1. DBEllis says

    Thanks for posting this, PZ! I must admit that my favorite message in support of Matt is the simple one that says “I’ll go the prom with you, Matt”.

  2. Steve_C says

    I think there’s great messages of support from religious people there too.

    When you have an Astronomer from Cornell offering to write you a college recommendation things are definitely looking up.

  3. Susan says

    Thanks for the link. I understand there is this pervasiveness of ignorance in our culture, but still I am surprised by the number of people in that community siding with the teacher (and even worse, sending death threats to the student). I had to add my words of support. Hopefully it will reach Matt, and perhaps more importantly it will reach the school board and community and change a few minds about what our constitution is supposed to uphold.

  4. Steve_C says

    Looks like comments haven’t been approved since around 11:17.

    I think the admin might be overwhelmed.

  5. Ford says

    Has some respected organization put out guidelines for when religious or political comments by faculty are out of line? Some statements of religious belief (or disbelief) could be appropriate, if only to alert students to possible bias. Insulting students who disagree with teacher’s views (or grading on that basis) is always wrong, but the key is understanding the material rather than “belief.” If a student wrote “many scientists don’t believe in The Turtle because 1) you can’t see Him, looking at the earth from space, 2) His shadow has never been seen during lunar eclipses, 3) etc., but I still believe in Him”, I would give full credit.

  6. Dustin says

    I once had an economics professor who did the same thing. Every day he was spewing vitriol over how atheism was degrading American morality, expounding at length on who he thought was destined for Hell, and so on. I didn’t do anything about it, since he seemed to have first hand experience with the Old Testament.

    Once though, when he finally decided to lecture on, you know, economics, he said something that was demonstrably wrong (I don’t remember exactly what, but it was some sort of Adam Smith dogma), and I could show it using some pretty straightforward optimization techniques. So, I thought I’d show it to him. His response was priceless: “Economics isn’t about math or inverting matrices, you dumbass! It’s about people!”

    That, to date, remains one of the most perplexing things I’ve ever heard. One day, when I finally have an aneurism a la Lewis Black, that’s going to be the phrase that does it.

  7. Dustin says

    Ahh, the second most senseless gem of nonwisdom I’ve ever heard came from this guy too. Do you know what the most fundamental things are to the development of a stable and wealthy society? Rule of law? Yeah right. A free market? Pfft. Centralized stable infrastructure? What are you, some kind of Commie? Education? Nope. A representative and Constitutional system of government? Hah! According to him, the most fundamental things to the development of a stable and wealthy society are religion and family. So that’s why the Scandinavian countries such dumps while Iran, Pakistan and Israel are freaking paradises! I’m glad he cleared that up for me.

  8. says

    Kearny is a typical blue-collar, lower middle class New Jersey town. There are churches for nearly every faith (and several different languages) and adult attendance numbers outstrip voter turnout. It’s one of those places that it doesn’t surprise me that sentiments are on the side of the teacher. Unfortunately, there are plenty of similar places, even that close to Manhattan. These towns are home to many people who haven’t changed their old ways since their grandparents and great grandparents immigrated, and to other groups who came here a generation or less ago, and brought new “old ways” with them. I suppose this is just one of those downsides of being “steeped in tradition” and “respectful of authority” (although my friends who were police there didn’t experience much respect – I guess it’s different for teachers.) I would just say that I expect this case to have far more meaningful repercussions within the nation than within Kearny itself.

  9. Scott Hatfield says

    As a write this, there are now 195 personal messages on the Kearny board, almost all of them praising young Mr. LaClair, and all of them in slightly more than 24 hours. Blogs and their readerships can do amazing things. If you haven’t taken the time to show your support for Matt and the Constitution of the United States, why not do it now?


  10. Steve_C says

    What’s with the comments over there that Matt was doing it for 15 minutes of fame?

    He tried many times with the help of his family to get this teacher to stop this crap and they ignored him. They didn’t want any of it to be public. They even waited 6 weeks after he shared the recordings with the Prinicpal and the Teacher to get an apology and some action. They felt that the teacher stopping his proselytizing was enough.

  11. JohnnieCanuck says


    Those are facts that must be ignored. Once you have practise in believing, facts and evidence just get in the way.

    He turned on a spotlight. Cockroaches don’t like that.

  12. Kseniya says

    This is a great idea, Professor Myers. Thanks for providing the link to that board; I left a little note for Matthew – one of several hundred, now, by the looks of it!

  13. says

    Will do. I had until now missed the factoid that this took place in New Jersey. I know the deluded are everywhere, but I am just tribal enough to feel a twinge of embarassment when this stuff happens in my ancestral state.