Thursday, January 25, 2007

Frosty Hardiman, An Inconvenient Idiot

In the south Seattle suburb of Federal Way, another of the irrational and illegal irritants to the schooling of American children has spun itself out. Because of an e-mail by an evangelical Christian computer consultant, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” may or may not be shown to the 7th grade class in which Hardiman’s daughter is a member.

Federalwayschoolbd In the south Seattle suburb of Federal Way, another of the irrational and illegal irritants to the schooling of American children has spun itself out. Because of an e-mail by an evangelical Christian computer consultant, Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” may or may not be shown to the 7th grade class in which Hardiman’s daughter is a member.
Find me a better example of religious prejudice than Frosty’s idiot e-mail to the School Board, as reported by Blaine Harden at the Washington Post;
"No you will not teach or show that propagandist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation -- the greatest nation ever to exist on this planet -- for global warming," Hardiman wrote in an e-mail to the Federal Way School Board. The 43-year-old computer consultant is an evangelical Christian who says he believes that a warming planet is "one of the signs" of Jesus Christ's imminent return for Judgment Day.
Tacomawashington There are appropriate places for Hardiman to educate his daughter, but the public schools are not among them. Tacoma. Washington lists a wide variety of Christian schools, several of them evangelical. Pay the tuition, Frosty, and prophesy Christ’s return (as soon as it gets warm enough) outside the public school curriculum.
For its part, the Federal Way School Board ought to be taken to the woodshed.
It has been a terrible ordeal, school board member David Larson said during a long, emotional speech at the board meeting.
"I am here to foster healing in our community," he said, while noting with sadness that "civility and honest discourse are dying in our country."
Something else is dying as well, David; the guts to stand against a constantly eroding standard of education in this country. While you’re getting all emotionally bent out of shape, trying to foster healing, you might consider a place on the Human Services Commission and leave the terrible ordeal of educating to those with a clearer idea of the United States Constitution.
The definition of a public school is: A tuition free school in the United States supported by taxes and controlled by a school board. That makes it a service of the state. Jesus Christ waiting until the weather better suits his Middle-Eastern heritage, is not a scientific definition of global warming, it’s a religious one. As is creationism, as is intelligent design—although the latter used to mean a well informed plan, before the religious community co-opted the term.
What the school board had really intended to do, Larson and school board members insisted, was not to stop schools from teaching the science of global warming, but merely to follow long-standing school board rules that require students to be exposed to "other perspectives" when they view a film like "An Inconvenient Truth."
Gravity Other perspectives? Like gravity and magnetism are God’s work? Try replacing the formula for gravity in other formulae that depend upon it, with 'God's work.' That every melting glacier and disappearing species may simply be the Lord at play?
I’m tired of this.
Religion belongs in the churches, synagogues and temples, not in the education system. A further inconvenient truth is that the Constitution supports and insists upon this separation.
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
            -Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
Frosty Hardiman and David Larsen are breaking my leg and, far more importantly, they are breakin the legs of our children. They’re breaking Kay Walls’ leg as well;
The teacher in that science class, Kay Walls, says that after Hardiman's e-mail she was told by her principal that she would receive a disciplinary letter for not following school board rules that require her to seek written permission to present "controversial" materials in class.
Flatearthgif No matter. Enough. It’s perfectly fine to have Flat Earth Societies and the Ku Klux Klan's guaranteed right to speak, swell that the Skinheads are protected in gathering (so long at they don’t kick and bite). But not in the public schools.
Calculus and trigonometry, chemistry and physics, as well as the essential workings of the internal-combustion engine and steam turbines are all taught in public schools, supported by public money and protected from the ravages of religious pomposity. No private idiot should be allowed to thoroughly trash science for his own idiocy. David Larsen isn’t fostering healing, he’s contributing to the vanity of anyone who chooses to threaten the nation’s school boards by e-mail or lawsuit.
John Pearson (a second-year student at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in Saint Louis, MO.) weighed in with a letter concerning John Bryson Chane’s editorial, Electorate Anger at Misuse of Religion. Chane is the Episcopal Bishop of Washington and Pearson shows an intellect beyond his presumed years.
The problem with this whole debate is that it refuses to recognize that there are two very different kinds of righteousness; confusing this distinction causes a profound misunderstanding of the Christian Faith.
True Christians believe that we enjoy eternal salvation by the grace of God alone; it is purely a gift from God given in perfect love. We can do nothing to earn it and we do not deserve it. This is righteousness before God (coram Deo) achieved solely through the works and merits of Jesus Christ. We are enabled to receive this grace through faith alone which is created in us by the Holy Spirit through the proclamation of the Word and the delivery of the Holy Sacraments.
This contrasts sharply with righteousness before the world or before mankind (coram mundo or coram hominibus), which is an actively achieved righteousness that anyone can attain through their own good works and behavior. Atheists and pagans can be good citizens, spouses, and parents; they can be great workers and regularly engage in loving and charitable contributions to society as well.
Failure to acknowledge this critical distinction can only cause Christians to misplace our faith and fall into self-righteousness and pietism.
Or even idiocy, as in the case of Frosty Hardiman. Disagreeing with Frosty and even fighting to the death to protect his right to say idiotic things, is a long way from adjusting the curriculum of publicly funded school systems to accommodate them.
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