20 Dec 2015

Yet Another Example of Wildly Misleading Title

Religious 56 Comments

My friend from college (who is Catholic, incidentally, so I’m not saying he was an atheist with an axe to grind) posted this article on FB. We could see the headline blurb in the FB thumbnail, and it said: “Virginia Schools Shut Down After Islam Is Included in World Religion Lesson.”

Now I knew that couldn’t possibly be the actual situation. So I was curious to see exactly what got all those Christian parents riled up, such that someone actually thought the ridiculous title above was close enough to the truth to justify making it the title. Here’s the story in a nutshell:

Be careful what you write — or what you ask high school children to write — in parts of Virginia. Apparently, having a go at the centuries-old skill of Arabic calligraphy by copying out the Islamic statement of faith could do funny things to your brain.

Parents of pupils at Riverheads High School in Augusta County managed to get themselves so worked up when their children were taught something about Arabic culture — during a World Geography class when they learn about different cultures — that schools across the district had to be closed down.

During a section where students learn about different world religions, teacher Cheryl LaPorte decided to demonstrate the intricacies of Arabic calligraphy, the earliest form of which dates back to the end of the 7th century, by asking the students to try to copy the shahada — the Islamic statement of faith, a basic proclamation that is one of the five Pillars of Islam.

The students were “not asked to translate the statement or to recite it,” said Augusta County Superintendent Eric Bond in a statement. Rather, the teacher aimed to give students an “idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.” The exercise was taken from a teacher workbook called World Religions. [Bold added.]

So here are my thoughts (some of which I unloaded on my poor friend’s FB page):

(1) I am sure a lot of the complaining parents are not people I would want to be friends with.

(2) The headline said it was a “world religion lesson,” which certainly led me to believe that it was a lesson in a class on world religion. But the text clarifies that it was a geography class. So on that count alone the title is misleading; it led you to think parents had expected schools to not mention Islam in a class on world religions.

(3) The parents weren’t upset that kids learned about Islam, they were upset that kids were asked to write out a pillar of faith.

(4) If this were just an exercise in calligraphy, how would the author of this article feel if kids were asked in a public school, in keyboarding class, to type out, “I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and savior”–you know, just to get a feel for where you put your fingers in typing position?

(5) They explained that the kids weren’t asked to translate it, as if that made it better. Would it be OK for French teachers to have their new students write out “Voulez-vouz coucher avec moi, ce soir?” to work on their cursive, so long as they didn’t tell them what it meant?

(6) In general, the stereotype of idiot Christians complaining about knowledge is about as accurate as the TV sitcom stereotype that all men are buffoons. Yes, there’s an element of truth and that’s why the joke works, but it’s rather inaccurate and is annoying when coming from a place of hypocrisy and smugness. For example, I don’t know a single Christian who cares about Starbucks holiday cups. But I know at least 5 who said during that national mockfest, “I don’t know a single Christian who cares about Starbucks cups.”

(7) I’m not saying this outcome is unique to Christians; this is how our world works now. But when you can see how your “opponents” on some issue focus on a non-representative blowhard from “your team” in order to score bogus points, keep in mind that that happens when the target is someone you don’t like, too.

56 Responses to “Yet Another Example of Wildly Misleading Title”

  1. E. Harding says:

    People, I guess, like having demons they can feel proud fighting against.

  2. Tel says:

    If this were just an exercise in calligraphy, how would the author of this article feel if kids were asked in a public school, in keyboarding class, to type out, “I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and savior”–you know, just to get a feel for where you put your fingers in typing position?

    Christian statements of faith are not legally binding, the Shahada is legally binding and the penalty for changing your mind on that is death.


    Recitation of the shahada in front of witnesses is also the first and only formal step in conversion to Islam.

    It is closer equivalent to swearing an oath of loyalty, it is the very last thing teachers should be asking students to copy. It would be equivalent to “let’s spend today signing contracts.”

    • Craw says:

      Exactly. And none of this background is in the article.

      • Z says:

        It’s not in the article because nobody seems to be assuming that just copying some calligraphy is the same as swearing an oath of loyalty or becoming a muslim.

        • Craw says:

          You insist on this strawman. Let’s recap. Students in the classroom,*at the time*, objected to writing the words. Why? Because* they knew what the words meant*, and had qualms. Clearly they were made uncomfortable. This discomfort did not come from being taught about Islam, or Arab culture, or calligraphy. It stemmed entirely from the content of the message they were asked to write. You falsely claim they did not know what the phrase meant.

          This is VERY DIFFERENT from how the article presents it.

          • Z says:

            The underlying point is the same whatever the case might be. It’s not a declaration of faith if that is not your intention. And if they don’t want to participate in a lesson, the libertarian position is that one should not be forced to, if that also includes going to govt school. Then the issue becomes one of the use of force to make people participate in school, a completely different issue.

    • RPLong says:

      Are you suggesting that U.S. law treats the Shahada differently than it treats the Nicene Creed?

      If so, can you articulate exactly what makes the Shahada and not the Nicene Creed legally binding, providing some sort of citation of legal authority or something?

      If not, in what sense do mean to say that the Shahada is “legally binding?”

      More broadly, I think this series of events is wrong on multiple levels. It’s wrong to bring religion into the classroom in this way, and it’s wrong to make non-believers “play” at swearing a religious oath. It’s also nearly costless to choose some more mundane Arabic caligraphy to try to copy, making this whole thing seem really weird.

      But the claim that the Shahada is legally binding is a difficult one to swallow, considering that we are talking about U.S. citizens bound by U.S. law on U.S. soil.

      • Craw says:

        I think he meant in sharia. And hence in certain parts of the world.Try this in Afghanistan and see what the consequences are.

        In your comment below you suggest the reaction of some atheists is inconsistent. That depends. I know many atheists whose main goal is hating on Christians. This is another case where they can do so. So they will find a pretext to say this is nothing like Murphy’s point 4. I suggest this tells you more about the motives of those atheists you cite than about their reasoning powers.

        • RPLong says:

          Craw, I think you may have missed the point of my questions to Tel. What would be the reason for bringing up Afghanistan or Sharia law in the present context? Near as I can tell, there isn’t any. In the present context, the Shahada is no more “legally binding” than the Nicene Creed.

          As for “Sharia law,” that, too, might be a bit of a dead end. See David Friedman’s post on Sharia vs. fiqh:

          • Craw says:

            I think I explained the reason below. The article takes a stance. “Oh those stupid Christian parents, all upset over some words they don’t even understand, what bigots and fools.” But they aren’t just random words, and it isn’t just these Christian parents who think they have a special significance. A far greater part of the world treats these words with deadly seriousness. Surely that — with which the writer seems blissfully unconcerned — is relevant when someone is egging us on to see this as another instance of (in Murphy’s phrase) “the stereotype of idiot Christians complaining about knowledge”.

            • guest says:

              Making Americans write an Islamic oath makes them easier to murder.

      • Tel says:

        I’m pretty sure the killing of apostates is not a part of US law.

        Under Dutch law you could quite legally make films about violence against women that might happen from time to time under Islam (just as an example).

  3. Khodge says:

    I was puzzled about the choice of texts and, as expected, the media did not ask for comparable choices made by the teacher, such as (per your comment) accepting Jesus for practicing the Roman alphabet, my father was a wandering Aramean for practicing Hebrew script, &c.

    More to the point, I think it is teaching malpractice to give such an assignment without suggesting they look it up. They, perhaps, are unable to use Google in VA?

  4. Harold says:

    The exercise in the worksheet says “Here is the shahada, the Islamic statement of faith, written in Arabic. In the space below, try copying it by hand. This should give you an idea of the artistic complexity of calligraphy.”

    One does wonder at the designers of the exercise – how difficult would it have been to use a bland Arabic phrase? However, the exercise was presumably designed to be realistic – so it gave an example of calligraphy that Muslim students might actually do, and would be very commn in Muslim countries. Religious texts are often used as decoration, for example on the Taj Mahal. From Wiki:

    “In line with the Islamic prohibition against the use of anthropomorphic forms, the decorative elements can be grouped into either calligraphy, abstract forms or vegetative motifs. Throughout the complex are passages from the Qur’an that comprise some of the decorative elements.”

    This decorative caligraphy is inexorably inertwined with religious texts, so a person who knew this might niaively select a religious text as an example of calligraphy to give to USA students. Religious calligraphy is not a minority past-time, but the major element in some of the greatest art and architecture in the world.

    The designers somehow failed to see that this might cause a problem for some people. The school promptly removed the questionable phrase and substituded a different, non-religious phrase for calligraphy practice. This should calm the teacup tempest, you would think.

    But no, one woman kept her son off school saying “”I will not have my children sit under a woman who indoctrinates them with the Islam religion when I am a Christian,” she said.” thereby raising odd pictures of the seating arrangements in that school; but why would this woman not accept the perfectly sensible explanation? Paranoia I suspect. Meetings were organised, and soon messages were flooding in, enough of them of a threatening nature that the authorities shut down all the schools as a safety measure.

    Who is to blame? The teacher maybe could have spotted that the phtrase would cause a problem, but really, it was on a prepared worksheet and the teacher probably did not have any arabic to hand as a substitute. The teacher is only marginally to blame in my opinion.

    The designer of the worksheet should have realised that this could offend some people’s sensibilities. They are at slight fault.

    The woman who kept her son off school after receiving a very good explanation – I blame her and and the people who listen to people like her. But even so that would not affect the other students.

    The crazies who threaten children and schools – I blame them.

    Ultimately it is ignorance that is to blame. This is why we need this sort of education – although probably tempered a bit to avoid offense.

    • guest says:

      “… but why would this woman not accept the perfectly sensible explanation? Paranoia I suspect. …”

      “… The crazies who threaten children and schools – I blame them.

      “Ultimately it is ignorance that is to blame. This is why we need this sort of education – although probably tempered a bit to avoid offense.”

      OR, it could be because she understands the public school system better than you:

      Bill Ayers explains the left’s power is in schools and classrooms

      Bill Ayers’ Scary Plans for Public Schools

      “From his prestigious and safe university position, Ayers has been teaching teachers and students in rebellion against American capitalism and what he calls “imperialism” and “oppression.” The code words for the Ayers curriculum are “social justice,” a “transformative” vision, “critical pedagogy,” “liberation,” “capitalist injustices,” “critical race theory,” “queer theory,” and of course multiculturalism and feminism.

      “That language is typical in the readings that Ayers assigns in his university courses. He admits he is a “communist street fighter” who has been influenced by Karl Marx, as well as Che Guevara, Ho Chi Minh and Malcolm X.

      “Ayers speaks openly of his desire to use America’s public school classrooms to train a generation of revolutionaries who will overturn the U.S. social and economic regime. He teaches that America is oppressive and unjust, socialism is the solution, and wealth and resources should be redistributed.”

      But Ayers isn’t a Muslim, you say:

      “Their interests are aligned”: Glenn reveals how radicals on all sides are exploiting terror attack

      “I’ve been mocked for this, and man, it is just looking more and more true every single day. Radicals, Islamists, Communists, Socialists work together against Israel, work together against capitalism, work to overturn stability. …”

      “… When I say they’re going to work together, what people heard was oh, Glenn Beck says, you know, President Obama is texting ISIS. No, that’s not what I said, and maybe it’s my own fault for not articulating it more clearly here, but some people have an agenda. You know what I mean is the forces working together. ” So they’re not attending the same, you know, weekly meetings at Motel 6 right down the street from the forest with the big owl in it, but they’re all encouraging instability and taking advantage of the same events in the process …”

      Owned! Socialists confirm Glenn’s craaaaazy ‘conspiracy theory’

      “New video seems to confirm Glenn’s theory that a union of communists, socialists, and radical Islamists would form in order to take down the West under the guise of the democratic revolutions sweeping the Middle East.”

      Those crazies and extremists, I tell ya:

      Sen. Chuck Schumer calls GOP ‘extreme’ during Dem pep talk

      ““I always use the word extreme,” Schumer told Sens. Barbara Boxer, Benjamin Cardin, Thomas Carper and Richard Blumenthal. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.””

    • Tel says:

      Suppose a teacher had said to the kiddies, “Let’s all draw some flags today, we’ll start by all copying this one:”


      Then a parent got upset about the implications of that, and someone printed an article, “Redneck Christians Don’t Like Flags!”

    • Tel says:

      One does wonder at the designers of the exercise – how difficult would it have been to use a bland Arabic phrase? However, the exercise was presumably designed to be realistic – so it gave an example of calligraphy that Muslim students might actually do, and would be very commn in Muslim countries.


      There would be plenty of 100% realistic examples, that are politically, socially and legally “safe” to choose from. Using the Shahada for a school exercise either [A] shows absolutely no understanding of Islam, and therefore disqualifying such a teacher from discussing it, or [B] deliberate troublemaking of one sort of another.

      I mean Al Jazeera has a well known calligraphic logo, they could study that for a few lessons, obviously a lot less controversial.

  5. Z says:

    Nope, not buying it Bob. I think you do point out inaccuracies in the article, which you are correct on. But if public rather than private schools exist, I don’t see what is particularly troubling about this one lesson. So some teacher wanted to show how Arabic calligraphy works as part of an art history type lesson, so what? of course the teacher would use a religious phrase to demonstrate calligraphy, that’s what calligraphy was generally about, not about non religious things. the outrage just seems dumb and selective.

    And Christianity is a major theme in public schools. i remember singing all sorts of religious songs about Jesus back in elementary and even in middle school around Christmas time.

    • Craw says:

      Interesting, because you — a believer I recall — don’t buy it, but I — an atheist — do. Bob Murphy is completely right here. This is an attempt to gin up mockery and disdain for Christians, unfairly. Not only is the title bullsh*t, but the tone of the article is sneering.

      It is wrong to downplay the signficance of this being a declaration of faith. Religious people take such stuff very seriously. ISIS and other groups winnow Muslim from non-Muslim using exactly this passage, and people have died for not reciting it. People have been murdered for reciting it — seen by many Muslims as an act of conversion — and then later “apostasizing.” Words have consequences, especially with real religious bigots involved It leaves a bad taste in the mouth then to see an article criticizing ONLY concerned Christian parents.

      His point 4 is the clincher. This is snide PC hypocrisy through and through.

      I want to mention one other thing. “schools across the district had to be closed down.” No, they did not HAVE to be closed down. The self-serving officials CHOSE to close it down despite admitting there were no threats. This is yet another sneaky smear smuggled into the article.

      • Harold says:

        “”There was no specific threat made to any one person or any one building, there was just a lot of hatred, some graphic photos of people being beheaded,” said Fisher.”

        I don’t think that counts as “no threat” – just no specific threat.

        Point 4 is not comparable, neither is Tel’s flag example. There is a good reason why someone might innocently pick a religious text given a basic understanding of Muslim calligraphy. Sure, it is not very sensible, but people do make mistakes. A better example might be if you were studying art history, and paintings with religious significance were used. It would be difficult to avoid such references.

        Sending pictures of beheadings to schools is not a sensible response, particularly after the issue has been dealt with. This is paranoia, because there is no real threat from the copying. It is over-reaction on a massive scale. Point out the crassness of using that particular phrase and then get on with life. Anyone motivated to send beheading pictures to schools in response to this is a crazy.

        • Craw says:

          Lots to say.
          First I endorse Tel here http://consultingbyrpm.com/blog/2015/12/yet-another-example-of-wildly-misleading-title.html#comment-1622051 Since you think the shahada is fine, what other koranic texts would pass muster for you? “Strike off the heads of the unbelievers”, “Allah has made man superior to women”, “there is no peace with the descendants of apes and pigs”. These all should, if content is irrelevant, shouldn’t they?

          Second, talking about out of context, let’s discuss the beheading pics. If they showed principals being beheaded that might be threatening. If they are examples from Saudi Arabia accompanied by notes saying “This is what true Islam looks like, How dare you force my child to profess faith in Islam” then that might be an over-reaction but it’s dishonest to pretend it’s a threat.

          Just to repeat. The principal admitted there was no threat. Correct? So this over-reaction works to stigmatize the objecting parents.

          4 is a perfect example. Explain please how it cannot be when it is the corresponding Christian incantation.

          • Tel says:
          • Z says:

            Most of those verses are not even in context the way you present them. Islam is certainly not libertarian by any means, but do you think any texts or verses or ideas similar to those should result in protest?

            • Craw says:

              Moving goal posts. Nowhere did I say anything should result in protests.
              But I bet people WOULD protest and I bet they’d get a sympathetic treatment, not the disdainful sneering we see in this article. Which is my point, and Bob Murphy’s point.

          • Harold says:

            First. If you read my comments, you will see that I did not say that the text was OK – I did criticise its use. So strike that.

            Second – sending beheading pictures to schools is inapproriate. If you think this is reasonable behaviour to illustrate what Islam is about, then I can’t help you. I do not think you are the arbiter of what true Islam is.

            Just to repeat, I have read that there was no specific threat to a specific person, but there were communications that were of a threatening nature. That is not the same as no threat.

            4 is not a perfect example. It would be a better example if it were specified it was a Chinese school where the students did not speak English, and the teacher used a Bible since that was the closet English book to hand. I think in that case it would be a perfectly reasonable response to decide to use a different text in the future. It would be inappropriate to send violent pictures to the school to such an extent that the school was closed after such a decision was taken.

            • Craw says:

              Wtf are you a complete idiot? Where did I say anything was a reasonable reaction? I criticized your bogus implication that the pictures were inherently a threat. Where did I say even one word about what “true Islam is”? I imagined a scenario you didn’t to illustrate exactly why your implication was bogus.

              • Bob Murphy says:

                Hey “Craw” this is a one-time warning (since I’m pretty sure you are someone I previously banned). Don’t call people “complete idiot” and “fool” all right?

              • Anonymous says:

                I apologize to Harold.

                Harold, I think you are seriously distorting what I said, and will try to explain again in a day or so. Merry Christmas.

              • Craw says:

                I apologize to Harold.

                Harold, I think you are completely misreading what I said. I will try again in a day or so. For now, Merry Christmas.

      • Joe M. says:

        I don’t believe the title was misleading, at least not in terms of calling it a “world religion lesson”.

      • Z says:

        This is just ludicrous. This was not a ‘declaration of faith.’ Who says that one becomes a muslim by unknowingly write down a phrase? There is a difference between teaching about a religion and teaching the religion itself, and I see no evidence the teacher was teaching them that there indeed is one god named allah and mohammed is a prophet.

        • guest says:

          I was going to leave your earlier comment alone because I wasn’t convinced it was necessary to address it, given the touchy nature of it.

          And Raja seems like a nice guy.

          But the reason it’s not ludicrous is because Islam teaches that you can give infidels the option of converting or being killed.

          That’s not true belief.

          By extension, then, it could reasonably be supposed that simply writing the words – as simply reciting the words in the above scenario – would count as a true conversion in the eyes of Muslims.

          And given that the students would have had no intention of converting, their subsequent lifestyle of rejecting Islamic ideals could count as apostasy, worthy of being killed, as someone else noted.

          • Z says:

            That is just a complete stretch. Yeah, sure it’s possible ISIS might view things that way, but apart from that, this just seems like interpretation in the least charitable manner possible. I have no idea if you even know any muslims, but I’m guessing either you only know the craziest muslims possible or you don’t know any.

        • Craw says:

          I did not say the children became muslims. This is just a stupid distortion on your part. What I did say is it’s wrong to downplay the significance of words like this to believers. These very words matter quite a lot, as I explained.
          Can you rebut any of the things I said, or is your repertoire limited to “ludicrous”?

          • Z says:

            There is no distortion, and there’s nothing to rebut because you keep making assertions.

            “It is wrong to downplay the signficance of this being a declaration of faith. Religious people take such stuff very seriously. ISIS and other groups winnow Muslim from non-Muslim using exactly this passage, and people have died for not reciting it.”

            This is what you said. You said more than just that these words ‘have significance’, but that they are a declaration of faith. That’s what I criticized.

            • Craw says:

              “You said more than just that these words ‘have significance’, but that they are a declaration of faith. That’s what I criticized.”

              Now we’re getting somewhere! Not where you want to be though.
              1. Here is a picture of the assignment. It describes this as a statement of faith.

              2. Here, from the Saudi Government site the shahada is described as the profession of faith. I could link countless sites. I have never seen anyone deny the shahada is either a profession of faith or a pillar of Islam.

              3. You say there is nothing to rebut because I made assertions. That’s odd; I thought assertions were exactly what one rebutted when one was rebutting. Do you rebut dance tunes instead?

              • Craw says:

                Oops. forgot the link.

                Tell me again that the students had no idea this was a statement of faith, and they were just objecting to icky Arabic.

              • Z says:

                And? That’s not what I was disputing. Because one writes it doesn’t mean the student themselves are therefore declaring their faith. That was the point.

                And I never said one must be forced to participate in any assignment they don’t want to participate in if they object. This discussion could apply to any lesson for any reason, not just one with muslim stuff in it. so no, that’s a strawman argument.

              • Craw says:

                I say the shahada is the Muslim declaration of faith.
                You say “You said .. these words…are a declaration of faith. That’s what I criticized.”
                Now you say “That’s not what I’m disputing.” This does not add up.

                Don’t try to tell me you are still sticking to the “oh you said they became muslims” crap? Because I did not, and explained that I did not.

                I will repeat (again). These words had religious significance *to the students who objected to writing them*, and to their parents. It is a mistake to ignore that significance. Their objection stems entirely from the fact this is the Muslim profession of faith. Ignoring that ignores half the story — the kids’ half. Dismissing the importance of this being a profession of faith means you don’t understand the importance of the issue to many of the people involved. Just imagine Bob Murphy’s point 4 happening in a school and you will see the point. People care about this stuff, and not just supposedly backward Christian people. I know many atheists who go ballistic.

              • Z says:

                You are just trying to take both sides here. It has a vague ‘religious significance’ but it’s not declaring one’s faith. It’s confusing what you even mean by this gymnastics.

                And I don’t believe for a second that for many, maybe even most of the people who complained, that this was not about Islam in particular. Maybe not for you, and I’m sure there would be plenty of overlap if Bob’s point 4 happened. But it’s mostly people on the right who would have no problem with prayers being recited at the beginning of every school day. I can’t read people’s minds so i won’t say for sure, but if you ask me, I don’t believe the reasoning you’re giving for the reaction.

              • Craw says:

                Of course it’s about Islam. But it’s not about learning about Islam. Just as objections to 4 would be about Christianity, not learning about Christianity.

  6. Yancey Ward says:

    Like the case of the “bomb-making” student in Texas, I also believe the teacher knew precisely what she was doing.

    • Harold says:

      Hey – a belief based on no evidence – do you make a habit of that?

      • Yancey Ward says:

        To believe otherwise supposes the two people were completely clueless about how their actions might be upsetting to some. I am actually giving them credit for having an IQ above 90. The contortions that people like you have to go to in order to defend them from all blame is amazing to me. It makes you look very, very stupid.

        • Z says:

          First, ‘blame’ for what? You first have to accept that they did something ‘wrong’ in a way fundamentally different from some other corresponding actions. And nobody knows what they were thinking. There is no basis to assume your interpretation of their actions is the only reasonable one.

    • Joe M. says:

      I believe this to be similar to what was portrayed in Atlas Shrugged where bureaucrats are disincentivized from using common sense if it conflicts with standard operating procedures. Using the workbook provided “covers the teacher’s ass” whereas if she goes “off plan” and there are complaints or some kind of harm then she will be required to explain herself.

  7. RPLong says:

    I’m with you on this one, Bob. I was all set to jeer at the dumb conservatives when I read the headlines, but when I found out that the students were asked to copy out a deeply religious statement about a belief in a higher power, I realized that the school acted appropriately and that the teach was completely in the wrong. And the media are to blame for stoking the embers in the wrong way.

    What’s also frustrating is that many atheists I know are taking the teacher’s side on this. They make a big deal whenever schools mix Christian religion into the lesson plans – and rightly so, in my opinion. But here we have another example of exactly that, and they’re taking the side of Islam. That’s not consistent with their previous statements.

    So yeah. I agree.

  8. Matt M says:

    “(4) If this were just an exercise in calligraphy, how would the author of this article feel if kids were asked in a public school, in keyboarding class, to type out, “I accept Jesus as my personal Lord and savior”–you know, just to get a feel for where you put your fingers in typing position?”

    This is really the most important objection I think.

    A lot of these stories are going around lately – with the extreme social conservatives taking the “the schools are trying to indoctrinate our kids to become Muslims!” position (which is pretty obviously not true) while the extreme left is taking the “look at these ignorant bigots and how they hate foreign cultures!” (which is not really true either).

    It seems to me that Christians are largely annoyed that any and all mentions of Christianity have essentially been banished from the public square in the name of “separation of church and state” but the same standard is left completely and totally unenforced when it comes to every other religion. I personally attended a public school where we were taught about the full religious explanation and implications of hanakuah, but the word “Jesus” was never uttered once – the religious dimensions of Christmas were completely forbidden as topics of discussion. This was not some deliberate scheme to brainwash us into becoming Jews (as far as I know, there were zero Jews in my school – students or teachers) – it’s just that the political correctness mob says that religion and culture are worth celebrating – so long as they aren’t mainstream or American.

    I think it’s entirely fair for a parent to be annoyed when a school has their children learn about Muhammad but NOT about Jesus. And I think these cases are entirely more common than we might think. Either cover both, or ignore both, but the current arrangement is obviously not acceptable…

  9. Innocent says:

    Yeah, I am sorry there are thousands of instances where people get into trouble for bringing religion ( yes even in a geography class ) into school, especially if it is Christian. Do I feel this was an overreaction… Sure, but I feel every instance of attempting to beat religion in school down is an overreaction.

  10. Raja says:

    This is coming from a Muslim. In my opinion, the choice of phrase is a bit unfortunate and in bad taste. Something less polarizing could have been picked by the ‘picker’. The reaction is strong but we as libertarians do encourage parents to be involved in what their kids a being taught. The commonality of that phrase is that it’s used quite often and yes is also on flags. I’m not the judge to decide why the picker selected this phrase in particular.

    I also believe just writing the phrase or saying it doesn’t convert one into a Muslim. There’s a process where witnesses need to be present and also ‘intent’ needs to be given to convert. In other words if someone read the Koran and this phrase showed up in there, it wouldn’t mean at the end of that reading a person without knowing would turned into a Muslim.

    From my own experience in Canada, the kids do learn at a young age, about other religions. They even have all kinds of religious symbols and stuff they bring home for homework. The symbols and texts did include Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, and a host of other religions. After the initial shock of my kids learning Chinese, then Urdu, Punjabi, English, and French songs and phrases in school for concerts, I did learn to appreciate the diversity.


  11. guest says:

    By the way, the nationalization of American schools was brought to you, in part, by the socialist who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.

    Yes: socialist. Francis Bellamy.

    And those flags that are at all public schools that Christians think are patriotic and make a big deal of by praying at them? They are actually symbols of socialism that Bellamy helped push for because they showed a national collectivism.

    The Pledge of Allegiance was not intended to be a statement of commitment to free market ideals, as most Americans think it is (and as those Leftists who refuse to recite it, think it is), but rather of commitment to socialist ideals.

    *Mind blown*

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