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Oct 31 2011

The Second Coming of Bill Buckingham

Some of you will remember Bill Buckingham, the hapless school board member from Dover, PA who consistently embarrassed himself and weakened the legal defense for the Dover school board by referring to intelligent design as creationism and openly saying things at school board meetings like, “Two thousand years ago someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?” It looks like Mt. Vernon, Ohio may have a budding Buckingham clone soon.

Mt. Vernon, of course, is the school that fired John Freshwater after he burned a cross into the arm of a student with a Tesla coil, which then revealed that he had spent years surreptitiously proselytizing his students when he was supposed to be teaching science. And in the wake of that firing, the wingnuts in the area want to take over the school board. One of the candidates is a guy named Jeff Cline, who told a newspaper in 2008 when that situation began:

“Our cause is to bring these things back to people’s minds: That there is a true, living creator and that he had a son that died on a cross and on the third day his father raised him from the dead and he’s alive and well.”

Sorry, that’s not the school’s job. Keep that nonsense in church where it belongs.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    matty1

    he had a son that died on a cross and on the third day his father raised him from the dead and he’s alive and well

    Did anyone else think of this?

  2. 2
    Marcus Ranum

    “They came on in the same old way, and we sent them back in the same old way”
    – Wellington, on the French Old Guard at Waterloo

  3. 3
    stephenmurphy

    The link leads to a 2008 story but as Ed notes, Cline has thrown his hat into the ring for 2011: http://www.co.knox.oh.us/offices/boe/SCHOOLBD_GVBD.pdf

    And a debate on ye olde Separation of Church and State:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIKfbX8dL2c&feature=youtu.be

  4. 4
    MikeMa

    The net effect will be a *bankrupt school district. At this point, after the Freshwater fiasco cost millions, I cannot see any insurance company jumping in happily. If these idiot fundietartds get elected to the board, the insurance has to cancel the policy.

    *Wasn’t that the goal of Cynthia Dunbar in Texass?

  5. 5
    holytape

    Well what’s wrong about teaching the moral beliefs of Quexalcote, the child of the Aztec feathered serpent born to a virgin? If we don’t learn the correct procedures for human sacrifice in school whereelse would we learn how to do it? Unless, you godless folk don’t want the sun to rise tomorrow?

  6. 6
    John Hinkle

    Some states have that ridiculous law in which they send in the thugs emergency personnel to take over municipalities that are broke. Obviously there’re problems with that.

    But somehow I don’t see a problem with states sending in emergency personnel to take over school boards populated with mythology soaked, constitutionally challenged morons who endanger the district with lawsuits.

  7. 7
    eric

    MikeMa: If these idiot fundietartds get elected to the board, the insurance has to cancel the policy.

    Just a quibble, but probably not. Remember, the insurance company is off the hook any time the board rejects the advice of the state/county lawyers. Which folks like Cline will almost certainly do. That is why Dover SBOE’s pre-existing insurance policy didn’t cover their legal costs.

    One can make the cynical argument that the insurance companies may actually prefer people like Cline, because their actions effectively void the policy even while the Board keeps making insurance payments.

  8. 8
    lordshipmayhem

    I have to agree with Eric, but there remains a risk that the board will do exactly what the lawyers advise, but still get sued for past actions (i.e., prior to seeking advice from the lawyers) or will get a Creationist lawyer to tell them, “Go right ahead, Gawd is on your side and we will WIN!”

    Insurance companies are risk-averse. I’d drop the Board like a hot potato, only taking them back with a substantial increase in the deductible and a magnitude increase in the premium.

  9. 9
    fifthdentist

    Oh my name it is nothin’
    My age it means less
    The country I come from
    Is called the Midwest
    I’s taught and brought up there
    The laws to abide
    And that land that I live in
    Has God on its side.
    – Bob Dylan

  10. 10
    MikeMa

    Even if, as eric & lordshipmayhem suspect, the insurance companies can protect themselves from idiots and fools, it still leaves the district bankrupt and the public schools in more of a mess than they are in now. If I were running for school board against the morons, the financial angle would be one I’d prominently highlight. Fiscal sanity vs ruinous losses and raised taxes.

    Got to hope that most god-bots won’t put up with increased taxes. As they already tithe at church certainly, it makes sense to teach their creationism there. Added bonus: The more they lie, the more they lose.

  11. 11
    Reginald Selkirk

    Some of you will remember Bill Buckingham, the hapless school board member from Dover, PA who consistently embarrassed himself and weakened the legal defense for the Dover school board by referring to intelligent design as creationism and openly saying things at school board meetings like, “Two thousand years ago someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”

    You left out the bit about perjuring himself in federal court.

  12. 12
    raven

    “Two thousand years ago someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”

    Xians say this often. They have to stand up for jesus and god. Which makes no sense.

    Jesus is god, the most powerful entity in the universe. He created the 13.7 billion year old universe, 6,000 years ago. He/They once got mildly annoyed with humans and poured water on them until everyone was dead but 8 people.

    If jesus is the all powerful ruler of everything, why does he need humans to stand up for him and help him? Is god sick, drunk, apathetic, busy, or dead these days?

    Xians claim god is everything and everywhere. But they act like he is…nonexistent.

  13. 13
    raven

    Mr Vernon kook:

    That there is a true, living creator and that he had a son that died on a cross and on the third day his father raised him from the dead and he’s alive and well.”

    But apparently too weak, apathetic, or busy to actually do anything noticeable in the real world.

    Jesus hates fundie xians anyway. He is always sending tornadoes and hurricanes into the fundie heartland. They never catch on. As it says in their magic book, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make stupid.”

  14. 14
    eric

    MikeMa: Even if, as eric & lordshipmayhem suspect, the insurance companies can protect themselves from idiots and fools, it still leaves the district bankrupt and the public schools in more of a mess than they are in now.

    I agree, and also agree with your later point that potential challengers for Cline’s spot should really pound this point home.

  15. 15
    raven

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Fundies are Nihilistic in the popular meaning of the word. They seem much more interested and capable of destroying things than doing anything constructive.

    In Dover, once people realized that the fundies on the school board were destructive kooks, they all got voted out.

    There were and are lingering aftereffects. It split the community apart on sectarian grounds and it still is a split community.

    I’m told from someone that lives in Mt Vernon, Ohio that the fundie Nihilists don’t have that much support.

    Dennett. Religion is the best vehicle ever invented for social conflict. Xianity, splitting societies, communities and families apart and creating atheists since 33 CE.

  16. 16
    raven

    One more point.

    Freshwater, who seems to be incapable of much thought, has had to sell his semi-rural house and acreage. It ended up costing him a lot of money that he didn’t have.

    The fundies could have helped him by bailing him out. They do have lots of money to throw at their causes; taking over school boards, bombing family planning clinics, threatening to and sometimes killing people, xian terrorism, destroying science, overthrowing the US government, setting up a theocracy, and heading back to the Dark Ages aren’t cheap you know.

    They didn’t do it.

    It’s that hypocrisy sacrament of theirs. They like martyrs and the best martyrs are…someone else.

  17. 17
    abb3w

    Full debate that stephenmurphy excerpted from is allegedly at youtu.be/xV9Pwtw9R7Q for the curious. I don’t have time to watch it and try and figure out who’s who (and who’s crazy), but Jeffrey Cline and Cheryl Feasel are alleged to be fundies; other candidates (who may or may not be sane) include incumbents Margie Bennett and Jody Goetzman, and non-incumbents Stephen Kelly and Marie Curry.

    I’m not finding on-line sites for making campaign contributions for any of them. A pity, that.

  18. 18
    freemage

    The threat of massive damages doesn’t dissuade these idiots, because they are all OT kooks who like their burnt offerings of (someone else’s) money up to the LORD. As far as they’re concerned, even if it’s a sure thing that they’ll lose and have to pay out, they’ve achieved their goal by turning the school’s budget into a chance to proselytize on the local news, proving their piety.

    What’s needed is a law that directly ties the assets of elected officials to damages lost to lawsuits that stem directly from official policies.

  19. 19
    raven

    The threat of massive damages doesn’t dissuade these idiots, because they are all OT kooks…

    Worse than that, if that wasn’t bad enough.

    A lot of fundies hate public education with a passion usually reserved for hating science.

    They would abolish it if they could and occasionally try to do so.

    Chances are if they bankrupted the school system and the schools closed down, they would celebrate their victory for the next decade.

    One of the Dover school board members was a woman who homeschooled her own kids and made no secret that she thought public education needed to go the way of the Dodo. Or the Salem witches.

  20. 20
    rbh3

    That quotation, Ed, is from Max Erwin, Sr., a Cline supporter. Cline’s statement was

    We’re going to do it for the kids. We’re not going to sit back and watch these kids be flushed down the toilet and taught evolution.

    abb3w wrote

    … Jeffrey Cline and Cheryl Feasel are alleged to be fundies; other candidates (who may or may not be sane) include incumbents Margie Bennett and Jody Goetzman, and non-incumbents Stephen Kelly and Marie Curry.

    Bennett,Goetzman, and Curry are sane, but Kelly is a closet young-earth fundamentalist who prefers to talk about intelligent design, echoing the shift in the Dover board’s rhetoric after Seth Cooper of the Disco ‘Tute visited them. When asked for citations regarding the age of the earth, Kelly referred the questioner to Conservapedia’s list of so-called “counterexamples” to an old earth view.

  21. 21
    Crudely Wrott

    raven wrote:

    As it says in their magic book, “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make stupid.”

    “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”
    (Latin: Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius) appeared originally in the Greek play Medea by Euripides, the play describes Medea’s descent (and her awareness of this descent as it occurs) into self destructive madness where she kills her own children in order to hurt her ex lover.
    [emp. mine]

    From the Great Pfft.

  22. 22
    rbh3

    raven wrote

    I’m told from someone that lives in Mt Vernon, Ohio that the fundie Nihilists don’t have that much support.

    It’s going to depend on turnout. There’s also a state issue on the ballot that will raise conservative turnout, and that may be enough to elect as many as three fundamentalists, Kelly, Cline, and Feasel. But there’s already one on the five-member board (Steve Thompson) so electing just two of those three gives them a majority.

    Thompson, Cline, and Kelly have all made public remarks more or less reminiscent of the Dover board, so Lenny Flank’s law is still operating:

    The ability of a creationist to shut his mouth about creationism’s religious motive is inversely proportional to the legal necessity of their doing so.

  23. 23
    raven

    It’s going to depend on turnout.

    Oh oh.

    If this is Richard H. as seems likely, he would know the situation first hand.

    The person I referenced from Mt. Vernon was based on something you said once on PT.

  24. 24
    raven

    From what rbh3 is saying, it just may be that Mt Vernon is going to do another Dover.

    More court cases, more millions down the drain. They have already spent something over 1 million USD on the Freshwater case.

    This really isn’t about teaching creationism any more, something that has been illegal in the USA for decades.

    It really looks like they intend to bleed the school district of as much money as possible and shut it down if they can.

    This is a form of fundie martyrdom. They are going to martyr millions of dollars. But it is no big deal. It is OPM, other people’s money. The best martyrs are always someone else.

    Fundie Nihilism in action.

    I don’t know that much about Mt Vernon. I did have two friends who lived there decades ago. They both moved to southern California for some reason.

  25. 25
    rbh3

    Yeah, it’s Richard H., RBH, whatever. WordPress wouldn’t let me register RBH.

    In the last election Thompson ran on financial responsibility and Kelly is now running on the same platform. I think it will be possible to shame them (if two creationists are elected) into not going to extremes officially with their agenda. Cline would be a loose cannon, though he might even embarrass the other sufficiently to render him ineffective.

    However, formal board actions aren’t the only thing to fear. Board members could informally discourage teachers from teaching honest science, or even try to intimidate them. Cline in particular has a history of attempting to intimidate small businesses who supported a LGBT event a year or so ago, threatening them with a boycott. They could encourage the teachers who sympathize with the creationist view (and there are not a few of them in the system). They could informally influence teacher hiring and would directly control administrator hiring. So even if they don’t go as far as Dover’s board did officially, there are some potentially destructive steps they could take short of that.

  26. 26
    sc_5902e56ac13ca98dab57f333565ebaee

    Trouble with Raven is that she doesn’t see that the taxpayers are proportionally more Xian that atheist or humanist or agnostic or whatever.

    If they (Xians) want to shut the school board down, more power to them. At least Xian tax dollars will not go to promote humanist values disguised as science.

    Let’s face it. Humanism/atheism’s achilles heel is its poor distribution channels. The temptation to harness the vehicle of the public education system is too tempting to pass up. Understandable.

    But please don’t ask the me, the Xian taxpaper, to pay the piper for a song that gives me an ear ache. If I’m gonna pay, I want to choose the song.

    BTW, democracy’s protection of minority interests is one thing, but to acquiesce to or aid/abet its expansion, even if passively, is not what we signed up for, STS.

  27. 27
    dingojack

    Word salad (#26) opined:
    Trouble with Raven is that she doesn’t see that the taxpayers are proportionally more Xian that atheist or humanist or agnostic or whatever.”
    Trouble is, Word salad, that facts aren’t determined by a vote, but by collecting evidence. Education’s purpose is to teach children facts. How their parents vote (and the weird stories they believe) and not relevant.
    “At least Xian tax dollars will not go to promote humanist values disguised as science.”
    ‘Humanism’? Ah no I think you’ll find that is actual science (with which ‘Humanism’ may, or may not agree, irrelevantly).
    Let’s face it. Humanism/atheism’s achilles heel is its poor distribution channels.”
    OK then. Don’t get out much do you?
    But please don’t ask the me, the Xian taxpaper*, to pay the piper for a song that gives me an ear ache. If I’m gonna pay, I want to choose the song.”
    Nope, it doesn’t work that way. You pay for roads you never drive on. Taxes are to benefit to the community as a whole, not you specifically. Standard fundie Xian charity on show, super! You actually ever read that book your always jabbering about?
    BTW, democracy’s protection of minority interests is one thing, but to acquiesce to or aid/abet its expansion, even if passively, is not what we signed up for, STS.”
    Actually the Fundies are the minority, but it is nice to see you agree with the idea of the first amendment and ‘the seperation of church and state’.
    Dingo
    —–
    * Who knew a tax form could have a religious bent?

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