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Posts tagged ‘Education’

Send this woman to college

I urge all of my readers to go here and cast a vote for the essay there. It will allow the author to get a scholarship so she can go to college. She is an escapee from the Quiverfull/Christian Patriarchy movement and education will be a huge help for her. It will take only a few seconds you don’t have to provide any information to help.

So go vote.

Now this creeps out

I heard about this disturbing stuff at Butterflies and Wheels (in all cases, my emphasis):

Nearly 7,000 Virginia children whose families have opted to keep them out of public school for religious reasons are not required to get an education, the only children in the country who do not have to prove they are being home-schooled or otherwise educated, according to a study.

Virginia is the only state that allows families to avoid government intrusion once they are given permission to opt out of public school, according to a report from the University of Virginia’s School of Law. It’s a law that is defended for promoting religious freedom and criticized for leaving open the possibility that some children will not be educated.

[…]

I have no problem with homeschooling in itself, but I don’t see how a situation like this will ever end well.

Once parents in Virginia are granted a religious exemption, they’re no longer legally obligated to educate their children.

The statute does not allow exemptions for political or philosophical beliefs “or a merely personal moral code,” but the beliefs do not have to be part of a mainstream religion….

Yet again we have perverse privileging of religious belief over secular belief.

Now, I have no absolute proof, but it is virtually inevitable that girls will be the ones who will be denied a or deprived of an adequate education under this scheme of legalizing child abuse. How do I realize that? How many religions mandate the oppression/subordination of men? None (that matter). How many mandate the oppression/subordination of women? Most (that matter).

Denying education and choices to girls is child abuse. Here’s why (after the jump):

(more…)

The real problem

I have no problem with homeschooling. It may well be the best choice for certain people, and since I cannot possibly know everyone’s circumstances or situation, I cannot decide that for them. The majority of them, I’m sure, have nothing but the interests of their children’s education at heart and lack any sort of ulterior or ideologically–driven indoctrinination/brainwashing motive. Indeed, some people homeschool specifically to get away from fundamentalism plaguing public schools in some areas, such as creationism and abstinence ignorance–only sex education.

What I do have a problem with is people who homeschool under the guise of “freedom of religion” to abuse their children and deny girls their rights (via Denialism) (my emphasis):

[Erika Diegel Martin] recounts notable educational gaps in her own family, where there was little academic encouragement. One of her brothers decided to quit school at 16 and faced no parental opposition. The youngest, Diegel Martin says, ceased his formal education at the age of 12, when she left home and was no longer available to teach him herself. And though she was fortunate enough to receive sex education before leaving public school, her siblings were not so lucky. Their parents never taught the three other children about sex, and Diegel Martin remembers giving her 21-year-old sister “the talk” the week before she got married. She also had to intervene to ensure that her younger brothers learned about sex.

As for herself, when she completed her schooling, she says her parents did not allow her to obtain her GED as proof of high school graduation. Their reason? “The girls weren’t allowed to get a GED because we were told we wouldn’t need it. It would open up opportunities that were forbidden to us. We would work in the family business until we got married, and then become homemakers.

“When I talked about wanting to go to college, my parents said, ‘Well, you’re a girl. You don’t go to college.'”

In other words, they’re breeding dependent doormats.

Quiverfull is one of the worst offenders when it comes to using “freedom of religion” and the parental rights (to abuse, to deny healthcare, and to deny education) movement to oppress women. Here what one of the biggest proponents of this movement, Doug Phillips, said (via Libby Anne) (again, my emphasis):

“Daughters aren’t to be independent. They’re not to act outside the scope 
of their father. As long as they’re under the authority of their fathers, fathers have the ability to nullify or not the oaths and the vows. Daughters can’t just go out 
independently and say, ‘I’m going to marry whoever I want.’ No. The father has 
the ability to say, ‘No, I’m sorry, that has to be approved by me.'”

Very rarely do these people make it more clear that it’s about ownership of women.

Freedom of religion shouldn’t be “freedom” to oppress women. If there is a conflict between women’s rights and religion, women’s rights ought to win 100 times out of 100.

A brilliant rant

John Cole has written a brilliant post about the negative influence of fundamentalism and conservative Christianity on US society (via). An excerpt (links removed):

But from where I stand these days, the only thing I see religion doing in the public sector is gay bashing and telling women, mostly poor and desperate and in deplorable financial and personal situations, what to do with their bodies. I see busybodies deciding what drugs they can dispense to which customers, or deciding that they don’t have to issue a marriage license because of some petty deity that I don’t believe in told them to hate their fellow citizens and ignore the law. In a country in dire financial straits but still spending billions and billions of dollars on education, I see religious folks actively and openly working to make our schoolkids dumber. I see them shooting people who provided a medical procedure, and I see others rummaging through people’s personal lives to find out who hasn’t lived up the word of God. I see glassy-eyed fools running for President claiming that vaccines that save lives actually cause cancer, or that if you get raped and are pregnant, you should just lie back and think of Jeebus and make the best of a bad situation. In fact, everywhere you look these days, if Christianity or religion is getting a mention, it means something ugly is happening and someone somewhere is being victimized, marginalized, or otherwise abused. Go read some of the arguments against integration and you’ll see the same bible verses used today against homosexuals. Fifty years from now, they’ll be recycling them again to trash someone else they don’t like or who isn’t good enough for them.

Read the rest of it.

When you think they couldn’t go any lower (updated)

Shorter GOP in Michigan Senate: “It’s okay to bully in the name of Jesus.”

A bill was recently passed by the Michigan Senate. It is a purported anti–bullying bill, but in reality the bill basically protects those who bully based on moral convictions:

This section does not prohibit a statement of a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction of a school employee, school volunteer, pupil, or a pupil and parent or guardian.

In other words, it’s a how to bully act.

In addition, while IANAL, the law protects sincerely held beliefs, including those by teachers. If a teachers sincerely believes that people in group X are going to burn in hell forever, this law seems to protect those statements. Hence, the la looks like it also serves as a backdoor way to legalize proselytization in school, therefore violating the Establishment Clause.

Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money.

Update: The section in question has been dropped from the bill (via).

The scandal of the Republican mind

American evangelical Mark Noll’s book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, has one of the most memorable opening lines of any book I’ve ever read. That memorable line is: “The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” The thesis of the book is not that American evangelical Christians are stupid, but rather the pervasive anti–intellectualism that permeates the movement. The result is that gut feelings and truthiness are trusted more than education; that “God did it” is always the best explanation; that the “man on the street” always knows better than the experts. Where independent thought is discouraged as Rushbo, Bam Bam, and the (likely hypocritical) pastor bleating from the pulpit do the thinking for you.

With this in mind, I believe that we have found the primary explanation for why students are leaving the United States Republican Party in droves (via). Nils August Andresen’s series of posts covers this. He considers it not to be due to students becoming more leftist. He also discounts the theory that it is due to indoctrination of students by liberal professors (correctly; there is no evidence that academic freedom is being threatened, and claims otherwise or of indoctrination are just whining by the alternate reality people). Rather, he attributes it to students being repelled by the anti–intellectualism and hostility to science that is within the GOP; that is, the rise of the Religious Right. It wasn’t always this way: in the 1950s, for example, academia was mostly Republican.

It doesn’t have to remain this way; a rational party serves as a necessary counterweight to the other party. When both parties are rational, everyone benefits, as the foolish excesses of both the left and right are avoided.

Clearly, the scandal of the Republican mind is that there is (no longer) much of a Republican mind.

Dictionary banned for the stupidest of reasons

The sexophobes have struck again. Via Shakesville comes news that a school in Menifee, California has banned a dictionary. Why? Because it contains a definition of the word “oral sex”.

Anonymous parent who made this ridiculous complaint: it’s a fucking dictionary, not a how–to manual. You does not need to be a linguist to realize that the definition of an act is not the same thing as instructions about how to do an act. For example, telling someone what driving is (operating an automobile) is not the same thing as telling them how to drive (too long to put here).

On the other hand, perhaps the school should ban other “obscene” books. One such book would be the Bible, from whose Song of Solomon God is left out, while still finding room to have the whole book be a love poem that contains explicit eroticism. After all, if someone is absolutely unable to talk to their kid(s) about something sexual in a dictionary, they can’t possibly be able to do the same thing to their kid(s) when something sexual comes up in the Bible, right?

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