm to the malleable brains of youth than do those of the Islamic-flavored kinds. There's an enormous double-standard for non-Christian faiths in this country. Anyone capable of thinking for themselves and doing a little research can see that this is the case and it's sad because it gives all religion in the country a collectively bad name. I doubt I'll ever set foot in another church in this country again by virtue of the overall sad and hypocritical nature of what appear to be the majority of American Christians.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at July 15, 2009 12:47 PM

Yeah, what you said. Also? that guy Brian is really cool. People with wide feet are totally smarter. ;)

Posted by: jess at July 15, 2009 12:57 PM

Brian, I respectfully disagree with your claim that the kids at Columbine and the shooter at the Holocaust Museum didn't have a terrorist agenda. They DID. What they didn't have was the particular type of terrorist agenda we are exposed to (and made frightened of?) on a daily basis. Terrorism spawns terror. I daresay metal detectors at schools are the result of terrorism, just like metal detectors in many places. Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist.

That said, in regard to the post, I don't really know how I feel. I think extremism of any kind can be detrimental to the movement itself and I'm not sure what I think about where those lines should be drawn when it comes to things like education. On the surface, I don't have a problem with Muslim children attending a Muslim school or Christian children attending a Christian school or Jewish children attending a Jewish school. (If I ever have kids, I'm sending them to the Friends School.) At the same time, I think everyone should be exposed to a variety of viewpoints, or at least be given the room to explore options.

Outside of private schools, I don't think forced adherence to religion has a place in education. I don't have a problem with kids covering their heads, wearing crosses, or choosing to pray so long as they're not forcing others into it or harassing people who don't believe the same as they.

I'm also not a fan of places making rules about hijab, burqa, and the third one that I can never remember the name of. Just because a woman wears hijab or burqa does not automatically mean they are repressed. Many women *choose* to wear it for their own religious edification. (That is to say, women should not be forced one way or the other. It should be something they decide on their own. Period.)

Sorry for leaving a novel.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at July 15, 2009 1:24 PM

I would hate to be painted by the same brush as some of the people who went to my own HS. I don't think that it should be any different in this case.

Posted by: Hope at July 15, 2009 2:43 PM

Good food for thought.

Posted by: Heather at July 15, 2009 4:29 PM

I have an aunt who attended Bob Jones University. She met her husband there. They have raised their kids strictly by the foundation of that school, and have now forced their three children to attend as well. The "christian" teachings of that school are quite scary and offensive to me. Racist, intolerant & cult-like. They will not acknowledge my first daughter because she was born out of wedlock. She is 8 now, and although my husband and I quickly married after she was born, they are still offended by my daughter's presence, but fawn over my other two children who were born after we were married. These people call themselves Christians, but if there is a god, I highly doubt he feels the same.

Posted by: anonymous (because my family loves the internet) at July 15, 2009 4:29 PM

And atheism is a religion, you are just unable to realize it because you are so busy practicing it religiously."

Atheism isnt a religion. There is no requirement to believe in a fictitious super entity. There is no requirement to persecute people for their lack of faith, neither is there a compulsion to force others to subscribe to unsubstantiated myth. Atheism is absense of belief, not absense of morality. All animals have an inate sense of what is right or wrong and we, being animals are no different. In many cases, animals would not do what we humans do in the name of 'morality' and 'religion'. You dont get many mammals standing around watching an innocent person burn at the stake. Animals will kill for food, for territory, for breeding rights, but never out of jealousy that another has more than they do and certainly never in the name of a mythical entity. Atheism is the certain knowledge that the universe adheres to a certain set of predefined, observable and demonstratable laws that are (for the most part) unchanging since the dawn of time and will continue oblivious long after our puny species has become extinct. Our planet is an insignificant M-Class carbon/water sphere orbiting an minuature G-Type star. Our solar system is located in the outer precincts of the Sagetarius Sector of a small galaxy we call the Milky Way. To the universe, we are nothing, less than molecules since they atleast build something worthwhile. It is the inability to deal with these facts and cosmic hubris of the Human Race which has led our species to invent 'God'. It's time to grow up and move out of the safe little craddle we've called home for the past 40,000 years and move onwards unafraid of non-existant devine intervention. God did not make us, s/he/it doesnt exist any more than there are fairies and goblins camped at the bottom of my garden and it's frankly pathetic that grown adults still cling to this childish 'belief', worse, it is somehow wrong for the rest of the adult population who have long outgrown these fantasies to question their sanity and fitness to be part of our society, such as it is. I'm not afraid of those who wish to cling to their stone-age myths and weird practics, but I am not going to pretend that they are entirely sane or well-rounded adults. At best they are an object of ridicule to the rest of us and at worst, downright dangerous, something to be monitored, discouraged and ultimately ignored for the childish silliness that it is.

Posted by: ChocolateChip_Wookie at July 16, 2009 3:04 AM

And atheism is a religion, you are just unable to realize it because you are so busy practicing it religiously."

Atheism isnt a religion. There is no requirement to believe in a fictitious super entity. There is no requirement to persecute people for their lack of faith, neither is there a compulsion to force others to subscribe to unsubstantiated myth. Atheism is absense of belief, not absense of morality. All animals have an inate sense of what is right or wrong and we, being animals are no different. In many cases, animals would not do what we humans do in the name of 'morality' and 'religion'. You dont get many mammals standing around watching an innocent person burn at the stake. Animals will kill for food, for territory, for breeding rights, but never out of jealousy that another has more than they do and certainly never in the name of a mythical entity. Atheism is the certain knowledge that the universe adheres to a certain set of predefined, observable and demonstratable laws that are (for the most part) unchanging since the dawn of time and will continue oblivious long after our puny species has become extinct. Our planet is an insignificant M-Class carbon/water sphere orbiting an minuature G-Type star. Our solar system is located in the outer precincts of the Sagetarius Sector of a small galaxy we call the Milky Way. To the universe, we are nothing, less than molecules since they atleast build something worthwhile. It is the inability to deal with these facts and cosmic hubris of the Human Race which has led our species to invent 'God'. It's time to grow up and move out of the safe little craddle we've called home for the past 40,000 years and move onwards unafraid of non-existant devine intervention. God did not make us, s/he/it doesnt exist any more than there are fairies and goblins camped at the bottom of my garden and it's frankly pathetic that grown adults still cling to this childish 'belief', worse, it is somehow wrong for the rest of the adult population who have long outgrown these fantasies to question their sanity and fitness to be part of our society, such as it is. I'm not afraid of those who wish to cling to their stone-age myths and weird practics, but I am not going to pretend that they are entirely sane or well-rounded adults. At best they are an object of ridicule to the rest of us and at worst, downright dangerous, something to be monitored, discouraged and ultimately ignored for the childish silliness that it is.

Posted by: ChocolateChip_Wookie at July 16, 2009 3:04 AM

For what it's worth, I think schools should either leave faith to the churches and families, or teach about different faiths - in an educational way. My daughter went to a secular school and had the presence of mind to refuse to attend bible class (run voluntarily by a non-staff member) after they dissed gay people. My son goes to a multi-faith school where the kids say grace before lunch in English and in Sanskrit, they learn eastern + western philosophy, use Bible stories in art and ethics lessons, and graduates go on to a large number of service careers. Both approaches seem ok to me, but the whole "we believe the right thing and you are wrong" should be reserved for scientific fact, not religion class. But really, what do I know?

Posted by: Jo MacD at July 16, 2009 3:40 AM

Oh, and for the record? Just because I'm against organized religion please do not assume that I'm an atheist... and there are lots of folks out there like me.

Posted by: leslie at July 16, 2009 8:02 AM

My view is that as long as all students are taught the basic subjects at a level that fits with state standards, then whatever else private schools choose to teach their students is up to them and the students parents. If it wasn't happening in school, it would just be happening elsewhere. (For example, a lot of my friends in middle and high school were Catholic. We went to a public high school, but they went to separate CCD classes for their religious education). If parents really wish their children to learn specific beliefs or customs, they will learn it.

That being said, I'm not a fan of private schools. Diversity is good, and private schools generally lack that (even non-religious ones).

Posted by: Jessie at July 16, 2009 2:06 PM

"Just because a woman wears hijab or burqa does not automatically mean they are repressed. Many women *choose* to wear it for their own religious edification."

Yes. Just as Catholic nuns choose to wear habits. It's a sign of piety toward a deity that they love and choose to worship in this manner.

My younger sister (who is, like me, a 16th generation American, descended from travelers on the Mayflower in the 17th century, and about as white as we get) converted to Islam a year and a half ago, and I have spent the last year and a half learning more about that religion than I ever thought I wanted to know.

I, myself, am agnostic, but through her teachings I've learned that Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are all from the same roots; they share many of the same ideals and morals and values. And just as there are extremists in Islam, there are also extremists in those other two religions as well. Do the negative actions of a few mean that the world should condemn all their followers as a whole? No. Just as I don't judge all Christians based on the actions of a few abortion clinic bombers, or the evangelical preachers who perform homosexual acts after spending decades condemning others to Hell for the same "offenses". Nor the actions of all Jews based on the hot-bed situation occurring *right now* in Israel and Palestine.

If a county (state, country) is going to consider closing down a private, religion-based school of one faith, then it should do so for ALL other religion-based schools throughout the land. And strip us of our rights as private citizens to worship and raise our children in the manner that we best see fit.

Posted by: Heather at July 17, 2009 10:51 PM

@choc chip wookie
be an atheist or not, who cares but don't take the lame path of comparing us to animals. If you want to be aligned with animals then you best head outside to kill or forage for your food (animals don't cook, farm, or raise animals for food). Please trade your home for one made of sticks or branches too depending on which animal you most identify with . You will also need to disrobe and stay off the computer, as animals have no use for clothes or electricity/technology. Oh they also don't preach (pardon the pun) about atheism or have any concept of planets, solar systems or galaxies.

Posted by: Horsey the Human at July 18, 2009 6:55 PM


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