What Did Laurie Higgins Do This Time? June 24, 2010

What Did Laurie Higgins Do This Time?

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.

Higgins finishes:

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.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Cool picture. Where’s your pitchfork and horns though?

  • Bob

    “In God We Trust” – 1863
    “One Nation Under God” – 1954
    “God Bless America” – 1918
    “God Shed His Grace on Thee” – 1910

    None of the above were sentiments of our founding fathers.

    “Endowed by their Creator” – 1776

    I find it disingenuous at best to imply that Thomas Jefferson would, in one paragraph, use the term ‘Nature’s God’ to avoid a specific reference to Christianity, then suggest that ‘Creator’ is, in fact, ONLY the Christian God.

  • Tails Turrosaki

    Ugh, god, gag me with a big, fat, fucking spoon.

    Is this girl that stupid?

  • NFQ

    Oh, Hemant. I love you.

  • Trace

    You and your “pernicious” claims!

  • bunnyslipperz

    I love how she used a picture of you looking all badass there. And I doubly love how at the end of it she’s begging for donations.

    What a twatwaffle.

    Opps, I guess I’m not civilized for saying that word. Oh well.

  • fea24

    I don’t always agree with you 100% but I don’t think you are uncivil or disreputable. Although, she did pick a disreputable looking photo….

    Maybe she has a crush on you?

  • Wendy

    Hemant, if I still lived in Chicago, I’d be stalking you right now. Smart AND hot…niiicce

    I have no words for her. Well actually I have LOTS of words, but I wouldn’t be “civilized” or something

  • Bob

    Let’s see … on one hand, there’s the foul-mouthed gangsta math teacher, the sinister Hemant Mehta …

    … and then there are the CHRISTIANS in our government advocating TORTURE.

    I’m guessing Higgins doesn’t have a problem with the latter.

  • Why can’t I shake this feeling that you and Laurie were once secret lovers and irreconcilable differences in your beliefs continue to stoke this fire?

  • stogoe

    Just like with tattoos, hair dye, and video games, the taboos surrounding swear words are crumbling*. And good riddance.

    *Well, not so much with swear words and the FCC, but they’re decades behind. And the FCC doesn’t regulate cursing on cable, so the majority of shows people actually watch just say whatever the hell they want to.

  • Randy

    I bet she has that picture of you hanging over her bed.

  • dave

    She describes your “usual uncivil, disreputable way”. Apparently she’s never heard of Dawkins, Hitchens or Dillahunty. Not that they’re uncivil or disreputable, but they are all much more… shall I say, strident? Hemant, you have always been the friendly atheist (and not just in name).

    She’s just a nasty, hateful little person.

  • She really needs to quote mine Hemant better. She’s trying to argue that he is a bad role model for teens, yet leaves in the part where he said, “I don’t want you to be disruptive.” Not very “bad” for a “bad role model”.

    As for me, I am not a teen. In fact, I am older than Hemant, but consider him a role model to me. As an ex-christian I am often disgusted by religion, but I like Hemant’s example. I would like to also be a Friendly Atheist, even though I often feel very unfriendly about religion. However if Laurie Higgins continues to attack our Friendly Atheist then maybe I will pick a new role model for myself? Maybe someone more abrasive? Like PZ Myers? Perhaps Laurie should consider that she is making abrasive atheism look like a necessity when she attacks the atheist community’s Friendly Atheist.

  • Jude

    What’s with the Hemant-fixation of this woman? Did you turn her down or something?

  • You should keep a file, too, Hemant. With people like her, it’s only a matter of time before she writes something about you that is truly libelous.

    People like Higgins cannot be reasoned with (because reason isn’t her game). We have to fight back against people like her.

  • Flah the Heretic Methodist

    H, from my heart: I’ll be thrilled if my son finds a role model with half your patience, tolerance, ability, and capabilities.

    And as a Christian, I say: Fuck you, Laurie. You won’t be content until everyone is singing Onward Christian Soldiers in lockstep every morning on our way to our happy jobs in white America (and of course, until all that nasty real life stuff is back under the grimy grimy carpet where it belongs). Stop pretending this was ever a utopia that needs to be “reclaimed”.

  • Claudia

    Laurie strikes me as kind of creepily stalkerish at this point. I hope she doesn’t have a bunch of secret photos of you and a lock of your hair hidden away in a chest in her bedroom.

    And having effectively creeped myself out enough…

    I find it amusing that she uses that picture of you. Presumably she wants to freak out very easily scared parents with it. She should hope no actual teenagers see the pic, because what she sees as “look how awful and bad he is, with his satanist camera angle” looks badass to a kid. As far as role-models and someone you want to be like, for a teen that pic makes you look better, not worse.

  • Arg. I’ve been the victim of these sorts of public attacks, and they are really hateful.

    Hang in there Hemant!

  • Patrick O.

    Ha, curse words. People need to stop being so “d**n” self-righteous. She worries about curse words while she is spreading hate? Hypocrite.

  • Sellers_as_Quilty

    And as a Christian, I say: Fuck you, Laurie.

    Best. Comment. Ever.

  • That is a badass photo. Who knew you were all that?

  • Perhaps Laurie Higgens has taken a new fervor since it is summer and feels she can now get you from teaching in the fall. Seems like a malicious attack. What would she be saying if you were a muslim, jew or buddhist with a very active blog?

    Teachers have a right to a private life with views that are their own. Most contracts for public schools do not state anything about not being able to blog, volunteer or participate in any activities outside of school for fear of the ‘public stalkers’ finding out about it to use against them.

    If Laurie Higgens or others do not want a secular education they can pay tuition for a private religious school.

  • Judith Bandsma

    I don’t know about a badass photo. I remember teachers who looked at me like that when I couldn’t answer an easy question because I’d been too busy daydreaming…albeit they were wearing suits and ties at the time.

  • I have to admit that that is one bad-ass picture. In fact, the picture makes all her arguments invalid. Who’s going to agree with her, when you’re standing there ready to open an unholy can of whoop ass on them? Not me, I say….

    On a stranger note, I had sunday school teacher one time who had no problem with the word ‘Fuck,’ but threw a conniption git when someone said ‘Gosh’. She said that since ‘Gosh’ came from the word ‘God’ it was taking the lords name in vain.

  • Simo

    The idea that teachers with personal beliefs different from those of parents are therefore unfit to teach the children of those parents is indeed troubling.

    My favorite part of this post, though, might be the implication that only people who agree with Ms. Higgins are good role models.

  • Valhar2000

    Hemant wrote:

    At least she used a badass picture of me. I’m all gangsta or something.

    That’s the thing: in that picture, you look distinctly brown! WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

  • Valhar2000

    Ha, curse words. People need to stop being so “d**n” self-righteous. She worries about curse words while she is spreading hate? Hypocrite.

    I have often noticed that, and it seems to be endemic to certain subsets of American culture: you can lie, defame, insult, degrade and harass all you want, just as long as you make sure not to use any black-listed words.

  • Neon Genesis

    If Higgens thinks Hemant is a bad role model because he says swear words, she should remember Jesus’ words on the sermon on the mount. ” ‘You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, “You shall not murder”; and “whoever murders shall be liable to judgement.” But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgement; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, “You fool”, you will be liable to the hell of fire.”

  • Steve

    The “creator” in the Declaration of Independence doesn’t refer to any specific god, but some supernatural being in general. Many of the most influential founding fathers were deists. In particular Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Madison. That means they believed in some higher being, but not necessarily in the Judeo-Christian god. And they may believe that that god is understandable and knowable by scientific means.

    Jefferson actually found the supernatural aspects of Christianity outright ridiculous and wrote a bible that removed most of them. He also passionately hated organized religion and the power it has over people. For him, faith was more of a private thing.

  • Reckless

    Let’s see… someone who encourages doing your research, learning, supporting charitable causes, thinking critically and rationally, accepting others, open-mindedness, and doing one’s math homework…

    Yep. Hemant is clearly a *terrible* role model.

    What an absurd woman. I hope she can someday get over her insane hang-ups about other people, or she can’t possibly live a very happy life.

  • Hitch

    Unfortunately this is exactly how negative stereotypes of “aggressive” atheists are formed. Quote out of context to mischaracterize opinions and make them appear worse than they are.

  • Richard P.

    Fucking god botherers. Someone should remind her the bible specifically says women should keep their yaps shut.
    How about teaching that in your truth academy.

  • Bob

    (My apologies, I’m no rapper.)

    Got some homework, ain’t got a clue
    Solvin’ x and y is all I have to do
    It’s in the numbers, the truth you can’t ignore
    ‘Cause 12 + (y-1) = x*4

    So listen closely, you’re gonna get schooled
    My teacher Hemant Mehta is a bad-ass dude
    A friendly atheist, no role model is he
    ‘Cause first of all, he don’t believe in Big G.

    So drop the 12 and solving’s begun
    You still have x*4 = y-1
    Subtract the 1, don’t be gullible
    And you know that x and y are multiples.

    So when you got a problem, just do as I say
    Balance the terms and take God away
    Country’s still indivisible without him there
    So who’s to notice? Who’s to care?

    Put away bad science, put away the hate
    ‘Cause godly juju don’t make us gay or straight
    Take the heat for your actions, don’t pass the buck
    As Hemant says, ‘What. The. Fuck.’

  • Gauldar

    Who does she think she is? She doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page!

  • Whoo hoo! I love your bad-ass picture.

    Like others have said, I’m surprised that Higgins hasn’t photoshopped horns and a pitchfork into that pic.

    But then, if she did, you’d be like the super devil or something, and then noone could resist your evil atheistic ways.

    Need to get you a flying motorcycle and jar of marmalade and you’re all set!

    But, on a serious side, keep up the good work. Nothing shows your having an impact better then having fringe members of the fundies go balistic and batshit crazy with no rhyme or reason. 🙂

  • @Bob:

    So what’s the answer?

  • Bob


    Actually, I screwed up my math. They’re not multiples. But it’s a good rhyme.

  • Aj

    You’re no one, until some one, no one, ’til somebody hates you. Especially these kind of people. If they don’t hate you, you need to try harder.

    As for obscenity, she’s a fucking idiot, and no one gives flying toss what she thinks. I leave you with Stephen Fry on the Joys of Swearing.

  • @Bob:

    That’s okay, I didn’t notice. I’ve got discalculia, so you could have said anything and I would believe you.

  • Iason Ouabache

    I was hoping that Laurie would be out of a job by now. They were sending around e-mails saying that IFI needed $80,000 to make it through the summer. Then again, one of their main job is fund raising (second only to fear mongering) so who knows how honest they were being about it.

    And I’d like to point out that IFI is yet another right wing Christian website that does not allow comments on their stories. They must be really afraid of us.

  • Bob


    This, of course, is one of the nifty things about believing in an imaginary deity who only wants good things for you. When bad things happen, you rationalize them to fit in with said deity’s ‘master plan’.

    You see, God wanted Sarah Palin to be vice-president, even though she didn’t know what the job entails. That Obama won the election was clearly a sign that God wanted something else, so Sarah promptly quit as Governor of Alaska so she could pimp her book, her kids, and endorse other politicians. (Which, to me, is like getting a character reference from Charles Manson.)

    When things don’t happen, or things don’t go your way, attribute it to God. (Which is a scary thought for the ‘Christian Nation’ crowd – when we fuck up and kick off the next nuclear war, will it be because God wanted it?)

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Batman has the Joker.
    Superman has Lex Luthor.
    Now the Friendly Atheist has an arch-nemesis.
    The Crazy Christian.

  • nelsoninpa

    LMAO, you should be ashamed of yourself!!! how dare you be quoted out of contexted!! lmao. people just dont have anything better to do than to create a villan where on is needed. If the fire starts to die down theres always one person or another that needs to fuel the flame.

  • anti_supernaturalist

    rotten at the core

    Faith, the trusting suspension of disbelief, is (by necessity) theater of the absurd.

    the anti_supernaturalist

  • Seeing that photo of Hemant on the IFI site reminds me of this album cover:

    Seriously, this is a great post. Not because you rant against ultra hater Laurie Higgins, but because you roll with this criticism so well with witty comebacks, facts and logic.

    What the hell did you do to get into Laurie’s radar? Oh that’s right.. you support equality for all.

  • Neil Robinson

    My email to Ms Higgins: ‘I began reading The Friendly Atheist blog as a direct result of your earlier campaign against Hemant. I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. I find him to be warm, wise, honest and compassionate – why do you feel the need to demonstrate so much hatred toward him? I can only hope your latest, misplaced, tirade brings him many more readers’.

  • trixr4kids

    New blog title: The Friendly Badass Gangsta Atheist. Hemant,I always knew you were secretly all that.

    And congratulations on pissing off this Laurie Higgins fucktard yet again! (I judge a man by his enemies : )

  • coyotenose

    That picture is so badass, you don’t even need to be on a boat, motherfucker.

  • Carol B

    I’ve puzzled all morning over how the GBLT movement is a “direct threat to our religious freedom.” How, exactly, does someone’s homosexuality threaten anyone else’s religious freedom? Maybe it’s that Christians such as Laurie Higgins will no longer be free to repress the rights and freedom of gay people based on her bigoted (I mean, religious) beliefs. It’s sort of a stretch, since she herself remains perfectly free religiously. I don’t see where the threat is. The GBLT movement says nothing about restricting any of her freedoms, like she’s trying to do to gay people. I guess she not only wants her religious freedom, but she also wants to restrict other people’s (personal) freedom. Don’t marry! Don’t kiss! Don’t be that way! Gosh, Laurie… that’s kind of mean-spirited…

    Laurie, are you reading this? Maybe you can clear up this misconception we have of you. You seem awfully bigoted to us. Not very Christ-like or tolerant or loving. Maybe you can explain to us how two people loving each other threatens your religious freedom. Just wondering.

  • Here is my email I sent. Also, if you guys want to look me up go for it 🙂

    “How dare you encourage parents to “Google” teachers to find out about their private lives. I’m a high school teacher of History and I have my own political, social and religious views and those are mine and mine alone.

    If a parent wants to look and my teaching certificate they are more than welcome. Here is the web address for the New Zealand Teachers Council if you want to look me up. http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/rt/onlineregister.stm To help my registration number is 262368.

    If a parent wants to see my educational qualifications, I’m more than happy to show them. For the record I have a BA in History and Classical Studies from Otago University and Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education from Dunedin Teachers College.

    Also I have taught at some of the tops schools in New Zealand and have a number of years experience as a High School Teacher, if any parent wants to come and talk to me about my teaching experience, I’m more than happy to talk to them about it.

    Why don’t I start “Googling” parents to find out their lives? Why don’t I check there facebook or twitter account see what they did in the weekend?

    I don’t do this because it is morally wrong too. You remember morals right? Your God/Imaginary Friend is all about morals but you seem to have missed that lesson in Sunday School.

    Meanwhile my parents taught me the morals that I live by, respect for other people, respect for others ideas/choices/lives. I guess you missed the respect lesson too.”

  • Iason Ouabache

    Self-loathing gay man Anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is on to you too, Hemant:


    They are ganging up on you right and er… even further right now.

  • Carlie

    I absolutely adore the fact that your blog name means that they have to refer to you as “friendly” whether they want to or not.

  • Here is her reply

    Dear Chris,

    Wherever did you come up with the idea that I suggested researching the “private” lives of teachers? Hemant Mehta’s blog is a very public blog. He’s quoted often in the press. If information is on the Internet, it’s not actually private.

    I completely agree with your parents’ beliefs. Respect is derived from one’s ideas and choices, and many of Hemant Mehta’s publicly expressed ideas are not worthy of respect.


    Laurie Higgins

    Director of the Division of School Advocacy
    Illinois Family Institute
    (815) 519-3808

  • I’m 26, but i have a 10 year old sister. My parents would LOVE for you to teach her, they’re big on the thinking for yourself and asking questions. The being an good teacher would be the point, being who you are, just a bonus. 🙂

  • Roy

    “In God We Trust” is not the official motto of the U.S. The official motto is “E Pluribus Unum” (one from many), a line supposedly taken from an ancient Roman recipe for soup.

  • Catherine

    LaBarbera’s article is even more shudder inducing.
    Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom.
    I realise that this concept might be difficult for him to understand, but there is no reason, ever, for a non-RE teacher’s beliefs to be brought up in a classroom environment.

  • Erica

    I would LOVE for you to teach my children. You are smart, articulate, a critical thinker, logical, and a humanist.

    Yup, you sound downright awful.

  • muggle

    Maybe she has a crush on you?

    She’s certainly obsessed with him anyway. And, yeah, why do I to suspect that the brown skin has something to do with it also?

    Hemant, you should utterly use that photo on FB or something. It totally rocks.

  • @ Iason Ouabache

    “Something tells me that numbers and equations aren’t all that Mehta is talking about in his classroom. — Peter LaBarbera”

    Xians are so practiced at putting words into their “god’s” mouth and thinking they “feel god in their hearts” and other things they pull out of thin-air that this guy thinks it’s ok to publicly accuse Hemant of doing something wrong based on a “feeling”. And I bet his lackey readers will nod their heads and say “yes” and assume it’s true because Xians are used to taking the most baseless things that others dream up and agreeing with it if it fits their world view. No evidence required. No evidence needed for them to believe in god. So it’s easy for them to jump to not needing evidence to slander someone, just need a “feeling”.

  • I found this amusing: do a google image search for “Laurie Higgins Illinois Family Institute”, but without the quotation marks. Guess how many of the pictures on the first page are of Hemant.


    Three. On the first page of results.

  • Dan W

    Ooh, Hemant’s such a bad role model with the gangsta picture and… well, that’s about it really. And that picture is really just you looking badass. If this is the best Laurie Higgins can come up with, she should just give up.

  • Boy can that woman project.

  • fritzy

    “… the GLBT movement is destructive to America and a direct threat to our religious freedom.”

    She (and like minded individuals) fail to provide any evidence for the first claim. And active discrimination is not a “religious freedom.”

  • AxeGrrl

    Claudia wrote:

    I find it amusing that she uses that picture of you. Presumably she wants to freak out very easily scared parents with it.

    Any parent that’s scared by that photo of Hemant must also be scared by Smurfs or the Teletubbies! *giggling*

    It speaks to your wholesome affable-ness, Hemant, that that’s the ‘scariest’ photo of you she could find 🙂

  • jenn

    Okay, so I sent a short email to IFI after seeing your post, and then I cruised their site a bit, and came across an alert about a school taking their students to a pride parade, and how disgusting it was. for a little fun, I responded:

    It is outrageous that the public school is trying to prevent the kids from attending a parade. where can I send money to make sure more schools can go, and maybe participate? For T-shirts or a snack, maybe? thank you for bringing this to my attention. Imagine the school trying to teach the kids not to be proud!

    Jennifer Wesson

    I’ll post if I get an answer.

  • Likely due to my .edu email address, Laurie emailed me back herself, confirming my suspicions that she is the sole employee of the IFI. It’s buried somewhere in my blog. Anyway, she *really* isn’t too great at defending her views, which would be fine if she were arguing with someone her own age, but I’m a college sophomore.

    Yeah. Bitch got issues.

  • Nick

    If public school teachers were compelled to fulfill their now empty verbal commitments to “honoring all voices,” “fostering diversity,” and “developing critical thinking skills,” there would be no need for a Truth Academy.

    My head just exploded with irony.

  • TheRealistMom/Spamamander

    Completely OT, but I am so very happy that my pet word “twatwaffle” is spreading in internet vernacular.

  • That woman is a disillusioned, holier-than -thou fucknut.

  • jenn

    Okay, here’s my correspondence with Laurie:

    Dear Jennifer,

    I have never demanded that Hemant Mehta “curb his perfectly legal expression of a constitutional right to freedom of speech,” as your email suggests I did.

    Hemant Mehta is free to promote whatever feckless ideas he wants on his public blog. He is free to promote them using whatever kind of obscene language he wants. He is free to provide a forum to whatever foulmouthed writers he wants, like the offensive Dan Savage. And parents have the right to decide if he, who is a role model for students, is the kind of man they want influencing their children. The First Amendment guarantees our right to speak. It does not guarantee no social consequences for the words we publicly speak.

    Teachers, like, for example, our Congressmen, are role models whether they like it or not. If an effective Congressman, in his free time had a blog and on it used obscene language and encouraged teens as young as 14 to do his bidding by engaging in deliberate deceit, his constituency would be livid.

    As a mother, you must know that when teens like their teachers, especially if they think their teacher is cool, they tend to be inordinately influenced by him or her. Teens will be less discriminating about, less critical of , and more easily disposed to accept the ideas and views of a teacher whom they like. This is why many parents care deeply about the character of their children’s coaches and teachers–not merely about their competence.


    Laurie Higgins

    Director of the Division of School Advocacy
    Illinois Family Institute
    (815) 519-3808

    My children attended school here in Canada, in public schools. I never would have dreamed of demanding that professionals teaching in a public institution somehow curb their perfectly legal expression of a constitutional right to freedom of speech, based on your comfort level. You have every right to believe what you wish, and shout it to the rooftops. So does Hemant. An articulate opponent, even if he does use cuss words…and if they offend, please feel free not to read his blog…is always better than blind agreement. It is only through real dialogue and dissent and debate that there will ever be any progress on any of these civil rights issues.

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