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Texas Teacher suspended for being "liberal" and an "atheist"


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Initial post: Feb 6, 2009 7:16:16 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 6, 2009 7:18:54 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 6, 2009 7:20:09 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 7:26:54 PM PST
Jam says:
Give it a week and someone will accuse him of witchcraft.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 7:43:32 PM PST
Joe says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 7:58:29 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
Joe says:
Any teacher who teaches religion in a public school knows what the consequences are. Atheism is just one of a long list of religions prohibited from being taught in public schools. I don't necessarily agree with the policy but that's the way it is.

Joe: Did you even read what Analyst posted? First of all, atheism is not a religion. It is a lack of belief in a deity. Second of all, did you not read that the school board installed a minister to teach in this teacher's place? He was not accused of "teaching atheism," he was accused of not believing in god and being too "liberal," whatever that means. It is a blatant form of discrimination.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 8:11:32 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 8:44:35 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 8:46:24 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2009 9:15:03 PM PST
Ponger says:
As the book Lord of the Flies nicely conveys, man will return to his ignorant superstitous ways if not constantly educated with the reality of nature and the rules of civilization. This is why uneducated areas of the world continue to turn out fundamentalists and those who denounce science. In the book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, many historical examples of this behavior are well presented. We must push back such ignornace by always insisting that the truth be taught to our children.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 4:42:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2009 5:07:01 AM PST
'probabilist says:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookeland_Independent_School_District
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jasper_County,_Texas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookeland,_Texas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_East_Texas#Deep_East_Texas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Texas
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Thicket
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piney_Woods
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Burnout
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spindletop

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Texas#Culture

Culture

"East Texas is often considered the westernmost extension of the Deep South, and is culturally connected to the rest of the Southern United States more than than the other regions of Texas."
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_East_Texas#Deep_East_Texas

Deep East Texas

Deep East Texas is a subregion of East Texas. According to the Deep East Texas Council of Governments the region consists of the following twelve counties: Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, and Tyler. Many structures in these counties were heavily damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Rita.

The "Deep" designation comes from the similarity to East Texas (it is similar in culture and geography, being highly forested), but with a location "deeper" (i.e., further east and away from the gulf coast) than the rest of East Texas.

"Deep" also refers to the cultural and social characteristics of the area and is considered synonymous to "The Big Thicket," an allusion to the dense growth of underbrush in the "piney woods." It was the earliest area of Texas to be settled by Anglo-Americans (and one of the last to submit to law enforcement--by the governments of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, state of Texas or the United States.) Renegade clans controlled local governments, especially in Shelby County, well into the first quarter of the 20th century.[citation needed]

The area contains two of the oldest towns in Texas; Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas, dating from 18th century, and San Augustine, the oldest "Anglo" settlement in Texas, dating from the 1820s. Prior to the Texas War of Independence, settlement was generally prohibited by the Spanish and later Mexican governments, but neither government was able to exert control or law enforcement in the area. As a consequence, the "Big Thicket" became a refuge for criminals fleeing the United States and hiding out in a "no man's land" in the pine thickets.
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Posted on Feb 7, 2009 5:20:52 AM PST
Belar says:
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=3164811&page=1

The link above is not about a teacher, but about a student. This story reminded me of the one that I just linked. It also happened in Oklahoma, but the circumstances are just as ridiculous. Religious people not only being unable to mind their own business, but going out of their way to ostracize and humiliate people that aren't cookie-cutter molds of them. I vividly remember being heartbroken when I saw the story on 20/20. I've never been a 'believer', but I was always pretty low-key about it when I was younger, due to fear of being in the exact same situation that this girl and her family were in. It's bad enough having a few people here and there that are completely intolerant of religious beliefs differing from their own, but to have almost an entire town against you, just fills me with disgust.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 10:08:59 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 8, 2009 3:49:09 AM PST]

Posted on Feb 7, 2009 1:26:43 PM PST
brunumb says:
So this is how followers of 'The Goatherders Almanac' behave.
And the religious wonder where atheists get their morals from.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 1:52:07 PM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 1:58:30 PM PST
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Posted on Feb 7, 2009 4:04:39 PM PST
Rebecca says:
Several years ago, SOPHIE'S CHOICE was one of the novels that my AP students could elect to read over the summer. (The other two were NATIVE SON and EAST OF EDEN.)

At the beginning of the year, a father (of a previously home-schooled student) called to vilify me because I was "teaching pornography." I explained to him that A) the students had a CHOICE of which novel to read; B) AP students read adult literature; and C) while there definitely are sexually explicit sections in the book, the main story is IMPORTANT.

No dice. He went all the way to the superintendent, who called my classroom to tell me to stop teaching the novel immediately and never mention it in class again. I wasn't teaching it in class -- It was summer reading to try to expand the kids' knowledge of the world.

But what I found funny were the comments of the other students who had read the novel and been very affected by it. "I just skipped over the sex parts and got back to the REAL story." Well, good for you, guys. That's called "discernment."

BTW -- My county had sent me to various workshops at the Holocaust Museum about teaching SOPHIE'S CHOICE the previous spring. Guess they didn't bother to check it out.

OY, COULD I have made a big stink about this. But I had two young kids to support and couldn't afford to lose my job.

So I substituted THE POISONWOOD BIBLE. I guess the fundies haven't figured that one out yet. It DOES have "Bible" in the title.

Rebecca

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 4:30:46 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 7, 2009 5:17:54 PM PST
Joe,

"Atheism is just one of a long list of religions prohibited from being taught in public schools."

Atheism is not a religion.

And as a former public school social studies teacher, I have to contradict you here - religion is a part of a society's culture, and when different cultures are taught as part of a social studies curriculum, religion is usually a part of that study. Teachers should never, of course, try to convert students to any set of beliefs or non-beliefs, but to expose students to different ideas and ways of thought WITHOUT BIAS is not a bad thing, to my way of thinking - it helps build empathy and understanding and tolerance for others.

Karen

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 5:05:09 PM PST
J. Russell says:
But if anyone out there knows any other resource that can be brought in to stop this injustice, I ask you please contact us, and forward this out to them. Brad@midsouthpeace.org

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The only real way to do anything about this is to get it to the news. I am sure that Rachel Maddow and/or Keth Olberman would love a story like this. I am sure it would soon spread to all other news organizations, well maybe not Fox.
Once you start getting some national mediaspotlighted on this, although I am sure it would not shame them, it would force them to start operating within the law again.

Posted on Feb 7, 2009 5:26:43 PM PST
A. Caplan says:
I see a federal civil rights lawsuit in Brookeland's future.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 5:52:04 PM PST
Rebecca says:
Karen,

Whenever I touch on ANYTHING even semi-religious in my literature classes, I make sure to give the kids background and remind them that we are discussing literature as LITERATURE, based on what people thought at the time. I am NOT professing my beliefs (or lack thereof, and we certainly wouldn't want to go THERE!).

I cannot and will not look at a classroom full of Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, atheists, and kids who don't know what the heck they are and proselytize. Not that I would do that anyway.

Instead, we have a standard procedure. If I allude to something that they don't understand, they yell out, "Jew here! Buddhist here! Please explain, because I don't know what you're talking about!!!"

Rebecca

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 6:25:46 PM PST
Rebecca,

I love it!!! :)

Karen

Posted on Feb 7, 2009 6:34:16 PM PST
As a non-religious conservative, it seems to me that we are looking at hypocrisy here.
What if the teacher had gone into the classroom and openly espoused conservative ideas and then was threatened with firing? Seems to me that the same people who are gasping, tutting, and clucking over the liberal teacher would be cheering the powers that be for wanting to fire the conservative teacher.
I'm talking about an even-up comparison here, disregarding the backwardness of this geographical area and/or its past history. It seems that we all had better be consistent on freedom of speech and what is appropriate in a Public School classroom.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 7:21:02 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 9, 2010 3:49:27 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2009 8:11:18 PM PST
S. Kessler says:
So I substituted THE POISONWOOD BIBLE. I guess the fundies haven't figured that one out yet. It DOES have "Bible" in the title.

Rebecca

S. Kessler: That's a terrific anti-fundie book. Sophie's Choice is such an important book. Took place in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn, just a few blocks from where I lived when I was first married. Why do Christians have such a problem with sex? Why is violence okay but sex is dirty and disgusting? Truly baffles me.
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  35
Total posts:  205
Initial post:  Feb 6, 2009
Latest post:  Mar 7, 2010

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