Showing posts with label Religious Madness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religious Madness. Show all posts

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Betsy Devos Will Destroy Public Education, The Bedrock Of Our Republic


“Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works.”  Carl Sagan


























Betsy Devos is actually being considered for Education in the Trump cabinet. Oh hell no

Let's consider the words of one of the founding fathers:

"I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance." Thomas Jefferson (letter to George Wythe, August 13, 1786).

Thomas Jefferson's lifelong belief in the importance of public education as the bedrock of a free Republic was shared by many of the founding fathers.  A major reason why most of humanity has lived in virtual enslavement for most of history is that the common people have been historically excluded from the education that was strictly reserved for the wealthy and priestly classes. As students of the Enlightenment, the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America understood from reading history - and through personal experience and observation - that the elusive key to greater liberty and equality for humankind has always been education.


Knowledge is power and education is the great equalizer. The founders knew that public education - the dissemination of the power of knowledge throughout a population of equals - was vital to a free and productive society. They believed that an educated citizenry was one of the foundational "common causes" behind which all citizens ought to throw their full support for the betterment of humankind and for the good of the new nation. 

They also knew that this public education - which would become the backbone of a more just and free society, the first of its kind in human history - must be protected from ideological influences and agendas. They had witnessed firsthand the oppression and tyranny that results when religious ideology is imposed upon a people, and they tried - via the establishment clause in the Constitution - to strike a balance between protection of an individual's religious liberty and the protection of the general population from any religious group which might seek to impose its religious ideology on the entire people. 


 "...kings, priests and nobles..."
"Kings, priests and nobles" -  and their modern-day equivalent: megachurch leaders, pastors and conservative religious hierarchies - have always known this and thus feared and hated the idea of an educated public. Elites do not want social equality. More social equality is seen by powerful elites as a zero sum game: more power and wealth for the general population means less power and wealth for them, which is why education has historically been the ruthlessly guarded privilege of those elites.  Throughout history, in many parts of the world, they made sure that it was actually illegal to educate the common people. 

Wealthy, religious elites - whose wealth is sucked out of the people over whom they have religious power - fear an educated population the most and, when public education is legally mandated (as in the USA), they will do their utmost to undermine and impoverish it. They know that an educated populace will inevitably lead to the disruption of their traditional power structures. They recognise that they cannot exploit the people if the people are educated. Educated people have access to the knowledge once exclusively owned by religious elites, and can separate facts from fiction. Educated people develop confidence, independence and aspirations. Educated people fight back against exploitation.  

A rare, true church sign slogan.
"Above all things I hope the education of the common people will be attended to ; convinced that on their good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due degree of liberty." Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President (letter to James Madison, 4th US President, December 20, 1787).

Jefferson's insight no doubt informed religious conservatives in their strategy to undermine the Republic and reduce the United States to an authoritarian theocracy. They recognized that it really was education, primarily, which enabled millions of people to rise above the poverty and disenfranchisement which has been the fate of "common people" everywhere for all of human history. And it was education of the people which was helping millions of Americans enjoy a better standard of living - earned through their own well-educated efforts - which had been impossible when they were an uneducated peasantry whose life circumstances and well-being were entirely at the mercy of a culture which allowed all power and wealth to be concentrated into the hands of a very few, usually religious, elite groups.


...which is exactly what conservatives fear most!
It was this fact -  that free public education gives power to the people instead of to religious elites - which put the American school system at the top of the religious conservatives' hit list. Filtering information through their own self-interested Biblical lens, and keeping the vast majority of people fearful, ignorant and acquiescent because of the threat of eternal divine punishment had long been the primary means of concentrating power into the hands of the priestly classes, but public education -by giving the people access to the knowledge that once was the secret posession of the clergy, and the critical thinking skills with which to assess the claims and threats of religion - undermined the theological house of cards upon which church authority rests, breaking its stranglehold over the public psyche. 

Millions of educated people who are capable of understanding the ideologies and questioning the actions of powerful groups in their midst become far more difficult to control and exploit. Millions of educated people, who have been taught history and critical thinking skills, are able to recognise when the doctrine of a religious elite is immoral, self-interested power-mongering.  Therefore, it became the first priority of the religious right movement to undermine and discredit public education while simultaneously spearheading a parallel assortment of pseudo-educational systems with which to replace it.  The Christian homeschooling movement is not, and never was, a grassroots phenomenon. Likewise, the private Christian school and college campuses mushrooming up all over the country are a targeted investment in this strategy.

As they insinuated themselves into school boards across the country - running as fiscal conservatives to get elected only to turn around and concentrate on their religious agenda once in power - religious conservatives began a determined campaign to inject religious mythology into public school classrooms, inventing fake "controversies" over established scientific theories which conflicted with Christian beliefs, and often succeeding in forcing grossly misleading "information" into school curriculums. The ongoing effort of Christian conservatives to force the teaching of Biblical creationism in science classrooms, falsely presenting religious belief as a scientific theory to school children is a chilling example of this. 

Who needs public school when all you'll ever need to
know can be found in the Bible?
In addition to these determined efforts to force schools to teach a generation of American children lies and mythology as "historical facts" and "scientific theory" (which may potentially handicap them for life), conservative school board members in key districts have also moved to prevent children from learning vital critical thinking skills. The reason why the religious right wants to reduce or eliminate higher order thinking skills in the general population is obvious - as mentioned above, properly educated people are equipped to see through the religious right's agenda - but the unintended consequence may very possibly be a population rendered incapable of meeting the demands of a competitive global race for technological and scientific innovation due to huge gaps in their education.

Consider this plank in the Texas Republican party platform:

Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority. (from a position statement in the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform).

The Texas Republican Party is openly calling for a ban on the teaching of vital critical thinking skills. They are not shy about saying this - it is right there in their published platform statement - and, thanks to the current climate of rising authoritarian anti-intellectualism, they are not shy about saying why they want to deprive Texas students (and ultimately all students) of the right to a full education, including the development of the ability to think for themselves. 
...and only This...

They intend to change Texas law so that religious belief will replace scientifically verifiable knowledge. They intend to enshrine into law that children cannot learn anything in school which will conflict with Christian teachings. The reference to "behavior modification" is a dog whistle thrown in to arouse right wing paranoia. HOTS have nothing to do with "behavior modification"; that sentence makes no sense whatsoever to anybody who actually understands educational theory, but pseudo-intellectual sounding claptrap is the stock in trade of Christian conservatives justifying their rejection of any secular initiative. Likewise, the jarringly inappropriate reference to "parental authority" and "fixed beliefs" makes no sense, unless the crux of the position is that schools will be prohibited from teaching pupils anything at all other than what parents and churches have already told them is all they need to know. That would make public schools unnecessary and redundant. 

Which is exactly the point.

Preventing a generation of children from receiving a proper education is precisely the goal of the religious right. For those children that they have already siphoned off into fundamentalist Christian homeschooling and private Christian schools, the pseudo-education has already been well underway for more than a generation. It is the public schools which still vex them. Limping along, greatly hampered by the constant attacks, the draining of resources through determined conservative legislative attacks on the value and sincerity of public education and teachers, and the bleeding dry of funding and student enrollments via school voucher campaigns redirecting public funds into religious schools, the public school system has been under constant, vicious attack for over three decades. Unless the American people wake up and put a stop to it, the religious right may succeed in completely dismantling public education, leaving students to the deliberate miseducation of religious schooling, thus plunging the country back into a new kind of dark age, with both intellectual and social liberty lost.


...before it's too late!
"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves: and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is, not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. this is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." Thomas Jefferson (letter to William C. Jarvis, September 28, 1820).

Ironically, although President Jefferson's considered opinion that a free society depended upon a publicly-educated population was the insight upon which the religious right based its attack upon America, as soon as they had achieved their goal of majority influence over school boards and state legislatures, they acted to try to erase Thomas Jefferson and other progressive thinkers from the text books which American children will study, replacing them with conservative idols and religious ideology. 

Nearly destroying the public education system in the United States was never simply a mildly-regretted, unintended consequence of the conservative Christian campaign to "take back over" America.  Preventing people from having access to a free and intellectually rigorous education was always their goal.  Millions of publicly-educated people are the only safeguard standing between a free, democratic Republic and an authoritarian, theocratic oligarchy. The self-annointed "moral majority" understood this back in the late 1960's when they launched their campaign to undermine the foundations of American society and transform it into a theocracy with themselves (naturally) in control. The first and most critical stage of that campaign strategy was to destroy public education - the greatest threat to their power - and in that quest they have had alarming success. 

Recommended reading (No seriously, I'm begging you: read these things!): 

A thoughtful, in-depth and very readable article on the conservative Christian strategy to rewrite history, erase progressive contributions and undermine the entire foundation of American society: How Christian Were the Founders? Russell Shorto, New York Times Magazine, February 11, 2010

Why public education must be preserved, Valerie Strauss, Washington Post.

Texas textbook standards revision story here.

PBS, School: The Story of American Public Education.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr.  The moral imperative for education policy.

Dr. P Z Myers, A well informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.

Patrick Murfin's brief history of public education here.

Columbus Dispatch story

Louisiana private (religious) schools voucher story here.


"...improve the law for educating the common people...the people alone can protect us against...tyranny..."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beatriz Is Still In Danger



























Yesterday in El Salvador, after months of life-threatening delay, a seriously ill young woman was finally delivered of a non-viable fetus by cesarean section.  Beatriz's fetus was diagnosed with anencephaly early in the pregnancy and could not survive. The baby died within hours of its delivery, as expected.

For many people who have been watching this story, there was a collective sigh of relief; Beatriz's life has been saved!  Over here at NiftyIdeas I am relieved, yes, that one part of this woman's horror story has come to an end, but I am angry because the story does not end there.

 Beatriz is finally free of a doomed pregnancy.
 She now faces the difficult recovery from 
major abdominal surgery as well as from 
the physical and psychological fallout 
of having been made a reproductive prisoner 
of the state for several months.
One woman in El Salvador was forced to pay the price of a government bowing to political pressure and ruling that all of its citizens must obey the dictates of religious conservatives.

One woman in El Salvador was denied the right to freedom from reproductive slavery; was denied the right to "stand her ground" and defend herself from the threat of physical harm and even death.

One woman in El Salvador is a symbol for millions of women all over the world who have suffered a similar fate - or worse - and the millions more who will continue to suffer from state-sanctioned reproductive slavery and even murder.

Because she was a pregnant woman, Beatriz was denied a basic human right: the right not to have any part of her body - or her whole body - forcibly used by the state to serve the needs of another human being. That is a form of slavery. No man can legally be forced to give up control of his organs or blood to keep another human being alive - not even if that other human being is his own innocent child. Even non-pregnant women are usually permitted to protect their own bodily autonomy in the same way. The ideology called "sanctity of human life" which urges states to force pregnant women into giving up bodily autonomy no matter what the risk to themselves disappears in a puff of smoke once a fetus emerges from a womb as a living baby. Then, it can go to the devil as far as "pro-lifers" are concerned. They fight to deny babies life-saving health care, food and education after birth equally as hard as they fight to force their mothers into giving birth in the first place.

The cesarean section that Beatriz underwent yesterday was not a satisfying conclusion to a dramatic political and religious fight. The sighs of relief are premature and misplaced. Except for the long-overdue ending of her doomed pregnancy, Beatriz has suffered as horribly as it was possible to suffer because of her country's sick theocratic laws and she is still not out of danger. Beatriz was at risk for every kind of regular pregnancy injury and she has certainly suffered several. She has almost certainly suffered severe and permanent damage to her health, too and she could very likely have died. She could still die as a direct result of the chain of health repercussions that this forced pregnancy has caused.

Beatriz was forced to endure months of high risk pregnancy as a slave to other peoples' ideological demands. Like every woman who has experienced pregnancy, Beatriz will have lifelong effects to her body and her health due to the stress that even a normal, healthy pregnancy would have had on her body. Unlike most healthy women, however, Beatriz has undoubtedly suffered major repercussions which will negatively impact her health for the rest of her life. Kidney failure is not a minor, easily reversible thing which will magically disappear now that she is no longer pregnant. She may or may not ever recover from that. The triggering of a severe autoimmune disease flare up is not a minor thing which will disappear now that she is no longer pregnant. Autoimmune disorders are like a genie in a bottle - once that cork is popped and the evil genie escapes, the repercussions spiral outward from there; there is no stuffing it back inside the bottle.
Beatriz's fetus suffered from a 
fatal birth defect: anencephaly
It's brain and parts of its skull
were missing
 It could not survive.

Finally, the cesarean section itself was major abdominal surgery involving cutting through the densely muscled abdominal wall, cutting into an organ - the uterus - and removing the fetus. It should always be the last resort in normal healthy women because the risk of harm to the woman is so high. Beatriz should never have been forced to endure a doomed pregnancy for so long that her only medical option in the end was to face even more risk to her health and life by undergoing a major surgical procedure.  It was unnecessary for Beatriz to have ever been forced into that situation, and I contend that it was criminal for her government - and the theocrats who control her government - to have persistently harmed her in this way.

The risks of pregnancy have been minimized and dismissed by proponents of forced birth, to the point where the general population is almost completely ignorant of facts. The average man on the street actually believes that because it is both "natural" and commonplace, pregnancy is no big deal - that it has only trivial deleterious effects on a woman's life and health - and that labor and vaginal birth or even cesarean section are likewise no big deal, either. Pregnancy is indeed, "natural" - as are many biological functions which may exact a very high cost on the functioning organism - but it is by no means a trivial matter.

Illness, injury and even death
caused by pregnancy is a reality,
as are lost wages, high medical bills
and countless other hardships
suffered by women but ignored
or minimized by society.
Every pregnancy causes lifelong negative changes in a woman's body. No mother escapes that. These range from the universally-experienced, relatively benign, but still psychologically painful (stretch marks, loss of youthful tone in the body) to the frequently-experienced, moderately serious and both physically and psychologically devastating (permanent loss of bladder control; vaginal and perineum tearing resulting in permanent scarring, damage and pain; damage to the abdominal wall resulting in lifelong weakness and risk of hernia) to the rare, but significant number who suffer serious pregnancy harm (massive blood loss and organ failure causing lengthy and incomplete recovery; months of debilitating pregnancy complications requiring expensive, bankrupting medical care; loss of ability to work and earn a living or care for other children; loss of life).

The reality of c-section is that
it is a major surgery carrying
a risk of major complications
and months-long recovery.
Statistics for these harms are difficult to pin down because the popular narrative discourages reporting of pregnancy-related harm, and in fact many pregnancy or childbirth-related injuries and deaths are recorded as caused by whatever secondary cause stemming from the pregnancy actually killed the woman. In other words, if a woman's organs shut down due to massive blood loss in delivery, her death might be recorded as " catastrophic organ failure" and never be factored into any statistical analysis pointing to risks of pregnancy and delivery. Further, hospitals in most places are not required to report maternal injury or death statistics as a separate database.

These flaws in reporting help to conceal the extent of the risk that women take on when pregnant and it helps to perpetuate the false narrative that pregnancy is a natural, easy "choice" which is always better for a woman as well as an embryo. In fact, pregnancy is never objectively better for a woman than either abortion or never conceiving in the first place. It is much worse for her in every way - physically, psychologically, economically and legally. Obviously, human beings still wish to reproduce and many women wish to become mothers so they voluntarily risk these hardships. The problem is when society compels them to undertake these risks.

Sadly, Savita Halappanavar
did not survive her state's
determination to murder her.
When a pregnancy is voluntary, most women willingly take on the health risks even when they are properly informed about the potential seriousness of those risks because they choose to be pregnant. Often however women are not informed of the risks of pregnancy because the narrative has been controlled by anti-choice activists who promote the minimization of pregnancy risks and dismissal of the huge impact pregnancy makes on a woman's life. Because of deliberate miseducation, many women voluntarily become pregnant without understanding the full range of risks they are taking, and if the pregnancy later causes or uncovers a serious health issue, these women are put into a horrific quandary. Furthermore, whether women understand the risks or not, their ability to choose whether or not to take on the risks of pregnancy is being more and more reduced, even in so-called "progressive" countries where constitutionally-protected abortion rights still exist at least in theory.

Beatriz will never be the same again. If she survives the surgery and its aftermath, she will still endure a lifetime of severely diminished health and strength as a direct result of the actions of the Salvadoran state. She was forcibly harmed by the Salvadoran state, through its religiously-mandated laws and its theocratically-controlled government. I'm going down on record to say that the fact that this can still happen to any woman in the 21st century is an outrageous affront to human morality and a terrifying miscarriage of justice.

As the Republican party - representing the extreme religious right wing of society - continues to push anti-choice legislation through state legislatures and Congress, the safety and human rights of women
The 2012 Republican-dominated
Congress put policing women's
health before jobs, in spite of the
promises that got them elected.
even in the USA is in jeopardy. Access to safe legal abortion might be denied to women in a modern, democratic country is no longer guaranteed. In fact, in many states it is nearly impossible for a woman who needs an abortion to get the health care she needs and in most other states, it is increasingly difficult. What happened to Beatriz and Savita is already happening here, and has been happening for years. One reason why the stories are not publicized is because of false reporting of the causes of injury or death as noted above. But it is the implacable resistance in society to the notion that pregnancy might pose dangers to women which fuels willful blindness. In the USA and Canada, people don't know that many women every year are denied the healthcare they need, because they do not want to know.

Women are at risk of reproductive slavery and medical malpractice all over the world including in the "progressive" west. Instead of prioritizing women's health, increasing access to effective contraception for every woman and abortion services for women who need them, societies romanticize pregnancy and childbirth, fight against comprehensive sexual education for young people, limit access to healthcare, force pregnancy and childbirth and then saddle women with all of the physical and economic costs of involuntary parenthood. Men and women who value justice and human rights ought to be paying attention. Tomorrow we may be reading about a Beatriz or Savita in our own hometowns.





Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Bible in Under 11 Minutes



Back in March, I posted Dusty's first segment on parts 1&2 of The "History" Channel's "The Bible" - a Christian propaganda piece of monumental proportion.  The series was heavily promoted and, cashing in on the false presumption that a series on the History Channel would actually be... oh I don't know... historically accurate and factual, the producers managed to cull a very large audience for their proselytizing Christian lying for religion. Dusty cuts through all the nonsense and points out the laughable inconsistencies and ferociously vindictive evil described as god's love in the so-called "good book".

Here is Dusty's hilarious recap of parts 3 & 4 of that dishonest series presenting mythological horror stories as "historical" programming.  It is definitely Not Safe For Work (language, gruesome nature of Biblical mythology), but is definitely worth a viewing by those with strong constitutions (and few triggers). Caution:  graphic violence, rape, murder, blood.

Good job highlighting the twisted Christian "morality", not to mention the political agenda behind this sleazy propaganda.

via cultofdusty


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Homeschooling Revisited


Why are there so many infants in this homeschooling logo?  Curious!


























(Updated with reader Elise's comment and my response below)

I have been curious about homeschooling lately. I have always been pretty certain that I do not have the temperament for it, because even though I always loved spending time exploring with my kids when they were younger - not to mention reading with them and amassing a book collection worthy of small library status - I knew that I lacked the organizational skills and the stick-to-it-iveness necessary for success. I have to admit, though, that some days the idea of sailing around the world with my partner and our kids - providing them with the best darn home-schooled education imaginable -  is very tempting indeed!

Actors portraying the Nifty family:
citizens of the world!
Anyway, this week I have had more than the usual number of those days and thoughts about sailing away have been drifting pleasantly across my mind, so this morning - just for fun - I decided to look into what kind of resources are out there to help people like me. You know: people who like to daydream about how cool it would be to sail the world with teenaged offspring, living off the grid- independently and self-sufficiently! - learning new skills (maybe the kids could learn a few things, too) and generally becoming quite literally the coolest family on the planet!  The same people who fail to consider the challenges and frustrations of trying to help said offspring finish their high school education while gallivanting around the globe (killjoy!).

Everyone knows that the homeschooling movement in the USA is dominated by religious fundamentalists - the movement was actually inspired by Rousas John Rushdoony, the Calvinist father of American Christian Reconstructionism - but I happen to know at least one secular homeschooler (Hi Jenn!)  so it has to be at least hypothetically possible that not everything connected to homeschooling would have to be drenched in the blood of Jesus.

Yikes! Website banner for Homeschooling Books.com
Education in the shadow of the cross? That is just creepy.
This morning, I decided to idly surf the web to see what resources would be out there for a parent seeking curricula, textbooks and supporting materials in order to provide a good, non-religious homeschooling experience for her children.  I found a secular homeschooling website!  The Secular Homeschool Community homepage lists forums, blogs, groups and resources tabs for homeschooling parents who wish to provide their children with an excellent, broad-ranging, thorough education that is not based upon religious dogma.  Excellent!

Perusing the google search page again, I typed in homeschool textbooks to see how easy it might be to find books and materials to support a homeschooling curriculum as suggested on the website.  At the top of the search results was Homeschooling Books. I clicked on it only to discover that it was obviously geared toward the Christian homeschooling community in spite of its deceptively bland website name and description.

The next site I opened, sporting an equally bland name (Homeschool Supercenter!) looked much more promising.  Their textbook menu included specifically Christian resources and texts, of course, since the majority of homeschooling families are homeschooling for explicitly religious reasons. But at the top of the menu - even before the undoubtedly more popular Christian resources - were several categories of secular textbooks!

Feeling delighted that the second most referred site on the google search for homeschool textbooks offered resources for secular homeschooling, I clicked on the secular science tab and voilĂ !  A little intermediary page of full curricula packages popped up. On it, not one real science package was featured, but prominently displayed on the top line was "Apologia", a creationist vomitus of Biblical mythology and anti-education, wrapped up in a fancy package with a SCIENCE label slapped on it.

I have news for the Homeschool Supercenter:  creationism is not science. Calling it science does not make it science. Slapping on a SCIENCE label not only will not make that creationist dreck science, but it is false advertising as well.

8th edition of a creationist textbook
Further perusal of that site unearthed what looked to be some actual science resources, but after the bait and switch in the first layers of link clicking before finding the real science buried under the stealth religion, I am not sure it would be wise to purchase them.  I think a secular homeschooler would need to research every text she is considering for her children.

It must be interesting - not to mention a constant training ground for investigative skills - for secular homeschoolers to avoid the traps that appear to have been laid for them by the Christian homeschool movement. Presenting religious mythology in sciency-looking packages and hiding religious dogma in sciency-sounding language in textbooks and materials is the sneaky tactic used by the religious right to trick people into buying that garbage. If they are really lucky, they hope that people will buy into the nonsense, too, thus fulfilling the greater goal of the religious education strategy, which is to deny children a full education - especially denying them an understanding of the scientific method, free thought and skeptical critical thinking skills - thus keeping them ignorant, fearful followers of the teachings of their church.

Parents are free, of course, to deny their children a full education. In fact, it appears that millions have decided to do just that. Encouraged by anecdotal data which point to superior performance of homeschoolers compared to public school educated children, many homeschool parents are rightly proud of what their children  - and they - are able to achieve. But those "statistics"* hide the complete story. Standardized tests can only test what children can regurgitate under less than ideal conditions, not how well-devloped their critical thinking skills have become. There is no way to know whether they have been taught to simply memorize actual scientific theories (which they are told are lies) for testing purposes, while being taught that religious mythology is the actual truth which they must believe or face eternal damnation.

Christian homeschooling websites often post
 optimistic - and totally fabricated - charts like this.
Homeschooling parents who use religious texts for science and history education deny their children access to reality. Worse, like the sciency-sounding but educationally bankrupt creationist textbooks and materials with which homeschoolers dazzle each other and obfuscate reality, the Christian home-schooled child evinces an educated-sounding pseudo-intellectualism which masks a chasm of ignorance so deep the child may literally never be able to climb out of it.

The Christian homeschooling movement continues to grow. According to hopeful Christian homeschooling websites (quickly google** "homeschooling statistics" or similar), it will continue to grow a lot.  I wonder if secular homeschooling is likewise growing?  I am going to keep my eye on this topic because it is related to some other things I am working on about education and the power of the religious right.

Meanwhile, however, I will just keep dreaming!


*My own informal search on the internet for a source of this type of "statistic" report outside the homeschool community turned up zilch. All of the charts and diagrams showing homeschooling superiority that filled pages of goggle** search results came from homeschooling websites and blogs.
** I accidentally typed "goggle" instead of "google", but really, I did sort of goggle at it, too.

                                           ********************************

There is a short string of old comments below the original Hmm...Homeschooling post which I won't republish here. If you are interested in reading what a Christian apologist has to say, then you can read it here.

The reason why I am reposting the essay now is to post an unexpected new comment which arrived back in January. It took me several days to notice the new comment on a much older post, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful effort that the reader had given to it.

I was knee-deep in other projects through most of the winter, so it took me awhile to get back to this topic and to reply to the comment, which I think deserved an equally thoughtful reply. Thank you for your patience, Elise, and thank you again for an excellent contribution!

Here is Elise's comment and my response:


I see I'm a little late here, but I wanted to chime in. There is more than one homeschooler who is doing it for completely secular reasons. I really appreciate your point of view, and thoroughly enjoyed reading your article; particularly, "the Christian home-schooled child evinces an educated-sounding pseudo-intellectualism which masks a chasm of ignorance so deep the child may literally never be able to climb out of it." I might have to use that one some time. I really feel strongly that you are right about that, except that being a Christ-follower does NOT equate to being an empty-skulled, blind tow-er of the line of BS spewed by so much of the Christian Right. I (mostly) identify as a Christian, as do my children (by their choice), but we are solidly liberal in religious matters, and we certainly do teach evolution and the Big Bang. We also boycott Chick-fil-A, and support Starbucks, both of which decisions I have used as mini-lessons about social responsibility and equal rights. I am a strong believer in a well-rounded education, and in teaching the actual truth, rather than some narrow-minded group's stunted view of it.
You are completely right that there does seem to be a hidden agenda in much of the material available to homeschoolers. So much so that I have found it necessary to first skim descriptions of all resources and discard any that mention anything remotely Christian before I waste my time with it. It's so sad!

I am saddened, not merely that you feel the way you clearly (by the comments) do about Christianity, but more so that Christianity has failed so miserably to project anything remotely Christ-like for you or others to find uplifting. I was raised wholly Christian, but have recently come to realize that Christianity, as a religion, is a farce. Your quote of Pascal is dead-on. And I have recently come to realize that Christ himself (even if you only read him as an interesting historical figure) was radically anti-religion! I am starting to see that the Atheists and secularists have more in common with Christ than most Christians! But I maintain that there are more secular-minded homeschoolers than you probably realize. I am part of a secular group in our community that has discussed Pagan spirit days that lead to Halloween, the Yuletide and Hanukkah this past year. You might have to look a little harder for us, but we're there. Don't discount all homeschoolers as Religious nuts!

Well, I have just turned a quick comment into a bit of a rant. I apologize for that. I hope I wasn't too offensive to anyone with enough of a brain to think for themselves. In conclusion, my real points were: 1. You are right about homeschoolers being predominantly "Uber-Christian Right" morons pushing their agendas (and ignorance) on everyone. Like you, I'm saddened when I think of the generation kids being brought up to NOT think for themselves. 2. There are those of us who think homeschooling is the best option for the exact reason of offering our children a fuller, more rounded education. Traditional school is certainly not immune to the Christian Agenda. Finally, I'm trying to spread the word that not everyone who is a "Christ-follower" adheres to the Christian religious model of hate, bigotry, ignorance, and oppression of ideas. I have a suspicion that there are more of us than you'd think, but that we're so much more moderate or liberal that we just don't ever get heard above the spewing of the Right's idiocy. So I'm speaking up. Thanks for listening.
Cheers!

Hi Elise, thank you for your comment. I am glad that you speak up against bigotry when you see it, and that you are trying to teach your children everything that is good and positive about Christianity.
Before I respond to the excellent meat of your comment, I must respectfully object to the way you have characterized my argument as an attack on Christians using words like "morons", "empty-skulled" etc. I have never said anything like that because quite frankly I do not believe that. Christianity - and in particular its fundamentalist flavors - provides ample grounds for criticism and I try to be unstinting in my rebukes of it and all religions, but I reserve my stingers for the faith itself (including its powerful networks of promoters) not its lay adherents. Most people come to religious belief as children when they are defenseless against its effects on their psychological hard-wiring. I recognize that most believers are good people - many are highly intelligent, too - so you could say that I hate the 'sin', but not the 'sinner'.  :-).
I believe that allying oneself with the most powerful majority in this country is a very rational - if unreasonable - decision that millions of Americans make quite consciously. It's the smart, sensible thing to do. Rejecting religion is the irrational - although reasonable - thing to do. Publicly expressing unbelief is neither smart nor sensible because of the personal cost, though obviously for people who have higher moral values, the price for doing the right thing is one they may be willing to pay. For many other people, the social cost of coming out as an atheist is too high - they fear for their families, for example - and they must stay in the closet about their unbelief. In many areas, this is sadly necessary. I have said as much in many of my posts. It is dangerous to identify as a nonbeliever in our gods-soaked culture, and of course it is even more dangerous in some other cultures in the world. People who stay silent about their unbelief are rationally, sensibly choosing to remain within the fold where they and their children will be safest - sleeping with the enemy is safer than being identified AS the enemy by the majority which holds the power to make your life a living hell.
So, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I do not think people who identify as Christ-followers are "morons" nor have I ever said anything of the sort. You can find examples of my writing about this here and here and here and here.
I thank you for pointing out again that there is a small but growing number of secular home-schoolers. I know several of them myself. The point of my article was that for people like them, the materials available for educating their children are nearly all religiously-based, though often the religious agenda is hidden in order to trick non-religious homeschoolers into buying those materials without realizing it. As you point out, this can easily happen unless a parent is very alert.
I sincerely appreciate your kind thoughts, but you need not feel sad for me or most atheists. Most of us feel we've made a very lucky escape from something immensely damaging and tremendously immoral. I, too, was raised in a Christian home and, contrary to your assumption about me, I grew up very much valuing the positive aspects of religion - so much so that I was well on my way to dedicating my life to a religious order in my late teens. 
I was a practicing Christian for 40 years. Although I am pretty sure that most religionists don't really believe it when they suggest that an atheist must either never have heard about how great religion can be OR was "hurt" by someone somewhere sometime and is just angry at religion, I would still like to point out that I, like most atheists, had a thorough religious upbringing - practiced a religion for years and loved my church - but came to understand that it is a morally bankrupt system of social control which harms people far more than it helps them. It was very difficult to give up the privileges and advantages that identifying as a Christian confers - belonging to a socially-acceptable (and quite powerful) community, fellowship, beloved rituals, music and a sense of cultural roots - but for most atheists the immorality of sincere religious belief left them no other morally defensible choice. 
There is a lot about religion that is good and appealing to all of us - that is why it survives even when people know on some level that it is, as you say, a "farce", that its doctrines are untrue and its claims to the moral high ground are deeply unconvincing. As I matured, I gradually realized that what is good about religion is what is good about humanity. It is human morality that imbues religions with their most beautiful aspects, but in most cases religious dogma provides a workaround for human morality to fulfill a political or social agenda (to concentrate power unto itself) which is chilling. Most good theists are good in spite of their religious beliefs, not thanks to them.
Most atheists are intimately familiar with religion. Many have read more of the Bible than most believers do. They know the theology and the dogma, and they understand where it leads when followed by true believers to its logical conclusion. It isn't lack of exposure to the "good news" that turns people into atheists. They understand what that message really is, and reject it for the opportunistic justification for power-seeking that it is. Whatever is good about religion is derived from human morality not the other way around. We literally are "good without gods". It is religion that seeks to thwart that human inclination toward empathy to fulfill its own ends. It is a lie that we need religion to have good morals; indeed, religious dogma codifies and justifies immorality. Religion's abiding lesson is obedience to authority, even if that authority commands that we persecute, rape, oppress or murder people.
Religious indoctrination begins in childhood for a reason - it is almost impossible for children to resist it when they are immature and dependent on parents for survival. The fear, guilt and anxiety which is inculcated through early religious instruction leaves psychological scars which few human beings can erase even if they grow up to embrace a more reasonable and moral world view. This is the understanding that underpins the religious insistence upon childhood indoctrination. And fear that we might be wrong - that eternal suffering will be inflicted upon unbelievers - is the lingering legacy of that early indoctrination that prods us to indoctrinate our own children, even if we attempt to transmit a kinder, gentler version of it to them. That lingering psychological fear, combined with the very real and rational awareness of the threat that a hostile, powerful majority poses to the actual physical and psychological safety of the unbelieving minority and our children seals the deal. We say to ourselves; "better safe than sorry".
For these reasons, I submit to you that children do not "choose" their religion. 
You sound like a thoughtful and thoroughly decent human being. I am so happy that you are trying to raise your children to be open-minded, well-educated and truly caring about their fellow human beings.
Thank you again for your thoughtful comment. I wish you every success in your homeschooling effort!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Feature - The March of Reason




























TGIF! If you are planning to watch a movie tonight, why not consider putting the film linked below on the schedule. It is entertaining, fast-paced and will definitely give you plenty to think and talk about with your family and friends. I've been actively following the rise of Christian fundamentalism in North America for over a decade, but I was still surprised and shocked by some of the revelations this documentary uncovers. It isn't speculation or fear-mongering. There is minimal editorializing: nearly every word in this film comes straight from the sources' mouths - whether the source is an atheist rally attendee, a Republican legislator, a famous scientist or a Christian fundamentalist. The words of Nate Phelps, estranged son of the notorious Westboro Baptist Church patriarch Fred Phelps, are particularly moving especially considering that as he spoke on the Washington mall that chilly afternoon, he knew he was being watched, judged and hated by the people who should have been closest to him - his own family.

On March 24, 2012, thousands of atheists, humanists, rationalists and social justice activists gathered on the mall in Washington DC for a first of its kind event: a Reason Rally. Estimates of the size of the Reason Rally crowd ranged from 20,000 to 30,000 people. Individuals traveled on their own time and on their own dime from all over the country to attend, to listen to rational speakers and to sound the alarm that the principle of separation of church and state is under attack.

The American Constitution is a precious treasure, the envy of the world. The First Amendment of the Constitution, which enshrines the separation between church and state, is the model for secular constitutions the world over and deserves to be imitated the world over. How sad it would be if in the birthplace of secular constitutions the very principle of secular constitutions were to be betrayed in a theocracy. But it's come close to that. Richard Dawkins, Biologist, Reason Rally speech, March 24, 2012.

Unlike the religiously-fueled, corporate-backed rally organized in the late summer of 2010 - where thousands of the approximately 85,000 attendees arrived by the busload, their travel organized and paid for by their churches - the Reason Rally was barely acknowledged by the mainstream media. Beck's scripted and stage-managed "grass roots" event enjoyed enormous media attention and prime time publicity on every major news outlet, while the Reason Rally - which actually was primarily a grass roots event - was largely ignored. Only after the event was over did a few media outlets belatedly mention that it had occurred at all. A few noted with surprise that as many as 30,000 godless Americans had gathered peacefully in one place (although they avoided actually giving publicity to any of the ideas the rally was trying to promote), while most simply stated that a rally had taken place and left it at that.

Fortunately, Scott Burdick was on hand filming, interviewing and working hard to preserve a record of this remarkable gathering. He then went home and began work on this documentary film project which would do justice not only to the rally itself, but which would help explain why this rally was so important.


American society is facing an urgently serious crisis. Radicalized Christianity is not simply a growing problem; it has been a growing problem for decades. Because of our cultural taboo against criticizing religion, Christianism has been mostly flying under the radar doing its organizing, proselytizing, infiltrating and undermining secular government and education while presenting the bland face of tradition to the world. Meanwhile, the moderate majority of Americans has been aiding and abetting religious extremism by refusing to consider that radicalization can happen at home as well as abroad.

We continued to believe that religion is mainly a beneficial part of society and that religious extremism is a very tiny fringe element of a mostly benign cultural treasure even as extreme conservatives began to trickle into higher and higher public offices. We persisted in lying to ourselves that the conservatives we voted for were fiscal conservatives who would not impose their religious beliefs on the public through the power of their elected posts. Then we stood by as these so-called fiscal conservatives began to pass bills spending wildly on corporate welfare and tax paydays for the wealthiest Americans (whose financial support they seem to universally enjoy) while restricting civil rights, limiting personal liberty (especially for women and minorities), scoffing at social justice and denying equal rights to many groups of citizens - all justified by their Christian faith.


Faith is a vice pretending to be a virtue, its lies and errors and frothy nonsense deluding us and distracting us from action. There's no salvation in wishful thinking, only inertia. Faith is the enemy of reason. It's the barren refuge of the vacuous, the fearful, the frauds, and the obstacles to accomplishment. P Z Myers, Biologist, Reason Rally speech, March 24, 2012.



The persistent belief that Christianity is a benign - even beneficial - force in society, coupled with the undeserved deference we all pay to religion, has been the key to preserving an environment in which insurgent, extremist Christian fundamentalism has flourished. We have allowed Christian conservatism to destabilize our political system, gut our social safety net and tear down the wall of separation between church and state. Acting through its political arm, the Republican party, the unholy alliance of corporatism and religion lobbied and succeeded in forcing measures through state legislatures and Congress which have increased ideological polarization in the country and widened the gap between rich and poor to a yawning chasm, while cementing in the public mind a false relationship between providing a social safety net and losing our personal liberty.

Christian conservatism has demonized anyone who dares to suggest that as a society we may have a duty to fulfill a social contract. By falsely equating the ideal of an American society where every man, woman and child can be guaranteed access to the tools to achieve a decent life with some sort of jack-booted nazi-socialist ideology, conservatives have succeeded in making social justice issues political kryptonite. They have demonized non-Christians (and especially non-theists) as the evil perpetrators of that imaginary ideology, forcing anyone hoping to run for public office to evince public religiosity lest he or she be tarred with the "godless, evil" brush, thus circumventing the 6th article of the Constitution which is supposed to protect candidates for public office from any religious test. They have stoked racial tensions and hammered on false linkages between race and crime, godlessness and evil, humanism and nihilism while denying the true link between gross inequality and all of social problems we face today. We are living through a civil cold war - brought about by the rampant social injustice and gross economic inequality which conservative policies have encouraged.

Atheists aren't angry because we're selfish, or bitter, or joyless. Atheists are angry because we have compassion. Atheists are angry because we have a sense of justice. Atheists are angry because we see millions of people being terribly harmed by religion, and our hearts go out to them, and we feel motivated to do something about it. Greta Christina, Writer, Reason Rally speech, March 24, 2012.



Christian fundamentalists despise America. They hate the ideals upon which the American republic was built. They dishonor the founding principles which protected this country from theocracy by establishing a secular government and barring any religion from wielding power over the civil rights of the people. They deny and try to rewrite the history of the revolution that sought to liberate this fledgling nation from the yoke of authoritarian religion thus enabling the closest thing to a truly free society ever known to humankind to be born. They have plotted and worked unceasingly to dismantle everything about America which made it a beacon of hope in the world - the Constitutional protections against authoritarianism - because everything America stands for conflicts with the authoritarian demands of their theocratic ambitions.

The greatest threat to the United States does not reside overseas. It lies in wait within our own borders, deep inside our most trusted communities.  The most determined and implacable enemy of American liberty, justice and equality is American Christian fundamentalism. We've been sleeping with the enemy for decades.
It is time to wake up, America!

I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less than I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I'm capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I've concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me. Mythbuster Adam Savage, Reason Rally speech, March 24, 2012.

Here is part one of The March of Reason.  I will be posting the other four parts as Friday features, but if you cannot wait to see them on this blog, the link to Scott Burdick's youtube site is below the film window. So far, only parts one and two have been uploaded there. I will be following his progress closely as he finishes the rest of the documentary and will post the remaining parts as Friday Features as they become available. Check back here to be sure not to miss them!


 

Documentary produced by Scott Burdick

Thanks to the Friendly Atheist for bringing attention to this excellent work!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The War on Easter!

Thank goddess, Christians are constitutionally protected from having to participate in pagan rituals!




























Mark your calendars, NiftyReaders. Today, I agree wholeheartedly with a fundamentalist Christian argument. According to online sources for Christian correctness, Christians have a big problem with Easter. The problem is that Easter is not Christian enough. In fact, Easter is not Christian or Biblically endorsed at all.


Hot cross buns?
Abominations!
Now let’s go to the other scriptures authorizing Easter. This presents a problem. There are NONE! There are absolutely no verses, anywhere in the Bible, that authorize or endorse the keeping of Easter celebration! The Bible says nothing about Lent, eggs and egg hunts, baskets of candy, etc., although it does mention hot cross buns and sunrise services as abominations, which God condemns. (The True Origin of Easter, the Reformed Church of God.org)

The name “Easter” has its roots in ancient polytheistic religions (paganism). On this, all scholars agree. This name is never used in the original Scriptures, nor is it ever associated biblically with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For these reasons, we prefer to use the term “Resurrection Sunday” rather than “Easter” when referring to the annual Christian remembrance of Christ's resurrection. (What is the origin of Easter? ChristianAnswers.org)

Oh, those pagans with their "Happy Easter/Happy Holidays"! Unbelievers have been distracting Christians from the true meaning of Christianity's most important holidays for too long! Easter is all about springtime, flowers budding, bunnies, chicks and sex. So unChristian!  Resurrection Sunday is about the story of a dead man who disappeared from his tomb and is believed to have risen from the dead after a horrific execution. That's more like it! Ask any Christian, he will tell you: holidays don't get much more joyful than that!

Coloring eggs? 
That's a no-no, Christians!
For these reasons, I would prefer that Christians use the term "Resurrection Sunday" rather than Easter, too. It makes perfect sense for Christians - who happily profess to be washed in the blood of Jesus, after all - to name their own holiday something more appropriate to what it really is about. I enthusiastically support their right to begin calling their holy day by this name forthwith. Keep the Resurrection in Resurrection Sunday!

And while we are on the subject, why do devout Christians allow the secularists to win on Good Friday, too? Why accept the politically correct - and frankly much too bland - "Good Friday"?  Christians, call it what it is!  It is Crucifixion Friday! It is high time that Christians admit to the rest of the world - loud and proud - that their holiday is about blood, torture and a terrible death, not the Easter Bunny, jellybeans and a chocolate coma!

And about those Easter Eggs. No, no, no, Christians. Do you have any idea of the depraved history of these pagan symbols? Easter eggs are pagan symbols of a fertility goddess! ChristianAnswers can fill you in:

Most children and families who color or hide Easter eggs as part of their Resurrection Sunday tradition have no knowledge of the origin of these traditions. Easter egg activities have become a part of Western culture. Many would be surprised and even dismayed to learn where the traditions originated.
“The egg was a sacred symbol among the Babylonians. They believed an old fable about an egg of wondrous size which was supposed to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates River. From this marvelous egg - according to the ancient story - the Goddess Astarte (Easter) [Semiramis], was hatched. And so the egg came to symbolize the Goddess Easter.”
Sneaky... but they're still eggs.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
The idea of a mystic egg spread from Babylon to many parts of the world. In Rome, the mystic egg preceded processions in honor of the Mother Goddess Roman. The egg was part of the sacred ceremonies of the Mysteries of Bacchus. The Druids used the egg as their sacred emblem. In Northern Europe, China and Japan the eggs were colored for their sacred festivals.
The egg was also a symbol of fertility; Semiramis (Easter) was the goddess of Fertility. The Easter egg is a symbol of the pagan Mother Goddess, and it even bears one of her names.

Do you hear that? Fables! Fertility! A Mother Goddess! The horror! Now, do you see why no true Christian should ever be caught dead dyeing eggs or participating in Easter egg hunts? Instead of an almighty (yet silent and invisible) creator god, the humble egg has been universally celebrated as a symbol of fertility and new life for thousands of years only because those people chose not to know any better. Dozens of cultures who observed the natural world around them, recognized the natural cycle of birth, life and death and celebrated the life-giving sunlight, moon cycle (reproductive cycle) and motherhood in the form of goddess worship were clearly unChristian, evil and pagan.

Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, jellybeans and marshmallow chicks are all very seductive. They seem like delicious innocent fun, but they are not. They are dangerous temptations down the road to unbelief. They suggest natural sources of life and, with those eggs and chicks and hens and such, they are also suggestive of all of the necessary and naturally-occurring components of reproduction. They suggest that the plants and animals on the earth - including human beings - are actually born, live and die without the aid or interference of any deity. Of course, throbbing, pulsing, thriving, living reality cannot compete with the power of fervent, mystical religious belief (right? amirite?), but why should Christians risk it?

And just in case you didn't catch the recurring motif of feminine power in those evil, pagan myths, just look what else this Easter/Eastre "holiday" is all about (according to ChristianAnswers):

Nice try, Christians, but no.
... this adulterous and idolatrous woman gave birth to an illegitimate son, she claimed that this son, Tammuz by name, was Nimrod reborn.” Semiramis “claimed that her son was supernaturally conceived [no human father] and that he was the promised seed, the 'savior'” - promised by God in Genesis 3:15. “However, not only was the child worshipped, but the woman, the MOTHER, was also worshipped as much (or more) than the son!” Nimrod deified as the god of the sun and father of creation. Semiramis became the goddess of the moon, fertility, etc.

The woman, the MOTHER (!!1eleventy1!) was worshipped! If ever there was proof that Easter is an unChristian festival, this creation of a female god is it. Any mythology that pays respect to women - let alone that elevates one to goddess status - autonomous, powerful and life-giving - is a mythology that is antithetical to everything that patriarchal Christianity stands for.

And come on, look at that silly fable! It cannot hold a candle to the 100% true, God-breathed, divine message in the Bible describing the singular Truth of Christianity: An innocent and immaculate young virgin miraculously gave birth to a son. The Bible claims that this son, Jesus by name, was the son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit (no human father) and that he was the promised Messiah - the "savior" promised by God in Genesis 3:15. Not only is the child, Jesus, worshipped as he should be, but his mother, Mary is also paid deference as only the Mother of God deserves to be.

Now, that is a story that has the ring of ultimate Truth™!

In the old fables of the Mystery cults, their 'savior' Tammuz, was worshipped with various rites at the Spring season. According to the legends, after he was slain [killed by a wild boar], he went into the underworld. But through the weeping of his mother… he mystically revived in the springing forth of the vegetation - in Spring! Each year a spring festival dramatically represented this supposed 'resurrection'...

Nope.
In the old holy scriptures of the One True Faith, the Christian savior, Jesus Christ, is worshipped with various rites at the spring season. According to the inerrant word of the Bible, after he was slain (killed by Roman occupiers), he died and descended into hell. But according to the will of his father, he mystically revived - bringing "new life" to the world - in Spring! Each spring, during holy days, worshippers dramatically re-enact the utterly unverifiable story totally true Biblical account of this real resurrection.

Thus, a terrible false religion developed with its sun and moon worship, priests, astrology, demonic worship, worship of stars associated with their gods, idolatry, mysterious rites, human sacrifice, and more. Frankly, the practices which went on were so horrible that it is not fitting for me to speak of them here.

Exactly.  We will speak no more about it. The Christian religion with its divine Son worship, priests, mysticism, belief in angels and demons, worship of holy shrines associated with visions of their gods, angels and saints, mysterious rites and liturgical human sacrifice ritual is so much more than this terrible false religion from which Easter has sprung. For one thing, Christians add ritual cannibalism after the ritual human sacrifice! Frankly, these practices are so obviously correct, righteous and good, that it is not fitting for any Christian to participate in anything else. The source of that whole springtime/ new life/ bunnies and eggs/ ickily feminine, fertility cultish, Eastery thing is a terrible, false religion. What kind of a legitimate spring/rebirth festival elevates a MOTHER over a son? Definitely not a Christian festival!

Easter is clearly an evil pagan festival which Christians ought to decry.

Absolutely not!
Christians ought to take a stand against this tawdry commercialization of Christianity's most glorious holiday and simply refuse to partake in it. Perhaps they could demand that retailers post Happy Resurrection Sunday signs in their stores. Insist that schools and businesses should be closed out of respect for Crucifixion Friday. Fight for the power to teach schoolchildren the Good News™- whether they are Christian or not - through faith-building activities. Why shouldn't they be able to put on an annual Passion Play in public schools? What little boy wouldn't love to portray the crucified Jesus? What little girl hasn't dreamed of being cast as the Blessed Virgin grieving over the broken body of her murdered son? Even the littlest Christians can partake in the spirit-filled fun by baking Resurrection Cookies with Mom. As Mom reads the appropriate scriptures, the little ones can beat nuts into pieces with a wooden spoon and imagine they are breaking the bones of their long-suffering savior†. Godly, wholesome, fearsome fun. Now, that is the way to celebrate Easter Joy Resurrection Sunday!

One might wonder if there is a better way for Christians to celebrate Jesus Christ's resurrection, the most important of all Christian holy days. In retrospect, it seems obvious that it would have been a better witness to the world if Christians had not attempted to “Christianize” pagan celebrations* - adopting the name “Easter” (Ishtar/Semiramis) in remembrance of Christ. Jesus has been obscured by painted eggs and bunnies. Attention has been shifted away from spiritual truth and toward materialism (clothing, products and candies with the wrong symbolism). Stores merchandise the name of Easter (not “Resurrection Sunday”) and sell goods that have nothing to do with Christ's death and resurrection.

I couldn't agree more. Leave that pagan Easter business to the heathens, Christians! Resurrection Sunday belongs to you and Easter belongs to the rest of us. You glorify divine capital punishment, substitutionary atonement and human sacrifice - we prefer bunnies, eggs and chocolate. You keep the Crucifixion in Crucifixion Friday and the Resurrection in Resurrection Sunday and we will keep the Easter in Easter. Sounds fair to me.


† Read the Resurrection Cookie link. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.
Can I get an "Amen" to this, brothers and sisters?

That's right, Easter Bunny, just keep on hopping right out of the Christian calendar. 
And you can take your abominable eggs with you!