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Anyone know any Amalekites?

Hey, did you know that the schools have the job of teaching our children morality now? They’re having a tough enough time teaching reading and math, but now we’re supposed to add right and wrong. It’s nice in principle, but now there’s another problem: the powers that be believe the right way to do this is to teach them Christianity, a notion which opens the door to the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) and their Good News Clubs. Look at one of the examples of moral thinking they teach in schools.

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that "the Amalekites were completely defeated." In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

"You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left."

"That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?"the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

"The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment."

The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

Asking if Saul would "pass the test" of obedience, the text points to Saul’s failure to annihilate every last Amalekite, posing the rhetorical question:

"If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?"

"If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!" the lesson concludes.

Oh, yes, we now have after-school programs to tell the children that not only is it OK to kill people if god tells you to, but that having different religious beliefs is sufficient cause to justify mass murder, and that the only mistake you might make is in being insufficiently thorough in executing your foes.

We can thank the Supreme Court for this state of affairs, in a decision that said schools could not discriminate against organizations they lease their facilities to after hours (a lie; watch what would happen if the KKK tried to organize a White Supremacy Club in the schools), and worse, that teaching bible stories was a good way to instruct children in morals.

In the majority opinion that opened the door to Good News Clubs, supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the activities of the CEF were not really religious, after all. He said that they could be characterized, for legal purposes, “as the teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint”.

I don’t expect the Supreme Court, much less Clarence Thomas, to be capable of deciding what is a proper moral lesson for my kids. I also think it’s quite clear to everyone that the Bible is a highly unethical text — it’s all about justifying evil in the name of tribal self-interest.

(via Ophelia)

Comments

  1. anuran says

    Sadly, these budding Einsatzgruppen will never know the joy of killing Amalekites. The Children of Israel wiped out the nation down to the last babe sucking at its mother’s breast.

  2. Dick the Damned says

    Religion is dangerous, but it’s socially sanctioned to such an extent that the dangers are mostly overlooked. If someone has a problem to solve, they need correct information to help them come to a good answer. And so it is with life, & seeking what Aristotle called eudemonia, or human flourishing.

    Religion, being obviously made up by culturally primitive men, is bound to provide wrong answers, (except in the ‘trivial’ sense that it provides social cohesion to members of its various in-groups).

    Without the attempts at social engineering made by religion operating in the public sphere, society could discuss & implement democratically sanctioned ethics & mores, for the public good. Why can’t Clarence Thomas see that? (Rhetorical question.)

  3. raven says

    Genocide is very biblically correct of course.

    1. God invented genocide during the Big Boat massacre. He holds the record for most people killed on a percentage basis at least, with everyone and everything but 8 people and a boatload of animals killed.

    2. Much of the Old Testament is the story of god’s chosen people genociding the Canaanites and stealing their land, women, and stuff with the help of their god.

    Seen any Canaanites around lately?

  4. eric says

    Yes, is sucks that a bible study group gets the appearance of state imprimatur for their club’s teachings by using classrooms after hours.

    IMO it would suck worse if the school was allowed to decide which clubs got to use schoolrooms after hours based on whether the state liked/disliked that club’s focus. I guarantee you, giving school administrators the power to choose which clubs can use school facilities after hours is not going to benefit secular students.

  5. says

    If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

    Well, these are children being taught, after all. We can’t be telling them to take concubines from the conquered population. That would be wrong.
    Killed By Fish

  6. raven says

    Being god’s chosen people hasn’t done the Jews much good.

    After the Canaanite massacres, they were overrun by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans.

    The Romans eventually destroyed their Second Temple and, after the Bar Kochba revolt, kicked most of them out of Israel.

    What followed was 2,000 years of xian persecution, with the occasional pogrom. The last was the German holocaust where half the world’s Jews were killed.

    To this day, there are only about 13 million Jews and that number is stable, at least for now. If we went by numbers, god’s new chosen people would be the Chinese with 1.4 billion.

    One of the fundies new mythologies is that the USA is now god’s chosen country, based on nothing but voices is self appointed Apostle’s heads. Given what happened to the last god’s chosen people, this isn’t looking like a great idea at all.

    The xian god is a monster whose other salient characteristic is consistent incompetence.

  7. Randomfactor says

    Religion is dangerous, but it’s socially sanctioned to such an extent that the dangers are mostly overlooked.

    Religion is smoking in the last century. Once thought to be a classy, even a good thing for you (at least if you read the ads.) Now widely known to be bad for you, but tolerated for those unable to give it up, and we all pay the price. Only recently has it begun to be actively banned from the public sector, although it’s still marketed to children (if covertly.)

    You wanna pray? Take it outside.

  8. Alverant says

    This was pointed out on alternet and someone claimed the Amalekites were all evil and attacked the Israelites. I asked for proof and apart from the OT, all he could come up with are claims by a conspiracy theorist who said Earth once bumped into other planets like Venus and Mars. He still didn’t say how the actions of a few (and to be fair ONE Amalekites plotted to kill the Jews for some silly reason) justified slaughtering all of them.

  9. dianne says

    This was pointed out on alternet and someone claimed the Amalekites were all evil and attacked the Israelites.

    Even if true, what kind of excuse is that for genocide? Fight if you have no other choice, but stop when the other side is defeated. No need to go on to killing all the babies and other noncombatants.

  10. raven says

    This was pointed out on alternet and someone claimed the Amalekites were all evil and attacked the Israelites. I asked for proof and apart from the OT,..

    The victors always get to write the history.

    Using just the criterion of who won, god doesn’t much like the Israelis later on in the bible.

    They lost to the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Xians, and Germans. I suppose that means they were evil and deserved it too then.

  11. Randomfactor says

    claims by a conspiracy theorist who said Earth once bumped into other planets like Venus and Mars.

    Velikovsky’s STILL being taken seriously?

  12. Skip White says

    “If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?”

    And clearly, the only way to teach this lesson is to tell children about complete and total genocide, and not, say, answering every question on their homework.

  13. Rob in Memphis says

    I’d like take this opportunity to recommend The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children by Katherine Stewart. I finished reading it not long ago and, in my opinion, it’s essential reading for those wishing to learn more about the ultra-conservative Christian Right and its intention to infiltrate and radically change the U.S. educational system. It also goes into detail about their concurrent desire to, if at all possible, destroy the public school system outright and replace it with religious schools. It’s chilling, but a great read.

  14. says

    It’s always comforting to know that “Darwinism” is responsible for the Holocaust.

    One must laugh at the notion that teaching kids that following orders is the highest good, and that God has commanded the slaughter of whole tribes, has anything to do with it.

    Seriously, I do think that the Darwin–>Hitler claim exists at least in part because the literal word of God is suspiciously akin to Nazi practice. They’d rather just project.

    True, I’m not even saying that the Bible was “the cause,” just that it contains actual commands of genocide, while no science could either justify such a thing or condemn it.

    Glen Davidson

  15. erichoug says

    This is exactly what I keep saying. It is not Atheism or secularism that lack a solid foundation for morality, it is religion.

    There are some things that I cannot do because they are morally wrong. Genocide being one of them. That is one area where I don’t even believe you can come up with a “what if?” scenario to justify it.

    But, if I am religious, and my god commands me to run every baby in Conroe through a wood chipper, I would do it and the town would cheer.

  16. erichoug says

    @Rob in Memphis

    I am about 100 pages into the book and I find it extremely depressing. It is an excellent example of how a small, motivated minority can act as spoilers in an institution, divinding the community, destroying trust and good will and generally fucking the whole thing up.

    Honestly, I find it really depressing. I think I may have a hard time finishing it.

  17. says

    In a segment that includes an interview with Gail Collins, Rachel Maddow discussed the ways in which Texas politics have affected sex education in public schools. The segment begins with a discussion of Rick Perry’s latest sly moves, but quickly moves to abstinence-only sex ed. This is “Christian” sex education married to conservative politics.

    It is immoral in that the program promotes lies, and causes damage. It causes all kinds of social problems.

    Excerpts:

    …one abstinence speaker warned her classes….”An abstinence-only program used in thdree districts assures them that ‘if a woman is dry, the sperm will die’ — which harks back to colonial-era theories that it was impossible for a woman to get pregnant unless she enjoyed the sex.

    There are repeated suggestions that premarital sex could have fatal consequences …(A video used in three Texas districts has a boy asking an evangelical educator what will happen if he has sex before marriage. “Well, I guess you’ll have to be prepared to die,” is the response.)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#47683687

    Rick Perry on abstinence-only sex education: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngiJhmoFKkw

    Get religion out of education. Get the Rick Perry’s of the world out of office.

  18. says

    while no science could either justify such a thing or condemn it.

    I mean there science in its most theoretical, not, of course, that scientific bodies couldn’t or shouldn’t condemn evils using the values that we bring to science. Those values don’t come from the theories themselves, is my point.

    Glen Davidson

  19. naturalcynic says

    Some finer historical points are missing in this sordid retelling of the tale:
    Saul kept the king of the Amalekites alive as a trophy. Think Jabba and Princess Leia. And had a feast with lamb and veal infected with Amalekite cooties. Can’t have that.
    As for those with hegemony over the Israelites, the Persians were good guyzz, as much as heathens can be. They kicked Babylonian ass and ent the Israelites home.
    And Canaanites [those who were left] were absorbed by the Phoenicians who became the Philistines who became the Palestinians. So we have an example of some moral progress. And the LORD must be really pissed.

  20. says

    Hey, did you know that the schools have the job of teaching our children morality now?

    Hell, I’m feeling nit-picky today. Schools already teach morality, but it’s that icky secular kind of morality– share your toys, don’t hit someone that you’re angry with, don’t hurt other people, stuff like that.

    Apparently that kind of morality isn’t good enough because it might just lead someone to believe that genocide is, you know, a crime against humanity.

  21. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

    That religion is offensive, unethical, immoral and potentially dangerous is not at all news to us, but still – sometimes, seeing their level of depravity is shocking.

    This gives me chills.

  22. unclefrogy says

    I would like to ask these people who advocate these bible studies because that is what they sound like not morality studies, what is the difference between what they are teaching and what kinds of things that are being taught in the “dreaded Islamic madrases”?
    the only difference I as a none believer see is the formal name of the god in question. It is the same one in fact just that they say “he” prefers his arabic name over the hebrew one now.

    a pox on all there houses!
    uncle frogy

  23. flapjack says

    “If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!”

    Yup, Abraham, Moses just two of the many Old testament examples of the religious Nuremberg defence.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDfoJ29CR4E
    OK, that’s not strictly the correct terminology … those who used the actual Nuremberg defence generally came to regret their genocidal actions in the cold light of day – thus the defence bit.
    This would be more along the lines of “Obeyed orders to commit mass genocide and still don’t have a problem sleeping at night”.

  24. 'Tis Himself says

    Glen Davidson #13

    Following orders–that’s what’s important.

    Befehl ist Befehl.

  25. fynn says

    “If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?”

    If you’re asked to commit genocide, how many people do you need to kill before you can say, “I did it!”?

    Revolting that this could ever be taught to children.

  26. Randomfactor says

    And clearly, the only way to teach this lesson is to tell children about complete and total genocide, and not, say, answering every question on their homework.

    I’m away from the book, but it seems to me that William Price singled out Rick “Saddleback” Warren for doing this (in his popular “Purpose-Driven Life” book) by wildly mixing Bible translations to hide just exactly what’s gone.

    So I guess it’s a fad.

  27. ezraresnick says

    Last year in Israel, some Jews criticized some other Jews for their presumed unwillingness to concentrate Amalekites into death camps. I kid you not.

  28. thisisaturingtest says

    ‘In the majority opinion that opened the door to Good News Clubs, supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the activities of the CEF were not really religious, after all. He said that they could be characterized, for legal purposes, “as the teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint.”’**
    I wonder if Justice Thomas would characterize the same way (as, for legal purposes only, of course, “not really religious”) the “moral teachings and character development” of a “particular viewpoint” such as, say, Fred Phelps and his gang; or, going even further afield, Muslim extremists?

    **Sorry for the bad block-quoting- this is my first comment here, and I have to get used to the format.

  29. Gregory Greenwood says

    “You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.”

    This is the “religion of love”, is it?

    Not really feeling the love there…

  30. Gregory Greenwood says

    How anyone can teach children that it is laudable to commit genocide because your god says so* just so long as you make good and sure that you murder everyone – every unarmed noncombatant, every defenceless child, every babe in arms, every pregnant woman – is beyond me.

    This is chilling. It is almost as though they are trying to brainwash kids into becoming the theistic death-squads of tomorrow…

    Wait a second, these are Xtians we are talking about, so that is probably exactly what they are trying to do.

    —————————————————————-

    * Or more accurately because your priests, with their clear self-interested political agenda, say that an invisible magic man in the sky told them to tell you to. Not that they would lie, of course. Good, god-fearin’ Padres lie? Perish the thought…

  31. raven says

    And Canaanites [those who were left] were absorbed by the Phoenicians who became the Philistines who became the Palestinians.

    Yeah, technically the Persians were the good guys. While they had control over Israel, they weren’t as bad as the Babylonians who they overran.

    The Canaanites hung on until after Jesus’s time. IIRC, the NT refers to them. The Phoenicians were Canaanites and they lasted a long time.

    In reality, the Jews were just another tribe of Canaanites anyway. There is no Canaanite language. There are a group of closely related languages or dialects, one of which is Hebrew.

    The Philistines were different. No one is real sure where they came from, but they appear to be from the Greek islands somewhere. Despite the overblown claims of the magic book of mythology and propaganda, the Israelis never managed to drive them off after they invaded and occupied the coastal regions.

    I always thought the Palestinians were Arabs who invaded after the Romans.

  32. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    @thisisaturingtest

    <blockquote>Quoted text here </blockquote>

    gives you this

    Quoted text here

  33. says

    In the majority opinion that opened the door to Good News Clubs, supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the activities of the CEF were not really religious, after all. He said that they could be characterized, for legal purposes, “as the teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint”.

    Someone should tell Clarence that this particular Bible story is not a moral lesson, just the low-tech lynching of some uppity Amalekites.

  34. raven says

    “You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.”

    This is the “religion of love”, is it?

    Not really feeling the love there…

    LOL. These sorts of xians don’t even bother to lie about this any more or make those claims.

    When I was a xian, “Xianity was a religion of peace and jesus loves you.” That moderate form of xianity was a recent invention to begin with and it’s not dead but it is fading rapidly.

    The 2012 National Council of Churches Yearbook says US xianity is still dying. The moderates are losing 3-4% membership a year, not so slow suicide.

  35. thisisaturingtest says

    Rev BigDumChimp:

    @thisisaturingtest

    Quoted text here

    gives you this

    Quoted text here

    Thanks, Rev! And thank (insert preference here- I have none) for “Preview”!

  36. raven says

    This is a good thread to mention that US xianity is still dying. The news isn’t all bad.

    But the news isn’t all bad. The National Council of Churches yearbook for 2012 is out.

    Total church membership reported in the 2011 Yearbook is 145,691,446 members, down 1.15 percent over 2011.

    According to the churches own figures, 1.5 million people left xianity last year. US xianity is slowing dying.

    There are some real limitations in this data though.

    1. Not all churches report their data to the NCC. For a lot of fundie churches the NCC is a heretical organization that assumes that all xian churches are True Xians.

    2. The biggest one, a lot of churches grossly inflate their figures to appear more powerful than they are. They just lie. The RCC reports stable membership by counting baptisms only. The reality is they have lost 1/3 of their members, 22 million people.

    3. Who is really getting hammered are the moderate xians. They are losing 3-4% of their members per year. This is not so slow suicide in the historical context of thing. I did my part here, dropping out of one of them.

  37. Sastra says

    “That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?”the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

    What was “pretty clear?” That everyone was supposed to be killed — or that the command really truly came from God? Was God’s voice “pretty clear,” too? Did it boom out from the clouds while the ground shook and lightening bolts shot through the sky and flew around in circles and lines of red helpfully spelling out “YES THIS IS REALLY GOD?”

    Or was it just clear in the ordinary, ugly sense of you’re reading the story in a book and whoever wrote it fills you in on who said what and the characters in the book all mysteriously seem to have this information, too?

    A real teacher could add a lot to the discussion of this passage, I think.

  38. busterggi says

    What I’ve especially never understood aobut this is the “people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.” part.

    Who were the Amalikite animals worshipping anyhow? I know that if they had cats the massacre was a complete wasted efforts because no cats at any time have ever worshipped anything but themselves.

  39. raven says

    While the fundie Good News brainwashing program is pretty gruesome, it likely isn’t going to be very effective.

    Parents really hate other people messing around with their kid’s heads and that includes especially religious indoctrination. Probably the only parents that would allow their kids in there are either clueless, asleep at the wheel, or already fundie xian death cultists.

    Xians have been making atheists since 33 CE.

    According to the NCC 2012 yearbook, 1.5 million people dropped xianity. The money the churches rake in is down too.

    This is likely an underestimate because a lot of churches inflate their numbers rather outrageously.

    While the fundies attract the dumb, the crazy, the extremists, the haters, they are driving out the normal people.

  40. Anri says

    So… is this the sophisticated religious philosophy we’re supposed to be arguing against?

    (I have to keep asking, as I can never seem to figure out just exactly what theists believe we should be criticizing…)

  41. Sastra says

    raven #39 wrote:

    When I was a xian, “Xianity was a religion of peace and jesus loves you.” That moderate form of xianity was a recent invention to begin with and it’s not dead but it is fading rapidly.

    Really? That surprises me, a bit. Not that fundamentalist forms of religion are replacing the happy-clappy many-paths-to-Truth moderate religions — but that the more dogmatic, virulent, violent forms of Christianity aren’t saying whatever they want to say and still adding in “Christianity is a religion of peace and Jesus loves you” as a sort of reflexive hiccup.

    Like Islam, the Religion of Peace.

  42. raven says

    and still adding in “Christianity is a religion of peace and Jesus loves you” as a sort of reflexive hiccup.

    Not that I’ve seen.

    They usually say, “Jesus loves us and hates you.”

  43. CJO says

    As for those with hegemony over the Israelites, the Persians were good guyzz, as much as heathens can be. They kicked Babylonian ass and ent the Israelites home.
    And Canaanites [those who were left] were absorbed by the Phoenicians who became the Philistines who became the Palestinians. So we have an example of some moral progress. And the LORD must be really pissed.

    The Phoenicians certainly did not “become” Philistines, nor did they in any sense “absorb” the Canaanites. “Phoenician” ultimately derived from a Greek designation for that subset of coastal Canaanites who were exposed to the wider Mediterranean by extensive sea trade. It is unlikely that the residents of the several coastal city-states so designated recognized any particular common cultural identity apart from the wider Canaanite culture.

    Philistines “became” Palestinians in the sense that the one name derives from the other, but by the time the various dynastic and imperial powers of the Near East were designating the region by variants of “Syria Paelestina” there was nothing left of any distinct Philistine culture (which had originated in the Aegean around the 12th c. BCE). The Phoenicians, incidentally, were prolific founders of colonies, and the center of their culture moved to Carthage in North Africa after the Persian invasion of the coastal Levant.

  44. joed says

    “If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.”

    Recently there was an u s army sniper that had over 200 individual kills in Afghanistan.
    this murderer was asked at a book signing(he wrote a best seller about how he murdered people) if he had any regrets. He said his only regret was that he didn’t have the opportunity to kill more humans.
    This guy is sick yet proud.
    Sad.

  45. joed says

    http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=Philistine&searchmode=none

    philistine
    “person deficient in liberal culture,” 1827, originally in Carlyle, popularized by him and Matthew Arnold, from Ger. Philister “enemy of God’s word,” lit. “Philistine,” inhabitants of a Biblical land, neighbors (and enemies) of Israel (see Philistine). Popularized in Ger. student slang (supposedly first in Jena, late 17c.) as a contemptuous term for “townies,” and hence, by extension, “any uncultured person.” Philistine had been used in a humorous fig. sense of “the enemy” in Eng. from c.1600.

    Philistine
    O.T. people of coastal Palestine, who made war on the Israelites, mid-14c., from O.Fr. Philistin, from L.L. Philistinus, from Late Gk. Philistinoi, from Heb. P’lishtim, “people of P’lesheth” (“Philistia”); cf. Akkad. Palastu, Egyptian Palusata; the word probably is the people’s name for itself.

  46. says

    eric:

    Yes, is sucks that a bible study group gets the appearance of state imprimatur for their club’s teachings by using classrooms after hours.

    IMO it would suck worse if the school was allowed to decide which clubs got to use schoolrooms after hours based on whether the state liked/disliked that club’s focus.

    False binary is false.

    Rob in Memphis, Stewart is the author of the Guardian article to which PZ links, and she links to her book’s Amazon page. The one-star reviews are telling, as is usually the case with this sort of book.

    Gregory Greenwood:

    How anyone can teach children that it is laudable to commit genocide because your god says so* just so long as you make good and sure that you murder everyone – every unarmed noncombatant, every defenceless child, every babe in arms, every pregnant woman – is beyond me.

    Because you’re not a RWA. I know that regular readers are already familiar with Altemeyer, but it is always worth reposting for the lurkers.

    Feralboy:

    Someone should tell Clarence that this particular Bible story is not a moral lesson, just the low-tech lynching of some uppity Amalekites.

    Thread won.

    Raven, it was addressed recently on another thread: While U.S. xtianity is dying in numerical terms, the xtians who remain are ever more militant and hateful. And they have been given the reins of political power. They will do a great deal of harm before they are politically remarginalized.

    Sastra, holding the reins of political power mean they don’t have to bullshit the rest of us anymore.

    Busterggi, that strikes me as a “salt the earth” tactic, mainly for the benefit of onlookers.

  47. rr says

    This is the “religion of love”, is it?

    Not really feeling the love there…

    Tough love. For God so loved the world that he killed every living thing on it, except some escapees in a boat.

    *wipes tear from eye*

  48. Rey Fox says

    Holy crap. I’ve actually gotten that far in the Bible, and I figured this was surely one of the bits that they keep hidden. The incomplete genocide. Well…at least they’re not Cafeteria Christians, right?

  49. raven says

    While U.S. xtianity is dying in numerical terms, the xtians who remain are ever more militant and hateful. And they have been given the reins of political power. They will do a great deal of harm before they are politically remarginalized.

    1. Numbers matter in a democracy, at least in theory.

    2. They haven’t been “given the reins of political power”. People vote them in for some ungodly reason. Not everywhere in the USA but in enough places enough times to do some serious damage.

    3. “do a great deal of harm”. Have already done a great deal of harm. It’s an open question whether the fundies will destroy xianity before their perversion of xianity destroys us. It’s going to be close.

    One more Bush class Catastrophe and the US is over with for my forseeable lifespan. He managed to produce a lot generation for the USA without actually trying.

    If Romney gets elected, I’m just going to give up and work on hobbies, drink too much white wine, and hang out with the cats.

  50. christophburschka says

    This is freaking scary and sounds extremely criminal. Allowing this sort of hate indoctrination has nothing to do with freedom of speech. Teaching children to commit genocide should merit life in prison without parole.

  51. cyberCMDR says

    This is a group preparing for the End Times. And they are readying their army….

  52. dianne says

    And had a feast with lamb and veal infected with Amalekite cooties. Can’t have that.

    If the translation used in the lego testament is correct, it’s even worse than that. Saul saved some of the “choicest” livestock to be sacrificed to yaweh. Who was not pleased because it meant that Saul had disobeyed the command to kill every living creature. So the Christian/Jewish god is angry at Saul for trying to give him a present. In short, he’s not just a genocidal maniac, he’s a jerk as well.

  53. crowepps says

    People who run after school programs in the schools should have to provide the parents of prospective participants with a summary of what they’re going to ‘teach’. This still would leave at risk of indoctrination the children of those parents so desperate for child care they will tolerate anything so long as it means their children aren’t home alone until the parents get home from work.

  54. cag says

    Is there any evidence that Amalekites actually existed or are they just another lie in the bible? Are they the same as Elbonians?

    I still haven’t figured out why it is “noble” that sinners and the undeserving do the heavy slogging for an entity that is omnipotent and created everything. Why would a “perfect” being trust its wants to a bunch of screw-ups? Only in the movies and other fiction. Why doesn’t god raise a finger and have it done right? Could it be because there is no god!

  55. Cal says

    Growing up Mormon, we not only get these great stories from the Bible, but all the god-commanded murder and genocide in the Book of Mormon. From the beheading of Laban at the beginning by Nephi to the complete extermination of the civilizations established in both North and South America.

    So complete was that eradication that literally no existence of those civilizations can be found to this day. That is how you know it was true…

    Do I really need a sarcasm tag here?

  56. Ichthyic says

    The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

    how many ways can I say it??

    AUTHORITARIANISM IS RUNNING RAMPANT

    history shows this to have dire consequences for any civilization.

    learn, or die.

    no exaggeration.

  57. nooneinparticular says

    Dianne @58

    Almost every time I try to make sense of passages from the babble, my head assplodes. So Dog is mad at Saul because he didn’t kill all the animules of the Amelekites. Instead, he sacrificed some as homage to Dog.

    *blink* *blink*

    Does “sacrifice” have a meaning that I don’t know?

  58. Agent Silversmith, Feathered Patella Association says

    Whether it’s right to disobey a leader who commands something morally wrong could make for an excellent classroom discussion. Though I suspect it would give more parents the vapors than a lesson which insists you must slaughter families without mercy because the bible boss says so.

    A discussion on what makes a good leader, and how god’s actions – either as Yahweh or Jesus – measure up in comparison, has real potential to open children’s minds and expose religion’s ethical poverty at the same time. If only it could happen.

  59. Sili says

    (a lie; watch what would happen if the KKK tried to organize a White Supremacy Club in the schools)

    Bad example.

    I suspect it’d be as easy for the KKK to form a club as it is for 4F.

    You want something bad and evil for contrast. Like the Black Panthers or Acorn. They’d get rounded out of schools with torches and pitchforks faster than you could say Tom Paine.

  60. Evader, the parasite-infested branch on the evolutionary tree says

    Wow… really? Crazy.

    If there is a class on morality, I’d like Matt Dillahunty to pick what content to teach.

  61. Amphiox says

    The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

    This is how militaristic and aggressive civilizations ensure a steady supply of obedient future cannon fodder *ahem* soldiers.

  62. says

    If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

    Although sometimes God is kind enough to let you take the women and children as “booty.”
    Yes. “Booty.” It’s in the Bible.
    I suppose it’s good to prepare kids for the more ridiculous things God might command, though. I hope they cover all the basic stuff, at least.
    Other Things God Might Tell You To Do.

  63. says

    The Bible is a worthless document, a piece of literary garbage that ought to be used for kindling rather than given a place of honor on a bookshelf. It has nothing useful to teach anyone–no morals, nothing of scientific or medical importance, nothing at all.

    Oh, wait, it does have one use: it tells us that religion was just as insane, stupid, and poisonous in the past as it is now. The Bible helps us to trace the evolution of the three most fucked-up cults that rule today’s world: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

  64. bernarda says

    A reasonable bumper sticker I found thanks to onegoodmove.org.

    http://imgur.com/5sscj

    The next lesson of the CEF for children could be to go to a Bible site that has a text search and as them to type in “stone” or “stoning” or “stoned” and see what other punishment God favors. Stoning seems to have been a popular past time in the Old Testament.

  65. marksletten says

    I don’t expect the Supreme Court, much less Clarence Thomas, to be capable of deciding what is a proper moral lesson for my kids.

    Lucky for you (and everyone else), you don’t have to allow your children to attend these voluntary functions.

  66. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    marksletten @ 72

    Lucky for you (and everyone else), you don’t have to allow your children to attend these voluntary functions.

    Sure my kid will never be handed over to fundamentalist brainwashing genocidal idiots. So it’s perfectly ok for other people’s children to learn, at school, that out groups should be murdered to the last man, woman, child and beast, because god said so.

    I don’t foresee any problems at all for my kid growing up with those kids.

  67. julezyme says

    “The infidels had heard about Islam’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in Him. The infidels refused to believe in Allah and Allah had promised punishment.”

    I dare anyone to suggest that any court in the USA would allow this on a teaching curriculum.

  68. Rob in Memphis says

    Ms. Daisy Cutter @51:

    Rob in Memphis, Stewart is the author of the Guardian article to which PZ links, and she links to her book’s Amazon page. The one-star reviews are telling, as is usually the case with this sort of book. (emphasis added)

    Oops, that’s what I get for posting before caffeine. *blushes* Totally agree with you about the one-star reviews–most of them seem to be from people who didn’t bother to read the book. (One of the reviewers even comes out and admits it.) I wish I could say I’m surprised, but….