A Teacher Bribes a Student with Jesus December 26, 2010

A Teacher Bribes a Student with Jesus

I was reading the Chicago Tribune today and my jaw dropped when I saw this letter-to-the-editor from Ed Leighton:

Eighteen months after graduating from a public high school, I had a chance encounter with Mr. Clark, my old guidance counselor. In what might have been a fishing expedition, he asked me who my most influential teacher was.

“Mr. Eitmueller,” I replied.

He then asked if it had anything to do with Christianity. It did.

I was a teenager in the ’70s and had succumbed to many of its temptations. As a student of Mr. Eitmueller, he was well-aware of the resulting changes in me, and it seems, of my potential. When he told me I’d be receiving a failing grade in his class, I asked if there was anything that could be done (you know, to fix that).

There was. If I agreed to read the Gospel of John that summer, he would agree to elevate my failing grade to passing.

Certain I had just made a great deal, I walked away quite pleased with myself.

As agreed, he passed me.

As agreed, I read the Gospel of John. By summer’s end, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.

Just imagine if Eitmueller had suggested reading any book about atheism…

Better yet, imagine a public school teacher telling a child who failed the class that he would change the grade to passing, but only if the student read the Koran.

There would have been an uproar then. The teacher would have been severely reprimanded if not suspended or fired. There would be an uproar now. Every Christian Right group would rightfully be after that teacher. Every administrator at that school would be inundated with emails calling for their heads.

But because it’s a story about Christianity, it gets a complete pass. Everything’s ok. The teacher is a role model. The letter makes it into the Sunday edition of the Tribune.

It’s sickening to me (as a teacher) that a child would receive a grade he didn’t earn changed in exchange for reading Christian Scripture.

Anyone want to make a bet that the Illinois Family Institute has nothing to say about this story? How about any Religious Right group? Any church? Of course not. They want more exchanges like this to happen.

Maybe some Christians can prove me wrong by writing letters to the Tribune explaining why they oppose this awful form of bribery.

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  • WTF? This is wrong on so many levels.

    Mr. Leighton, I’m betting that the Gospel of John and maybe a few suggested readings from your minister is still today all you’ve read. Try reading the whole thing cover to cover, skipping nothing, independent of your religious leader, five times in a row. See if your faith is still intact.

    But the right or wrongness of the belief isn’t really the issue here. The issue is that no public school teacher has the right to issue a passing grade for a religious exercise.

  • Bribery in any form is absolutely repulsive…sadly he has an even worse form of bribery now…his mind in exchange for “heaven” Hopefully this ridiculous incident does not happen again…we need kids to learn real information not fairytales!

  • marylynne

    It’s how I met my husband. I was going to a charismatic Catholic youth group (oxymoron, I know). My husband was going because his university professor offered a choice of writing a paper or going to two youth group meetings of the group he mentored. I never realized before how wrong that was.

    This was Father Earl Bierman, one of the few busted and jailed for abuse. I found out years later that several of my friends from that group had been sexually abused by him for years. Horrible man.

  • Don Rose

    So, they act like this is a good thing?

    1) This loser passed a class, even though he actually failed it.

    2) He’s already weak-minded, so he’s an easy target for religion.

    They achieved a double fail, and are even stupid enough to brag about it as if it’s something to be admired. Pathetic

  • This is ridiculous and wrong. It’s bad enough, considering that reading the Gospel of John probably wasn’t even relevant to the class. (The only way I think it would be relevant would be if it had been a private religious school and the class he was failing was a Bible class.)

    Of course, what makes it worse is the violation of the First Amendment. I have the feeling that Christian right groups will try to justify this by saying that a teacher should have the “right” to conduct his/her classes however he/she wants.

  • Michael

    Is this a public school? It worries me if so.
    (There are plenty of other reasons to worry,however, this particular worry is about jurisprudence)

  • Jeff

    They want more exchanges like this to happen.

    He demonstrates this with his closing statement:

    I can’t imagine that happening today.

    But what I can imagine is how often it should happen but doesn’t.

    He was a prime candidate for Christianity – decades later, and he still doesn’t understand that it was wrong.

  • Richard Wade

    As agreed, he passed me.

    As agreed, I read the Gospel of John. By summer’s end, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior.

    And of course despite his “salvation” he didn’t go back to the teacher and insist that the grade be changed back to failing as he had earned.

    Doing the right thing is not rewarded in Christianity, only believing the right thing. Why be honest and ethical if only God knows you’re a cheater, and He doesn’t give a damn?

  • Wow. You guys are getting hyped about something that happened in the 70’s? Sure, what he did was wrong, but it happened over 30 years ago. If something like that happened today, the teacher would be sued.

  • @Richard Wade:

    That’s a good point.

  • Daryl

    What an awful little anecdote.

    Funny how the Gospel of John is considered a great “soul winner”. I guess it’s because of the high Christology; it’s the nearest thing in the New Testament that has Jesus making claims to divinity. For me, the whole gospel leaves me cold. During its entirety Jesus behaves like an arrogant prick. The Jesus of the Synoptics is positively humanistic by comparison.

  • Samiimas

    Wow. You guys are getting hyped about something that happened in the 70?s? Sure, what he did was wrong, but it happened over 30 years ago. If something like that happened today, the teacher would be sued.

    I agree, this story is completely irrelevant since public schools never force religion on students anymore. Nope, my old highschool never forced every single student to gather for prayer and they never had the teachers waste time in class reading idiotic chain emails about how dumb atheists are. That’s something that never, ever happens nowadays.

  • Gretchen

    The reason why this is worth discussing is the fact that this incident of extreme impropriety is being cited approvingly today, in a mainstream newspaper. Which suggests that there are plenty of other people who feel the same– that is, they either have no comprehension of the First Amendment or don’t care. That’s something to consider worthy of hype.

  • Bob

    @Kristina:

    It is disturbing because the entire exchange is absent moral/ethical value. This, from a religion with adherents who insist our nation’s laws and moral values stem from Christianity.

    It is disturbing that a passing grade was exchanged for reading one gospel out of the entire Bible. It’s like attesting you read and understand the Lord of the Rings because you read the chapter about Bilbo’s birthday party.

    That the author speaks of events that happened 30 years ago is irrelevant. If he’d been molested 30 years ago, would it no longer be of interest? Abuse need not be physical; it can be mental.

    The purpose of education is to prepare one for adult life by grounding one in fact and (hopefully) rational thought … not to sandbag a student by leaving them with nothing but an unrealistic idea of magical redemption.

  • Richard Wade

    Kristina,
    You’re missing two points:
    1. There’s no statute of limitations on being an asshole. Thirty plus years ago this asshole thought cheating for a grade was okay. Now he also thinks that cheating for Jesus is okay. His religion has not made him a better person; it has only given him an additional rationalization for continuing to be an asshole. I’ve known people like him. Even as they cheat, they agree with statements that atheists are without morals.

    2. It’s not this particular asshole, it’s also his born again buddies who are cheating for whatever they want and using their “salvation” as a salve to soothe what little conscience they have, instead of just stopping cheating.

    The essence of this story is that many people rationalize that cheating for Jesus is okay, and that once you’re saved, Jesus is okay with cheating on anything. It is relevant because this is happening right now, all around you, thousands of times a day, not just in schools, but also in government, in businesses, between neighbors and in families.

    Better hope that one of these pious cheaters isn’t your surgeon.

  • It’s nice to see that every comment on the Tribune page is negative towards Mr. Leighton’s story.

  • Bob

    The essence of this story is that many people rationalize that cheating for Jesus is okay, and that once you’re saved, Jesus is okay with cheating on anything. It is relevant because this is happening right now, all around you, thousands of times a day, not just in schools, but also in government, in businesses, between neighbors and in families.

    That sums it up nicely, Richard.

    There was an episode of Frontline entitled, ‘The Jesus Factor,’ looking at how evangelical Christianity played a role in the rehabilitation and eventual electability of one George W. Bush.

    A friend related how Bush, faced with numerous problems including a failing marriage, attended a Bible meeting and came away with the revelation that he could be saved, and keep Laura and the girls.

    In other words, George W. Bush got salvation and a rescued marriage.

    But what did Christ get? A wiser, more responsible man? Hardly. A more ethical, honest George W. Bush? We know that’s not the case, either. A sensitive, caring and compassionate George W. Bush? Nope – this is the president that ordered repeat and extended deployments, then LAUGHED at the plight of soldiers who were facing stress and other problems (including marital ones) as a result.

    We aren’t seeing service in any form here – we’re seeing people whose belief doesn’t even curb for an instant their baser instincts and destructive habits. We’re seeing hypocrites (whom Christ denounces in the Sermon on the Mount) who bandy the Lord’s name about while pursuing their own personal glorification.

    We’re seeing hateful, spiteful people who heap scorn upon a woman dying of cancer (Elizabeth Edwards), because she did not specifically and at great length, praise God in her last words. And then there are the folks from Westboro Baptist Church.

    This is what salvation looks like?

  • Nerdette

    My local Panera is the hangout for many bible groups (in addition to studying students and grading TAs), and one day it so happened I stuck up a conversation with an evangelist (quite by accident – he was just a nice gentleman who suddenly asked, “Have you found God?” – ugh). After hours of talking, he asked me to read the Gospel of John. I did, and the next time we met, we talked about it.

    I was particularly interested how he kept finding excuses for Jesus’ bad behavior – a “remnant of the time” I think is how he put it – but tried to highlight “morals” we could learn from the account. He grew rather flustered when I suggested that all such “moral” incidences were also no more than “remnants of the time.” Sorry, John Gospels, you found no convert here.

    Doing the right thing is not rewarded in Christianity, only believing the right thing.

    When I suggested this very concept to the evangelist, he completely agreed – no matter how many good deeds you do, you only get a nice afterlife if you accept Jesus. Actions mean nothing to these people, it’s only what you believe that matters. Terrible, terrible belief system.

  • a public school teacher telling a child who failed the class that he would change the grade to passing, but only if the student read the Koran.

    ding ding!

    this is the muscular xtianity flexing its privilege in all our faces, but mostly in the faces of other differently flavored belief systems. i don’t think they even notice us in this formulation. this is all about tacit display that reaffirms: “this is the xtian nation,” for all the Founders would be spinning in their graves to learn it true. it’s a big Fuck You! to jews, muslims, wiccans, buddhists, mormons and yes, those atheists who are so relatively rare in the life of your average xtian, as to be nearly mythological and treated like unicorns when encountered.

    “i am a public servant, and despite the Constitution, i can use my office to push my superstition. neener neener, you can’t infidel.” and i agree that xtianity, while not unique in this way, specializes in “do anything you want, just ‘pay’ for your crimes by publicly praising our god and giving us money. of all the faiths out there, it ranks high in the hypocrisy dept. which make it my eternal enemy.

    [and isn’t it interesting, how my auto spell check will let me (via lack of capitalization) misspell all other religions, but doesn’t recognize “wiccan” as a ‘real’ word? nope, no Patriarchy in force here, no siree. only boys know about the supernatural, after all.]

  • Bribery, threats, coercion, payoffs…it’s all business as usual. Then, once someone is sucked into the “family”, control is maintained through fear of eternal punishment and hope for eternal reward.

  • Phoebe

    That’s how the virus is spread. They prey on the weak-minded, and since they get their morals from the bible, they actually don’t know right from wrong.

  • This is horrible. Teachers reversing grades in exchange for students reading religious texts should be terminated.

  • Typical Christianity. Keep them dumb and reel them in.

  • For what it’s worth, I’ve posted something pointing out what is seriously wrong with what happened, as a Christian and from a Christian perspective.

    http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2010/12/read-gospel-change-grade.html

  • gsw

    Since the whole church has a direct link to god’s telephone thing is a scam (con game?) to get money based on a tax-free pyramid scheme, why is everyone so surprised that lying and cheating is an integral part?
    Even approving of lying and cheating is an age old tradition in religions: Pretend to believe our lies and we will not hang/burn/torture/otherwise kill you.
    Memories are short.

  • I can think of two instances where this would be acceptable (though still not somethign to encourage):

    1. The class was in religious education (or world religion) and the student failed in their reading of the Gospel of John.

    2. The class was in English literature and the King James Bible was being assessed as a work of poetry.

    I’m dubious about the latter given how easy it is to abuse this form of education. Of course a Math class, chemistry class, biology class, economics class, etc have no bearing on the poetic language of 1600s or the religious message of Christianity.

    I wonder though if Mr Leighton had performed the task of reading the Gospel according to John and decided for himself that it was bullshit would his teacher have given him a passing grade? Somehow I doubt it. I think that the task was to become a Christian and get the prize. A not untypical logic for a Christian.

  • Samiimas

    For what it’s worth, I’ve posted something pointing out what is seriously wrong with what happened, as a Christian and from a Christian perspective.

    Your link already has people in the comments throwing out bullshit arguments like “Well maybe the Gospel of John was related to what they were studying! Maybe it was English class!” to defend this when we already know they’d be screaming for blood if the teacher had assigned the Koran or a Dawkins book.

  • Jeff

    Samiimas, the fellow making those arguments is a professor of Semitic languages, who graduated from Wheaton – obviously a Christian, and probably an evangelical. Naturally, he’ll want to rationalize it, and McGrath will be only too happy to allow him to.

  • Jeff

    Meanwhile, do you all notice how conspicuously absent Robert W. is from these threads which deal with Christians Behaving Badly?

  • Robert W.

    Jeff,

    Thank you for noticing my absence. I disagree with this teacher’s actions even if his heart was in the right place. There are better ways to spread the Gospel.

  • Silent Service

    Something seems fishy here. Are you actually expecting me to believe that a kid that couldn’t be bothered to do the homework necessary to pass a class took the time over the summer to read the Gospel of John? I call shenanigans. This sounds very much like made up crap. “Oh if you’ll just read the Gospel you’ll accept Zombie Jebus into your heart!” Very unbelievable crap at that.

  • Jeff

    Of course you’d think his heart was in the right place. Get ’em saved – that’s all that matters.

  • I was linked here by a friend. I have to say, as a teacher who happens to be Christian, that story is disgusting. I happen to be from a denomination that doesn’t believe in evangelizing, so that probably helps add to my horror. Why can’t other people just leave one another’s beliefs or non-beliefs alone?

    I’m not sure what’s worse. The fact that church and state were clearly not separate here or the fact that this “teacher” gave a student a grade of competency when he was clearly incompetent. What a huge disservice to that student. I wonder how many other young minds that man warped.

  • Wildbird99

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as it is far from an isolated case. Religionists (especially Christians, it seems) don’t see anything wrong with telling lies for or about their own religion or religious idols (giving a passing grade to a failing student is a lie). We are reminded of this each Christmas, as Christians lie about the birth of Jesus as a means to oppress others (that is the true meaning of Christmas, as it relates to Christianity).

    It’s good that this story was in the paper. Justice Brandeis once said (I am probably paraphrasing) that sunlight is the best of disinfectants.

  • Abby

    This seems like a condensed version of what all took place. I see no problem getting a grade changed by doing some extra credit work. The teacher made an offer, the student accepted. No one was forced or coerced. And if this young man found something to believe in…Yay for him. I find it funny how everyone puts in their total negative 2 cents. But even funnier as to how people will sit and pick apart something to turn it around into just plain ugliness. Why is it so hard for some people to just go about their own rat killing. If a person finds what they need for their peace of mind, whatever religion or believe that may be….good for them. Everyone needs something to believe in and what works for one may not the other. As for labeling people…I don’t like being labeled and thrown into a classification of liars. Most comments on here are caling people liars and how christians lie and oppress others. Really has nothing to do with the story that was told. So quit judging people and move on. Build yourself a bridge and get over it!!

  • Claudia

    @Abby, I’m sure you’d feel that way if your own daughter was asked to read a Scientologist text by a teacher in exchange for a passing grade she did not earn and your daughter subsequently became a scientologist.

    Right?

  • Lisa Jameson

    Maybe it wasn’t bribery maybe he was just assigning him the most boring thing to read that he could think of…

  • godfree

    This sort of thing is to be expected so long as we have all these knuckle-dragging bible colleges cranking out degrees.

  • Jeff

    This sort of thing is to be expected so long as we have all these knuckle-dragging bible colleges cranking out degrees.

    Yes, but what bothers me more is the increasing frequency with which creationists are being awarded science degrees by legitimate (i.e., non-Christian) universities.

    It shouldn’t be allowed. They have their own institutions of “higher learning” – let them go to those.

  • L. Foster

    I want a shirt that says “There’s no statute of limitations on being an asshole.” That is just 100% pure organic free-range truth right there.

    *Fires up Photoshop and CafePress*

  • Parse

    @Jeff:
    Yes, but what bothers me more is the increasing frequency with which creationists are being awarded science degrees by legitimate (i.e., non-Christian) universities.

    It shouldn’t be allowed. They have their own institutions of “higher learning” – let them go to those.

    Seriously? If they do the work, they should get the degree. If they refuse to, they shouldn’t. It’s as simple as that. Not everybody is Jonathan Wells, going to get a degree solely so that they can try to ‘destroy Darwinism’. The problem isn’t creationists getting science degrees; the problem is that teachers like Mr. Eitmueller don’t understand what school-appropriate religious behavior is.

  • Jeff

    Seriously? If they do the work, they should get the degree.

    If they repudiate the basic principles of science, they can’t do the work. It’s just that simple. This is especially the case in graduate school, in which original work is expected to be done, based upon a foundation of the work already established.

    Creationists getting science degrees most certainly is a problem – and it’s becoming a larger one.

  • Jascollins

    Creationists getting science degrees IS a problem, but it’s actually NOT growing. I’ve seen a few pieces about applicants rejected for graduate programs for being Creationist.

    I’m sure it still does happen, but I’m just as sure more and more programs are failing students who refuse to face facts.

  • Sicile

    Forget the religious aspects, how can you record a grade that a student didn’t earn? That’s BS! Don’t even get me started on our f’d up educational system!

  • Jeff

    Creationists getting science degrees IS a problem, but it’s actually NOT growing.

    I disagree. The few examples one hears about coming out of Northeastern schools comprise the tip of the iceberg. I understand that in large universities in the South and Midwest, it’s pretty much par for the course.

    I’ve seen a few pieces about applicants rejected for graduate programs for being Creationist.

    I’d like very much to see them.

  • Robert W.

    Jeff,

    There is actually an astronomy professor originally from the University of Texas that was denied a job at the University of Kentucky because he was a Christian who held the believe that science and a belief in God could be reconciled. There was evidence that he was not hired because he believed there were some problems with the theory of evolution.I assume you would think the University was correct in not hiring him for his religious beliefs even though there was no question that he was imminently qualified.

    His name is Martin Gaskell and he has sued the University for discrimination, The last thing I saw was that the court was allowing the suit to go forward.

  • Jeff

    Oh, naturally. As soon as I started reading your comment, I knew you were going to bring up Martin Gaskell. PZ Myers dealt with it two weeks ago:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/12/martin_gaskell_was_not_expelle.php

    He wasn’t qualified, but if he had been, he wasn’t discriminated against. Of course, you’ll continue to believe whatever emails you receive from your pastor and your friends. As much as you keep trying to demonstrate otherwise, you’re just a compendium of Christian cliches.

    Can a Christian practice science? Of course; Ken Miller of Brown University does it admirably (although you’ll probably say he isn’t a Real Christian™ because he’s a Catholic). I understand a few of the biology professors at Calvin College are actually able to wrap their minds around evolution as well, and don’t accept ID, either (although I’m sure the other Calvinists think they’re going to hell).

    However, an ID proponent is not in the business of reconciling science with Christianity. Rather, s/he subordinates science to faith, and sees nothing wrong with doing so. Science requires deductive reasoning. Theology demands inductive reasoning. The two are incompatible.

  • ACN

    Shelly Steiner, wrote that UK [University of Kentucky] should no more hire an astronomer skeptical of evolution than “a biologist who believed that the sun revolved around the Earth.”

    Martin Gaskell, whatever his other qualifications, vocally denies evolution, is an old earth creationist and looks kindly on the wacky ID-creationism crowd. The faculty at UK want to toss the guy not because of his religion alone, but because of what his religion is doing to his scientific views and how it is influencing him as a communicator of science.

    You can read some of his public views on genesis/science justification here.

    I’ll quote PZ here because he says it well:

    There is a difference between accepting a theory that is incomplete, like evolution, and a set of wacky ideas that are contradicted by the available evidence, like these various flavors of creationism that Gaskell is favoring. That calls his ability to think scientifically into question, and that is legitimate grounds to abstain from hiring him.

  • Robert W.

    Jeff ACN,

    He wasn’t qualified, but if he had been, he wasn’t discriminated against. Of course, you’ll continue to believe whatever emails you receive from your pastor and your friends. As much as you keep trying to demonstrate otherwise, you’re just a compendium of Christian cliches.

    His qualifications for the job were not in question. He is a PHD research astronomer seeking a position as an observatory director. They ultimately hired a professor with a Masters degree instead.

    Instead of erlying upon your interpretation or that of an obviously biased PZ Meyers, actually I will rely upon what the court finds as the facts.

    In denying the motions for summary judgment the court said both that he was qualified for the job and that he had presented evidence of discrimination.

    If you want some information directly about the evidence presented and the court’s ruling you can go here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2010/12/evidence_of_discrimination_aga041621.html

    The faculty at UK want to toss the guy not because of his religion alone, but because of what his religion is doing to his scientific views and how it is influencing him as a communicator of science.

    Circular reasoning in an effort to hide the obvious discrimination. Its like a southern university saying, we won’t hire him, not because he is African American, but because the fact that he is African American will influence how he communicates the history of the civil rights movement.

    It is clear that you have an apparent willingness to accept discrimination based upon someone’s religious beliefs under the notion of its just good science. No matter how you phrase it, you are justifying his non hire because you don’t think his religious beliefs can be reconciled with your view of the scientific evidence.

  • Jeff

    Yes, of course – the Discovery Institute. A wellspring of information. As I said – you’re just a compendium of Christian cliches. If an original thought ever arose in what’s left of your mind, it would die of loneliness.

    “No matter how you phrase it, you are justifying his non hire because you don’t think his religious beliefs can be reconciled with your view of the scientific evidence.”

    Fixed it for you.

    As far as the court is concerned – we’ll see what the outcome is after what will undoubtedly be a long, expensive and unnecessary trial. Unless the University settles, which they may do, unfortunately, because often it’s easier just to shut you people up.

    And if that fictitious African American candidate were to tell them, “I don’t care about whatever historical evidence may surface; my mind is unchangeable, because I have a magic book that tells me everything I need to know, and if you don’t subscribe to that magic book, you’ll be tortured forever and ever and ever… ” – yeah, you’re DAMN RIGHT I’d say he shouldn’t be hired.

  • Robert W.

    Jeff,

    Yes, of course – the Discovery Institute. A wellspring of information. As I said – you’re just a compendium of Christian cliches. If an original thought ever arose in what’s left of your mind, it would die of loneliness.

    The quotes were from the court’s opinion so unless you claim they were misquoted then your comment about the source are irrelevant.

    The fact that you repeatedly resort yo silly insults just shows how shallow your arguments really are.

    “No matter how you phrase it, you are justifying his non hire because you don’t think his religious beliefs can be reconciled with your view of the scientific evidence.”

    Fixed it for you.

    Right, because there is no room in science for a different opinion.

    As far as the court is concerned – we’ll see what the outcome is after what will undoubtedly be a long, expensive and unnecessary trial. Unless the University settles, which they may do, unfortunately, because often it’s easier just to shut you people up.

    Funny, when atheists force lawsuits to remove a sign from a school it is necessary litigation because some atheist has a made up damage by being offended but when people actually discriminate against a person because of his religious beliefs it is unnecessary. What a hypocritical worldview.

    And if that fictitious African American candidate were to tell them, “I don’t care about whatever historical evidence may surface; my mind is unchangeable, because I have a magic book that tells me everything I need to know, and if you don’t subscribe to that magic book, you’ll be tortured forever and ever and ever… ” – yeah, you’re DAMN RIGHT I’d say he shouldn’t be hired.

    So when has Gaskell ever said anything like that?

  • stogoe

    Jeff,
    You should be arguing with Abby, the utter wackaloon up there. She’s much more entertaining than Robert W.

  • ACN

    Circular reasoning in an effort to hide the obvious discrimination. Its like a southern university saying, we won’t hire him, not because he is African American, but because the fact that he is African American will influence how he communicates the history of the civil rights movement.

    It is clear that you have an apparent willingness to accept discrimination based upon someone’s religious beliefs under the notion of its just good science. No matter how you phrase it, you are justifying his non hire because you don’t think his religious beliefs can be reconciled with your view of the scientific evidence.

    I will not get dragged into this bizzare racist analogy

    Maybe this is my fault and I didn’t express myself correctly. Martin has bad ideas. Ideas that are not supported by evidence. Purely on the basis of being an evolution denier and an old-earth creationist, and being those things publicly, makes him look foolish. That alone is sufficient reason for the UofK to not hire him. That his bad ideas are supported by his religion does not make this religious discrimination. It is simply unsurprising after the fact.

    To be very clear, being an evolution denier is not the same as being a physicist who rejects GR in favor of MOND. It is more like being a chemist who rejects the theory of the atom. Evolution is the unifying idea of biology, and despite the fact that Martin is not a biologist, he has to take his licks here for holding to an awful idea. I would not excuse a biologist who subscribed to the “angel” theory of planetary orbits. I do not excuse astronomers who hold the “goddidit” theory of human origins.

  • Dana

    After reading most of the posts on here, I am amazed at how “religious” people can be about the absense of any spiritual belief.

    Personally, if the guy was a muslim and he chose to give this guy a grade for reading the Koran, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. The kid gets to decide whether the material is good for him or not, certainly not all of us.

    The hypocricy of a demanded non-spiritual belief system is just as disgusting as suggesting a spiritual reading of some kind. Let him choose.

    I don’t believe the requisite was that he come to faith in Christ, just that he read the text.

    What changes a person’s life is the reality of a connection — maybe a connection with parents on their beliefs about the Koran, maybe a connection with a teacher who shows some concern for a wayward youth, maybe something deeper.

    I have read the gospel of John, and I have actually read through the whole Bible. It’s definitely interesting from a literary standpoint — the common theme, the prophetic connectedness, and the radical message – seriously radical.

    Jesus makes some wild claims. You can blow him off or you can believe him – we all have that choice. My choice is relevant for me – yours is relevant for you and you alone.

    If the kid read it and found something that turned him off the high risk path he was on – I have to wonder if that was terrible.

  • God’s chosen people do not accept Christ; it is the contrary, we are accepted in the beloved (Christ)