I propose that states seize all the Catholic schools


I will never understand Catholicism. On the one hand, they claim to be all about the babies: procreate wildly, let nothing interfere with the spawning. On the other hand, though, they promote deep ignorance and confusion about sex and reproduction, as if they’re afraid of it.

So here’s this lovely case of a teacher at a Catholic school in Indiana who was evaluated as excellent in her work, but who, in her lawfully married and entirely conventional life with her husband at home, wanted to have children — something that ought to be fully copacetic with Catholicism. Except…she had a medical condition that made her infertile, so she and her husband were going through in-vitro fertilization.

Which meant, of course, that the priest at the local Catholic church had the right to meddle.

“On May 24, 2011, Herx, her husband, and her father met with Msgr. Kuzmich and [St. Vincent Principal Sandra] Guffey,” the complaint states. “Msgr. Kuzmich repeatedly told Herx that she was a ‘grave, immoral sinner‘ and that it would cause a ‘scandal’ if anyone was to find out that St. Vincent de Paul had a teacher who received fertility treatment. Msgr. Kuzmich told Herx that this situation would not have occurred had no one found out about the treatments, and that some things were ‘better left between the individual and God.'”

The end result: despite the priest saying that “her performance had nothing to do with the decision to terminate her employment”, she was fired for “improprieties related to Church teachings or Law.” An appeal farther up the hierarchy failed as well, because she’s just plain evil.

“Bishop Rhoades refused to renew Herx’s contract, stating that ‘The process of in vitro fertilization very frequently involves the deliberate destruction or freezing of human embryos,’ and ‘In vitro fertilization … is an intrinsic evil, which means that no circumstances can justify it.’ Herx’s appeal to the Bishop was the final step in the administrative appeals process within the Diocese.”

There’s a bit of lashing out going on now, too.

Herx says she was fired even though the defendants still employ teachers who do not regularly attend Catholic mass; who are divorced (including Guffey); who have had hysterectomies, vasectomies and other procedures that have altered their reproductive organs; and who use contraceptives.

Nobody should be fired for those things, either.

It seems to me that the problem is that the church is playing the role of a secular employer in what ought to be a secular profession, the education of children, while trying to impose arbitrary and obsolete medieval religious rules on its employees. I propose a simple change: seize the Catholic schools, remove the priests from control, and manage them as assets of the community’s public school system.

Do this everywhere for all religious schools, not just the Catholic ones. The strengths of those schools have always been in the teachers, not the dogmatic nitwits in the religious hierarchy who mismanage them. It also ought to be considered a violation of basic civil rights when an employer decides that they have the power to regulate the private, personal behavior of all employees at all times, even when they are not on the employer’s time and property — they have no right to interfere to such an egregiously excessive extent.

Comments

  1. hexidecima says

    why a woman has *anything* to do with Christianity is beyond me and doubly so for the Roman Catholic Church. When that idiots Donohue started claiming “misogyny” when The Daily Show had a vagina manger, the hypocrisy was so thick. Also, this is what happens and will happen, when we allow employers to control their employee’s health care.

  2. pipenta says

    I really don’t like the idea of Catholic schools at all. Then again, I feel that any religious teaching is child abuse. The world being what it is, I’d settle for just taxing the hell out of this and all religions.

  3. says

    It’s a fact: If a practicing Catholic yearns to bring children into the world and resorts to medical assistance to make it occur, a grave sin has been committed. At least in the eyes of the Church. That’s why you keep it a secret — just like my family has done. (And yet they remain believers.)

  4. rickschauer says

    HIPPA laws? Why is this woman’s private health care on display…from what I know, this is a complete and flagrant violation of HIPPA laws. Fine them and throw them in jail.

  5. littlejohn says

    http://www.journalgazette.net/
    Here’s a link to the Fort Wayne morning newspaper which reports today that the teacher is suing the school. My guess is that she will lose. It’s a church school, after all, and judges in Indiana are just as right-wing as the politicians.

  6. joey says

    Do this everywhere for all religious schools, not just the Catholic ones.

    Yup, give all power of indoctrination to the state. That has worked before.

  7. unbound says

    @joey – Because there is a whole lot of indoctrination going on in the public schools? o.O

    Please tell.

  8. KG says

    joey,
    You’re a moron. It is quite possible for the state (or local government) to run schools without them becoming engines of indoctrination. In Finland, for example, there are very few private schools, those which exist are heavily regulated (e.g. they cannot charge fees), Finland is a far more securely democratic country than the USA, and its educational performance is among the best in the world. For religious schools everywhere, on the other hand, indoctrination is central to their mission.

  9. flaq says

    @ joey

    OK, so your proposal would be to shut down the religious schools AND the public schools? Because of all the indoctrination on both sides? This would make things better somehow? I’m not getting it.

  10. Brownian says

    OK, so your proposal would be to shut down the religious schools AND the public schools? Because of all the indoctrination on both sides? This would make things better somehow? I’m not getting it.

    Don’t be silly. Libertarianism isn’t about positive claims. It’s all about pointing out problems with existing systems. There’s no answer in it. Just whining.

  11. says

    Catholic priests are morally corrupt stupid assholes. What a surprise!

    Meanwhile in Egypt a 71 year old comedian was sent to prison yesterday because he was found guilty of offending Islam.

  12. 'Tis Himself says

    I was under the impression the Catholic Church was all in favor of women churning out as many kiddies as possible. So why are they complaining about some woman who’s trying to get pregnant?

  13. abadidea says

    Catholicism: condemn 9yo girls to suffer to the death if need be for their rape-pregnancy, fire women and imply they’re going to hell for trying to have a wanted and planned-for baby with their husband.

    Yes, it appears they literally value frozen embryos more than living human beings.

  14. flaq says

    Don’t be silly. Libertarianism isn’t about positive claims. It’s all about pointing out problems with existing systems. There’s no answer in it. Just whining.

    I know, right? It kind of seems like with most libertarian complaints, if you draw them out to any kind of remotely logical conclusion, you end up with some kind of mashup between Mad Max and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

  15. generallerong says

    We could start by eliminating all federal and state subsidies for religious and private schools. And taxing church properties.

  16. Phalacrocorax, not a particularly smart avian says

    I was under the impression the Catholic Church was all in favor of women churning out as many kiddies as possible. So why are they complaining about some woman who’s trying to get pregnant?

    Because she had decided by herself to have kids? Perhaps only forced pregnancies (those imposed by God) are fair game to the Catholic hierarchy.

  17. Anri says

    On the one hand, they claim to be all about the babies: procreate wildly, let nothing interfere with the spawning. On the other hand, though, they promote deep ignorance and confusion about sex and reproduction, as if they’re afraid of it.

    They’re not afraid of reproduction itself, just afraid of knowledge about the process. And they’re not personally afraid of the knowledge, they’re afraid the general populace, the unwashed masses, the sheep of the flock, might acquire that knowledge. This would have the (to their eyes) disasterous consequence of allowing people greater control over their lives.

    If people start doing that, they might wrest themselves free from the paternalistic oversight of the Almighty Church. And if that happens, people might even begin to question their reliance on the Great Cosmic Daddy.
    And when that occurs, the Church Fathers, with tears of piety streaming down their wrinkled cheeks, must once again – (totally against their will, of course, of course!) – heat the irons, raise the gibbets, and light the bonfires of god’s infinite love and forgiveness.

    And nobody wants that, do they?
    (Nice family ya got here… real shame if some kinda Inquisition happened to them, wouldn’t you say?)

  18. says

    You’d think the Catholic church would be all for the process since it helps women get pregnant without all that nasty, dirty sex happening.

  19. pamsmigh says

    Very little pity for this teacher. They’re often the ones who jump on the bandwagon of church teachings rah-rahing the anti-abortion, anti-gay, “pro-family” hoo-ha, UNTIL it affects them personally. Then they’re all “What, but I’M not doing anything wrong. But, but, but….”

  20. raven says

    Catholic priest has become synonymous with twisted old men who aren’t very bright or sane.

    I suspect they just wanted to bully someone and this woman teacher made an easy target. It could be that she was too competent at teaching. It’s not unheard of for
    defective organizations to fire people for being too competent especially when the leadership is anything but.

  21. says

    @13: Because they’ve wrapped themselves pretzel-like around some truly absurd ideas about “natural law”, which is basically a massive case of the Naturalistic Fallacy (and even that relying on cherry-picked cases).

  22. says

    I’m always dismayed by the frequent claims (most often, but not exclusively, from bigots) that Catholicism is qualitatively different from Islam due to the Enlightenment or its loss of political power or whatever. The Vatican’s continued desire for theocracy is evident in their intrusion on public policy around the world and, most of all, in how those spheres still controlled by the Church operate. They haven’t changed. This is the power they want to extend into the world at large, how they want things to work everywhere, and they haven’t thrown in the towel.

  23. raven says

    So why are they complaining about some woman who’s trying to get pregnant?

    According to the RCC, assisted reproductive technologies i.e. test tube babies are forbidden because they are “unnatural”.

    Of course, so is driving a car, flying in an airplane, modern medicine, and computers.

    IMO, being a supposedly celibate male in an obsolete totalitarian church left over from our primitive past is…unnatural.

  24. Becca Stareyes says

    I was under the impression the Catholic Church was all in favor of women churning out as many kiddies as possible. So why are they complaining about some woman who’s trying to get pregnant?

    I assume it’s because IVF generally means any unused fertilized eggs are destroyed, and that goes hand-in-hand with abortion.

  25. debraduncan says

    Having attended catholic school for twelve years, and having family members teaching at same, it’s hard to believe that a teacher would actually inform the priest of her medical situation.

    If, however, the teacher was such a staunch catholic that she had to ‘confess’ to the priest that she was embarking on a medical path not sanctioned by the church, then she got caught short when she didn’t get a ‘special’ (read hidden, lips-sealed) dispensation to continue. She’s now woken up and taken legal action.

    What cases like this do is expose the hypocrisy of the catholic church to the general public and to other ‘cultural’ catholics who never have to face this discrimination.

  26. joey says

    flaq:

    OK, so your proposal would be to shut down the religious schools AND the public schools?

    Who says I want to shut down any school? “Seizing” or “shutting down” any private school, religious or not, that does not break any laws seems like a very undemocratic and un-American thing to do. Sounds more like something that would be advocated in North Korea.

  27. Brownian says

    Who says I want to shut down any school? “Seizing” or “shutting down” any private school, religious or not, that does not break any laws seems like a very undemocratic and un-American thing to do. Sounds more like something that would be advocated in North Korea.

    So yeah, what I wrote in 11.

  28. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sounds more like something that would be advocated in North Korea.

    The old communist “boo” tactics, typical of RWA/liberturds. These days Texas would be a better description. Typical of their mindset that they want to indoctrinate.

  29. Gunboat Diplomat says

    Don’t stop at seizing the Catholic Church’s schools, seize all of their property. Some conversion costs would be incurred for the transition form monasteries/bishops palaces to family planning clinics/childcare centres but theres plenty of cash for the taking as well as property.

    Churches could have dual use of religious services/community centre activities (including provision of medical information such as abortion services).

  30. raven says

    One of the more pathetic of Catholic inventions is “natural law”.

    Natural law = voices in someone’s head

    or

    Natural law = something someone made up but calling it Natural Law sounds better

    It’s a meaningless concept.

    You could more easily argue that being a Catholic and taking the priests seriously is “unnatural”. Even most Catholics don’t bother any more.

  31. Phalacrocorax, not a particularly smart avian says

    Sounds more like something that would be advocated in North Korea.

    Warning: Thread Kim-Jong-winned.

  32. Brother Yam says

    Good thing they weren’t against “unnatural” things when a virgin all of a sudden became pregnant with some kid about 2k years ago.

  33. joey says

    Nerd:

    The old communist “boo” tactics, typical of RWA/liberturds.

    Here’s an easy fix. Let’s simply make being religious or practicing any religion illegal. That would solve the legality question of the state seizing religious schools.

  34. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Yup, give all power of indoctrination to the state. That has worked before.

    It works totally fine here, thank you.

  35. Naked Bunny with a Whip says

    I assume it’s because IVF generally means any unused fertilized eggs are destroyed

    Also, the sperm has to come from somewhere, and ejaculating directly into a vagina doesn’t work for IVF.

  36. Brownian says

    Warning: Thread Kim-Jong-winned.

    People acting in their rational best interest award you one internets.

  37. says

    That’s just sick and wrong. A woman got fired because she wanted a baby. It’s disgusting, and the RCC should be ashamed of themselves.

    But they won’t be, and this woman won’t win a lawsuit because of prior rules regarding employees of Catholic schools being fired for similar reasons, but the judges deciding they were fired for religious reasons, so there.

    Fuck religious exemptions.

  38. James C. says

    I’m not a policy expert, but wouldn’t PZ’s plan take a complete shit on religious liberty (which, granted, the RCC doesn’t give a damn about) and due process? It seems like a better idea would be to say “look, either you run your schools as if you were decent human beings, or we stop giving you any money for your schools / levy steep fines for being douchebags to your employees / refuse to accredit them and thus make their diplomas as useful as a clown college’s.” But, again, not a policy expert.

  39. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’ll take on Natural law soon – folk are misunderstanding the breadth of natural law, though what you’re saying is true of large swathes of natural law, just not natural law qua natural law.

    As for Joey @27 –

    You’re missing the point of your own comment. You didn’t originally say it was bad to seize property of non-lawbreakers. You said that Catholic schools shouldn’t be seized.

    First I doubt very much that PZ was literally saying that the schools should be seized as if profits of an illegal activity. I’m quite sure he believes the RCC to be a scam and all, sure, but he knows what would break loose if that action was taken. This is rhetoric.

    You could have said such hyperbolic rhetoric is unhelpful – and been a tone troll. But you went further than that. You insisted that state-run schools would simply be “indoctrination” of another kind. Just try to argue that there’s any other reasonable interpretation of your words.

    In fact, the way things are structured, your argument logically implies that both private education and public education are indoctrinating and therefore bad.

    For making this argument, you are an idiot. If you’d like to admit you were wrong to write what you did above and explain what you really meant to say that wouldn’t be all messed up, I’ll be happy to concede that what you wrote above was wrong in the sense that you didn’t type what you wanted to communicate, but not in the sense that it reveals deep errors in your thinking about schools (only errors in your thinking about how to communicate).

    But if you believe that your original comment communicated what you chose to communicate, then you just have to live with the fact that both public and private schools are, by your argument, places of indoctrination and therefore bad.

    And we will mock you for it.

  40. Brownian says

    Here’s an easy fix. Let’s simply make being religious or practicing any religion illegal. That would solve the legality question of the state seizing religious schools.

    I see you’re fond of the “there’s nothing in between” argument.

    To save time, consider having it tattooed across your forehead, roughly between your ears.

  41. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    Here’s an easy fix. Let’s simply make being religious or practicing any religion illegal. That would solve the legality question of the state seizing religious schools.

    Oh, no need to gothat far.

    Tax the shit out of ‘em.

    Make sure they teach a standard curriculum.

    Limit their power to meddle in their employees private lives.

    Why aren’t you freedom freedom freedom types concerned about a person’s right to have a private life ?

    Or is that right reserved for the religious and the rich pigs ?

  42. noastronomer says

    My neighbors across the street used to send their children to a private catholic school because of a perceived better moral environment. I did have an internal chuckle at that.

    However the economic downturn’s impact has been felt across the country and in almost all industries. Small businesses like the one neighbors run have been especially badly hit. With a reduced income my neighbors felt they could no longer afford the luxury of a private school.

    Therefore in September their children started attending the local public school, with my own children. This weekend I asked the father how the kids were doing. His response was basically that they’ve never been happier at school, they’re doing excellently academically and he wished they’d done it years ago.

    Mike.

  43. sonofrojblake says

    Sorry, no sympathy. You take a job at a Catholic school, you take their dollar, you sign up (presumably) to their fruit-loop belief system. It’s no good taking the money year after year and then bleating when that belief system bites you.

    Except… in most civilised countries this would be flat-out, no argument, don’t-bother-even-calling-a-lawyer illegal, no backsies no barleys no dens no exceptions for those with imaginary friends. On the other hand, this European’s impression of US labour laws is that they are terrifyingly biased against the employee, allowing the employer to hire and fire basically at will and on a whim. So, a question: is this impression accurate? Can it be legal to do this? (Nobody in the UK would even bother to ask the question – it’s so obviously illegal the situation is unlikely ever to arise).

  44. Brownian says

    My neighbors across the street used to send their children to a private catholic school because of a perceived better moral environment. I did have an internal chuckle at that.

    Why? They’re right, of course. It is a better oral enviro—sorry, didn’t see the M.

  45. Phalacrocorax, not a particularly smart avian says

    award you one internets

    Thanks, Brownian. This was my first internets, I think.

  46. says

    @James C:

    Fuck it. Fuck religious liberty when it involves being able to discriminate against people. Every time we’ve tried to bring religious people at least one iota closer to being decent human beings, they’ve spit on us. Look no further from the whole goddamned birth control debacle this year. Where we gave concession after concession to the Catholic church to not have to worry about the contraceptive issue through health insurance and they still shouted and screamed about how we’re not letting them have religious freedom.

    When religious freedom is equivalent to shitting all over other people, then fuck it. I’ve never been more upset with people than I have been with the RCC. It’s pure, fucking, evil. It’s the RCC and similar churches which refuse to let this country become goddamned civilized. I should not have to fear for my fucking life about being beat up or kicked out of my apartment because for once in my entire life I’m happy about who I am and I want to be who I am without lying to every person I see on the street.

    And it’s the church and its goddamned “religious freedom” that keeps me from being able to do this, because some jackass in a TAXPAYER FUNDED church shouts from his pulpit that “we can’t let the gays and the trannies take over because they’ll destroy America” while their audience forks over their last ten dollars into mister pastor’s swollen pockets so he can afford his FIFTH Bentley.

  47. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, Natural Law.

    First, Natural Law is NOT an invention of christians or the RCC. Thomas Aquinas is often cited as a source on NL teaching, but Aquinas did not come up with NL. Instead, NL is really (at least to the extent that we can trace the idea) a creation of the classical Greek philosophers, especially the Stoic school. Plato didn’t speak of natural law as such and Aristotle contrasted “nature” with “law”. For Aristotle the phrase natural law wasn’t – as far as I’m aware – used/useful, but his framework looks very much like what became explicitly a theory of natural law soon after.

    As for natural law, it is not itself inherently connected to religion at all, much less the RCC. Laws that are overtly created by positive acts of government are “positive law”. Everything else that constitutes law is “natural law”. For many, other things might be morals or ethics, but it isn’t law. These are legal positivists. Natural Law adherents are those people who believe that ethics and morals can be binding on systems of law, that laws can’t **be laws** if they violate morals or ethics in the same way that statutes can’t be statutes if they violate a country’s constitution.

    But you could get your “inviolable” ethics from Kant’s categorical imperative just as easily as from the RCC, for all the theory of NL is concerned.

    The confusion comes from the fact that the RCC, looking to impose theocracy through the back door as well as the front (whichever tactic works best in a given society) openly advocates that RCC ethical systems should be binding on those who write, enforce, and especially interpret the law. In this way, their ‘law’ can be higher than anything passed by the will of the people specifically because it didn’t have the will of the people behind it.

    Fun, right?

    Yes, some of the arguments the RCC makes with regard to NL (actually pretty darn near all of them) are deeply offensive to the notion of a secular society. But the concept of NL itself merely asserts that
    1. there is such a thing as human nature.
    2. We can know what is good or bad for humans according to that nature.
    3. Law that is bad for humans is not “law” in any real sense.

    Feel free to bash NL or NL theory, but don’t make erroneous claims that it’s a product of the RCC which didn’t exist for hundreds of years after its creation or that it is inherently religious.

    I think it’s inherently *stupid*, but it’s not inherently religious.

  48. says

    @sonofrojblake:

    You know what, fuck you too. Fuck your victim blaming. There’s nothing this woman did that is wrong and illegal and yet she was fired. But no, it’s her fault, not the fault of some backwards system that discriminates and still gets told “well you can do it cause we can’t step in line of your ‘religious freedom’ (to be a fucking asshole)”

  49. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ sonofrojblake

    Yes. Your opinion/impression of US labor law is largely accurate, though incomplete. Labor laws in the US are primarily state-by-state. Right to work states are common, and there are few protections in those states.

    Protection is much more limited when a secular corporation is owned and operated by a religious entity. Protection is essentially non-existent when the corporation employer is itself a religious entity. While hospitals are run as the first, religious schools are often run as the second, a direct function of the church itself and NOT broken off to be incorporated under a section of the 501 laws separate from the section which incorporates churches (I’m not as familiar with section 501 as I would need to be to tease out the specific relationships – maybe a labor lawyer in the US can do this). There are laws that apply state-by-state to religious schools that don’t apply to churches, but these are not labor laws if the school is directly church run.

    But far beyond this specific context, labor laws in the US are far less protective than they are in the UK and France. I know absolutely nothing of labor law in the rest of the EU, but I would be surprised if very much of the EU had labor laws similar to the US.

  50. A. R says

    I know someone with a family history of Cystic Fibrosis who was told that they would be fired from their teaching position at an RCC high school if they underwent Preimplantation genetic diagnosis. It’s all weapons grade stupid encased in ultrapure bullshit with a high grade misogyny trigger mechanism.

  51. James C. says

    @Katherine Lorraine #51:

    Like I said, the RCC doesn’t care about religious liberty in the first place; it’s a pretext to abridge the liberties of others for to bring them in line with their superstitious and barbaric excuse for an ethical system. Fuck them with the spiny remnants of twelve decaying porcupines, indeed.

  52. says

    Yup, give all power of indoctrination to the state. That has worked before.

    Joey(6) – please explain why giving power of indoctrination to a foreign (RCC) state is better for the United States of America. Why is it moral and legal to give a foreign state complete access and freedom to do with our children (and teachers) what our civil government considers illegal for the rest of us?

  53. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    Here’s an easy fix. Let’s simply make being religious or practicing any religion illegal. That would solve the legality question of the state seizing religious schools.

    Ah, the smell of binary bullshit on a Monday morning. That fresh dairy air!

    Fuck religious liberty when it involves being able to discriminate against people.

    And the ‘religious liberty’ cases seem to all boil down to whether or not it is legal to discriminate someone if you are doing it because of you holy book. And state, local and federal tax money supports, directly or indirectly, every single bit of discrimination. Bleah.

  54. James C. says

    re myself #56

    That came across as me having more respect for “religious freedom” than I actually have, as did my first comment. Really, the due process part is far, far more serious. Or maybe I just shouldn’t have taken PZ as seriously as I did.

  55. says

    @James C:

    I have no problem with religious freedoms and liberties when it involves worship. Worship whoever the fuck you want to worship. If you want to make a United Church of Han Solo, you should be able to.

    Religious freedom should end right at the door to the church. It should not be a political tool. It should not be a reason to be allowed to discriminate against ANYONE. Our country is a nation of people, all of whom are different than one another, and to allow some goddamned dark age worshipping blood cult the ability to take our country by its allegorical balls is a travesty of the highest order.

    We, as a country, should not be bending at all to these assholes. We should dismiss their claims of discrimination unless it’s in some way ACTUALLY discriminatory, not this perceived “gay marriage discriminates against my religion” bullshit.

  56. joey says

    Crip:

    You could have said such hyperbolic rhetoric is unhelpful…

    Is it simply hyperbolic rhetoric?

    …then you just have to live with the fact that both public and private schools are, by your argument, places of indoctrination and therefore bad.

    How did you reach this conclusion from what I said?

    Do you think parents homeschooling their children is “bad”?

  57. joey says

    Markita:

    Church schools should be illegal.

    Is this simply “hyperbolic rhetoric” or do you truly advocate this?

  58. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    I definitely see where you are coming from. But my reaction to those comments included context from upthread where people were noting that such teachers are actively hurting others by insisting that they conform to principles that have been shows to hurt all kinds of people. Recently the attention has been on how the idea that QT folk should simply be celibate and/or whatever gender everyone else wants them to be, but such teachings have hurt people with disabilities and many others – not least the people of color that the RCC justified kidnapping, killing, enslaving, culture-stealing and then torturing for compliance or Jewish folk the RCC justified torturing for conversion, kidnapping, and/or killing.

    It’s impossible to know exactly what damage might or might not come from present action until future ramifications play out, but the RCC still teaches incredibly harmful things – like that working your ass off for justice sends you to hell, but being a pedophile who confesses to an RCC superior sends you to heaven to be an angel.

    So I think, at least how I interpreted what was written, that the offending phrase lacking sympathy to which you object was a statement against hypocrisy: if you want to make your money teaching things that harm people as if they are ethically binding on all people, you shouldn’t be surprised that someone is going to assume those things are ethically binding on you when you inevitably break with the unrealistic, harmful system.

    I actually believe that an ethical system could do a lot worse than encouraging adoption of kids in horrible situation over the creation of new kids while leaving those other kids stuck in horrible situations, but the reasoning by which the RCC arrives at this teaching and the assumed evil on the part of this teacher are pretty reprehensible.

    Thus I have a lot of sympathy for the pain and rejection felt by this teacher. But it is also true that she had to know that she was promulgating a system to which humans can’t live up (Henry the 8th, anyone? Jerkwad, sure – in fact that understates it by a lot – but there’s one teaching that separated millions from the RCC right there, and the need for divorce has been reinforced ever since). Either she never thought that she might fail to live up to the RCC code, in which case she’s not very self-aware at all and teaching critical thinking would be an area in which the kids would suffer even more than usual for a religious school, OR she thought that she could condemn the kids, make them feel awful for having divorced parents, etc. etc. but that the laws would never be used against her. In which case she’s a lot worse than just not self-aware.

    Now people who are jerks can feel pain, and we can empathize with them as I do with this teacher whether she’s a jerk or just not self-aware. And it may not be polite to point out when you’re visiting someone with a broken leg that had they not been robbing a warehouse they wouldn’t have fallen off that catwalk. Nonetheless, the teacher is not here and an expression that someone believes that the teacher, while in a sucky and unenviable place now, merely received the wages of her exact sin, is a fairly reasonable argument by Pharyngula standards.

    I’m kinda surprised you don’t have some sympathy for it yourself.

    Again, all this wasn’t explicit in what was said by sonofrojblake, but I thought that it was definitely implied, definitely part of the context of the comment.

    Please feel free to disagree and hand me a porcupine if necessary.

  59. James C. says

    @Katherine Lorraine #61

    Religious freedom should end right at the door to the church. It should not be a
    political tool. It should not be a reason to be allowed to discriminate against
    ANYONE.

    QFT

    I’ve also noticed that when some twits want to use “religious freedom” as a weapon, they always try and assert it as a group right (“our religion is free to do as it pleases”), rather than as an individual right (“I am free to worship Batman.”)

    And, of course, if the RCC suffers “discrimination,” no actual persons are harmed. If people get fired, OTOH…

  60. says

    @Crip:

    I won’t hand you a porcupine since I’m just pissed off about everything in general. This is blatantly wrong. I don’t care what the woman taught in her classes (and as far as I’m aware, a Catholic school would still teach the 3 Rs) but that she’s now been fired for something so blatantly discriminatory is wrong.

    AND the assholes in charge will get away with it too. The judges will find in their favor. She’s going to be fired, and there’s nothing she can do about it and no penalty to the RCC assholes running the school. That’s why I’m mad. I have sympathy for the woman because this blatantly discriminatory stuff is going to go through in the name of religious liberty.

    There’s already legal precedent that teachers fired from Catholic schools can’t sue. It’s just going to keep happening, and blaming the victims won’t help. Yes, they may be a part of the system, but you’re shouting at a tumor rather than fixing the fucking cancer when you say “well she deserved it.”

  61. nooneinparticular says

    sonofrojblake @47

    “..this European’s impression of US labour laws is that they are terrifyingly biased against the employee, allowing the employer to hire and fire basically at will and on a whim. So, a question: is this impression accurate? Can it be legal to do this?”

    I think someone else responded but I just wanted to say that in many states (if not most, particularly those that are in so called “right-to-work” states) this is accurate; you can be fired for any reason whatsoever. It is illegal to base employment decisions on several protected classes (e.g. race and political views) but in most cases it is very hard to prove and anyways always the onus is on the employee to demonstrate.

    I agree somewhat with your first paragraph; I have only little sympathy for her. Like she didn’t know who her employers were? P.Z.’s solution; confiscating the schools of the religious, was made (I hope) in a fit of anger over such an absurd situation. The tyranny of one school of thought is not often better than the tyranny of another. Best to point, mock, shout and holler at the stupids and their way of thinking -with the aim of convincing others to leave or avoid them, or even just vent your spleen- than to force them to comply with yours.

  62. says

    Do you think parents homeschooling their children is “bad”?

    Joey, what’s bad, besides the indoctrination, is incompetent homeschooling or church schooling. Catholic school teachers and homeschool parents do not have to demonstrate any competence. Giving your kid an inferior education is just as evil as giving you kid a prayer instead of competent medical care.

  63. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @joey 63 –

    When PZ contacts a legislator to propose a bill to seize religious schools, it’s no longer hyperbolic rhetoric.

    When a widespread movement for seizing religious schools exists and PZ reposts this in response to a news article about such a movement, then it’s no longer hyperbolic rhetoric.

    When you have absolutely ZERO evidence of any attempt to do this in real life by anyone, PZ, known to PZ, or otherwise, then it can be assumed to be hyperbolic rhetoric.

    ========
    How did you reach this conclusion from what I said? (meaning the conclusion that both state schools and non-state schools are bad)

    from: 1. the assumption that indoctrination is bad. I did that because you implied it so I thought that was a shared starting point. You implied it when you said, “That has worked out well” in the past.

    From 2. the other implication of “that has worked out well” – a comment appearing to be quite clearly facetious. If “the power of indoctrination” is relevant regardless of school environment and if it works out poorly in both religious and non-religious schools, then both religious and non-religious schools are bad.

    This is your own logic, you should be able to follow it.
    ————-

    Do you think parents homeschooling their children is “bad”?

    I think a society in which all k-12 schooling was homeschooling would be bad. I think few children can benefit as much from homeschooling as from more formal education. This is in part because of the inconsistent abilities of those doing the homeschooling (and even more inconsistent abilities of those who would be doing so in a society of homeschooling) and in part because of the inconsistent abilities of the individual children. I would be deeply opposed to a policy abolishing schools in favor of homeschooling in the urbanized contexts of France, Canada, and the US with which I am most familiar. I assume that I’d feel the same about movements in similarly urbanized countries like the UK, NZ, and Estonia, but I don’t know those local contexts or anything about those school systems, so I’d likely read articles about what was happening first before stating any opinion about such a proposal in such a place…although, yes, my first instinct would be in opposition.

    But you are ignoring your own comments joey. You said “all power of indoctrination”. First, that’s entirely unrealistic. Second, you were clearly implying that government schooling is indoctrinating and therefore bad. Why don’t you respond to the actual criticism instead of just asking me where I got my criticism from?

    If you really can’t follow the argument, don’t participate. If you can follow the argument, try to actually respond substantively.

  64. joey says

    ramaus:

    Joey(6) – please explain why giving power of indoctrination to a foreign (RCC) state is better for the United States of America. Why is it moral and legal to give a foreign state complete access and freedom to do with our children (and teachers) what our civil government considers illegal for the rest of us?

    Straw man.

    The real question boils down to this. Who should be in charge of what your own children should be learning? You as the parent? Or someone else (e.g. the government)?

  65. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I totally understand your anger.

    Please don’t understand me to be saying she deserved it. Saying, “What did you expect to happen?” is not quite the same as saying that one deserved it, although I admit that even if denotationally they are different, the connotation – even intended connotation – of “What did you expect to happen?” is frequently, “You deserved it.”

    I agree that the case is awful. I agree she’s being treated with inhuman and inhumane disregard. I just also agree that she promoted the cancer and if she isn’t promoting metastasis anymore, that’s a good thing even if how she ended up not promoting it anymore is a terrible thing.

    I think we’re on the same page with most aspects of this and I can easily live with the differences that remain.

  66. nooneinparticular says

    Ramaus @69 said;

    “Joey, what’s bad, besides the indoctrination, is incompetent homeschooling or church schooling. Catholic school teachers and homeschool parents do not have to demonstrate any competence.”

    While it is true that “Catholic schools do not have to …demonstrate competence”, almost all are accredited by the state -at least they are here in Washington state- indicating that there is some level of competence in their edumactional instructions. As a matter of fact, even public school do not HAVE to be accredited, though they don’t last long if they aren’t.

    Homeschooling is a whole nother thing.

  67. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @joey –

    Someone else ought to be creating minimum standards for education.

    WTF do you know about pedagogy? I expect little to nothing based on your assumption that every parent is a sufficient pedagogical theorist to create lesson plans across multiple subjects for more than a decade, often for multiple children.

    Should a parent be responsible for your child’s medical care, or do you want to send them to a doctor? yes, a few parents are doctors, and in some cases this will work out well. Yes, when there are competing ideas about what’s best we defer to the parents’ decision making even though they aren’t necessarily equipped to judge between the competing claims of different specialists. But we require that parents not refuse to see medical specialists when their children are sick. We call that neglect and sometimes we call it negligence.

    The fact that you apparently see no value in having people who know something about the pedagogy of specific subjects create standards for those subjects which parents cannot freely violate (placing education in the hands of ‘someone else’), just shows that you believe that the individual right of conscience of a given adult trumps the rights of any child for whom that adult has legal decision making ability. “Go play in the wetlands, that’s your education.” “Go pull the weeds, that’s your education.” “Make me a pot pie, that’s your education.” are all real life examples of what removing “someone else” from education would tolerate.

    I say no.

    Now, please, respond to the actual criticisms of your original statement and stop pretending that they don’t exist.

  68. md says

    PZ, your will to power knows no bounds. This woman was and is free to leave the Catholic church and renounce its teachings and beliefs any time she pleases, and I would die for her right to do so.

    In your ‘utopia’ however, one is not granted the same rights. We all must believe as you would have us believe.

    Thank god our founders disagreed with you.

  69. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    PZ, your will to power knows no bounds. This woman was and is free to leave the Catholic church and renounce its teachings and beliefs any time she pleases, and I would die for her right to do so.

    In your ‘utopia’ however, one is not granted the same rights. We all must believe as you would have us believe.

    Thank god our founders disagreed with you.

    I must be on the road to Oz, cause I could’ve sworn I saw that strawman dancing.

  70. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @md –

    you don’t read this blog, do you?

    PZ has repeatedly said that you can believe any damn fool thing you want and he doesn’t care. He has also repeatedly said that believing something and forcing others to believe it are two different things and he opposes forced belief.

    Opposes forced belief.

    That’s, in fact, the entire point of the religious/atheist and political sides of this blog.

    Where you fail to understand him is that he believes that your right to force others to believe as you believe is to be restricted **even in relation to your own children.** Thus your children deserve a minimally sufficient education in order to make a free choice about participation in a religion. We don’t exactly “choose” to believe things, but insofar as believes because one chooses to dismiss criticisms and continue participating in activities that reinforce beliefs, he believes your children deserve to freely choose their beliefs as well.

    You are truly discussing a utopia in the literal sense of the word: a place in which PZ would force people to believe as he believes does not exist.

  71. says

    Joey, no fair changing my question. Your changed version of my question I answered in #69.
    You still have not responded to my original question in #57. Please try again.
    To clarify – I’m comparing our state to a foreign state. Ours is better. We are it. Right?

  72. nooneinparticular says

    md@75 you said; “Thank god our founders disagreed with you.”

    I have two problems with that. The first is that you are thanking vapors. An apparition. Something that does not exist.

    The second is the idea that the “founders” (I presume you mean of the Greatest Country That Evar Existed(tm)) gave two shits about (at least some) rights for people other than white male property owners. We now interpret those rights the “founders” intended for a privileged few to extend to most (though not all) people, but that is to our credit, not theirs. I guess my problem is the appeal to their “authority” rather than appealing to what you (and most of us here, I’m sure) know to be right.

  73. says

    Kat,

    If you want to make a United Church of Han Solo, you should be able to.

    I would consider joining that. Instead of “amen”, we could say “I know”.

    Anyway, to all you blaming the teacher for working in a Catholic school in the first place: where the fuck do you live where the public and private schools aren’t laying off teachers hand over fist and have been for years now?

    We don’t actually know how seriously Herx took the teachings of the church, so to imply that she’s some sort of zealot is sloppy and dishonest.

  74. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ramaus –

    Don’t hold your breath. Joey can ask questions of others, but he can’t answer them, not even his own. Notice **he** didn’t say whether homeschooling or public schools were better. Nor did he argue for why having “someone else” involved in planning a child’s education besides the parent is good or bad.

    he doesn’t appear to have the ability to create an argument. He just says, “Freedom’s good: why do you hate freedom?” and leaves it at that.

    To quote from someone with quite the wonderful ‘nym: What a maroon!

  75. 'Tis Himself says

    Okay, joey, we got it. You’re a looneytarian asshole who thinks da gummint is bad and we should all squat in this country, pretending we’re all Rugged Individualists™ instead of living in a society.

    Fuck you and your ideology based on selfishness and wishful thinking. If you don’t like it here, move to the looneytarian paradise of Somalia where you won’t have to worry about da gummint.

  76. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    If you want to make a United Church of Han Solo, you should be able to.

    Not me. Han is an evil bastard. He shot first after all.

  77. joey says

    Crip:

    from: 1. the assumption that indoctrination is bad. I did that because you implied it so I thought that was a shared starting point. You implied it when you said, “That has worked out well” in the past.

    No. Me suggesting that the state having a monopoly on indoctrination is bad doesn’t imply at all that indoctrination itself is bad.

    From 2. the other implication of “that has worked out well” – a comment appearing to be quite clearly facetious. If “the power of indoctrination” is relevant regardless of school environment and if it works out poorly in both religious and non-religious schools, then both religious and non-religious schools are bad.

    But this is based on your assumption that indoctrination is bad.

    This is your own logic, you should be able to follow it.

    Sorry, your logic is faulty. A valid conclusion from my comments would be that I view both public and private education as “indoctrination”. But not that both are “bad”. But anyway, you clearly missed the point of that first post by focusing too much on the connotations of a word.

  78. md says

    Missing the point?

    PZ said the word ‘seize’ in reference to the state and what it should do with religious schools. Maybe he’s just messing around, or maybe Obama forcing Catholic colleges to pay for something they don’t believe in has got PZ rethinking the Overton Window.

    The Founders of our great country wrote some words preventing (so far) this kind of thing. Given what I read here, I am thankful for that.

  79. flaq says

    The real question boils down to this. Who should be in charge of what your own children should be learning? You as the parent? Or someone else (e.g. the government)?

    Hey Joey, what is this, the question game? Here’s an idea: why don’t you make a positive statement about your thoughts on this matter?

    If you think 1. it’s bad to have other people “indoctrinating” (your word) children, and 2. it’s a bad idea to shut down religious schools because that would leave all the powers of indoctrination in the hands of the state, (also your words), then what the fuck are you actually proposing? Seriously, take a stand. Lose the question marks. I genuinely want to know.

  80. Brownian says

    But anyway, you clearly missed the point of that first post by focusing too much on the connotations of a word.

    That’s the writer’s error, not the readers’.

  81. johannespaulsen says

    Holy shit, PZ, I think the phrase you were looking for is: “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?”

    You are drifting into irrationality if you believe that it is right (or even arguable) to nationalize a church.

  82. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    You are drifting into irrationality if you believe that it is right (or even arguable) to nationalize a church.

    Keep the strawmen coming–I need a new hat.

  83. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ Joey –

    Answer your own questions or STFU.

    As for the only reasonable conclusion being that you consider both indoctrination, but not that you consider indoctrination bad, I will ask you straight up:

    Do you consider indoctrination to be good, neutral, or bad. Refusing to say doesn’t get you off the hook and “focussing too much on connotation” is only true if I missed the meaning of your words.

    My second assumption, that your statement “That has worked out well,” is not merely based on an assumption that indoctrination is bad. It’s based on the context in which your words appeared and an understanding of sarcasm and facetious speech generally. If you can’t handle writing on the internet where your apparent earnest, non-facetious tone of voice can be heard, then don’t write on the internet.

    Again, however, do you consider indoctrination bad? If so, then my analysis is dead on and you are trying to wiggle off the hook.

    Answer your own questions. Defend your own logic. OR clarify your meaning to make it clear you didn’t intend to say what you said. You have merely pointed out that the plain meaning of your words isn’t the only meaning. You still haven’t committed to an intended meaning.

    State what you mean. It’s not that hard. Live with the consequences of your own words. It’s not that hard.

    Doing otherwise isn’t fruitfully participating in discussion, it’s being a troll. I will not respond further to you unless and until you commit to a specific meaning and begin to answer your own questions.

  84. Brownian says

    You are drifting into irrationality

    I like that this community has decided to simply label things rational or irrational, rather than making arguments. It’s a real time saver.

    And people think atheists don’t have a community with rituals and norms and mores.

  85. says

    Johannes,
    lolwut?

    PZ is advocating dissolving the school’s administration, then giving everything else to the community. Where the fuck do you get “nationalizing a church” from?

    Here, in case you missed it:

    I propose a simple change: seize the Catholic schools, remove the priests from control, and manage them as assets of the community’s public school system.

    Funny, he also mentions that schools should be secular. Go figure.

  86. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The real [Straw man] question boils down to this. Who should be in charge of what your own children should be learning? You as the parent? Or someone else [like professional educators]?

    Fixed that for you theological liberturd.

  87. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @md –

    reread #70 and #78.

  88. joey says

    ramaus:

    Joey, no fair changing my question. Your changed version of my question I answered in #69.
    You still have not responded to my original question in #57. Please try again.

    That’s because your question in #57 has nothing to do with what I’ve been arguing.

    To clarify – I’m comparing our state to a foreign state. Ours is better. We are it. Right?

    Okay fine, I’ll entertain your question. If that foreign state pushes a better standard/quality of education (such as the example of Finland) than our own US government, then I’d say the foreign state is “better”. Wouldn’t you think so?

    So, shouldn’t parents be allowed to educate our children using that superior foreign model if they so choose?

  89. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    It also ought to be considered a violation of basic civil rights when an employer decides that they have the power to regulate the private, personal behavior of all employees at all times, even when they are not on the employer’s time and property — they have no right to interfere to such an egregiously excessive extent.

    This.

  90. md says

    oh I read them. Its the caveat ‘even in relation to your own children’ that your side will never achieve.

    Parenting is indoctrination. Get over it.

  91. alysonmiers says

    They SAY they’re opposed to IVF because it involves killing embryos, but let’s face it: they oppose IVF because it’s the positive side of family planning. The last thing they want is to see people actively choosing to have children even when they need some medical assistance to make those babies happen. If they can see the act of having children as a positive decision, then it’s only a matter of time before they see absolutely nothing wrong with deciding NOT to have children. They’ll see babies as something you have because you really want to expand your family, not just as a consequence of fucking.

    And once they get comfortable with the idea of having kids on their own terms, they’ll start thinking they own their lives, or something.

  92. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I propose a simple change: seize the Catholic schools, remove the priests from control, and manage them as assets of the community’s public school system.

    @Dr. Audley Z Darkheart:

    I think the really confusing thing from johannes is that he thinks nationalizing a church is arguable – church and state have been merged far more often in history than not, so pretending that there’s no argument to be made is as stupid as saying no one could ever advocate for apartheid. Yes. People can and do advocate for exactly that, and the wisdom or lack thereof doesn’t change the fact.

    But what’s really confusing about PZ’s statement is that he could think for a moment that managed priests would be assets to the public school system. /snark

  93. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    But what’s really confusing about PZ’s statement is that he could think for a moment that managed priests would be assets to the public school system.

    I think the “them” refers to the schools, not the priests.

  94. consciousness razor says

    Who should be in charge of what your own children should be learning? You as the parent? Or someone else (e.g. the government)?

    Reality is not a “who,” but that should guide what we learn, so we should put people who have a better grasp of reality “in charge,” since you implicitly accept that someone may be in charge. Parents don’t necessarily understand reality, ergo they don’t necessarily have any right to what their children should or shouldn’t learn. Learning is a right every child has; it is not owned by the parents, nor are children themselves property. They are human beings whose rights society ought to protect. Therefore, it is the public (i.e. EVIL SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT!!111!!) which needs to guarantee this and get the best teachers to teach the best information we have available.

  95. says

    Of course “them” refers to the schools– only the most heartless and clueless middle manager* calls people “assets”.

    In context with the rest of the post (and, hell, that one sentence itself), it makes no sense to assume “them” means the priests. How would you manage the priests in a community sense? It’s absurd.

    *Apologies to the good ones out there.

  96. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    lol –

    wow, I ignored the first one b/c I thought it was an idiosyncratic response, but hey, now that we have 2 people taking that last sentence of my post @ 100 seriously, I just have to ask,

    “Did you see the ‘/snark’ at the end?”

    Here I thought people would laugh but they’re all just honked off.

  97. nooneinparticular says

    Crip dyke @100 wrote;

    church and state have been merged far more often in history than not, so pretending that there’s no argument to be made is as stupid as saying no one could ever advocate for apartheid.

    Yep. Been done lot’s of time. It’s worked out real well too, hasn’t it?

    People can and do advocate for exactly that, and the wisdom or lack thereof doesn’t change the fact.

    True, but just because people have and do argue for it doesn’t make it a good idea.

    PZ is, I hope, just being angry. The bit about the state having something to say about employers, religious or not, controlling employee’s behavior outside the workplace gets traction (at least with me), but the part about seizing church properties and handing them over to the state is nothing short of tyranny, however well supported by outrage. That’s a fact.

  98. ikesolem says

    You know, a lot of the brainwashed cult members have a victimization and persecution complex, and the more secular their local society, the worse it gets. (This is common on the West and East Coasts). In the Midwest and the South, however, these types seem to work overtime to control their local governments and school boards – and in such circumstances, it’s obviously the secular non-religious people who feel persecuted and victimized. Just an interesting anthropological fact.

    What your persecuted religious cult member believes is that a Maoist China will march into their Bible Belt towns, blow up all the churches and temples and mosques and synagogues (like Mao did in Tibet), and drag everyone away to re-education camp. These are of course the same ‘good Christians’ who want to start a religious war with Islam, who reject the Enlightenment, and are eager to embrace a new Dark Age of ignorance, fear and war. Paranoid drivel is par for the course.

    Take this comment, by joey:

    The real question boils down to this. Who should be in charge of what your own children should be learning? You as the parent? Or someone else (e.g. the government)?

    That’s a straw man argument. If kids could learn all they needed from their parents, why have schools at all? Well, say your parents were farmers – and you wanted to be an engineer or a scientist. Not gonna get much help from them, are you? No, you need to go to a place of learning, where lots of experts in different areas can assist you in learning how to do math, work in a lab or the field, etc. The same goes for any other profession – doctor, lawyer, etc.

    But I think this also reveals the pre-Enlightenment nature of the religious crowd – they think children should do what their parents did, much as the children of kings should be kings, the children of slaves should be slaves, the children of farmers should be farmers. It locks the social structure in place, doesn’t it? I mean, with an open public education system available to anyone, why, you might get some half-breed with no aristocratic lineage whatsoever serving as President of the United States! Horrible thought, isn’t it? What happened to the rights of the nobility, anyway?

    Nevertheless, I think PZ should rethink this notion of taking over the Catholic schools, and here’s why: the religious freaks have already largely taken over the public schools!

    They’ve done this through the sneaky tactic of running religious fruitcakes for school board positions all across the country. So, I’d say the number one job for secular atheists who care about schools is to try and get on these school boards and oppose the psychotically backwards agenda of the creationists and their sponsors (who often turn out to be large industrial interests like Koch Industries and Exxon, who have a vested interest in dumbing down the U.S. public so they can go on polluting everything without facing the consequences).

    That’s the problem in Kansas, right? The public school boards tried to ban the teaching of evolution and of climate science and who knows what else. Getting those asinine anti-science clowns off the public school boards should be the top priority – they have no business being there, and the basic Constitutional notion of the separation of church and state backs this up.

    P.S. “Natural law” is absolute fucking bullshit, and the funny thing about it is that everyone from Social Darwinists to Islamic clerics to Catholic priests claim that it is what guides them. Science and law were separated at the Enlightenment, folks, when rational people noticed that the former was not a matter of choice, while the latter was. Nevertheless, you still see idiots preaching that garbage – unreal.

  99. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    Learning is a right every child has; it is not owned by the parents, nor are children themselves property. They are human beings whose rights society ought to protect. Therefore, it is the public (i.e. EVIL SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT!!111!!) which needs to guarantee this and get the best teachers to teach the best information we have available.

    And what if your government provides crappy education? Should you be forced to use the system? If there was a private education alternative that is vastly superior, shouldn’t you and your children have the “right” to pursue it without government interference?

  100. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @nooneinparticular #106

    “the part about seizing church properties and handing them over to the state”

    is not tyranny. It’s hyperbolic rhetoric. Read #70. Just the first part is enough.

  101. What a Maroon, Applied Linguist of Slight Foreboding says

    “Did you see the ‘/snark’ at the end?”

    I don’t do snark. (insert appropriate emoticon here)

    Of course “them” refers to the schools– only the most heartless and clueless middle manager* calls people “assets”.

    Actually, the most heartless refer to people as “debits”.

  102. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @joey #108

    blah, blah, blah: I’m asking questions instead of making positive statements and ignoring that putting kids in “another school” is still leaving the education to, ‘someone else’ which reraises a question I’m willing to ask others but on which I still am not willing to state a position myself. Because I make no arguments. I’m the reincarnation of Socrates, FFS. blah, blah, blah.

  103. says

    @Rev BDC:

    You misinterpret the Holy Vids. For while Han did shoot first, he did it for the good of all. If he had not been so brave as to take the shot, he would have died, and so our great leader would never have made it to rescue the Skywalker.

    And so it is written. I know.

    (And don’t even bring up the “Special Edition.” Those are apocryphal! Blasphemous!)

  104. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @nooneinparticular #106 who said:
    True, but just because people have and do argue for it doesn’t make it a good idea.

    Duh. That’s what I’m saying. Johannes is trying to say that it’s impossible to argue for a stupid idea, or rather, that because it’s a bad idea makes it unarguable. If you believe that then any time someone asserts something in the form of an argument, you take it seriously – because it’s an argument it must be a good idea if bad ideas can’t be argued. Logic!

    And this kind of thinking is exactly what is making people jump off the deep end in failing to recognize hyperbolic rhetoric for what it is. There is no serious proposal to seize assets. If and when the time comes, we can debate that and you can call it stupid or any other epithet you desire. But to take this as a serious proposal against which we need to argue is to miss the point.

    On the other hand, if you do take this as a serious proposal, I’ve got a great idea about Irish babies you should hear…

  105. joey says

    ikesolem:

    The real question boils down to this. Who should be in charge of what your own children should be learning? You as the parent? Or someone else (e.g. the government)?

    That’s a straw man argument. If kids could learn all they needed from their parents, why have schools at all? Well, say your parents were farmers – and you wanted to be an engineer or a scientist. Not gonna get much help from them, are you?

    Yeah, and of course what I meant by parents being “in charge” of what their own children learn means that the parents themselves have to be the ones teaching their children chemistry and physics. Lol.

  106. consciousness razor says

    And what if your government provides crappy education? Should you be forced to use the system? If there was a private education alternative that is vastly superior, shouldn’t you and your children have the “right” to pursue it without government interference?

    It’s in the public’s interest to have the best possible system and to continue improving it. Supposing there were a vastly superior alternative (which is implausible), the existence of a public education system and minimal standards for private systems does not in any way interfere with anyone’s ability to get a “superior” education from a private school. It only interferes with private schools which don’t meet such minimum standards, but that’s not a proper education, to which children have a right.

    Are you now going to suggest that’s in any way relevant to the topic of this article? Are Catholic schools vastly superior? I went to Catholic schools, which by all accounts were inferior to the public education I would’ve received.

  107. nooneinparticular says

    crip dyke @109

    So are you saying PZ was not serious? Just being hyperbolic? I assume he is too -at least I hope so-, but to be honest I am not exactly sure that’s what you meant. I did read #70, thanks, but I am still unclear about what you meant.

    If he is not just being hyperbolic and is serious about it, it IS tyranny. No way around that. And it detracts from his second point (about employees private lives), which is (IMO) right on.

  108. nooneinparticular says

    crip dyke @115

    Sorry. I get it now. Just being dense this AM. We are in violent agreement. Plz ignore my posts (just like everyone else!).

  109. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ikesolem #107:

    These are of course the same ‘good Christians’ … who reject the Enlightenment

    No. No. Of course not. Not the whole enlightenment. Just everything that comes after Hobbes. So, you know, all of the enlightenment between 1650 and 1651.

  110. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    ooops,

    “All of the enlightenment between 1650 and 1651.”

    should end

    “…is fine.”

  111. hotshoe says

    Anyway, to all you blaming the teacher for working in a Catholic school in the first place: where the fuck do you live where the public and private schools aren’t laying off teachers hand over fist and have been for years now?

    We don’t actually know how seriously Herx took the teachings of the church, so to imply that she’s some sort of zealot is sloppy and dishonest.

    This teacher is not a Catholic, never was, and the school knew that when they hired her. Probably, she’s some kind of christian, because they presumably don’t hire any “amoral non-believers” but she had no training in the Catholic faith and had no way of knowing how batshit insane their birth policies are. In fact, the school-paid insurance policy covers fertility treatments, so she had every reason to think (until she was put to the inquisition afterwards) that she could legally and morally use the very services they paid for.

    She’s a Language Arts teacher. She doesn’t teach anything which indoctrinates the children into religion. Personally, I would starve in the gutter before I would teach anything at a Catlicker school, but I can’t impose that choice on a woman who needs/wants a job and feels she has something to offer the students. She may have been the one voice of reason some of those kids knew at school, or she may not, but she’s not to blame for choosing to work there.

    It’s completely insane that any American thinks the bishop has a “right” to police their secular employee’s legal private off-work behavior. It’s also insane to blame the woman for what the bishops do, merely because she chose at some point to work for the diocese. “What did she expect ?” is callous victim-blaming. Not acceptable.

    The church hierarchy should be prosecuted as RICO violators and assets seized for having been the profits of crime/fraud. The diocese can be stripped of control over the schools, with the local school districts taking over administration and forcing them to adhere to all secular laws regarding personnel, etc. Of course, that won’t happen – not in my lifetime – but it’s what we should be shooting for, for justice.

  112. says

    In context with the rest of the post (and, hell, that one sentence itself), it makes no sense to assume “them” means the priests. How would you manage the priests in a community sense? It’s absurd.

    I was going to do a joke about how the last thing you want to do is have the priests siezed and made community property. Talk about detrimental assets.

    It seems however that someone else took that possible joke, ran with it and tripped, before plunging to their doom into a home made cesspit.

  113. says

    #108 – joey

    And what if your government provides crappy education? Should you be forced to use the system? If there was a private education alternative that is vastly superior, shouldn’t you and your children have the “right” to pursue it without government interference?

    My parents sent me to private (boarding) schools because they’d been convinced I’d get a better eductaion there. My problem was I hated being away from home and eventually succeeded in getting myself expelled so I ‘had’ to finish my education in ‘gubmint skool’ – finally resulting in me completing my bachelors. My own son always went to ‘gubmint skool’ and he recently completed his masters by research (and is now trying to fund his doctorate) so why pretend governments can’t do better than liars for profit – especially religious schools?

  114. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Markr1957

    joey isn’t interested in your questions. He’s the all wise Socrates gently guiding you to the correct conclusion through leading questions. He doesn’t have to make any positive statements or defend any positions. Besides, that was a total hypothetical. joey is talking important principles here. He’s not talking about anything so worthless as real life!

  115. ikesolem says

    Yawn, joey, you give off the stench of the patriarchal father figure who knows what is best for his children, the kind wise alpha male chimp who guides his little troop off to find the best fresh fruit, right?

    Has it ever crossed your mind that the rights of the child to learn as much as possible supersedes the right of the parent to force them to accept whatever BS beliefs that the parent has swallowed? For example: “I don’t believe in blood transfusions, so if my child loses blood in a car accident, I want them to die!”

    That’s really why people are disgusted with religion in general – it’s a sleazy con game that authoritarian-minded chimps with no real skills or abilities turn to to establish themselves in positions of wealth and power. Anyone who gives slimeballs like that unsupervised access to their children should realize what will happen – all kinds of child abuse, from ideological brainwashing to actual rape and molestation – which will be covered up by the church authorities in order to protect their public image. That’s not hyperbole, either, that’s history, and their are thousands of sex crime victims of Catholic priests (and other religious figures) walking around who can testify to it.

    Still laughing out loud, are we? Why?

  116. Just_A_Lurker says

    On the other hand, this European’s impression of US labour laws is that they are terrifyingly biased against the employee, allowing the employer to hire and fire basically at will and on a whim. So, a question: is this impression accurate? Can it be legal to do this? (Nobody in the UK would even bother to ask the question – it’s so obviously illegal the situation is unlikely ever to arise)

    I live in Arizona, it’s called a Right to Work state. Google that, it fucking sucks. It’s inhumane, from fire at will to fire because women are on birth control, to refuse to hire because you smoke tobacco. Late once? Gone, see ya.

    It’s mostly on a state to state basis, so yeah there are states that horrible and some not so much. Crap shoot on where you are born and stuck with it.

    Sorry, no sympathy. You take a job at a Catholic school, you take their dollar, you sign up (presumably) to their fruit-loop belief system. It’s no good taking the money year after year and then bleating when that belief system bites you.

    See, this pisses me off. Simply because I’ve had to take jobs with shitty policies that screw the employees over and are bad businesses. I’ve had to work for places that are terrible and which I totally disagree with. Does that mean you just don’t give a fuck, that I totally get what I deserve when I’m screwed over by them?
    Call me a hypocrite, when you have the fucking luxury to pick and choose while I don’t? Fuck off.
    No, seriously, if I was offered a job with a religious place where I had to do specific training for it and pass on their bullshit. I would have to take it. Because it’s that or go back to a shelter or lose my child. So yeah, it would look like I buy into it. Does it really matter though if I believe that bullshit? That doesn’t change my fucking rights and that shouldn’t effect whether or not you care about discrimination.
    I can easily see this kind of shit happening to me and I don’t like the fact that my own damn community won’t have sympathy.

  117. opposablethumbs says

    joey, do please avail yourself of the opportunity to show that you are not a complete and utter moron by describing – even in quite general terms – what you think constitutes a good system of education.

    Be specific enough so as to describe something that could actually function in a recognisable reality. Preferably on planet Earth.

    Feel free to use coloured crayons and both sides of the paper and/or point to examples of education systems (on planet Earth) that you think are doing a good (or just a decent) job.

    Alternatively, do please feel free to shut up and fuck off.

  118. Just_A_Lurker says

    @sonofrojblake:

    You know what, fuck you too. Fuck your victim blaming. There’s nothing this woman did that is wrong and illegal and yet she was fired. But no, it’s her fault, not the fault of some backwards system that discriminates and still gets told “well you can do it cause we can’t step in line of your ‘religious freedom’ (to be a fucking asshole)”

    I agree with this.

    Yes, the RCC is horrible and actively harms people. It spreads through people teaching like this teacher. However, that doesn’t mean we should let the RCC harm people, including their own followers. When we fight for education, we fight education for all. When we fight for privacy, it’s everyone’s privacy. I don’t see how we could just let this woman out to dry just because she’s on the wrong side, especially when we fight against this discrimination. We need to stop this kind of bullshit from happening and that included fighting for her to be reinstated and change the policies of the institution because discrimination is wrong across the board.

    So I think, at least how I interpreted what was written, that the offending phrase lacking sympathy to which you object was a statement against hypocrisy: if you want to make your money teaching things that harm people as if they are ethically binding on all people, you shouldn’t be surprised that someone is going to assume those things are ethically binding on you when you inevitably break with the unrealistic,harmful system.

    Nonetheless, the teacher is not here and an expression that someone believes that the teacher, while in a sucky and unenviable place now, merely received the wages of her exact sin, is a fairly reasonable argument by Pharyngula standards.

    Isn’t one of the benefits of not believing in religion, is you also don’t buy into their “sin” bullshit?
    This reads straight up like victim blaming.

    She shouldn’t have been working there, she got what she deserves.
    She shouldn’t have been wearing that, she got what she deserves.

    There are people here that used to be preachers and teachers of religion. What if this woman doesn’t really believe that shit anymore? Reading your arguments it seems like you’d be more forgiving to her then. Which is totally fucked up. When those people who have deconverted tell stories of being screwed over by their religion and trying to stay in it, do you say “well, you got what you deserve so fuck you, you hypocrite”? You feel sympathy for them and don’t pull that shit, you’d support their fight against discrimination. Talk about a fucking hypocrite.

  119. hotshoe says

    PZ is, I hope, just being angry. The bit about the state having something to say about employers, religious or not, controlling employee’s behavior outside the workplace gets traction (at least with me), but the part about seizing church properties and handing them over to the state is nothing short of tyranny, however well supported by outrage. That’s a fact.

    Sorry, stupid. Not a fact at all, just your stupid opinion.
    States seize control of non-performing or corrupt school districts quite often and quite legally. The district retains title to whatever property they own, but they no longer control the administration of the school, hiring and firing of teachers, purchasing textbooks, etc — those become the tasks of a state-appointed education board. But even if the state seized the actual, physical property, the owners will be paid a fair price — it’s called eminent domain. Ever heard of it? It’s widely agreed in civilized nations that our collective society sometimes needs to acquire property from an unwilling seller. It’s not tyranny.
    Stop being a hyperbolic ass. PZ might do it; you can’t carry it off.

  120. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Just a lurker:

    since I was one of those that you may be interpreting as not having sympathy I’ll come back to something I was going to let lie.

    I **do** have sympathy for the teacher. She’s been treated horribly. She’s in real pain. For that I sympathize.

    However, imagine that not-entirely-analagous situation of a person grabbing a cast iron skillet (currently on a grate over a roaring fire) with a bare hand. We can have sympathy for the pain the person was feeling while still pointing out this pain as a foreseeable outcome of the behavior.

    I don’t want to reduce sympathy for the teacher’s pain or awful situation in any way. I don’t want to say that the actions of the monsignor were in any way good.

    But I want to preserve the right to argue that certain choices have foreseeable negative outcomes. If we can’t argue that, we can’t convince people that they shouldn’t do many things which we, as a community, would like to argue against. We can’t even argue against the monsignor since how could he know that his behavior would hurt that teacher?

    Some of those bad outcomes aren’t like the outcome of the monsignor’s actions – they don’t fall on others, they fall on ourselves. Even if we restricted ourselves to arguing against actions only when the foreseeable negative consequences fall on others, and thus allowed ourselves to critique the monsignor, we wouldn’t be able to advance arguments like Taslima’s that women who suffer under patriarchal religion should leave it because choosing to stay will end up hurting them.

    This doesn’t mean – or at least it doesn’t **have to** mean – that we don’t have sympathy for the people hurt. It just means that we believe that foreseeable harm is a great reason not to do something.

    You are talking about foreseeing the harm but having it be unavoidable without facing even worse consequences. When that is the case, there is more than one problem that needs be addressed. And my sympathy for you would be sincere and real. Frankly, it would be sincere and real even if you weren’t trapped by economic necessity.

    But I still don’t want to wall off those arguments that arise from foreseeable negative consequences because they are helpful in gaining the critical mass necessary to prevent exactly these devastating situations. They are directed at empowering individuals to protect themselves from symptoms, rather than uprooting causes. However they also provide clarity on exactly the catch-22 in which a person is placed. Thus it helps to identify the exact nature of the problem. And identifying the nature of the problem is always a good thing if one seeks to eliminate it.

  121. kemist, Dark Lord of the Sith says

    And what if your government provides crappy education? Should you be forced to use the system? If there was a private education alternative that is vastly superior, shouldn’t you and your children have the “right” to pursue it without government interference?

    And fuck those poor kids, right ?

    Why even vote at all if you think any government can’t do anything right.

  122. nooneinparticular says

    hotshoe@131

    Don’t be daft. Sure the state can seize control of school districts that “underperform”. But then, those are public properties. Catholic schools are not public property.

    You’d have done better (and looked less foolish) if you’d use the example of states seizing, say, banks or energy companies. In some countries that is/has been done and, depending on your political persuasion, it might not seem tyrannical to do/have done it. But we’re talking (at least I and PZ are) about the good ol US of A, where the seizure of this kind of private property would be seen as tyranny, hands down.

  123. ikesolem says

    It’s just as bad in many public school districts, too. Here’s clear evidence of religious attitudes sneaking into the public school system:

    School board fires teacher, Oxnard, over past porn history

    “School board trustees decided on Wednesday to fire Halas. She had been on paid administrative leave since her porn acting surfaced last month. Halas has 30 days to appeal the decision by requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge.”

    Porn is legal for adults, and despite whatever hate-filled Puritan ideology you’ve been filled with, that means that school boards have no business going after teachers who won’t go along with their religious-moral indoctrination program. Oh, you can still teach your children to hate anyone not like them – how else would they learn that? – but you have no business in public schools.

    Because it’s the religions that do all the indoctrination and brainwashing, isn’t it? They’re afraid of open minds, balanced thought, and difficult questions – so everyone march in line, now, and DON’T ASK QUESTIONS. Everything you need to know is in the Bible, especially the bits about bowing down before the priesthood, who will then interceded with the Big Kahuna on your behalf.

  124. flaq says

    Still waiting for Joey to give it a go and tell us what he actually thinks instead of prancing around sprinkling his questions everywhere.

    Try this: think of an idea, and write one or two simple, declarative sentences that express that idea. Object, verb, subject. Like, “I think _____.”

    I’ll go first:

    I think public education, funded at the state or federal level, is vitally important. I think it would be bad for this country as a whole, and for the people in it as individuals, if such public schools did not exist.

    OK. Now you try.

  125. hotshoe says

    Dr. Audley:

    How do you know that she wasn’t Catholic? I don’t doubt you, I just didn’t see anything in the linked article about her religion.

    Maybe I just missed it. I’ve been missing a lot today. :p

    Hmm, maybe I’m the one reading too much into the article:

    A language arts teacher, Herx was not required to complete training in the Catholic faith as a condition of her employment, was not ordained by the Catholic Church and is not a minister, according to the lawsuit.

    The way I figure, if she ever had been a Catholic (catechised and comfirmed) they wouldn’t try to argue that she was not required to complete training , because she would have already been trained in the faith.

    And if she were a practicing Catholic, and therefore familiar with church doctrine against fertility sins, there’s no way that her suit would take the tactic of “I’m emotionally distressed that they ruined my life by surprise”

    In March 2010, Herx told the principal she would need to schedule sick days to undergo the fertility treatments.

    “At no point through the couple’s first round of (in vitro fertilization) did (the principal) object, alert Herx to any Catholic teachings or doctrine that might be implicated, or take any disciplinary action against Herx,” the lawsuit read.

    See, again, she didn’t know the doctrine. Of course, she could actually be a Catholic, and either be ignorant or be lying about knowing … but the parsimonious explanation is that she never was Catholic and the bullshit really did catch her by surprise.

  126. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    The way I figure, if she ever had been a Catholic (catechised and comfirmed) they wouldn’t try to argue that she was not required to complete training , because she would have already been trained in the faith.

    There’s training in Catholic faith and there’s training for indoctrinating others into the Catholic faith. I’m guessing they are using the first term as a code for the second.
    I attended cathecism in my youth and I was confirmed, but I would not say that I am trained in Catholic faith. I mean, I am, in a way, but I think the term is used for a more thorough education after the confirmation.

  127. alexmartin says

    Talk about running with the devil!
    “States” or the State with the arbitrary power to “seize” private institutions or industry, basically on a whim?

    Better hold onto your asses.

  128. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    And if she were a practicing Catholic, and therefore familiar with church doctrine against fertility sins, there’s no way that her suit would take the tactic of “I’m emotionally distressed that they ruined my life by surprise”

    Not necessarily. She could have simply not known about that particular bullshit from the pope, or more probable – it was one of the things she decided to ignore and assumed other Catholics were ignoring it too. After all, there are so many things most Catholics ignore, it must come as a surprise when one finds out that someone somewhere is actually listening to everything that comes from Vatican.

  129. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    It’s in the public’s interest to have the best possible system and to continue improving it.

    I agree.

    Supposing there were a vastly superior alternative (which is implausible), the existence of a public education system and minimal standards for private systems does not in any way interfere with anyone’s ability to get a “superior” education from a private school.

    Of course, but not if the private school is “seized” and “managed as assets of the community’s public school system”.

  130. flaq says

    oh for fucks sake, seriously? Another one?

    Listen, alexmartin, do us a favor. Go sit with pal joey, the two of you talk it over, and come back with a declarative statement — that means no question marks — that sums up a better approach than we’ve currently got with these scary-sounding “States” of yours or the sinister “indoctrination” joey’s talking about in the public schools.

  131. says

    Hotshoe:
    She could very well be Catholic and just ignorant of church teachings– I would imagine many Catholics are (the ones I know are, anyway).

    She did point out in her defense that there were teachers that didn’t regualrly attend mass, implying that she did.

    Anyway, the article just doesn’t seem very clear one way or the other.

  132. joey says

    flaq:

    I’ll go first:

    I think public education, funded at the state or federal level, is vitally important. I think it would be bad for this country as a whole, and for the people in it as individuals, if such public schools did not exist.

    OK. Now you try.

    Alright.

    I think private education, not funded by the state, is vitally important. I think it would be bad for the country as a whole if the state, for whatever reason, starts closing down law-abiding private schools or forcing them to become public schools. That is tantamount to tyranny.

  133. hotshoe says

    hotshoe@131

    Don’t be daft. Sure the state can seize control of school districts that “underperform”. But then, those are public properties. Catholic schools are not public property.

    You’d have done better (and looked less foolish) if you’d use the example of states seizing, say, banks or energy companies. In some countries that is/has been done and, depending on your political persuasion, it might not seem tyrannical to do/have done it. But we’re talking (at least I and PZ are) about the good ol US of A, where the seizure of this kind of private property would be seen as tyranny, hands down.

    Fuck off, dumbshit.
    We’re not talking about nationalizing the oil wells. We’re talking about seizing administrative control of a school district because its existing administration is corrupt and not performing in accordance with secular society’s standards. What the fuck do you think it being “not public property” has to do with this problem? “Private property” is not a license to do any fucking thing you want, regardless of zoning regulations. “Private business” is not a license to commit labor code violations, much less human rights violations. “Private school” is not a license to undermine secular education standards.
    If the Catlickers want to profit by running a school, thousands of dollars of tuition per pupil enriching their treasury (and from property on which they pay zero property tax, thanks to our unjustified respect for “religious property) – then they can run it by our secular rules. If they can’t do it by secular rules voluntarily, then they should be supervised by a state-appointed administration which will make sure they do.
    If they choose to close the school rather than submit (which is a choice some Catlickers have already made in similar situations) then the local school district can decide if public policy requires that school property to serve the larger population. If so, then the district can get it by eminent domain, completely aboveboard, with fair value paid to the owners. Eminent domain is used everywhere in the good old U S of A which you are apparently so ignorant about.
    This is not tyranny. Just claiming it is, doesn’t make it so. For you to chant “tyranny tyranny” makes you a dumbfuck tool of the far-right business interests. Private property uber alles!! Property is sacred!!
    You should be so proud of the stance you’re taking.

  134. flaq says

    I think private education, not funded by the state, is vitally important. I think it would be bad for the country as a whole if the state, for whatever reason, starts closing down law-abiding private schools or forcing them to become public schools. That is tantamount to tyranny.

    Well done.

    Interesting qualifier you included there: “law-abiding”. How would you say that applies to the private school in question? You know, the one that fired a teacher for trying to procreate in a way they found unappealing?

  135. nooneinparticular says

    Hotshoe

    *blink* *blink*

    “Eminent Domain”; I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    Srsly dood. Look it up.

    You also need to get hold of your anger.

  136. mikee says

    The only good thing about the catholic church is that their beliefs are so twisted that any members with some intelligence who look at the teaching closely end up as atheists.
    I hope this woman does sue. She has pointed out contridictions that even a right wing judge should see. Perhaps they could fire all of the vasectomies, divorced , non mass attending teachers as well. Make their criteria so tight they run out of people pious enough to teach and have to use real teachers.
    On second thoughts they would probably recruit priests and nuns and community helpers – “god” help the poor kids

  137. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    beatrice and hotshoe:

    The “training in the catholic faith” bit is about job classifications. Even in organizations that are church owned, if they are not incorporated as a church (the church itself is doing the teaching) if they are incorporated as their own institutions and owned by a church, certain non-discrimination rules apply…

    …EXCEPT in the case of persons whose job is instruction in the faith or its tenets. Churches have tried to say, in the past, that certain people are not protected even though they are not directly involved in passing on church teaching because they teach religious content in the context of other work. In language arts classrooms at religious schools, it’s common to teach religious stories. “Reading comprehension” lessons would presumably mean checking to make sure that the students got the author’s intended message, often a religious one. So should the language arts teacher never be protected by anti-discrimination laws?

    “No,” the courts have said. Even though individual teachers are involved in promulgating the faith, certain positions are different. Certain positions are essentially pastoral, and these can be legally separated from other teaching positions, the court holds.

    How do we determine which positions are which? There is a list of things that indicate a position is pastoral rather than non-pastoral, and one of those is that one had to go to seminary or something equivalent in order to hold the position. She didn’t have to have any “training” in the faith to establish her qualifications as a language arts teacher. This just means she had no sort of divinity degree.

    You have to understand law to understand why this language is in the lawsuit. They are arguing she’s not a priest and therefore the (limited) protections against sex and ability discrimination are not inapplicable.

    She appears – and this is my reading, this isn’t about the law – to have been surprised that she was held out as differently accountable, not that there was no teaching on this point. She went out of her way to ensure that limited embryos were created and all were implanted so that there would be no embryos destroyed. This *is* in line with Catholic teaching which asserts that assistance getting pregnant is allowable within marriage if the assistance is medical in nature and does not destroy embryos. In fact, it’s so perfectly in line that she must have been very clearly aware of the teaching. This is the opposite of ignorant.

    She’s surprised because she obeyed the teaching by using a process that normally destroys embryos but limiting it in such a way that it didn’t destroy embryos and then got fired because someone without all the details of her medical *assumed* she destroyed embryos and then, when confronted with information she didn’t, thought that others might reasonably make the same mistake, resulting in scandal, and thus fired her.

    “You went out of your way to obey doctrine, but other people don’t know that and might think you committed a horrible sin. So, because other people are idiots, you’re fired.”

    THAT surprised her – especially given the toleration of the multitudes of well-known sins among other teachers. Her lawsuit is in part predicated on the idea that others are nearly as good at following Catholic teaching as she is, and thus it must be discrimination that’s going on, not enforcement of Catholic teaching.

  138. consciousness razor says

    Of course, but not if the private school is “seized” and “managed as assets of the community’s public school system”.

    I don’t think we ought to seize and manage them, but how the fuck do you figure that? Do you have it in you to even hint at an argument, or are you going to keep acting like a jackass? How is it that because the public takes control of it, people can no longer get this supposedly “superior” education? Why would one assume that merely because it’s no longer run by a private entity, the quality of the education has declined? Or it instead that being privately-run is more important to you than the quality of the education?

  139. joey says

    flaq:

    How would you say that applies to the private school in question? You know, the one that fired a teacher for trying to procreate in a way they found unappealing?

    I don’t know the full details of the case nor am I a lawyer. So I can’t judge whether the school broke the law or not.

    Did the companies (AT&T, Accenture) that dropped Tiger Woods’ sponsorship after his infidelities had become public break the law?

  140. says

    Joey, here’s a repeat of my question in #57.

    Joey(6) – please explain why giving power of indoctrination to a foreign (RCC) state is better for the United States of America. Why is it moral and legal to give a foreign state complete access and freedom to do with our children (and teachers) what our civil government considers illegal for the rest of us?

    In #96 you attempt to change it to ‘model’. We can adopt models from anywhere. I’m referring to the foreign state (RCC) doing it, within our country, with our children, out of our control.

  141. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Anyone arguing eminent domain in the US should look up Kelo v. New London.

    With the current jurisprudence, government no longer needs to create a public use when employing eminent domain. They need only have a “public purpose” in mind.

    Converting private schools to public is a public use and unifying education in a certain area so as to have the same standards for education for every child in the district is a public purpose.

    It may not be constitutional to close down all catholic schools and only catholic schools through eminent domain.

    However, it would certainly be constitutional to have a policy in place that all private schools who lose a discrimination lawsuit will be taken over through eminent domain’s seizure of physical property then the government’s hiring of teachers to serve the students.

    I don’t like the current US rules on eminent domain, but they are broad as heck.

    I won’t even deny that certain uses of ED would be tyrannical. But don’t for a second think that it would be illegal.

  142. hotshoe says

    Hotshoe:
    She could very well be Catholic and just ignorant of church teachings– I would imagine many Catholics are (the ones I know are, anyway).

    She did point out in her defense that there were teachers that didn’t regualrly attend mass, implying that she did.

    Anyway, the article just doesn’t seem very clear one way or the other.

    Yep, you and Beatrice are right. She could be a Catholic and ignorant of doctrine, or disregarding of it when it suited her, and assuming everyone else disregarded it, too.

    So. I’m sorry I made a flat statement that “she’s not Catholic” without actual knowledge of that. Bad me.

    Doesn’t change the main point, though, which is that it’s insane to think the bishop has a “right” to fire persons based on their legal, private, non-work behavior. It’s our crazy US society giving undue privilege to religion, and we need to assert the primacy of an equal secular society for all.

    Doesn’t matter even if Emily Herx herself does think she was committing a grave sin. If she needs to go back to confession to clear her conscience, that should be between her, god, and priest, not between her and her employer. Even deluded Catholics deserve the protection of secular labor laws.

  143. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ joey –

    1st let’s presume the school broke the law. Would you now be in favor of the government taking the school?

    Would you be neither in favor nor against?

    Would you be against?

    If against, your “law abiding” condition is either a smokescreen or woefully incomplete.

    Second:
    Now you’re talking about contract law, not employment law. Whatever the two parties agreed to is fine, so long as they both agreed to it. I haven’t looked at the case, but it is standard to have a clause that moral choices that impact on the ability of the contracted spokesperson to create the positive representation of the product for which the contracted spokesperson is being paid will constitute sufficient reason to negate further implementation of the contract (with reservation for fees earned but not yet paid, that sort of thing).

    So, no, it’s incredibly unlikely that they broke the law, but as I said, I haven’t looked at those cases. The thing is, even in employment law, the ability to positively represent the corporation is a bona fide job requirement because holding yourself out as a representative of the corporations products **is** the job you are hired to do. Thus if you do anything – on the job or off – that prevents you from fulfilling the duties for which you were hired, you can be fired without recourse.

    If you are going to argue the law, you’d best learn a tiny bit about it first.

  144. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Did the companies (AT&T, Accenture) that dropped Tiger Woods’ sponsorship after his infidelities had become public break the law?

    Athlete sponsorship ≠ teacher hire

  145. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    I don’t think we ought to seize and manage them, but how the fuck do you figure that? Do you have it in you to even hint at an argument, or are you going to keep acting like a jackass? How is it that because the public takes control of it, people can no longer get this supposedly “superior” education? Why would one assume that merely because it’s no longer run by a private entity, the quality of the education has declined? Or it instead that being privately-run is more important to you than the quality of the education?

    There must be an epidemic of Misingthepoint Syndrome on this forum.

    Are you in favor of the state seizing all religious schools or not? If you were a senator/congressman and there was a bill that proposed that all religious schools should be seized and managed as assets of the community’s public school system, would you sign it?

  146. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Joey, you could read Swift and accuse everyone of MissingThePoint Syndrome if they wanted to talk about political and economic responses to famine instead of whether or not it was reasonable to eat babies and what recipes might be best concocted for their tasty, tasty baby flesh.

  147. nooneinparticular says

    crip dyke

    Off the rails there with Kelo v. New London (incidentally, as I grew up near N.L. I happen to know one of the plaintiffs in that case. Not saying that fact makes me an expert on it, just sayin, you know?). Kelo v. New London was far more restrictive than what you imply re; seizing private schools. Now if the buildings were condemned because a freeway was to be built or some other public benefit proscribed by Kelo and other precedents it’s possible. But that’s not what we’re talking about, is it?.

    Anyhoo, even though I am not a lawyer, I am quite certain that Kelo v. New London could not be used as ED to justify seizure of a private school because the government thinks that they are not treating their employees well. All sort of other parts of the constitution that would run afoul of. Certainly not if they disagree with the church’s religious instruction. Further, the only thing the government could do legally if the school’s academic performance was poor would be to take away it’s accreditation. Only way a government can (or should, IMO) close or seize (?!) a private school is if there are crimes committed there.

  148. gillt says

    Well this is weird. I grew up in Fort Wayne, went to school at St Vincents for eight years and have known Fr. Kuzmich most of my life. I’ve always considered him a reasonable person…until just now. Well, he’s old and about ready for retirement.

  149. joey says

    Crip:

    1st let’s presume the school broke the law. Would you now be in favor of the government taking the school?

    Would you be neither in favor nor against?

    Would you be against?

    If the school broke the law, then they should pay the fine/penalty that comes with breaking that law. What that is, I have no idea.

    Should the government take over the school for breaking that law? Sounds a bit extreme. Is there any talk of UPenn being taken over by the government because of the Sandusky scandal?

    If you are going to argue the law, you’d best learn a tiny bit about it first.

    Well I already admitted that I haven’t studied law, so I have no idea if the school broke the law or not.

  150. hotshoe says

    Crip Dyke #150

    Bravo – that makes it as clear as possible. Thanks.

    Agreeing with you, I just read elsewhere that the reference to “no training” in her suit is intended to forestall the diocese from claiming the ministerial exemption – as in the recent SCOTUS decision – which would allow them to impose whatever workplace bias they want, regardless of the ruling by the EEOC in Herx’ favor.

    But if she was in fact never a minister, the church may not get away with calling her duties “ministerial”. She never trained, neither at the diocese, nor in her college degree, to teach religion, and has indeed never taught a Religion Class. The court could find as a fact that she is not ministerial and therefore the church does not get a ministerial exemption from labor laws.

    That would be good.

    Personally, I hope she wakes up, loses her faith, and starts taking a strong stand against the poison of religion (religious school, especially). I’d settle for her winning her case and getting the financial compensation she sued for.

  151. consciousness razor says

    Are you in favor of the state seizing all religious schools or not?

    Can you fucking read or not?

    If you were a senator/congressman and there was a bill that proposed that all religious schools should be seized and managed as assets of the community’s public school system, would you sign it?

    You’re the one missing the point, which happened to be your point, but apparently you’ve already forgotten. Don’t go off on some new tangent until we’ve settled that. You argued people can’t get a “superior” education run by a private entity, if the public takes control of it. So go back up there and read it again, then answer my fucking questions, shut the fuck up, or start making some fucking sense, or continue to hear about how much of a jackass you are.

  152. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Doesn’t change the main point, though, which is that it’s insane to think the bishop has a “right” to fire persons based on their legal, private, non-work behavior.

    Agreed, of course.

    Also, Crip Dyke, thanks for the detailed explanation in #150.

  153. crayzz says

    …while trying to impose arbitrary and obsolete medieval religious rules on its female employees.

    Fixed that for you, at least judging Herx’s testimony.

  154. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Sorry, noone, you misunderstand me and Kelo.

    First, I said that taking the school away because it is catholic would not be allowed not because of ED, but because the first amendment prevents the singling out of one faith.

    Nor could ED take the school because a state dislikes a particular teaching – singling out a religious teaching is just as forbidden as singling out a religion.

    **however** Under Kelo the “public purpose” interpretation is enshrined as constitutional. In fact, the majority went out of its way to enshrine public purpose. It could have said that only economic public purpose was okay and non-economic use of ED requires “public use” of the property post-transfer. Instead, the majority upheld the public purpose interpretation and then analyzed whether or not NL had a plan for public purpose.

    It was limited only in the sense that there must be a non-discriminatory policy establishing which land or property is to be taken.

    If you have a policy in place that the jurisdiction in question will condemn any and all buildings owned and/or used as schools if the school entity violates labor laws or education standards, and then if you follow that policy in a non-discriminatory way, Kelo allows that.

    In fact, even if you expect your policy to take Catholic schools primarily or exclusively, if the law or policy is established and schools have fair warning, and the policy is enforced without, “an evil eye [or] an unequal hand,” (from Yick Wo v. Hopkins), then those schools can be condemned for the public purpose of evening scholastic standards and the employment standards within schools necessary to establish the educational environment that the local jurisdiction deems to be required.

    There are reasons why it may not seem realistic for courts to accept such a use of ED. However, those don’t arise out of Kelo or current ED law itself. See, for example, Wisconsin v. Yoder for limits of the government’s authority over education, but note that we are here talking about whether the government has the right to create a non-discriminatory policy for the use of ED that would lead to the seizure of schools. The power of ED can clearly be used for that purpose as it can seize any other property type under a policy that isn’t corrupt or constitutionally infirm for reasons unrelated to eminent domain itself.

  155. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Beatrice, hotshoe, you’re welcome.

    Also, hotshoe, that may be significantly better than my explanation. We’re explaining the same concept, but I tend to be wordier about it. Thanks for your alternate version.

    Also I completely agree that the ethics of the situation -from the facts known- appear to me to strongly support this woman prevailing and receiving compensation for a wrong done. The law is likely significantly less clear.

    Still, unless facts come out that change the nature of the case, I do very much hope she wins.

  156. nooneinparticular says

    crip dyke

    I guess I did misunderstand you. But not, I think the application of ED under Kelo. ISTM, all sorts of court decisions may be argued to promote some action or other, but if that action runs afoul of the constitution elsewhere, such as would be the case if a government tried to take a Catholic school because of labor law violations by claiming a “public purpose”, even if the Kelo claim was reasonable (and I do not concede that) I can’t see how it could prevail given the collision such an argument would have with the constitution. No way any way a gubmint could make a “public purpose” claim about religious beliefs or even quality of education. So I don’t see where we’re left here.

    It seems, from your writing anyway, that you are a lawyer. Seriously -I’m not trying to bait you. I genuinely would like to know…how could a government claim ED by citing Kelo in a case such as this?

  157. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I’m a political theorist who writes on (among other things) the philosophy of law – not a lawyer. Differences include much more focus on constitutional questions and absolutely no training on, say, procedure.

    I realize that you may be assuming that I’m saying you could take the school post-facto.

    I have conceded that setting up a religious test for taking the school runs afoul of non-ED related parts of the constitution and would be verboten.

    However if you
    1. First set up a policy asserting that educational standards will be raised,
    if
    2. it is reasonable to hold the belief that your plan will be successful (it can’t involve doing nothing except closing down buildings – since that on its own doesn’t raise educational standards no one could reasonably believe that the stated purpose of the plan was the real purpose of the plan)
    and if
    3. part of that policy includes the closing down of schools that the local jurisdiction believes are deficient (evidence of which could include certain kinds of violations as long as the response to those violations was consistent regardless of whether the school was religious or not…among other required forms of non-discrimination)
    and then
    4. the jurisdiction waits for a future violation, covered by the policy
    then
    5. the building could be seized through ED.

    This is analogous to Kelo where the city
    1.First set up a policy regarding economic development
    then
    2. reasonably believed that condemning older buildings in order to build newer buildings proposed by employers new to the community would result in economic development
    where
    3. one part of that policy included the condemnation of buildings – in this case not based on deficiency since deficiency isn’t part of the policy, but instead based on location on ground proposed for redevelopment – regardless of whether the buildings were religious, residential, etc.
    At this point, the city
    4. waited for a prospective employer (actually 2, IIRC) large enough to be covered by the policy made a proposal
    and then
    5. condemned buildings in accordance with the policy.

    Economic development was the “public purpose” under discussion, but nothing in Kelo limits its use to economic purposes, only “public” ones.

  158. 'Tis Himself says

    One footnote to Kelo v New London. The real estate developer failed to get funding and the Ft. Trumbull area remains undeveloped. In 2011, after Hurricane Irene visited southern New England, the land was turned into a dump for storm debris.

  159. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    You argued people can’t get a “superior” education run by a private entity, if the public takes control of it.

    I just gave that as an example of why one would choose a private school over a public school. Whether the private school is actually “superior” or not is not the fricken point. The private school may be superior, or it may be greatly inferior in terms of “getting the best teachers to teach the best information we have available”. I might be choosing the school solely for its religious (or areligious) student body or atmosphere. Who the heck cares? The point is whether I actually have the choice of attending this private school or not.

    So go back up there and read it again…

    Now YOU go back up and reread what you quoted from me in post #103.

  160. consciousness razor says

    I just gave that as an example of why one would choose a private school over a public school

    Sure, you don’t actually give a fuck about education. You just think you had to make some kind of inane “point.” But you didn’t. Whatever suits you.

    The private school may be superior, or it may be greatly inferior in terms of “getting the best teachers to teach the best information we have available”. I might be choosing the school solely for its religious (or areligious) student body or atmosphere. Who the heck cares?

    People who give a fuck about education.

    The point is whether I actually have the choice of attending this private school or not.

    Why would that be the point? Public schools are open to everyone.

  161. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The point is whether I actually have the choice of attending this private school or not.

    Liberturds don’t have points. They have theological sound bytes like the above, without any basis in reality. Which is why you aren’t getting any traction with your inanity. We recognize theological liars and bullshitters of all types.

  162. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The point is whether I actually have the choice of attending this private school or not.

    You don’t. You never have and never will. The state restricts the right to contract to those of 18 years of age or over. Private schools sign a contract with parents to pay the bills.

    *Parents* have the choice of *forcing* any given child to attend a school, but the parents can’t choose to go to that school themselves, nor does the child have any right to choose a school.

    Thus we are talking not about whether someone has free rights to attend a school. We are talking about whether or not parents have an unfettered right to control the education of people other than themselves.

    you don’t seem to get that this is not an individual right that can be exercised. In order to exercise the “right” about which you are speaking, you must force another human being to accede to your will.

    The law recognizes all the time that parents abuse this power. Thus the law puts constraints on the choices of parents. You can’t discipline your child to death with a chainsaw. You can’t even discipline them to the hospital with a chainsaw. And this is only the extreme outside edge of what is forbidden.

    Government sets the standards and parents are not free to choose because the parents are not choosing **for themselves**. The students don’t have a free right to go to the school of their choice because they can’t contract to pay even if they could pay. Parents are too old to go to the school of their choice, or they are still minors and students and likewise cannot contract with a private school.

    You are talking nonsense. You are speaking as if parent and child are the same person. They are not. And because of that, the state gets involved.

    Now make an argument that the state shouldn’t be involved or admit that your posturing questioning is puerile and empty.

  163. echidna says

    According to a number of news reports, (just google the quote to find them) it looks like Herx is not Catholic:

    The diocese said that teachers, even those such as Herx who aren’t Catholic, are required by their contracts to abide by Catholic tenets

    I hate the way employers in the US behave like slave-owners.

  164. echidna says

    me:

    I hate the way employers in the US behave like slave-owners.

    I ought to qualify that, because there are differences, and not all employers do this. But there is a sense of ownership of the employee that sticks in my craw.

  165. joey says

    razor:

    The point is whether I actually have the choice of attending this private school or not.

    Why would that be the point? Public schools are open to everyone.

    Lol.
    ———–

    Nerd:

    Liberturds don’t have points.

    And you have a point? So do you actually have something to add to the discussion other than repeatedly spouting off “Liberturd” every other post?
    ———–

    Crip:

    Parents are too old to go to the school of their choice, or they are still minors and students and likewise cannot contract with a private school.

    There are no such things as private colleges?

    Ok, let’s all get back to the topic of the blog post, which is whether the state should “seize” religious schools. You claim that PZ is simply using “hyperbolic rhetoric” and doesn’t really advocate this. (From someone who is fairly new to this blog, I see no clear reason why a reader should not assume PZ was completely sincere about what he wrote.) So is it a fair assumption that you don’t advocate the idea of the state seizing all religious schools? If so, then what exactly are we arguing about?

  166. Suido says

    Here’s the deal Joey:

    1. PZ said schooling should be secular. Not public vs private, as you seem to assume, but secular vs religious. Arguing about public vs private schooling is off topic.

  167. Suido says

    2. Why should schooling be secular? Because religious education is full of biases that affect the learning and thinking of children.
    If parents want religious education for their kids, that’s what churches/sunday schools are for.

  168. Suido says

    3. Unfortunately, religions have a special privilege in society, and so they are allowed to manage schools, amongst other things. In this position of power, they then are allowed to fire ‘a teacher at a Catholic school in Indiana who was evaluated as excellent in her work’ for something that has no bearing on the education of the children in her care.

    The children she taught would never have known that she used IV fertilisation.

  169. Suido says

    4. This decision to fire a good teacher has been upheld by the school administration, and may even be upheld by the civil court system, due to the special privilege that religions hold.

    This is not fair for the students, who have lost a teacher who is ‘excellent in her work’. As per an above point, these children didn’t choose this religious school, their parents did.

  170. Suido says

    5. Because of all of this, PZ’s conclusion is that religions can’t be trusted to provide education. That may be a generalisation, but it is founded on evidence: administrators firing ‘excellent’ staff for non-work related reasons.

  171. Suido says

    Joey, now that I’ve broken it down for you, would you please contribute positively to this discussion by providing an alternative way to ensure that religious administrators do not adversely and unfairly affect the education of the children in their (I hesitate to say) care?

    If you don’t have an alternative, fuck off.

  172. A. R says

    Suido: Did you mean to separate your comments like that on purpose, or was it a computer error?

  173. Suido says

    Deliberate. I tried to make it as simple as possible for Joey.

    Apologies if it came off as comment spam.

  174. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    He’s still making the argument that since the OP discusses seizing catholic schools, that PZ must literally be advocating that…despite 2 – count them 2, and I thought I might be being a little *too* obvious – specific mentions of Swift alluding to “A Modest Proposal”.

    I really believe that the evidence shows he couldn’t read that piece without thinking that Swift was actually, literally advocating the eating of babies. Sigh.

    ========
    Joey: Responding to you is rather pointless since you can’t respond substantively to almost anything. But what was under discussion was the forced indoctrination of children – which wasn’t even the topic of the OP, but did come up in comments. In that context, we were discussing the schools to which children are forced to go. These are the schools we are talking about. If we were talking about colleges, we would have said colleges.

    BTW couldn’t you figure this out from the discussion of educational standards? You do know that the state doesn’t establish educational standards for colleges, right? You know that’s something that they only do for children, right?

    Cuz we are also trying to figure out what the argument is over…because you can’t make any positive statements other than, eventually, that you want children to have the freedom to pick their own school, but you seem completely and blissfully unaware that they don’t, can’t, and will never.

    So make some assertions, make some arguments. Let us know how your libertarian philosophy would make children’s education better. Tell us all about how education would be so much better if there were no such thing as governments involved.

    If you have an argument at all.

  175. joey says

    ING:

    We’re arguing because you’re an utter tool, Joey who no one here likes very much.

    Boohoo.

    Now, do you have something to contribute to the discussion? Are you in favor of the state seizing religious schools?

    ————–

    Suido:

    1. PZ said schooling should be secular. Not public vs private, as you seem to assume, but secular vs religious.

    Totally understood. But it’s one thing to think that people shouldn’t be obese, and another thing to advocate the government making obesity illegal.

    I’m sure everyone in this forum would want all schooling to be secular. The real question is whether we would advocate the government mandating all schools to become secular, implying the seizing and secularization of all existing religious schools.

    I am against this forced secularization of schools by the government simply because it is greatly tyrannical. What is your opinion?

    ————–
    Crip:

    He’s still making the argument that since the OP discusses seizing catholic schools, that PZ must literally be advocating that…

    And what makes you so certain that he is not really advocating it? This is an example of crystal clear hyperbole…

    “The priests in charge of all Catholic schools should be rounded up and shot in public.”

    Did he say something even remotely preposterous as that? No, this is what he posted…

    “It seems to me that the problem is that the church is playing the role of a secular employer in what ought to be a secular profession, the education of children, while trying to impose arbitrary and obsolete medieval religious rules on its employees. I propose a simple change: seize the Catholic schools, remove the priests from control, and manage them as assets of the community’s public school system. Do this everywhere for all religious schools, not just the Catholic ones.”

    Seems like reasonable and sincere rhetoric to me. Now if PZ really is simply resorting to hyperbole to make a point, then he most definitely had me, a relative newbie to PZ and this forum, fooled. (And if you scan through the responses, I’m not the only one who got fooled.)

    You and I most probably share the belief in the First Amendment. It’s likely you believe that PZ does as well, whereas I have no reason to make that assumption.

  176. md says

    Truth: Parents trump the government. Religion is not child abuse. If parents want their childs education to be religious, that is their right to put them in a religious school. To the suddenly Constitution loving Kelo-fanatics, I assure you the above is cemented in the Constitution and will never change as long as America stands.

    And lets be honest, you don’t really give a shit about the Constitution, you like power. Kelo (you believe) grants you more power to implement your twisted will over the rest of us. If you want to order people around, go play some Sims, you Petty Tyrant.

  177. Anri says

    Truth: Parents trump the government.

    Not at all times, for all reason, in all situations.
    Civilized government holds that children have rights, and that these rights vary with their age, and that there are times when these rights can be violeted by even their parents. At those times, it must intervene to protect the child’s rights.

    Religion is not child abuse.

    Highly debatable.

    If parents want their childs education to be religious, that is their right to put them in a religious school. To the suddenly Constitution loving Kelo-fanatics, I assure you the above is cemented in the Constitution and will never change as long as America stands.

    The right to beat the hell out of your kids when you’re angry also exists – that doesn’t mean we can’t hope that intelligent, caring parents understand it’s not a good idea.

    And lets be honest, you don’t really give a shit about the Constitution, you like power. Kelo (you believe) grants you more power to implement your twisted will over the rest of us. If you want to order people around, go play some Sims, you Petty Tyrant.

    Wow, that’s a hunka-hunka-burnin’-dumb.

    Can I assume you’re actually going to try to back this up with some sort of references, or should we settle back on the default position that you pulled this wholesale out of your rosy red rectum?

  178. KG says

    I’m sure everyone in this forum would want all schooling to be secular. The real question is whether we would advocate the government mandating all schools to become secular, implying the seizing and secularization of all existing religious schools.

    I am against this forced secularization of schools by the government simply because it is greatly tyrannical. – joey…

    You and I most probably share the belief in the First Amendment.

    Not being an American, I’m not obliged to treat the US constitution as sacred scripture. Yes, I am most certainly in favour of the state protecting children from religious indoctrination in schools. The tyranny of parents and teachers over children is no more acceptable than that of governments over citizens, and protection from that tyranny is not tyranny.

  179. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am against this forced secularization of schools by the government simply because it is greatly tyrannical. – joey…Your liberturdism preaching is noted and rejected for the common good. You have plenty of chances to indoctrinate your children in your fuckwittery outside of school time. Oops, that’s right, what you believe in so so bad it requires total brainwashing…

  180. joey says

    KG:

    Yes, I am most certainly in favour of the state protecting children from religious indoctrination in schools.

    So if you were an American, you would be against the First Amendment. Noted.

    ——-

    Nerd:

    Your liberturdism preaching is noted and rejected for the common good. You have plenty of chances to indoctrinate your children in your fuckwittery outside of school time.

    You are also against the First Amendment. Also noted.

    ——-

    ING:

    Joey, are you in favor of disbanding the military in favor of private contractors?

    No. I’m not an anarcho-capitalist. My political views align closely to our founding fathers, none of whom were remotely anarchist. Our founding fathers believed in government, taxation, a publicly funded army, as well as freedom of religion.

    I answered your question, now answer mine. Do you believe the state should secularize all religious schools?

  181. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    First: “Shoot all the [anyone]” is not nearly as preposterous in US society as, “Have the government take all religious property used in any way for education.”

    I can list quite a number of examples of the US government wiping out people that are unpopular or have unpopular views. People remember Custer but there was a reason that he was killed: indigenous people of the US had been massacred before and would be again – Wounded Knee 1 & 2, anyone? The MOVE house? Al-Awlaki’s son?

    So saying that seizing church schools is more ridiculous than killing people completely ignores the fact that we have a lot more history of killing people than we do of seizing church schools… and thus reveals you as someone whose ideology is much more conclusively determining what you see than what is actually there.

    Which brings us to how you read the OP here.

    “It seems to me that the problem is that the church is playing the role of a secular employer in what ought to be a secular profession, the education of children, while trying to impose arbitrary and obsolete medieval religious rules on its employees. I propose a simple change: seize the Catholic schools, remove the priests from control, and manage them as assets of the community’s public school system. Do this everywhere for all religious schools, not just the Catholic ones.”

    Seems like reasonable and sincere rhetoric to me. Now if PZ really is simply resorting to hyperbole to make a point, then he most definitely had me, a relative newbie to PZ and this forum, fooled. (And if you scan through the responses, I’m not the only one who got fooled.)

    You and I most probably share the belief in the First Amendment. It’s likely you believe that PZ does as well, whereas I have no reason to make that assumption.

    You know, people were fooled by the original broadcast of the War of the Worlds radio play. In fact, people were fooled by the following, very reasonable sounding rhetoric:

    It is a melancholy object to those, who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabbin-doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in stroling to beg sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

    I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.

    I find it quite reasonable that they were fooled that this person was serious. The wording seems highly…modest. Of course, it goes on to say:

    …having turned my thoughts for many years, upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes of our projectors,…

    I do therefore humbly offer it to publick consideration, that of the hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine, and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump, and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

    I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, encreaseth to 28 pounds.

    I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

    You yourself think it’s preposterous that we seize religious schools, yet because the language is mild mannered, you believe that he sees nothing exceptional about what he says.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s entirely possible that if the political will existed for dramatic improvements to the political system, including somehow separating the education in religious tenets which parents are free to force upon children from education in the skills of citizenship and the nature of reality, that PZ would support such a proposal. That would likely depend on the details of the proposal, but I think he would certainly be intrigued.

    However, we live in a context and PZ is smart enough to know this. Just as selling baby flesh for food – no matter how mild mannered, even dare-I-say modest, is the language in which the proposal is couched – is not going to happen, neither is mass seizure of all religious schools.

    If this is a “proposal” with no hope of being enacted, why is it proposed? For Swift, the whole point was to get people talking about the value of children…because children weren’t being valued. For PZ, one can imagine though it would be up to him to say, proposing killing a thing (in this case religious education) is designed to cause one to question the value of religious instruction. What, really, would be lost if religious instruction disappeared? What if it didn’t disappear, but was separated from (as I said) education in citizenship skills and facts about reality? It is in considering losing a thing that we are forced to ponder its value.

    But spelling all this out is no fun. It’s pedantic and boring. And so certain people, Lucilius, Juvenal, Swift, and PZ among many others, find it much better writing to draft something that raises questions rather than hammers you with answers. This is particularly in keeping with PZ’s tendency to want people to think for themselves, not believe something because someone else (even if that someone else is PZ himself) believes it.

    Wet gods of Aquaman’s Atlantis! I can’t believe that I’m explaining that when the surface text cannot be taken literally that you might want to consider the possibility of satire. FFS under what rock do you normally live?

    It’s called critical thinking. It helps one determine the intent of the author…and generally makes life easier since it also aids in reality perception in many other contexts.

    I can’t even say more, this is just disgusting me in the way you are lowering my expectations of fellow human beings.

    I shouldn’t have to say this: your instinct that this would be reprehensible tyranny should be enough to make you question whether you are understanding something correctly. Get it?

    No, probably not.

  182. lucy1965 says

    I ran across this while reading this morning’s Guardian:

    A pupil at St Philomena’s Catholic high school for girls in Carshalton, in the south London borough of Sutton, told the website PinkNews.co.uk that children aged 11 to 18 had been encouraged to sign the anti-equality pledge by their headteacher.

    She said: “In our assembly for the whole sixth form you could feel people bristling as she explained parts of the letter and encouraged us to sign the petition. It was just a really outdated, misjudged and heavily biased presentation.”

    I was encouraged by the students’ response:

    She said some pupils had responded by buying Gay Pride badges to pin to their uniforms. “There are several people in my year who aren’t heterosexual – myself included – and I for one was appalled and actually disgusted by what they were encouraging,” she said. “After all, that’s discrimination they were urging impressionable people to engage in, which is unacceptable.”

  183. joey says

    Crip:

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s entirely possible that if the political will existed for dramatic improvements to the political system, including somehow separating the education in religious tenets which parents are free to force upon children from education in the skills of citizenship and the nature of reality, that PZ would support such a proposal. That would likely depend on the details of the proposal, but I think he would certainly be intrigued.

    How exactly would we “somehow separate the education in religious tenets from education in the skills of citizenship and the nature of reality” without either blatantly violating the First Amendment or making public school absolutely compulsory? The latter has actually been tried before in Oregon the 1920s and the US Supreme Court struck it down by unanimous decision…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_v._Society_of_Sisters

    Either way, tyranny is the result.

    I shouldn’t have to say this: your instinct that this would be reprehensible tyranny should be enough to make you question whether you are understanding something correctly.

    Well, it’s apparent that several posters here (at least KG and Nerd) justify this “represhensible tyranny”. Maybe it’s you who is the one making false assumptions.

  184. says

    No. I’m not an anarcho-capitalist. My political views align closely to our founding fathers, none of whom were remotely anarchist. Our founding fathers believed in government, taxation, a publicly funded army, as well as freedom of religion.

    Then you’ve accepted the premise that the state can socialize basic necessities that promote a strong society. The biggest threat to representational democracy has always been uninformed or ignorant voters, ergo a good case could be made that education is very much in the state’s interest.

    That you accept the government having the power to decide life/death but not over education reveals a profound confusion on your part.

  185. joey says

    ING:

    Then you’ve accepted the premise that the state can socialize basic necessities that promote a strong society.

    Yes. But only to the extent it is detailed in the US Constitution.

    That you accept the government having the power to decide life/death but not over education reveals a profound confusion on your part.

    I freely admit that I’m “confused” to the extent that Washington, Madison, and Jefferson were “confused”.

    Now answer my question. Do you believe the state should secularize religious schools?

  186. consciousness razor says

    But only to the extent it is detailed in the US Constitution.

    The Constitution is the starting point, not the end. It’s not holy scripture. In case you haven’t noticed, the Constitution itself allows for its own amendment, because it wasn’t written by dogmatic loons like you; and even if it were, they were at least smart enough to recognize that every document has its limitations.

    Do you believe the state should secularize religious schools?

    What does “secularize” mean to you? Because when KG and Nerd merely talked about “indoctrination,” you jumped on them for being opposed to the first amendment, which makes you a liar, confused or deluded.

  187. Anri says

    Now answer my question. Do you believe the state should secularize religious schools?

    Only the ones that refuse to follow the guidelines set up for the running of a school.
    This would include abiding by equal opportunity employment practices, including ones based on religion.

    If you’re prefer, the state could just close them down and establish secular institutions to handle the displaced students, but direct secularizing is probably a more efficient solution in many ways.

  188. joey says

    ING:

    I suggest you re-read your constitution, then I suggest you abandon legalistic ethics for actually thinking for yourself, then I suggest you remove your head from the hole it’s in.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necessary_and_Proper_Clause

    And what does this have to do with the subject of this thread? If you would like to attempt to tie this little side conversation of ours to the topic at hand, then you cannot avoid the Pierce vs. Society of Sisters case that I linked above. Here it is again…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_v._Society_of_Sisters

    Now answer my question. Do you believe the state should secularize religious schools?

  189. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    The Constitution is the starting point, not the end. It’s not holy scripture.

    Of course. I’m just stating that I generally agree with what’s on it.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the Constitution itself allows for its own amendment, because it wasn’t written by dogmatic loons like you; and even if it were, they were at least smart enough to recognize that every document has its limitations.

    Well duh. Hence the First Amendment.

    What does “secularize” mean to you?

    Hmm…let’s see. This is what PZ posted…

    “I propose a simple change: seize the Catholic schools, remove the priests from control, and manage them as assets of the community’s public school system.”

    I would label that as “secularization”. Wouldn’t you?

  190. consciousness razor says

    I would label that as “secularization”. Wouldn’t you?

    That’s the state taking over a private entity. So when you asked if we should “secularize religious schools,” you asked the wrong question, because secularization doesn’t imply that.

    Religious schools are already secularized in many ways, by making them conform to certain secular standards, or else they don’t count as a valid form of education. Kids can be indoctrinated in a non-complying “religious school” in the evenings, on the weekends, during summer break at Jesus camp, or whenever they they find the time. But the state doesn’t need to consider it a valid educational system, just because some people have brainwashed themselves into believing it is one. Those kids still need to go a real school, so religious people can get their heads out of their asses and follow the rules, or the kids will have to go elsewhere. If religious people then decide to bulldoze their empty indoctrination centers to the ground, I personally don’t give a fuck.

  191. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Joey, after being linked to the necessary & proper clause…

    And what does this have to do with the subject of this thread?

    Well, joey, you said in response to ING:

    [Ing] Then you’ve accepted the premise that the state can socialize basic necessities that promote a strong society.

    [Joey] Yes. But only to the extent it is detailed in the US Constitution.

    So you were perfectly happy engaging in this discussion until you take an idiotic position and get called on it. There is no department of agriculture in the constitution (except insofar as the secretary (but not the department) is implied in the 25th amendment and named in the enabling legislation called for by the 25th amendment and enacted by congress. That’s as close as you get. There are admiralty courts mentioned in the constitution, but not interstate highways.

    It is not the constitution’s job to provide details on the workings of government, much less its exact services. If you really believe that any given DMV is unconstitutional because no where in any state or federal constitution of the US is mentioned the detail of providing services to regulate and ensure safety of land motor traffic, then your position is idiotic.

    Ing pointed out the idiocy by quoting you saying you only want the government to do things “detailed in the US constitution”. I’ve got news for you hater-of-our-troops: the constitution mentions a navy and an army, but there’s nothing in the constitution about an air force.

    Those sleazy socialists trying to make everything a function of government by having the fed control the aircraft and bombs used to rain death from above! Why everyone should be able to do that privately, and the government has no business doing that when it’s not “detailed in the constitution”!!!!11!9+2!11!eleven!11!!!

    So when Ing suggested you need to get a grip on the constitution and particularly the concept of Necessary and Proper, that was an extension of a conversation you found perfectly legit until you splashed another dollop of idiocy onto this thread. I see no reason why you should be calling out Ing for derailing the thread when you’re the one who made mention of the N&P clause necessary.

  192. joey says

    consciousness razor:

    That’s the state taking over a private entity. So when you asked if we should “secularize religious schools,” you asked the wrong question, because secularization doesn’t imply that.

    Words mean things…

    2 : to transfer from ecclesiastical to civil or lay use, possession, or control

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/secularize

    ————
    Crip:

    Ing pointed out the idiocy by quoting you saying you only want the government to do things “detailed in the US constitution”.

    True there is no mention of the Department of Agriculture, but have you ever wondered why we could not create a “Department of Slavery Regulation”, or maybe a “Department of Christian Charities”?

    Okay, let me clarify my position…

    The state can socialize basic necessities that promote a strong society to the extent it is detailed in the US Constitution and/or is not forbidden by the Constitution.

    Sorry, I thought that was obvious. And I thought I made it even more obvious by repeatedly referring to the Pierce vs. Society of Sisters case, which you guys are refusing to acknowledge.

    Now answer my question. How exactly would we “somehow separate the education in religious tenets from education in the skills of citizenship and the nature of reality” without either blatantly violating the First Amendment or making public school absolutely compulsory (which would also violate the Constitution)?

  193. Anri says

    Now answer my question. How exactly would we “somehow separate the education in religious tenets from education in the skills of citizenship and the nature of reality” without either blatantly violating the First Amendment or making public school absolutely compulsory (which would also violate the Constitution)?

    We already do this, of course, by taking the position that a teacher at a state-run school cannot preach at their class. If you feel this is an impossible disctinction to make, I presume you disagree with (for example) the Ahlquist v. Cranston decision, correct?

    I believe the current – and reasonably sensible – standard for such things is to determine if they serve a clear secular purpose. A Catholic school teaching algebra to its students serves a clear secular purpose and can therefore be supported by the state. A Catholic school requiring Mass attendence does not and therefore cannot be so supported. A Catholic school firing a teacher for using the ‘wrong’ sort of IVF serves no secular purpose and therefore cannot be supported by the state.
    In other words, if a school (or other institution) is unwilling to or incapable of maintaning a seperation between its secular and religious operations, they cannot recieve state support, including funding, accreditation and so forth.

    Is this an inexact, grey-area, imperfect standard? Sure.
    That’s why we have courts.

  194. KG says

    My political views align closely to our founding fathers, none of whom were remotely anarchist. – joey

    Ah. So you’re in favour of slavery, but against votes for women.

  195. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Is this the same joey who kept asking the same inane question ad nauseum on the abortion thread? If so, still not responding, still being inane. Joey, we will only care about your opinion, if you give us a reason to do so. So far, nothing. Getting off your script/ideology would help.

  196. joey says

    Anri:

    We already do this, of course, by taking the position that a teacher at a state-run school cannot preach at their class. If you feel this is an impossible disctinction to make, I presume you disagree with (for example) the Ahlquist v. Cranston decision, correct?

    But we’re talking about private religious schools, not public schools.

    A Catholic school teaching algebra to its students serves a clear secular purpose and can therefore be supported by the state.

    How exactly would/should a private Catholic school be “supported by the state”?

    In other words, if a school (or other institution) is unwilling to or incapable of maintaning a seperation between its secular and religious operations, they cannot recieve state support, including funding, accreditation and so forth.

    Again, why would/should a private school receive support/funding from the state? Isn’t lack of support/funding by the state the clear distinction as to what makes a private school not a public school?

    ——-

    Nerd:

    Joey you never addressed the issue…you just threw out a red herring about slavery.

    Oh yes I did address the issue. You just apparently didn’t understand the examples I gave that did clearly address the issue.

    Let me try to put it even more simply. Let’s say Congress turns fanatically Christian overnight. Would it be legal for Congress to use the necessary and proper clause to legislate laws that would push for Christian indoctrination into the public schools? Even if EVERY single member of Congress believes it is “necessary and proper” for the common good of the country to have a little Christian theology infused in public learning? If it would not be legal, why not?

  197. joey says

    KG:

    Ah. So you’re in favour of slavery, but against votes for women.

    That’s the best example of a straw man that I’ve seen yet.

  198. says

    Its not a strawman its and argument from absurdity meant to point out that you really don’t hold the veiw you claim to. And its accurate since you took exception to it. In other words since you disavow huge chunks of FF politics saying you agree with them gives us no insight into your opinion whatsoever. More likely you believe what you do and insit the FF agree with you because you’re a small minded legalistic amoral hero worshiper

  199. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You just apparently didn’t understand the examples I gave that did clearly address the issue.If that was cleaerly addressing the issue,, you think cllear is opa

  200. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry about the previous post #223. Computer at work gets boloxed on occasion.

    You just apparently didn’t understand the examples I gave that did clearly address the issue.

    Your examples were clear and a opaque as mud, being ideological, rather than evidence based. You had no point, but your inability to quit the argument showed your ideological base on the abortion thread. Still with strawman arguments here, ideologically rather than logically based, where no religion being taught equals indoctrination. Pitiful thinking, if one can call it thinking.

  201. joey says

    Nerd:

    Your examples were clear and a opaque as mud…

    In other words you still don’t understand them. Not surprised.

    …being ideological, rather than evidence based.

    Even before my supposedly “clear as mud” examples, I gave “evidence” of a specific ruling that goes against exactly what you guys are advocating. Let me yet again repeat that “evidenced-based” example right here…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierce_v._Society_of_Sisters

    Not one of you has even acknowledged that I posted it. It’s not my fault you guys are suffering from selective reading.

    ———

    ING:

    Looks like you’re trying to do the same game of pestering people until they give you something to quote mine.

    That many posters here do not advocate the First Amendment? But it’s already obvious.