Evolution of a Trumpet Player Shirt Banned in Missouri August 30, 2009

Evolution of a Trumpet Player Shirt Banned in Missouri

A high school band in Sedalia, Missouri came up with these cute shirts showing the “evolution” of a trumpet player:

Those shirts will no longer be worn, though, because religious parents complained:

[Assistant Superintendent Brad] Pollitt said the district is required by law to remain neutral where religion is concerned.

“If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.

Band parent Sherry Melby, who is a teacher in the district, stands behind Pollitt’s decision. Melby said she associated the image on the T-shirt with Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

“I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

That’s the mark of a dumb administrator and an ignorant parent/teacher.

She doesn’t think evolution should be associated with the school? While she’s at it, why not just get rid of the whole science department. Clearly, they’re unnecessary, too…

The shirt has absolutely nothing to do with religion. Hell, it has very little to do with science, since the image isn’t even an accurate portrayal of evolution. (Evolution doesn’t point toward man… or a trumpet player for that matter.)

But leave it to fundie parents to oppose even the notion of evolution.

The high school students aren’t helping:

“It’s not like we are saying God is bad,” sophomore band member Denyel Luke said. “We aren’t promoting evolution.”

Senior Drum Major Mike Howard said he was disappointed when he had to return the shirt.

“I liked the shirt because it was unique,” Howard said. “The theory of evolution never even crossed my mind.”

That’s not the point. So what if it did promote evolution? There’s nothing wrong with that! That these kids don’t see the problem here highlights the fact that young people are under-educated about science.

Next thing you know, the school will ban Astronomy Club shirts that mention the Big Bang, or Environmental Club shirts that mention Global Warming… where does it stop?


What a horrible decision by school officials. (Was there no one in the Science department who could chime in here?)

(via Why Evolution Is True)

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  • Andy

    That’s pathetic, but sadly not at all surprising. This is 21st century America after all.

  • Ah yes, the state of Misery.

  • TJ

    Why don’t we just abolish all schools and send our kids to church all day and they can be taught all the truth from the Bible?

    I’d love to see how society would advance since science is just a load of crap, right?

  • Shane

    “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

    Heaven forbid we should teach reality in schools.

  • I know one type of species that hasn’t evolved in the last 150 years…..Christians.

  • Where can I get that shirt? I’ll buy it!

  • Gabriel G.

    @Robert: Let me guess, you’re a band geek too? I say it not as an insult, but as a brother. Though, I wasn’t in the band, but in the orchestra (some of us used the term “orch dork”).

    Oh and yeah, stupid people who are opposed to evolution in schools are stupid.

    (Yay for staying on topic >O> )

  • At first, I thought the objection was going to be because the two figures in the middle have “trumpet crotch”.

  • thilina

    “If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.

    As if this is the opposite of the notion evolution. And i guarantee they would not have done the same thing if it were jebus on the shirts. probably saying something along the lines of the kids free expression of religion.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    At least they are clear that their opposition to evolution is based on religion.

  • ChameleonDave

    Oh dear… these people are threatened by a silhouette of eight animals in a line, because it allows you to see the connections between them.

  • The fundies I’ve known have had a very limited repertoire of humor. It’s sad. But, they insist that they’re the happy ones and non-Christians are despondent without Jesus.

    I think the shirts are pretty cool and funny. I’d wear one, even though I haven’t played the trumpet in over 30 years.

    @ Jonathan – good catch on the “trumpet crotch.” LOL!

  • Ah shit… I’ve lived in Missouri all but one year of my life. When you get outside Columbia, St. Louis, or Kansas City you go back 30 years in time. 🙁

  • justanotherjones

    Wow, that whole story is just… surreal.

    And this…?

    “I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

    …just pathetic. And from a teacher, no less.

  • Catpaw

    As God™ moulded trumpet players in their current form from the sodden clay on day 6, I can understand why all right thinking zealots would find this not only offensive but blasphemous, possibly consigning the wearer to an eternity of torture by a selection of demons in the Fiery Pit™.

  • I’m currently reading the book Monkey Girl. Before reading the book this story would have shocked me. Now, I’m sadly not surprised in the least. The only people who see evolution as a threat to science are insecure and ignorant theists. Thanks to our society’s misplaced reverence of religion in every situation, this insecurity seems to be enough to keep our kids ignorant of one of the most accepted and understood scientific theories out there until they get to the most dangerous and evil of all places – college.

  • Did the Pastor with the “Islam is Satan” (or whatever t-shirt he made up for young kids to wear to school) join the group that wanted to ban these oh so offensive t-shirts?

    Does evolution not include non-living things like….say, the car. It surely has evolved, become more safe, energy efficient, etc.

    How are people going to learn about the “Evolution” of America and other cultures.

    I see….oh I see what is happening….like the word “Socialism” the word “Evolution” is going to be demonized.

    No wonder why those in politics love these fundy wackos…they can get them to do what ever they want, (anti; woman, gay, black, unions, etc) under the guise of religion.

    I tell you…Ive been saying it for a long time….fundies are mentally ill, able to be diagnosed so medically, why else would they act the way they do unless they were sociopaths, delusional, misogynistic, xenophobic, etc…

    I just hope the rest of the world doesnt decide to wipe us off the face of the earth, much like what was done to Hitler, Hiroshima, Iraq, Afghanistan (add any country the USA gov has tried to “save” from thier unstable leaders here).

  • Sackbut

    Editorial about the T-shirt

    The editorial is strongly in support of keeping the T-shirt, and says parents over-reacted. I agree. Unfortunately, I think the editorial misses the mark when it characterizes the issue as one of choice regarding religious beliefs. The T-shirt has nothing to do with religion. It is NOT the equivalent of a WWJD T-shirt.

  • barriejohn

    I think the school authorities were quite right to ban this T-shirt, on the grounds of its inaccuracy. The hominids are all facing in the wrong direction, and should really be going from right to left, ending up with the little George W Bush character on the far left. (You remember him, surely – the guy who was twice not elected president of the US!)

  • Perhaps science shouldn’t be associated with the school either? cripes.

  • I’m from St Louis, just posted about this on my site (www.atheistabyss.ning.com) now, was going to link it to you but i see you’re way ahead of me. What sickens me most about this whole thing is that it cost $700 for the shirts, thats $700 school money wasted because some fundie parents thought it was offensive, $700 less books, supplies, equipment. Truely sad and ignorant beyond belief.

  • Luke

    This is good for science. A whole group of music students were just pissed off by a religious nutter. Now, with a little teenage angst, they’ll make their way straight to an atheist world view. Anything that fundies do to make themselves look stupid plays to our hand. Good work concerned nutjob parents. 🙂

  • What is WRONG with people? There is nothing wrong with that shirt and yet again, SOMEONE has to make a fuss over NOTHING. So unnecessary and I agree with Madrizzle above about the money being wasted over an illogical parent’s histrionic hysteria. It’s just craziness.

  • ed

    They should sell the t-shirts via the internet. Money for the band and the message gets to an even broader audience.

  • cherica

    How does evolution conflict with religion? Just because God was supposed to have created humans doesn’t mean he couldn’t have used evolution to create humans. There are many scientists who are also religious, and there isn’t a problem. I feel this issue was sensationalized and exaggerated.

  • S

    Very very weird complaint from parents! 🙂

  • “If the shirts had said ‘Brass Resurrections’ and had a picture of Jesus on the cross, we would have done the same thing,” he said.

    No. Evolution and religion are not comparable. Evolution is good science grounded on excellent evidence from a variaty of sources. Religion isn’t. Religious expression is constitutionally protected in the US and the stae is explicitely forbidden from interferring with it. The Theory of Evolution is half the age of the USA and is not even mentioned in the constitution. Evolution is disprovable, simply present the appropriate evidence that contradicts the theory and scientists will be forced to abandon it. Religion is not disprovable. Any arguments against religion can be countered with “faith” that actively denies or ignores evidence.

    Evolution DOES NOT EQUAL Religion. Equating the two is a mistake.

  • Darrell Porter-Sanderpower

    i don’t understand evolution has bin proven and in religion you only have “faith” how is it comparable to religion? meh must be crazy parents again.

    next thing you know it there going to start banning evolution in schools.

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