Wednesday, July 8, 2009
So today, I am feeling patriotic again. I just got off the phone with my senator's office and now I want you to pick up your phone and call yours. If you don't know who your senator is then go here and find out. There's a "find my senator" widget at the bottom of the page.
Remember a while back when Rick Perry nominated Don McLeroy, an ultra Conservative dentist, for chairman of the board of education? Well, luckily, he was defeated. But, remember how I said that I was concerned that Perry would just nominate someone worse? Well, its not official yet but its looking like he's going to. Her name is Cynthia Dunbar and she's very open about her disdain for public education, which to me is a giant red flag when you're looking for someone to be chairperson of the Board of Education.
In a book published last year, Dunbar argued the country’s founding fathers created “an emphatically Christian government” and that government should be guided by a “biblical litmus test.” She endorses a belief system that requires “any person desiring to govern have a sincere knowledge and appreciation for the Word of God in order to rightly govern.”
Also in the book, she calls public education a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion.”
The Establishment of public schools is unconstitutional and even “tyrannical,” she wrote, because it threatens the authority of families, granted by God through Scripture, to direct the instruction of their children.
Dunbar home-schooled her own children.
First off, there are few things more annoying than when right wingers imply that our founding fathers were saintly men who wore their devout faith in Christianity on their sleeves. It takes about 10 minutes of research to figure out that most of our founding fathers were Deists, and had quite a bit of disdain for religion. Take the George Washington approved Treaty of Tripoli, for instance. "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;..."
Here's a quote from Ben Franklin's autobiography, "But I was scarce fifteen, when, after doubting by turns several points as I found them disputed in the different books I read, I began to doubt of the Revelation itself. Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of the sermons which had been preached at Boyle’s Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them. For the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to be much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist."
And then there's Jefferson who called himself a Christian from time to time but only because he got down with the moral philosophy of Jesus. However, he took a pair of scissors to his bible and hacked out all the things he considered to be superstitious, miraculous or mystic. When speaking of god he was known to, more often than not, use the popular Deist term, "Nature's God."
I digress. If you want to get a clear view of our founding fathers religion and skepticism, its pretty easy to find.
The real problem at hand is this Dunbar lady. Can we not, honestly, find someone better for this job? Someone who doesn't already think the very idea of public education is morally wrong? Someone who isn't, very clearly, intending to use the position to push their ideals into the education system?
It doesn't matter if you have kids now or not, because this is a fight that will affect how our nation's future leaders are educated. The biggest, most important thing that parents and schools can teach children is how to think, not what to think.
ps. Here is some more crazy shit Cynthia Dunbar said. Apparently, Obama is plotting with terrorists to attack the U.S. and he's going to institute martial law. Yeah...that sounds reasonable.