Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Portland-based writer specializing in...

According to a note at the bottom a recent Religious News Service commentary, Tom Krattenmaker specializes in "religion in public life." I'm not familiar with Krattenmaker or his writings but if the short piece entitled "COMMENTARY: A new evangelical engagement with public schools" is any indication of his expertise I am not impressed. Within the first paragraph he clearly indicates that he hasn't a clue what he's writing about.

"Why would evangelical Christians want anything to do with public schools? Judging from decades of culture war rhetoric, these are bastions of secular humanism where God and his fearers are unwelcome. School prayers — not allowed. Teaching creationism — verboten. Abstinence-only sex education — few to be found. Sharing the gospel openly — forget about it"

Utter nonsense! There is no ban on prayer in schools. Every student has the right to pray. What they do not have a right to do is preach. During any break or free time students are allowed to pray as they see fit. There are, of course, reasonable restrictions. Their prayers cannot be disruptive. They cannot interrupt a class or other students activities. It is also not allowed for the school itself, whether in the form of policy or by individual faculty/staff, to impose prayer on students. Basically, students have always had and continue to have the right to pray regardless of where they are. That is strike one.

Unfortunately, more states are pushing through "academic freedom" bills that allow the teaching of creationism in science class. Technically there has never been a ban on creationism in schools in general even before these bills. What was not seen as acceptable was passing it off as science. Schools have and still do teach various aspects of creationism in other classes. Strike two.

Even though the Obama administration has begun to reinstate some funding for comprehensive sex-ed classes the majority of states still favor abstinence only based sex-ed courses over comprehensive curriculum. This has been the case for decades. Abstinence only despite its proven failure is still the standard for sex education throughout the country. Strike three. And we have not even gotten to fact that Christians do openly share their religious views, including the Gospels.

How exactly does this guy specialize in "religion in public life" when he has no idea how infused religion is in this country? By this incredibly low standard I should not only be considered an expert on religion, which I do not consider myself to be, I should be a demi-god of this subject matter. After all if such a blatantly clueless dumb-ass like Krattenmaker can be seen as having any expertise it should be easy to argue that I am near omniscient in the field.

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