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Aug 21 2009

Atheists teachers corrupting our youth, oh no!!!

I’m sure by now most of you have heard about the pure lunacy going on with the Illinois Family Institute and Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist. You know a group is going to be wacky if they have to put ‘Family’ in their name in order to prove their worth (because they have no other redeeming qualities). And now they’ve taken a break fighting the evils of homosexuality to focus on an even more threatening menace: atheist teachers! The super short version of the story is that they’re absolutely appalled that an outspoken atheist could be teaching your children (long story, please go here and here). Nothing else matters – Hemant has an excellent teaching record and never discusses atheism in the classroom, but he’s still a role model. And who wants an atheist as a role model? After a stunning lecture about acute angles, all of your children will burning Bibles and eating babies! I know I thought my high school math teachers were the paradigm of cool! …Hm, wait a second…

Anyway, IFI’s latest post is a feeble attempt at spinning the story (likely before anyone threatens their ass for libel). They claim they never called for Hemant to be fired. It’s technically true that they never used those exact words, but it was obviously their intention. Why else sent out an email to every faculty member in his school district(well, except him, how honorable), if not to alert his bosses of his evil ways? Why else email all of your members and encourage parents to pull their children out of his class? They can’t get him fired because of that pesky First Amendment and other laws, but parents have power. If they refuse to let their children attend his class, then hopefully the administration’s hands will be tied. They can’t exactly have him teaching a class with no students, can they?

The thing that really gets me (well, other than the blind hatred that these people have) is their flawed logic. They compare having an atheist teacher to having one who is racist or a Holocaust denier. In the most ironic statement of the century, they claim “It’s all about diversity and choice.” You shouldn’t have to have your student exposed to those evil atheists! This is ridiculous for so many reasons, please forgive me while I make a list:

1. If you’re that concerned with letting your children see ANY sort of subversive culture (gay kissing!! someone not believing in your God!!! oh noes!!!!), you basically have no choice but to home school them and keep them under house arrest with no television, radio, or internet for the rest of their life. I’m terrified to even joke about this, because I know people who do such things and it’s depressing. These children are being brainwashed by the hateful rubbish their parents spout and will never know an alternative.

2. The fact that atheists seem as bad as racists or Holocaust deniers (basically also racists) shows how insecure you are about your invisible Sky Daddy. The idea that our mere existence fuels doubt is both hilarious and rewarding.

3. If you’re going to pull your child out of every class where the teacher doesn’t conform to your narrow minded world views, then everyone has that right, yes? So when I reproduce, I in no way want my children to have religious teachers, or Republicans teaching history/government classes, or fans of modern art teaching Painting. They’re obviously a horrible influence. …Oh, wait, I actually want my children to be able to think for themselves, so I want them to be exposed to different viewpoints! That’s right, I forgot.

4. And finally, the idea that Hemant is somehow the only atheist you and your family may come in contact with… You know what? You may want to sit down before you read this, because it’s shocking: Atheists are everywhere! They’re your neighbors, your doctors, your friends, your family, and yes, your children’s teachers. Most probably don’t have blogs, many are probably still closeted (because cruel people like you go around trying to turn them into the town pariah), but some are definitely outspoken.

If you want to go on a crusade against atheist teachers, why pick on just Hemant? I’m President of an atheist club, I have a blog no where near as Friendly as Friendly Atheist – more like, Friendly Until You Show Your Ignorance in Which I am a Snarky and Pissed Atheist (doesn’t have as nice of a ring to it). And you know what? I’m going to be teaching starting Tuesday! Yes, I’ll be teaching ickle sophomores how to run gels and do experiments with peroxidase and all sorts of neat Biology things. And even though I will never bring up atheism in class, never wear my club shirt there, never bring in a baby for a snack – my sheer awesomeness will surely convert them all to the evil ways of heathenism. So you have a lot on your plate, IFI. There are a lot more atheist teachers out there than Hemant and me.

26 comments

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  1. 1
    Joé McKen

    Anti-atheist dipshits going after Hemant, one of the friendliest chaps I've ever read about (even if I never have, or likely ever will, meet him) … I've seen and heard some ridiculous hateful shit, but this may just take the cake.

    Methinks a blog post of mine is in order.

    And of course, PZ's on this already, with the perfect post title.

  2. 2
    Joé McKen

    Anti-atheist dipshits going after Hemant, one of the friendliest chaps I’ve ever read about (even if I never have, or likely ever will, meet him) … I’ve seen and heard some ridiculous hateful shit, but this may just take the cake.Methinks a blog post of mine is in order.And of course, PZ’s on this already, with the perfect post title.

  3. 3
    Brittany

    As another soon-to-be-atheist-teacher, I was so angry that they went after Hemant. But besides the blantant bigotry- something else that really made me amd was that Laurie Higgins thinks that all teachers are liberals who wish nothing more than to mold students into their proteges. I'm sorry, but I just spent 4 years in college being told REPEATEDLY that you DO NOT discuss your personal views with students on certain topics.

    And you know what? It's not that hard to do, either when you get put in that position. During my student teaching, I had a student talk about how it was unfair that a Catholic school was able to have Good Friday off, but they couldn't, and they asked me about it. I simply said that the Catholic school is a private school and they could do as they please.

    Another student brought up Church and State, and another student made a remark about Evolution and Intelligent Design and how they should both be taught. I simply ignored it.

    Ugh, but that lady is just so horrible.

  4. 4
    Brittany

    As another soon-to-be-atheist-teacher, I was so angry that they went after Hemant. But besides the blantant bigotry- something else that really made me amd was that Laurie Higgins thinks that all teachers are liberals who wish nothing more than to mold students into their proteges. I’m sorry, but I just spent 4 years in college being told REPEATEDLY that you DO NOT discuss your personal views with students on certain topics.And you know what? It’s not that hard to do, either when you get put in that position. During my student teaching, I had a student talk about how it was unfair that a Catholic school was able to have Good Friday off, but they couldn’t, and they asked me about it. I simply said that the Catholic school is a private school and they could do as they please.Another student brought up Church and State, and another student made a remark about Evolution and Intelligent Design and how they should both be taught. I simply ignored it. Ugh, but that lady is just so horrible.

  5. 5
    Veritas

    I post on FA, and extremely rarely on Pharyungla, but to be honest, I am glad you put something up too, Jen. The commenters on your forum are very intelligent and friendly, and it's usually a lot easier to keep track of.

    Having said that, you and I and everyone knows that IFI is full of idiocy. As more than one person has pointed out, the Southern Poverty Centre has declared them a hate group, and I can see why. They aren't interested in choice – they're interested in their opinion.

    Hemant Mehta is a great man. I have only been following his blogs for some months, but he truly gets it, and unlike most atheist commentators (including PZ, who is also great, but…) I find myself agreeing mostly with his point of view, the "Friendly Atheist" approach. I know you support Hemant's method at least somewhat, Jen. After all, I followed one of your comments there to get here.

    Having said all this, the only way to ensure a Christian parent's child doesn't get taught math by Hemant is, of course, to home-school the child. Those of us who've seen Jesus Camp are very aware of how petrifying home-schooling can be.

    As Brittany above has said, there are certain discussions that a teacher cannot have with their students. This is obvious and it is why Hemant hasn't had a problem with his bosses. We shall simply see what happens in the new year. Presumably, some parents will act on Hemant's atheism. I can't see a school of the size he teaches at not having one parent who listens. But…I expect after a week it will die down.

    Unless the IFI is going to use the evil atheist who has a strange name and is a different colour of skin to form a new argument against atheism…"Atheists are DIFFERENT!"\

    Oh, wait. Same shit.

  6. 6
    Veritas

    I post on FA, and extremely rarely on Pharyungla, but to be honest, I am glad you put something up too, Jen. The commenters on your forum are very intelligent and friendly, and it’s usually a lot easier to keep track of.Having said that, you and I and everyone knows that IFI is full of idiocy. As more than one person has pointed out, the Southern Poverty Centre has declared them a hate group, and I can see why. They aren’t interested in choice – they’re interested in their opinion.Hemant Mehta is a great man. I have only been following his blogs for some months, but he truly gets it, and unlike most atheist commentators (including PZ, who is also great, but…) I find myself agreeing mostly with his point of view, the “Friendly Atheist” approach. I know you support Hemant’s method at least somewhat, Jen. After all, I followed one of your comments there to get here.Having said all this, the only way to ensure a Christian parent’s child doesn’t get taught math by Hemant is, of course, to home-school the child. Those of us who’ve seen Jesus Camp are very aware of how petrifying home-schooling can be.As Brittany above has said, there are certain discussions that a teacher cannot have with their students. This is obvious and it is why Hemant hasn’t had a problem with his bosses. We shall simply see what happens in the new year. Presumably, some parents will act on Hemant’s atheism. I can’t see a school of the size he teaches at not having one parent who listens. But…I expect after a week it will die down.Unless the IFI is going to use the evil atheist who has a strange name and is a different colour of skin to form a new argument against atheism…”Atheists are DIFFERENT!”\Oh, wait. Same shit.

  7. 7
    Rev. Ouabache

    They obviously picked on the wrong atheist. Hemant is one of the least offensive atheists on internet and probably doesn't have a single enemy in the world outside of IFI. They couldn't have picked a worse target to go after. They literally had to resort to quoting guest posters on his blog in order to find something to complain about. I bet not a single teacher pulls their kid out of his class.

  8. 8
    Rev. Ouabache

    They obviously picked on the wrong atheist. Hemant is one of the least offensive atheists on internet and probably doesn’t have a single enemy in the world outside of IFI. They couldn’t have picked a worse target to go after. They literally had to resort to quoting guest posters on his blog in order to find something to complain about. I bet not a single teacher pulls their kid out of his class.

  9. 9
    Rev. Ouabache

    And by "teacher" I mean "parent". I must learn to use the preview button.

  10. 10
    Rev. Ouabache

    And by “teacher” I mean “parent”. I must learn to use the preview button.

  11. 11
    Veritas

    Hey Rev, preview is for pussies.

  12. 12
    Veritas

    Hey Rev, preview is for pussies.

  13. 13
    Andre Vienne

    Oh wow. I found out about FA from here, but yeah. Hermant is a classy guy from all I can tell. Surely doesn't deserve this sort of thing. Which I actually find pretty screwy. I mean, if I knew I could switch classes in high school based on a teacher's religion, I'd have done it when my Government teacher walked out on the first day and said "I'm an Evangelical Christian, kids, so I'm going to talk about God sometimes, as he's the best thing ever. Deal with it."

    And the homeschooling thing, that just depresses me. One of my roommates was teaching at this algebra thing for kids, and some homeschooled kids were there. This one girl's parent was worried that he was teaching "evilution" to his daughter, because one of the examples for an exercise in class was cavemen.

    Effing cavemen.

    Even worse, this girl was rather gifted in math and science. Her parents wanted her to be a good Christian girl. They didn't want to consider public colleges because the girl might be corrupted. They believed that what was wrong with the world is that men weren't taking their rightful place at the head of the patriarchy. They actually said this.

    So they were going to do CollegePlus. Which terrifies me. Not to mention, my roommate is a damned Evangelical Christian himself.

  14. 14
    Andre Vienne

    Oh wow. I found out about FA from here, but yeah. Hermant is a classy guy from all I can tell. Surely doesn’t deserve this sort of thing. Which I actually find pretty screwy. I mean, if I knew I could switch classes in high school based on a teacher’s religion, I’d have done it when my Government teacher walked out on the first day and said “I’m an Evangelical Christian, kids, so I’m going to talk about God sometimes, as he’s the best thing ever. Deal with it.”And the homeschooling thing, that just depresses me. One of my roommates was teaching at this algebra thing for kids, and some homeschooled kids were there. This one girl’s parent was worried that he was teaching “evilution” to his daughter, because one of the examples for an exercise in class was cavemen.Effing cavemen.Even worse, this girl was rather gifted in math and science. Her parents wanted her to be a good Christian girl. They didn’t want to consider public colleges because the girl might be corrupted. They believed that what was wrong with the world is that men weren’t taking their rightful place at the head of the patriarchy. They actually said this.So they were going to do CollegePlus. Which terrifies me. Not to mention, my roommate is a damned Evangelical Christian himself.

  15. 15
    Jeff Satterley

    How can an atheist teach math?? Only a Christian knows that 1+1+1=1! Good ole' monotheism… IFI will be pleased to know that I already taught one semester of a CS course to many impressionable freshman and sophomores. Got good reviews back, so I assume that means they're all now my militant atheist minions. 40 converts is pretty good for one semester :-). Seriously, from what Hemant has said so far on FA, his school doesn't take any of this seriously. Hopefully its stays that way, and his students' parents are equally level-headed. I'd like to know, what jobs does IFI approve of atheists having? I know its been said before, but say something like that about a Jew, Muslim, Black, etc., and there would be public outcry. Its sad very few people take this seriously

  16. 16
    Jeff Satterley

    How can an atheist teach math?? Only a Christian knows that 1+1+1=1! Good ole’ monotheism… IFI will be pleased to know that I already taught one semester of a CS course to many impressionable freshman and sophomores. Got good reviews back, so I assume that means they’re all now my militant atheist minions. 40 converts is pretty good for one semester :-). Seriously, from what Hemant has said so far on FA, his school doesn’t take any of this seriously. Hopefully its stays that way, and his students’ parents are equally level-headed. I’d like to know, what jobs does IFI approve of atheists having? I know its been said before, but say something like that about a Jew, Muslim, Black, etc., and there would be public outcry. Its sad very few people take this seriously

  17. 17
    Jaki

    You will now be referred to as:

    Jen, the Snarky and Pissed Atheist!

    Love it.

  18. 18
    Jaki

    You will now be referred to as: Jen, the Snarky and Pissed Atheist! Love it.

  19. 19
    Ian Andreas Miller

    Nutty people like that should be picking on me, too, since I am likely to be a UGTA in Latin this fall.

  20. 20
    Ian Andreas Miller

    Nutty people like that should be picking on me, too, since I am likely to be a UGTA in Latin this fall.

  21. 21
    The Jules

    In the UK, something like this bizarre IFI organisation would be laughed at, and generally dismissed.

    They seem to have more of an impact in the US though. Is that true or just the way they've spun themselves a rep on the internet?

  22. 22
    The Jules

    In the UK, something like this bizarre IFI organisation would be laughed at, and generally dismissed.They seem to have more of an impact in the US though. Is that true or just the way they’ve spun themselves a rep on the internet?

  23. 23
    Brian

    Another case of mungbats trying to claim the high ground for themselves. Why do Americans cave into their hateful, ignorant crap? Is it because we've become uncreative, docile, domesticated pussies? (Well, yeah…)

    Our generation doesn't deserve the great heritage we were given if we don't fight for our freedom from mungbat stupidity.

  24. 24
    Brian

    Another case of mungbats trying to claim the high ground for themselves. Why do Americans cave into their hateful, ignorant crap? Is it because we’ve become uncreative, docile, domesticated pussies? (Well, yeah…)Our generation doesn’t deserve the great heritage we were given if we don’t fight for our freedom from mungbat stupidity.

  25. 25
    Heidi

    @The Jules: You are familiar with our former president, yes? I wish it were all spin. I really do.

  26. 26
    Heidi

    @The Jules: You are familiar with our former president, yes? I wish it were all spin. I really do.

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