Wednesday, May 11, 2005

This is what you have to look forward to in Minnesota

A big thanks to Minnesota Politics for this City Pages' link about Minnetonka's International Baccalaureate Program. If you don't think Intelligent Design, (Christian only) prayer in school, The Bible as Literature course that aren't about the Bible as literature but the Bible as faith, and all that other claptrap are something the religious Right want to bring to Minnesota, you have another thing coming. It's already here.

I excerpt some of the highlights:
  • The petition gives seven reasons why the program's elimination is needed, one of them being that "the International Baccalaureate rejects the Judeo-Christian values held by the majority of families in our district and instead promotes the atheistic Secular Humanist principles of multiculturalism, pacifism, one-world government, and moral relativism." [bloggers note: there are multiple cultures - how would you ever figure that out in Minnesota without stepping foot in the street? Even in Eagan I have at least three different cultures-of-origin living within 100 yards of my house. Yes, yes - I understand that's not precisely the definition you're conveying - but good luck convincing your kids of that when their education is being curtailed. Liking peace is bad? After the rapture, don't some of you believe Christ will rule over a single world government? I don't know what to say about moral relativism, I'm ambivalent.]
  • Gov. Tim Pawlenty and President George Bush--two people who aren't particularly known for their anti-American, anti-Christian beliefs--have endorsed the program. [bloggers note: you do realize this means you're questioning our government on both a state and national level, specifically as regards Republicans. Vote DFL/Democrat next time, then your questioning won't be treason (to your party).]
  • "My fear is that my kids are going to be taught America isn't better than any other country in the world," Borowski says. [bloggers note: if it's a self-evident fact, won't your kids figure it out for themselves? maybe it's those torture pictures or the job they get at McDonald's that are more of a problem as regards their perceptions of our country. Aren't you anti-American for suggesting pride in our country has to be inculcated in school, or at least not questioned, in order for it to be self-evident and sustainable? If you really are as Christian as you say you are, isn't God telling you how great and important the U.S. is, or at least telling your pastor/minister so he can tell you on? If you're mixing your faith and patriotism, one can be brought into question without the other?]
  • The accusations are not lost on Susan Campbell, Aaron's mother. "I'm a Christian," says Campbell, "so I was very concerned about the controversy." So concerned, in fact, she asked her pastor about the program. "He's really sharp, and he said it is anti-Christian," she says, with resignation. "I guess I have to accept that as his opinion." [bloggers note: and she wouldn't want to think for herself - it's easier to accept the word of a (pseudo) authority - of course your pastor always knows best - after all, he has more education and actual breadth of learning than any other human being in the world (I have a piece of paper that says I'm ordained as well, and I can work in Biztalk, C# and SQL and I certainly don't consider myself the expert on even issues related to the later items), and at some point in his schooling/seminary work was, presumably, personally introduced to and had coffee with Jesus H. Christ himself who denounced, in no uncertain terms, with unquestionable precision, the IB program at Minnetonka High School and, of course, the ungodly, anti-American United Nations. Might I suggest giving your pastor a shove, finding a new church, and relaxing with some Caribou coffee and a copy of Lamb (the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal) while your son actually learns how to think for himself.]


Joe said...

Just a couple notes:

I took a Bible as Literature class in college. I enjoyed it, because it was exactly what it purported to be. Of course that sort of thing could be easily subverted. Plus, it was in college, where it is easier to avoid pressure from parents. Are Bible as Lit classes in high school less agnostic?

The accusations of UN involvement are at best ad hominem. It amazes me that, in the citypages article anyway, the argument kept coming back to that.

Of course Gov. Pawlenty and Pres. Bush have endorsed it. Sounds like a good program. I don't know how much others have noticed, but the Christian Right isn't particularly happy with the Bush administration - he's actually less under their sway than some would have us believe (wasn't it last week that he said something along the lines that atheists can be patriots and good citizens? His dad disagrees).

As far as the America thing - I don't see any problem with inculcating a sense of patriotism in children through school. But you can do that without lying to them. My impression is that this program discusses America's position in the world in a frank manner. As long as it isn't dishonestly evoking harsh anti-American sentiment, I don't see the problem.

As for the comment by Susan Campbell, it sounds like she's merely accepted that her pastor has an opinion, not that she necessarily agrees with it.

Some stuff that's a little on the side:

Are there really people out there pushing moral relativism anymore? Maybe cultural relativism. I don't know. I might be out of touch with this one.

What's the big deal with multiculturalism? Isn't it just the idea that immigrants can or should keep their cultural identity? I can see why that might worry some people, but it seems reasonable to me.

Pacifism: Again, I haven't looked at the program. I'd be surprised if it pushed strict pacifism, though.

One-world government: See pacifism.

Anonymous said...

I find it distressing that parents and teachers want to promote that America is better than any other country and we have a god-given right to trash the Earth's resources and get as rich as possible - per the middle school teacher's comments. And let's not ever admit that we might have done anything wrong at any time in our history. It's not like we're repeating any of those wrong moves right now!

And in regard to the father's comment - "Our education system is the envy of the world," says Borowski...I would have to disagree. There are countries in the world whose education systems and outcomes are far superior to ours.

klund said...

Hey! He referenced Lamb!