Monday, February 9, 2015

The Day Christian Accountability Died

Eric Bolling, FOX News
“Reports say radical Muslim jihadists killed thousands of people in the past few months alone. And yet when you take Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, whatever, their combined killings in the name of religion––well, that would be zero.”
The most inept (and illiterate) historians came out of the woodwork the days after President Obama's speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.
“Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,” Obama said. “In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”
Gasp!! Here was the President telling people that Christianity had actually committed crimes!! How blasphemous, how horrendously untrue, how ... accountable. 

At this point, I wish to issue a disclaimer of sorts about my bias: one of the reasons I abandoned the Catholic faith is because of its whitewashing of its own history. Only within the last few papacies have there been a trifling mention of the atrocities carried on in the Name of God. As a student of history (sometimes erstwhile, but most times sincere, certainly more than David Barton), I became appalled at the crimes perpetrated from the second century on. Millions of murders had been swept underneath the rug of history - much like one of today's Texas textbooks.

The response was swift - and predictable:
“The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said Jim Gilmore, the former Republican governor of Virginia. “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States.”
Joe Scarborough:
“Why does he feel the need to go back 800 years?” This stupid, left-wing moral equivalency.

Rush Limbaugh:
There are, in attendance, thousands of Christians of one denomination or another. Fundamentalists, evangelicals, Protestants, Catholics, the whole gamut. Why would you insult them? Why would you attempt to downplay militant Islam.
Not every Christian was "insulted" of course, just the self-righteous ones - the ones he was talking about being on our "high horse."

It Never (Really) Happened!!

When bloviators tell us what is history and what is fiction, it may be wise to think about the agenda of the bloviator. Rick Santorum, for example: (OpEdNews)
"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical. And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom. They hate Western civilization at the core. That's the problem."
Beyond this misstatement, is the one by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League (who, btw, demanded a full apology from Obama) claiming that the Inquisition was largely a myth.

Christians never killed in the name of religion. The Crusades were not prompted by religion. The Inquisition was mostly fictional. These were the kind of comments which earlier prompted me to dig up my own research which I called the Christian Crimeline . The crimeline published was partical, leading up  only to the 14th century. Afterwards, however, was when the real blood-letting happened, but it all somehow escaped the history books read by people like Eric Bolling. 

According to people like Bolling, the great Library of Alexandria was never burned (with pagans in it), the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre never happened, the Defenestration of Prague (bringing about the calamitous 30 Years War) never occurred and Christopher Columbus never enslaved Native Americans. 

Right Wing Meltdown: A Study in Paranoia

It was all so wrong on so many levels, but it was the fact that the President even mentioned Christianity next to ISIL that got to them. The responses were paranoid pieces right out of Glenn Beck's book. Context? What context? Note what he said after the infamous comment:

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith,” he said at the breakfast.
But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge -- or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon. From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism -- terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.

Calling ISIL a "death cult" was, apparently, not enough. 

The Truth Hurts

For all the Christian Crime deniers, there is one undeniable truth: Christianity definitely had a hand in heinous acts throughout history. From comes the first-hand chronicle of the First Crusade. It is a sickening, self-righteous chronicle of blood lust:

Wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one’s way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted … in the temple and the porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed it was a just and splendid judgement of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies.
Hyperbole in victory is common, but if even one tenth of the chronicle is true, then the Crusaders made ISIS look timid in comparison.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Texas Schools Scrap Grades, Common Core ... And Deadly Force Liability!

Three snippets from the latest in Texas education:

- Crooks and Liars:
People who are concerned about the use of excessive force by law enforcement may have to deal with another fatal can of worms. If Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) gets his way, teachers will have the right to use deadly force against students in Texas classrooms, in the near future.
- Chris Wallace takes new governor Abbott to task:
“Your state of Texas got an overall grade of C minus and ranked 39th among the 50 states,” Wallace observed. “Meanwhile, the top nine states, in terms of their performance, governor, all have adopted Common Core.”
- He was playing make believe, dammit!
Tolkien lore led a Texas boy to suspension after he brought his “one ring” to school.
Kermit Elementary School officials called it a threat when the 9-year-old boy, Aiden Steward, in a playful act of make-believe, told a classmate he could make him disappear with a ring forged in fictional Middle Earth’s Mount Doom.
Yes, this is the same state that wants to revise history and science books to its liking.

Guns Guns Guns

"Why, everybody carries a gun - this is TEXAS!" But has its love affair with guns gone too far?
The Lone Star State already permits teachers to have firearms in the classroom, butH.B. 868, also known as the Teacher’s Protection Act, would authorize instructors to use “force or deadly force on school property, on a school bus, or at a school-sponsored event in defense of the educator’s person or in defense of students of the school that employs the educator.” Instructors would also have the right to use deadly force “in defense of property of the school that employs the educator.” Moreover, civil immunity would be granted to those who use deadly force, meaning they would not be liable for the injury or death of student.

"Would not be liable..." That's tantamount to giving teachers free reign over the lives of students, especially "in defense of property." Did Dan Flynn describe exactly what property he deems defensible - a chalkboard, maybe? The shoot-em-up mentality of Texans (aka cowboy "diplomacy", the same used by Texan George Bush) is well known, but extending it to the classroom for mere slights is dangerous.

A Case In Point

The boy suspended for playing with a Tolkien souvenir had been suspended before:
Aiden sounds like an intelligent, curious kid. This is his third suspension. The other two? He referred to a classmate as "black" and he brought an encyclopedia to school that had a section on pregnancy.
The mindset of Texas educators has definitely become warped, as if Sarah Palin were on the school board.

The Mindset Of The Governor

Even conservatives agree that it's nonsense to reject Common Core. Conservative talk show host Bill Bennet debated Texas Governor Greg Abbott by saying that his rejection of common core was hurting Texas. While Abbott made reference to a dubious video on the standards of common core, both Bennet AND Fox News host Chris Wallace jumped on Abbott:
"You've got local control, you decided that Common Core wouldn't be in Texas so it's not in Texas," Bennett remarked. "And Texas can teach math any way it wants, but what Texas can't do is change the nature of mathematics and what mathematical reasoning and mathematical sequence becomes."
Perry Perry Quite Contrary 

Of course, Abbott is simply taking up the gauntlet/legacy handed to him by Rick Perry:
One reason that might explain his hostility toward the system: He didn't do very well in it. A source in Texas passed The Huffington Post Perry's transcripts from his years at Texas A&M University. The future politician did not distinguish himself much in the classroom. While he later became a student leader, he had to get out of academic probation to do so. He rarely earned anything above a C in his courses -- earning a C in U.S. History, a D in Shakespeare, and a D in the principles of economics. Perry got a C in gym.
Perry was an animal science major earning a D in veterinary anatomy and an F in organic chemistry.

"A&M wasn't exactly Harvard on the Brazos River," recalled a Perry classmate in an interview with The Huffington Post. "This was not the brightest guy around. We always kind of laughed. He was always kind of a joke."
Sounds vaguely familiar. "Is our children learning", anyone?

Guns, disputed history texts, inanely prudish administrators, and rejection of Common Core - is there any reason to raise a child in Texas with such a public school system?