Creationism & Cross Burning: The Painful Path To Theocracy? genre: Gaylingual & Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak

An Ohio science teacher seems to think that his Christian beliefs grant him the authority to support creationism while undermining the theory of evolution, to disregard the scientific evidence of the age of the earth and the universe, and to brand his students with the image of a cross (see video below). After years of complaints about the teacher's inappropriate insertion of his religious ideology, the cross burning incident has finally led the school board to terminate him.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio -- Supporters of John Freshwater stood in a parking lot yesterday asking God to inspire the school board to make the right decision.

Three hours later, the board announced that it intends to fire Freshwater, an eighth-grade science teacher.

Freshwater preached his Christian beliefs about how the world began, discredited evolution and didn't teach the required science curriculum, the board says. He was told to stop teaching creationism and intelligent design, but he continued to do so, an investigation found.

Complaints about Freshwater's teachings were made by teachers and people in the community for at least 11 years, a school administrator told consultants. Freshwater has taught eighth-grade science in the district for 21 years.

In April, the school board hired HR On Call Inc. to investigate Freshwater, four months after the parents of a child in his class said he had burned a cross into the child's arm, causing swelling and blistering.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

Freshwater told investigators the marks were X's, not crosses. But all of the students interviewed in the investigation reported being branded with crosses. The investigation report includes a photo of one student's arm with a long vertical line and a short horizontal line running through it.

A teacher who worked in Freshwater's classroom last year also reported to investigators that Freshwater told his class that homosexuality is a sin.

Freshwater's friend Dave Daubenmire defended him.

"With the exception of the cross-burning episode. ... I believe John Freshwater is teaching the values of the parents in the Mount Vernon school district," he said.

"Do you think there are other teachers in the public classroom that are trying to drive their opinions in the classroom?" Daubenmire asked. "I don't care who you are. You cannot separate your value system from your teaching."

Look, Mr. Freshwater is entitled to his own beliefs. Unfortunately, like so many other Christians, he feels compelled to impose those beliefs on others. Even worse, he appears determined to allow his Biblical beliefs to overshadow his role as a teacher of established and credible science. If Freshwater wants to teach theology, then he shouldn't be doing so in a science class.

I took note of the remarks of his friend, Dave Daubenmire, in defending Freshwater's actions as consistent with the values of parents in the school district. Unfortunately, a science education has nothing to do with teaching religious doctrine...regardless of how many parents share Freshwater's beliefs. Frankly, the actions of Freshwater and his supporters demonstrates the confrontational strategy being embraced by more and more Christians. Sadly, their beliefs are so rigid and intransigent that nothing short of teaching directly from the Bible is satisfactory.

Take a look at how the Christian media reports the story.

From WorldNetDaily:

But a spokesman for Freshwater, Dave Daubenmire, downplayed the parents' accusations and called the investigation one-sided, with "old trumped-up charges brought back to the table."

Daubenmire insisted to WND that the "cross branding" was nothing of the sort. He characterized it as a science experiment Freshwater had been doing for 21 years in which he made X marks, not crosses, on the students' skin with a Tesa Coil to demonstrate electrical current.

Daubenmire pointed out experts have affirmed the experiment causes no injury to students.

Daubenmire argued that the accusations about teaching intelligent design or creationism date back to 2003, when Freshwater was challenging students to "clinically analyze evolution."

Just after the accusing family hired an attorney, school officials told Freshwater he had to remove all religious items from his classroom, including a personal Bible he had on his desk.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court, says, "Mr. Freshwater advised his students that although he is forced to teach from the textbooks, the teachings are wrong or not proven according to the Bible."

As WND reported, Freshwater took down the Christian items but refused to remove his Bible, which he has kept on his desk for 18 years.

Daubenmire, of Pass The Salt Ministries and Minutemen United, explained to WND at the time that Freshwater had not used the Bible in his interaction with students. But he said the teacher also believed he should not forfeit his constitutional rights just because of his occupation.

So were supposed to view Mr. Daubenmire as an impartial witness...regardless of his religious affiliations? Additionally, aren't we being asked to see Mr. Freshwater as a victim...a man who has had his constitutional rights abridged? Never mind that the separation of church and state prohibits the activities he insists on incorporating in his role as an educator.

The truth of the matter is that a number of Christians are convinced they are engaged in a war which means they are required to challenge and confront any and all aspects of culture and society that are in conflict with their beliefs. I'm convinced that this faction is constantly looking for opportunities to overturn existing laws and impose legislation that is consistent with their interpretations of the Bible.

Take a look at Mr. Daubenmire's profile.

From NewsWithViews:

Radically born-again in 1987, I was honored that the Lord had called me to the fight. Although a pew-sitting, selfish Christian, I learned quickly that if we were to turn back the hand of the oppressor, sitting in the pew and praying for God's grace would not be enough. As I had shared with our teams over the years, it was time to take what we had learned to the field. No battle, no victory.

After twenty-five years in the system, the Lord had other plans for me. I walked away from coaching football, my teaching career and cozy retirement benefits and gave my life to "coaching the church". Lord knows the church needs it. We started Pass the Salt Ministries and will travel wherever we find a listening ear and a open pulpit.

Using a local radio show I began to cry-out for Christian men who were willing to stand and fight. Out of this cry came Minutemen United a band of like-minded Christian brothers and sisters who are not afraid to take our faith to the streets. Over the past five years we have:

Successfully battled entry level pornography in Meijers Department stores.

Fought for the 10 Commandment displays in Ohio.

Journeyed to Alabama and defended Judge Roy Moore and the Rock.

Helped get Ohio's Marriage amendment on the ballot.

Spent a week in Fla. Defending Terri Schiavo.

Kept a steady presence at our local abortion clinic.

Passed out "Living Water" bottles at Columbus' Gay Pride parade.

From Pass The Salt:

PASS THE SALT was formed to encourage the Body of Christ to step into the cultural war. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood..." PASS THE SALT is convinced that God has given the Body a window of opportunity to take our culture back.

PASS THE SALT is committed to bringing together the body of Christ across denominational, racial, and economical borders to demonstrate to America the power of Biblical unity. Our vision is to unite, organize, and mobilize the Army of God to be SALT and Light as stated in MATTHEW 5:12.

Now really, are we to conclude that the relationship between Daubenmire and Freshwater has nothing to do with their desire to push a particular agenda? I suspect that this situation is a calculated assault designed to garner the attention of other religious minded individuals that are sympathetic to the notion that Christians are being victimized.

I'm of the opinion that this effort is far more organized than one might expect. I'll offer two examples to support that possibility. First, there is a concerted effort underway to have churches violate the requirements of their tax exempt status this coming election by making specific candidate endorsements. The purpose of this effort is to establish the grounds under which they can assert that their first amendment rights are being violated. The goal is to remove the prohibitions contained in the notion of separation of church and state.

Second, I've taken note of the rhetoric being offered by James Dobson and his minions at Focus on the Family in response to a speech given by Barack Obama in 2006. Specifically, Tom Minnery makes a concerted effort to argue that America is a "Christian nation"...a phrase that is being aggressively pushed by many of those associated with the religious right. Minnery goes on to argue that religious doctrine is an effective tool with which to direct society and that it is the inherent principle underlying the establishment of this country. The goal of this argument is to further blur the lines between church and state until we reach the point where religion is accepted as the a priori foundation for our system of governance.

Here's some quotations from the discussion between Dobson and Minnery on the radio broadcast that suggest as much.

From Lavender Newswire:

Minnery: "I mean, read what George Washington said about that: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports." That's our first president."

Minnery: "Our second president, John Adams, said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

From NPR:

For 18 minutes, Dobson excoriated Obama for his political stands -- especially Obama's belief that a politician must take into account a variety of views on moral issues.

"Now that is a fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution," Dobson said. "This is why we have elections. To support what we believe to be wise and moral. We don't have to go to the lowest common denominator of morality, which is what he is suggesting."

Again, I contend that the goal is to reach the point at which the accepted constitutional interpretation is that religious ideology can and should be directly applied to all aspects of government. In the end, the goal is to suggest that any limitation on religious expression as it relates to government is a violation of freedom of speech and expression. The calculation assumes that since a large majority of Americans are Christians, they would be amenable to enacting religiously inspired legislation by majority rule.

The only remaining obstacle would be the court system...and one would have to live in a bubble to have missed the deliberate effort to portray the judiciary in a bad light. If these ideologues can convince the public that the judiciary must be bound by majority rule...and that any ruling inconsistent with that construct can and should be invalidated as an act of judicial activism...they will have succeeded in establishing a virtual theocracy. In such an environment, minority rights (Dobson cleverly describes them as the lowest common denominator) would be disregarded whenever they failed to meet the acceptable religious standards of the majority.

In the end, they seek to effect the rejection of a secular society that affords the same rights to all people regardless of religious beliefs...or the lack thereof. While they currently avoid calling for the government to apply Biblically defined punitive actions against those who violate their brand of religious ideology (homosexuality is wrong but they allow it so long as it is never viewed as acceptable moral behavior or granted any legislative legitimization), there is little reason to believe that they wouldn't seek to roll back the rights already granted as well as impose prohibitions (reinstating sodomy laws).

I personally believe that if these zealots were to ever attain the power they seek, they would soon begin to impose punitive measures...arguing that a Christian nation cannot succeed if it fails to uphold and enforce the accepted ideology. Further, they would feel justified in carrying out such actions and dissent would be stifled as little more than a blatant display of blasphemy.

In the end, those who look at the Taliban and Sharia Law as the embodiment of theocratic tyranny would be well served to consider the similarities found in all those who promote an intransigent ideology. Truth be told, there is a fine line between the concept of "live and let live" and its incorrigible opposite, "live this way or die".

Comments

1 On June 26, 2008 at 9:51 PM, Rev Spitz wrote —

Any coward who supports abortion has the blood of babies on their hands
SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.

2 On October 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM, mary wrote —

Rev Spitz I understand your feelings and agree with you. You ahve a right to your beliefs as I have a right to mine. However what does this have to do with the article??

Thought Theater at Blogged

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