The heat is on Dunbar

Cynthia Dunbar took a pounding today on the editorial pages of the usually staid Austin-American Statesman, in a blistering piece that rightfully excoriates her as “an embarrassment who has brought heaping amounts of ridicule to this state,” and “a disgrace to public education and an embarrassment to Texas.”

But on top of her utterly asinine remarks about President-elect Obama (which, to the surprise of no one, were published by Brannon Howse’s home for wayward congenital idiots, the Christian Worldview Network), we’ve been concerned about her ilk for a long time. She is one of the fundamentalist faction on the State Board of Education, and is responsible for putting two fellow idiots from the Discovery Institute in positions of authority to “review” science education standards for the state. A purer example of putting foxes in charge of the henhouse you could not find.

Stephen Meyer’s and Ralph Seelke’s appointments also carry the taint of conflict of interest, as they are authors of the Discotute’s new anti-evolution “textbook,” Exploring Evolution. This is the book intended to replace Of Pandas and People. It has bleached its pages of anything that could be considered ID-promoting lawsuit bait, but still repeats the same bogus claims about evolution the DI has always been making. And Dunbar has been instrumental in machinating this latest assault on science education. As the Statesman editorial also notes, Dunbar “lists herself as an anatomy teacher but won’t tell even the Texas Education Agency at which school she teaches.” Is it any surprise that ideologues can get elected in a neoconservative political climate and freely lie about their own professional qualifications?

There has to be some way to oust this despicable fool from her position on a board she has no business serving coffee to, let alone serving on. I strongly encourage anyone who can to sign up to speak on the 19th. And send a polite but strongly worded letter (or fax or phone call) to Governor Perry demanding he condemn Dunbar for her anti-Obama remarks. (She will, of course, defend herself by waving the flag of free speech, but as so many neocons don’t realize, free speech includes both your right to say stupid shit, and everyone else’s right to nuke you for it.) Dunbar may be the kind of beyond-the-pale ideologue who blossoms rather than shrinks under the heat of scrutiny. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t feel the heat all the time. We all should make the loss of this woman’s job our mission.

Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12428, Austin, Texas 78711
Phone: (512) 463-2000
Fax: (512) 463-1849

Two sleazy rackets that go extra-sleazy together!

From CNN comes this fascinating article informing us that some Christian churches have started incorporating, of all things, Scientology literature into their ministries. One of these churches is right down the road in Houston, where Rev. James McLaughlin of the Wayman Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (that’s already a head-swirling doctrinal combination as it is) has begun teaching from late sci-fi hack L. Ron Hubbard’s The Way to Happiness.

“I’m looking for solutions, and the people that I help, they don’t ask me who L. Ron Hubbard is,” said McLaughlin, who works with addicts. “You know what they say? ‘Thank God.’”

Well, sure they do, because religion basically appeals to emotionally weak and vulnerable people who aren’t big into rationalism and critical thinking in the first place. All you have to do is sell them warm, fuzzy hope in an easy-to-absorb, Sesame Street-level lesson plan, and they’re hooked. They don’t notice the discrepancies between Scientology’s and Christianity’s disparate teachings, because they’re not the kinds of people who think about their beliefs. They just believe their beliefs.

Still, these ministers ought to know better. It’s bad enough they’re pushing Christianity’s repugnant dogmas in the first place. To be patently indifferent to Scientology’s repellent history of cult indoctrination, harassment, intimidation, and outright murder as long as they get some kind of vapid “feel-good” message across shows their moral bankruptcy in all its dark splendor.