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Jan 12 2012

Tolerance is not a religious value

Religion really hates it when you tell its proponents that they have to live up to their promise to be good. It’s so unfair!

Last year, New York enacted the Dignity for All Students Act, effective July 1, 2012. (See prior posting.) In addition to prohibiting bullying, the law (Educ. Law Sec. 801-a) requires schools to include in their K-12 curriculum instruction in tolerance and respect for others of different races, weights, national origins, ethnic groups, religions, religious practices, mental or physical abilities, sexual orientations, genders, and sexes. According to Yeshiva World, on Monday the New York Board of Regents voted to exempt yeshivas and parochial schools from this requirement to the extent that the school has a religious or moral objection to the requirement. Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz said that parents of students in such schools "may now feel secure that … their children will not be subjected to lessons that are inconsistent with their religious doctrines."

Yeah, like what? Now their children don’t have to hear those horrible messages like, “You don’t get to beat up that kid for being gay” and “Atheists are human beings, too” and “Yes, the girls are allowed to speak in the classroom”?

28 comments

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  1. 1
    Anthony K

    It’s probably our fault. If we didn’t put up those “There’s probably no God” billboards, they’d have gone back to amicably discussing their doctrinal differences with each other, as they’ve done for thousands of years up to the birth of Dawkins.

  2. 2
    jacobfromlost

    Now now, I heard WLC say that Jesus would never violate a person’s human rights. Doesn’t that mean Jesus would be all for the freedom to be whatever religion you want (or none at all)?

    It seems the claim that Jesus (or religions generally) was (were) for human rights is riddled with logical inconsistencies and mountains of disconfirming evidence. But why bother looking at the evidence that we are treating “those people” badly? We’re not those people, so they deserve it, right? And if I can convince myself of a supernatural mandate to treat those people badly, then I feel much better about myself and my behaviors because it’s god’s will to treat them that way, and their choice to not be us.

  3. 3
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    “It is important for the heathens to learn not to bully our children, but it is MORE important that our children learn to bully the heathens! That’s what religious liberty and tolerance is all about!”

    I’m just surprised that the yeshivas didn’t object to the exception for the parochial schools and vice-versa.

  4. 4
    davidgentile

    When’s the next shuttle off this planet?

  5. 5
    Gregory Greenwood

    It is always the same with fundies – they define ‘religious freedom’ as their right to oppress others without opposition. Anything less feeds into their martyrdom fantasies.

    That they demand, and worse still are given, a religious exemption such that they have carte blanche to be bigots for jeebus just goes to show how deeply rooted the poison of unearned religious privilege still is in Western society.

  6. 6
    'Tis Himself

    Is anyone surprised religious schools give their bullies religious justifications to bully children?

  7. 7
    robro

    Also, don’t forget the all important lesson that women/girls must ride at the back of the bus, segregated from the men/boys, which is supported (quietly) by the MTA in some neighborhoods of NYC.

  8. 8
    anteprepro

    Religion? Supporting bullying? Must just be a mistake. Just summon the accomodationists and I’m sure they’ll explain how this is totally not how religion works. Nope. Not at all. Please pay no attention to posts about religious people making Jessica Alquist’s life miserable for standing up for church-state separation. Or to all of the other stories so very similar to hers. This stuff is just not typical of True Believers, at all, and shame on all of us New Atheists for believing otherwise.

  9. 9
    quatguy

    ………………(speechless)

  10. 10
    bubba707

    SSDD Same Shit Different Day

  11. 11
    Gregory Greenwood

    Just remember, religion is the ultimate source of moral authority on the planet, and without it a person has no moral compass and so it is impossible to live an ethical life…

    With the stakes so high, you can’t just expect the little fundies to stop bullying the other children. Why, don’t you realise that if you keep telling the children of God’s Special Snowflakes that other people are their equals, and that they should extend to them the respect all human beings deserve, then some of them may actually start to believe it? From then on out, it is a simple three step process to hell on earth;

    1. Promote at schools a tolerant society where different sexes, genders, sexual orientations, body morphologies and beliefs are accepted.

    2. ???

    3. Global armageddon/the victory of Teh Global Ghey Conspiracy(TM)/the rise of the Fourth Reich/the return of the Soviet Union under the command of a resurrected Stalin cyber-zombie/an atheist mass genocide of all religious believers ending in the Feast of a Million Babies/the establishment of the First Galactic Empire a totalitarian global caliphate/the direct manifestation of Cthulhu and the transformation of the world into the diabolical playground of the Elder Gods/all of the above (somehow).

    With a threat this credible, why isn’t there panic in the streets…?

    (Do I realy need the winking smiley to indicate that this is satire? Yes? OK, here you go then)

    ;-)

  12. 12
    Heliantus

    @ Gregory Greenwood #11

    Do I realy need the winking smiley to indicate that this is satire?

    In view of the next post, the one about “Little Rascals”, yes you do…

  13. 13
    bromion

    These parents can be safe in knowing their kids won’t hear messages of tolerance, like “love thy neighbor as you love thyself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” God forbid!

    Religion doesn’t MAKE people closed-minded hypocrites, but it sure enables them to be all that they can be!

  14. 14
    Gregory Greenwood

    Heliantus @ 12;

    If the ill-considered post about Donohue offended anyone, then I apologise. Poorly constructed humour aside, it is self evident that it is impossible to change anyone’s sexual aesthetic – people are simply born with a certain orientation.

  15. 15
    petejohn

    Change a few words around and this could be something written by The Onion. I mean… damn… The exemption quite literally gives religious schools the right to say “being nice to people we think our sky daddy tells us not to like is totally not ok.”

  16. 16
    Heliantus

    @ Gregory Greenwood

    No, no, don’t apologize. Please. It was very good. I didn’t mean it to sound like I was offended by what you said. I’m not.

    It was just the part about the global ghey conspiracy. Just when the following post by PZ is about this spanish bishop who sees gays everywhere.
    What’s this Poe’s Law again? At some point, it’s impossible to distinguish satire from the real stuff. So that’s why, when you asked if you need to precise your post is satire, I dark-humorously answered yes, because, unfortunately, as it is, there are people who would write or say something close.

    Maybe it was me who needed to put a smiley.

  17. 17
    Gregory Greenwood

    Heliantus @ 16;

    Ah, I got the wrong end of the stick there.

    Still, ragging on Donohue as so obnoxious that he might cause straight women to reconsider their sexuality is pretty low hanging fruit. I think I can and should do better.

    It was just the part about the global ghey conspiracy. Just when the following post by PZ is about this spanish bishop who sees gays everywhere.
    What’s this Poe’s Law again? At some point, it’s impossible to distinguish satire from the real stuff. So that’s why, when you asked if you need to precise your post is satire, I dark-humorously answered yes, because, unfortunately, as it is, there are people who would write or say something close.

    That is the trouble with satirising fundies. Whatever you think of (and however outrageous your fictional scenario might be) some xian, somewhere, will already have topped it with a statement made in all seriousness.

    Maybe it was me who needed to put a smiley.

    No need. I am simply especially slow on the uptake tonight. Maybe it is time to go to bed.

  18. 18
    Shplane, Spess Alium

    And this is why there simply shouldn’t be religious schools. If your religion requires that you refuse to be a decent goddamn human being, then your religion should not be allowed to interact with society, and you shouldn’t be allowed to foist it onto your kids.

  19. 19
    andrewpang

    Oh well. Just let those religious schools’ ideas melt down under their own ignorance as we secular folks defend our intellectual ground.

  20. 20
    ogremeister

    I may be missing something, but this:

    …sexual orientations, genders, and sexes.

    confuses me.

    I get the sexual orientation and genders (gender identity) parts, but the “sexes” part — is this a Yes/No category to differentiate virginity, or something?

  21. 21
    Nerdette

    I get the sexual orientation and genders (gender identity) parts, but the “sexes” part — is this a Yes/No category to differentiate virginity, or something?

    Sexual orientation = the sex/gender causing attraction
    Gender = social construct and identity
    Sex = XY or XX

  22. 22
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    It bugs the shit out of me that Steven Cymbrowitz is a Democrat. Just goes to show that stupid comes in every flavor.

    *sigh*

  23. 23
    ogremeister

    Nerdette @21:

    Sex = XY or XX

    Understood now, thanks!

  24. 24
    McCthulhu, now with -25% less fat.

    Surely it can’t be surprising that people with their heads firmly entrenched in thousands of years old superstitious dogma are unaware it is now 2012. It’s quite an achievement just to have them recognize the Magna Carta (which apparently is a requirement of a certain state’s laws), never mind anything resembling 2000′s progressive thought.

  25. 25
    Jurjen S.

    So do we now at least have it black on white that “yeshivas and parochial schools” have some “religious or moral objection” to giving “instruction in tolerance and respect for others”? Though I’ll be fucked if I understand how anyone can claim to be opposed to “instruction in tolerance and respect for others” and claim it has a moral basis.

  26. 26
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Moral doesn’t mean good.

    It just indicates a type of question.

  27. 27
    jblilie

    There was an excellent piece on NPR this morning, one of their Story Corps pieces. It was an interview with a man who grew up gay in Kentucky with a very intolerant family. As he said, “I became a very good liar.”

    One day, when his mother intercepted a valentine’s day card from a male friend of his, she took him out in the woods and held a loaded shorgun to his head and told him, “This is the tree where I take my son and blow his head off, if he evers decides to become a faggot.”

    Think hard about what it would be like to live under that!

    We have a very long way to go yet.

    Please click on that link above and lsiten — it’s only about a minute.

  28. 28
    thewhollynone

    Those religious schools which request exemption from the law should not receive one penny of public money, not for books, or transportation, or lunch, or special ed, or anything. And all students who are US citizens should be tested at least once every three years to be sure they are being instructed in science for the modern world and in US history/government as it really is. These religious exemptions are ridiculous.

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