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Parents Pull Kids to Avoid Humanist Book

I wrote earlier about the Tri-State Freethinkers being allowed to passively distribute a humanist children’s book in an elementary school in Kentucky last Friday because the Gideons had done the same with Bibles. Unsurprisingly, some parents reacted with hostility and even pulled their kids out of school that day.

Rumors of prayer circles and other confrontations spread like wildfire Thursday afternoon when parents found out the Tri-State Freethinkers would distribute “Humanism, What’s That? A Book for Curious Kids,” at Liberty, Walnut Hill and Jones Park elementary schools.

“We’ve heard rumors about assemblies or people coming to speak to the students and that’s absolutely not true,” Casey County Superintendent Marion Sowders said. “Legal counsel has advised us every step of the way about how to handle it. Students were not told about it in school but we don’t know what their parents have told them.”

Rumors of retaliatory absences may have proven true on Friday, however.

“Our attendance was probably not as good as it normally is,” Liberty Elementary Principal Boyd Harris said. “We feel like there may be some connection there.” Harris could not confirm just how many students missed school. Other school officials would not comment, citing restrictions from Sowders.

Some of the parents and students were not at all happy about it:

A small group of adults and children followed Freethinkers Jim G. Helton and Torey Glassmeyer to Walnut Hill and Jones Park, glowering at them from the parking lot as they delivered the books after 5 p.m. Thursday…

“We’re here to defend God and his glory,” said one woman, who declined to be named. A male companion muttered to himself as he scanned the parking lot for their car.

Um. Why would you think your presence there would do that? And why do you think your god needs to be defended?

Comments

  1. AndrewD says

    And the quickest way to get a child to read a book is ti say “you can’t read that”…

  2. raven says

    And why do you think your god needs to be defended?

    Because their god is the most powerful being in the universe, which he made himself.

    Although, he seems to have fallen on hard times. These days he seems to be sick, dead, or taking a vacation on Kpax IV and communing with his giant squids swimming in methane seas.

  3. D. C. Sessions says

    This is a wonderful counterexample to the countless assemblies where Christian school authorities argue that just being exposed to the Good News at school can’t do any harm to someone’s religious freedom.

    It sure looks like there are Christian parents who not only would massively object to the shoe being on the other foot but can’t even tolerate taking the chance of their little darlings being in the same building as a book that disagrees with the parents.

    So, obviously, being all into the Golden rule and that, they’re undoubtedly opposed to the Gideons being on campus, right?

  4. sh3baproject says

    @2 last time i heard he was partying at thor’s.

    lets just have a muslim group pass out qurans to piss them more.

  5. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    For people who know, just know that they’re right, and that all the evidence is on their side, they’re awfully fearful of people hearing anything to the contrary.

  6. John Pieret says

    We’re here to defend God and his glory

    So, basically, you defended God by giving a couple of people dirty looks? I’m sure God was appropriately grateful for the help.

  7. anubisprime says

    I wonder how many parents were ‘encouraged’ by the ecclesiastical squad ?…or dumbfuck righteous, clueless, childless cretins in church groups or just happened to be neighbours ?

    Or is Christianity in a sweaty panicky tizzwazz cos it is dawning on the fans that they are losing the argument big time and the last bastion the losers have left is to deny information and knowledge of the reason why they are losing the argument ?

  8. anubisprime says

    “We’re here to defend God and his glory,” said one woman, who declined to be named

    Nope that is just pompous and righteous meaningless bullshite masquerading as bravado…they were there to defend their own sycophantic ignorance and fear and they know it, that is why names were not forthcoming…who wants to admit to moron status ?

  9. teawithbertrand says

    @5

    You beat me to it. All we ever seem to hear from these folks is how strong and unshakeable their faith is, but the moment they are confronted with anything that even remotely questions their beliefs, they need to run and hide and shield their youngins. Very telling, that.

  10. says

    I well remember the religionists attempts at indoctrinating me. It was all quite coercive, including physical punishment for expressing anything that appeared to question their claims.

    I have no doubt “god and his glory” got similar treatment as a kid and is in turn dishing it out to her kid(s).

  11. laurentweppe says

    [they] can’t even tolerate taking the chance of their little darlings being in the same building as a book that disagrees with the parents.

    Indeed, in fact I heavily suspect that these parents’ hostility has little to do with “defending God” and a lot to do with the fear that their children might find reasons to -gasp- question their authority.

  12. says

    I’m very confused.

    First, the article says that “religious activity” in public schools “violates the separation of church and state,” which it does not.

    Second, surely if it’s wrong for the Gideons to distribute Bibles in a school, it’s equally wrong for atheists to distribute a book about humanism.

    Third, why exactly are these books not being “distributed” via donation to the school library? What is the point of putting five books on a table? Are the students supposed to share them? Take them home and keep them? What is being accomplished by the possibility of five kids getting a free book?

  13. John Pieret says

    Gretchen:

    First, the article says that “religious activity” in public schools “violates the separation of church and state,” which it does not.

    It depends on the type of activity and the school’s involvement in promoting, approving, directing or coercing the the students to engage in the activity.

    Second, surely if it’s wrong for the Gideons to distribute Bibles in a school, it’s equally wrong for atheists to distribute a book about humanism.

    Essentially the school has created a “limited public forum” (or so the theory goes) by allowing outside groups to distribute materials such as the Gideon Bibles inside the school premises. Once it did that, it has to allow any group to distribute its materials (with some exceptions, such as pornography) without “content discrimination.”

    Are the students supposed to … [t]ake them home and keep them?

    That’s certainly the intent of the Gideons and, no doubt, the intent of the Freethinkers. Given the location, I’d bet the Gideons are more successful in that regard than the Freethinkers but the idea is to discomfort the locals and shake their belief in the right of the majority to impose its beliefs on everyone else.

  14. coffeehound says

    “We’re here to defend God and his glory,”

    ……..by muttering to yourself in a parking lot and giving out dirty looks. You go there(although better there than in front of some abortion clinic, so yeah, go there).

  15. freehand says

    Kamaka: I well remember the religionists attempts at indoctrinating me. It was all quite coercive, including physical punishment for expressing anything that appeared to question their claims.

    I have no doubt “god and his glory” got similar treatment as a kid and is in turn dishing it out to her kid(s).
    .
    I think it works more often than not, but the only thing those methods taught me was to not speak my mind around those lunatic adults. Once I graduated from high school it was rather a different story.

  16. Michael Heath says

    Modusoperandi writes:

    Oh Lord, please protect my children from opinions that aren’t mine.

    If only; more like, “Oh Lord, please deny my children access to facts that reveal my beliefs are bullshit.”

  17. leonardschneider says

    Personally, the Gideons ought to stick with dropping their books in motel rooms. It gives you something to leaf through when there’s nothing good on TV and the hooker hasn’t finished showering.

    I can’t decide if the actions of these parents are pathetic or genuinely sad. What they’re truly demonstrating is a couple of things. First, their own faith is so fragile that the presence of a few Freethinkers handing out books counts as a tangible threat to their beliefs, like reading something that doesn’t directly parallel their own thoughts may destroy everything they’ve put their faith in. (As much as he annoys me, I’d like to go to that school and hand out copies of Alistair Crowley’s “Book of the Law” for the sheer hell of it. To me, “Book of the Law” is a joke, just so much angry ranting…. But other people find it inspiring, and who am I to judge?)

    So these people are afraid of a book about Humanism? Their faith in God and Christ does’t allow them to just smile, say, “I’m sorry, but our views are too much at cross-purposes,” and keep moving? Their Xian faith is apparently a wobbly, delicate thing, a house of cards built on a card table with a bad leg: to remain standing, it must be protected against the slightest upset, or it will collapse.

    The other issue is, where did this fear of learning contradictory information come from, and why the hell would anyone cling to such an attitude? The Freethinkers want people to read their book. There is no edict declaring that they have to agree with it. I’ve read things I disagree with, and gosh, they didn’t make my world view do a 180 and completely change the way I think. Ayn Rand was a good example of this: I read “The Fountainhead” and struggled through about half of “Atlas Shrugged.” I didn’t magically become an Objectivist or even a Libertarian. (I gave up on “Atlas Shrugged because, jumpin’ Jesus on a pogo stick, Rand really couldn’t write for shit.)

    So reading Ayn Rand didn’t turn me into an Objectivist. I still strongly disagree with much of her theories. But! I did gain some insight into Objectivist theory, giving me a better understanding of it, which in turn provided me with a bit of respect for her followers…. And the intellectual ammunition to debate them, if it ever comes up.

    That may be why these Midwest parents are so annoyed: they might learn something new, which would put a human face on the Humanists they so loathe. And — this is the heavy one — they might learn something new, gain insight and understanding, and (*gasp!*) figure out that you can wholeheartedly disagree with someone and still respect them. Me, I used to hate Christians, they were all total dicks… And then I spent time around real christians, ones who accepted my militant agnosticism, and did not try to evangelize me. When I brought up the big-haired assholes in $3,000 suits on TV, I was greeted with laughter. They thought Falwell, Hinn, Robertson, Schuller, and the rest were just as big of scumbags as I did.

    So really, reading a book on Humanist theory should be as big of a threat to their faith as the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If they had genuine faith, they wouldn’t be worried, they’d actually pick up the damn book and read it, and gain some understanding. But their faith is fragile, and for that I pity them.

  18. says

    Michael Heath “If only; more like, ‘Oh Lord, please deny my children access to facts that reveal my beliefs are bullshit.'”
    We don’t go for the new-fangled NIV translation ’round these parts. If the KJV was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    Pass out Qorans…and Hindu stuff. And a translation of how Enlil caused the flood. Nor should we forget the adventures of Thor and Loki.For those who like blood, a short introduction to Aztec religion will be handy.

  20. says

    “Their Xian faith is apparently a wobbly, delicate thing, a house of cards built on a card table with a bad leg” –on the deck of the Titanic, heading for an iceberg with a TSUNAMI chasing it! Yes, it’s that fragile.

    ““We’re here to defend God and his glory,”

    Meanwhile, munching on imps-in-the-shell and suckin’ back a couplea cold beers, while he watches allathe carnage he created for his own enjoyment, GOD sees Azriel standing just outside the door and says, “Wuzzup, my demon*?”

    Azriel asks if he should go down and open a Can-O-Whoopsmite on the atheists. GOD thinks on it for a moment, pops another imp into his mouth (he loves the crunch AND their screams of agony) and says, “Nah, that little gal, the one that’s wearing the DETAI** sensible shoes and lookin’ like she’s gonna infarct? She’s on the case. She’ll give ‘em a smackdown; but, hey, I appreciate you’re askin?”.
    Do me a favor? Grab me another brewski and some blow, then see if we can borrow a half-gross of Virgins from my step-brother, Allah. Thanks, you’re a mensch, well, you know what I mean.”.

    * GOD may be omnipotent, but he’s tone deaf at being, “hip”

    ** Don’t Even Think About It

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