November 30, 2007 6:46 AM

Every now and again, I miss Texas...for all the wrong reasons

Questioning “Intelligent Design” in Texas? You’re Fired.

State science curriculum director resigns: Move comes months before comprehensive curriculum review

MY NEW HERO #95: Chris Comer

The state’s director of science curriculum has resigned after being accused of creating the appearance of bias against teaching intelligent design. Comer was put on 30 days paid administrative leave shortly after she forwarded an e-mail in late October announcing a presentation being given by Barbara Forrest, author of “Inside Creationism’s Trojan Horse,” a book that says creationist politics are behind the movement to get intelligent design theory taught in public schools. Forrest was also a key witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case concerning the introduction of intelligent design in a Pennsylvania school district. Comer sent the e-mail to several individuals and a few online communities, saying, “FYI.” Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, which sent the original e-mail to Comer announcing the event, said Comer’s situation seems to be a warning to agency employees…. “This just underscores the politicization of science education in Texas,” Scott said. “In most states, the department of education takes a leadership role in fostering sound science education. Apparently TEA employees are supposed to be kept in the closet and only let out to do the bidding of the board.”

I can and do respect an individual’s right to hold whatever religious and moral beliefs they deem appropriate. This is still (nominally, at least) a free country, and freedom of religion is still a Constitutionally-guaranteed right. Sadly, freedom FROM religion doesn’t enjoy the same protection…and few states boast more people willing to force their version of Christianity on others than Texas, where ignorant, self-absorbed and astoundingly arrogant self-righteousness is a cottage industry.

When schools are required to present Intelligent Design as a legitimate, scientifically valid theory, teachers are reduced to participating in the wholesale propagandization of students. If uber-righteous zealots in Texas get their way, public schools will become the taxpayer-funded equivalent of re-education camps. Who needs critical thinking when faith will suffice? Who needs reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic when you have the Bible? Pretty scary stuff….

In most states, the state education agency is expected to determine the best and most effective ways to educate children to face and meet the challenges of the future. These folks recognize that the key to success is a well-educated and intellectually nimble work force. In Texas, however, the Texas Christianization Education Agency is still in thrall to the Christian Taliban elements that constitute a pronounced majority of the Texas Republican Party. Education is viewed as necessary only insofar as required to create good, obedient, and reliably Republican Christians far more capable of reaction than rational, critical thought.

Chris Comer couldn’t even be reasonably be described as a rebel…unless having a conscience and recognizing that education is about children, not religious indoctrination passes for rebellion among Rght-wing zealots. Intelligent Design is not science; it’s Christian doctrine dressed up in the language of objective science. In reality, it’s just one more insidious weapon employed by those who believe the separation of Church and State is anti-Christian. Comer’s situation merely points up just how little the Texas Education Agency is concerned with education. We’re talking about publicly-funded schools which, if these zealots have their way, will be turned into Sunday Schools more concerned with fostering faith and blind obendience than critical, creative thinking.

What Would Jesus Do? I think he’d be kicking some serious @$$. These knuckle-dragging troglodytes are as much about the true meaning of the teachings of Jesus Christ as Ted Bundy was about long-term relationships. Of course, this is Texas we’re talking about…and things look quite a bit different there- one’s man’s blind obedience is another’s recognition of the natural order of things, I suppose. Why think when you can react? My heart goes out to the children of Texas, who quite frankly deserve better than adults who want nothing more than to create obedient Christian soldiers who will unquestioningly fight the Good Fight…if trying to force a dominionist theocracy on Americans can even be called “good”.

How much do I miss Texas? When it comes to this sort of thing, not nearly as much as you might think….

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on November 30, 2007 6:46 AM.

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