“Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you’re going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.” – Butch Hancock, Musician, the Flatlanders
That insight by way of this story, The Lies of Texas Are Upon You
During the campaigns and administrations of both Presidents Bush and Ronald Reagan, speeches and public appearances were almost mandatory for students and the religion of those leaders was forced on the crowds gathered in the taxpayer built gymnasiums. I cannot count the times that I attended political rallies as a journalist during school hours where students were told to leave class and come provide a crowd for the Republican candidates. Invariably, at many of these, I was standing next to my friend, a Pulitzer-winning journalist who is Jewish, as a Christian prayer was offered and the name of Jesus was invoked. Nobody saw the contradictions and hypocrisies.
In Texas, we see this as a positive attribute, taking kids out of classes for candidate rallies and force feeding them the candidate’s religion. Hell, we’re doing even better than that in our school system. A number of boards of education have voted to begin teaching the bible in public schools. A statement from a school board in Central Texas indicated that the class will be optional and will teach the bible as “an historical document.” Oddly enough, we aren’t teaching about the Koran’s historical impact and power and that might be a handy piece of knowledge in the future for our children. I think the constitution is as clear on this matter as it is on the right to keep and bear arms. Church and state are to be separated. No damned religion of any kind or any of its texts should be taught in public schools.
Hal Crowther once wrote a great essay on forcing dogma down students throats in public schools. He pointed out that families could pray together or do religious studies before school – any denomination you like Presbyterian, Methodist, independent Baptist, Catholic, Judaism or goodness forbid one of hundreds of native American religions. You could sing hymns in the car on the way to school, students can pray quietly to themselves while listening to a science lecture on the Theory of Gravity. Americans of any religion can head to a church service at one of those multi-million dollar churches that seem to to be spaced about five miles apart across the nation, have pray meetings or mass after school. They can have a group prayer in the car on the way home. They can spend the remaining hours of the day reading their preferred book of worship. Obviously the far Right fundamentalist have all the freedom they need to practice their religion. The real problem they have is not having the unrestricted right to try to convert others. The Constitution is clear enough, your freedom of religion ends where mine begins.
So as not to pick on Texas exclusively, Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal took state helicopters to church
Louisiana’s Republican Governor Bobby Jindal is receiving heavy criticism after local media revealed he has been using taxpayer money to make helicopter visits to churches in the state.
According to one Louisiana newspaper, the governor’s chopper-travel habits have cost the taxpayers over $180,000.
That might be in the Gnostic Gospels – thou shall fleece the working class for helicopter rides to church.
A free on-line course in Neuroethics and International Biolaw. There is a lecture video here – Dr. Martha Farah, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences and Director of the Penn Center for Neuroscience & Society
Dr. Farah’s lecture may have gained a certain urgency of late with all the urban myths about death panels.