I’ve been spending 8 hours a day, every day this week, at a seminar so that I am prepared to teach Advanced Placement Statistics to my math students next year.
Imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I sat in my seat, checked my email, and saw a message from my BFF Laurie Higgins!
Subject line: The Friendly Atheist: Poor Role Model for Teens
(At least she used a badass picture of me. I’m all gangsta or something.)
It’s funny how desperate she’s becoming.
Let’s see what she says…
… High School math teacher, Hemant Mehta (aka “The Friendly Atheist”), weighs in on a California Court decision in his usual uncivil, disreputable way.
I’m uncivil? Disreputable?
That’s funny. Last year, she called me charismatic, funny, kind, and iconoclastic.
What… am I not iconoclastic anymore? I’m deeply offended by this. I wonder what changed her mind…
Higgins goes on about this “California Court decision.” The story is that Bradley Johnson, a public school teacher, put up banners in his classroom with the following phrases:
- “In God We Trust”: the official motto of the United States and a phrase that appears on American currency
- “One Nation Under God”: a phrase from our Pledge of Allegiance
- “God Bless America” and “God Shed His Grace On Thee” (from “America the Beautiful”): phrases from two songs that are part of our national heritage and have long been taught in public schools
- “All Men Are Created Equal, They Are Endowed By Their Creator”: a phrase from the Declaration of Independence
Does that sound harmless? If so, you have to wonder why the Illinois Family Institute didn’t post pictures of the banners.
Maybe because they look like this:
Yeah… wouldn’t you feel comfortable in that class if you were an atheist, or a Hindu, or a Muslim?
This is a Math class, by the way. Not U.S. History… (not that it would be ok then, either).
Here’s what I wrote about those signs:
The school rightfully told him to take those banners down. There’s no reason a teacher should be pushing his faith — making students feel uncomfortable in the process — in a public school classroom. What’s a non-Christian student supposed to think? Can they get a fair shake in his class?
Here’s what Laurie Higgins says I wrote about those signs:
And what does… High School teacher Hemant Mehta have to say about that finding? He says, “What. The. F**k.”
For the uninitiated, this kind of adolescent, intemperate, obscene language, language unfit for civilized, respectable adults, is commonplace on Mehta’s blog.
Actually, I said “What. The. Fuck.” Get it right, please.
(She quoted three words from the entire post and didn’t even address any of the substance? Higgins is really grasping at straws, isn’t she?)
The rest of it is just silly. Apparently, all of you are too immature to handle certain words. We all know no “civilized, respectable” adult has ever said any “bad” word ever. And Higgins knows what’s best for all of you.
On a side note, I wrote that post back in March. It’s almost July. That makes me think she was just hanging onto that post in her “Hemant” file somewhere so she could bring it up next time she wanted to go after me. Sad, no?
At least as troubling, however, is that on his blog, this role model for students is also publicly encouraging teens to be deceitful.
Oooh. This should be good. Let’s read on.
IFI’s good friend and ally, Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), is hosting a Truth Academy* this August. As is customary for those who seek to normalize homosexuality, Mehta mischaracterizes this as a hate-promoting event. He fails to provide any evidence for such an absurd and pernicious claim, but the absence of evidence never stops homosexuality-affirming activists from making wild claims or hurling epithets. What makes his blog post about the Truth Academy even more problematic is that Mehta actively and openly solicits teenagers to engage in deceit:
Aww… isn’t this cute? Peter LaBarbera, president of the group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality – a group that spreads lies about homosexuality – is announcing a seminar for young people who want to become little homophobes like him….
I was all set to pay the registration fee and sign up myself until I read this…
Prospective attendees will need to be approved with references; this is not open to pro-homosexual activists but only to those who share AFTAH’s belief that homosexuality is immoral and that the GLBT movement is destructive to America and a direct threat to our religious freedom.
Hmph. They’re onto me.
That said… if anyone aged 14-25 wants to attend and write about the event for this site, I’ll cover your registration. We’ll find a way to take care of the references, too. I don’t want you to be disruptive. Just get the materials, listen to what they say, and share it with the rest of us (emphasis added).
I wonder what… High School parents, administrators, and school board members think about a teacher encouraging teens to, in effect, lie.
Despite the familiar and false accusations made by homosexual activists, the Truth Academy is decidedly not about promoting hatred. The goal of the Truth Academy is to undo the damage done to individuals and the culture through the widespread dissemination and acceptance of deceitful and destructive fictions about homosexuality.
When you teach children that homosexuality is immoral, wrong, and unnatural, you’re not teaching those kids to love gay people. You’re teaching them that gay people are lesser human beings. And then you stand on the sidelines while gay students get beaten up or picked on and act like you had nothing to do with it. You are preaching hate. Not love.
Don’t believe me? AFTAH said it themselves:
… the GLBT movement is destructive to America and a direct threat to our religious freedom.
How do they expect young children to react, if not with deep hatred toward those evil gays who want to “destroy” their way of life?
For what it’s worth, I received several responses from people willing to attend the seminar. They all have references from Christians, too. It’s not like they’re making anything up. The references can testify to their character, kindness, and commitment to the truth.
If AFTAH just wants to cancel the seminar, I guess they can always do that. But what are they afraid of? That someone will quote them accurately?
Hell, I’ll call the whole thing off. All AFTAH has to do is send me the materials they plan to use. They clearly know where to find me.
As I wrote a year ago, parents should think carefully about the kind of people who become role models for their children. Decades ago, parents could rely on teachers serving as good role models for their kids. We can’t count on that any more.
And parents, you might want to spend as much time googling your children’s teachers as your children do.
Yep. Forget my resume and my after-school coaching and my grad school degree and my presentations at math conferences. I’m a bad role model because I actually call IFI out on their bullshit.
And what’s with encouraging parents to stalk teachers on Google? How creepy is that? She wants parents to find out their children’s teachers’ religious/political/social beliefs in order to decide whether they are fit to teach their kids.
Notice she’s not saying parents should search for a teacher’s educational background or teaching credentials. Because those things don’t matter to her.
For what it’s worth, I don’t really care about Higgins much. I care about the harm that her organization causes.
They hurt my gay friends on a regular basis and I want them to stop.
If you’d like to tell her how you feel, you can contact IFI here. Don’t use swears, though, because she can’t handle those. And if you’re Christian, I’m pretty sure quoting Jesus will help her see the light.