Friday, January 12, 2007

Lassen County Times In Review: Jan 9 Edition

Well, time for the weekly review of LCT items and I have to say not much caught my eye or piqued my interest this week. Brad Jenks responds to Patricia Ausmus over the Iraq war discussion, although not very well. Jenks clearly thinks there was a significant link between the Iraqi's, specifically the Hussein government, and Al-Quaeda, therefore the invasion of Iraq was justified. Jenks asks, "Which side of the debate is believable?" Well, I am inclined not to think it's his side. Everything I've read suggests that if you take a few items out of context it's easy to show a direct link, but when looked at as a whole the picture is not clear at all. This seems to be the conservative mode of operating, however, whether it's creationism, economics, religion, Nancy Pelosi, or the war in Iraq - lift a few things out of context and create a story as if it were complete (then call everyone who disagrees with you a liar, as Jenks does). Lift a few disparate pieces of my life out and I bet Brad could concoct a relatively believable story that I'm linked to Al Quaeda terrorists: I have Muslim friends in Africa; I've been to Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on many occaisions; I presented a study of Marxist approaches to archaeology in a graduate seminar once; I'm not fond of fundamentalist Christian religion; I also made "Distinquished Expert" in rifle competition, and was actually in East Africa in 1993 when the first World Trade Center bombing attempt was made. So, using what counts as logic these days on FOX: maybe I know something about firearms, hence I possibly know something about gunpowder, hence it's probable that I know something about other explosives, hence it's likely I've used C4, hence it's almost certain my Muslim friends use C4, hence it's beyond doubt they're members of Al Quaeda, hence I must be a member of Al Quaeda - besides which, I flunked the "Do You Want The Terrorists To Win?" test, so that must seal the issue). I'm sorry, but that kind of logic occurs in spades among the neo-cons.

Another letter refers to the potential closing of Cornerstone Christian School. I hate to be cruelly blunt, but this is clearly not a heartbreaker for me. I don’t care for private schools, especially those run by fundamentalists of any religious stripe. With very few exceptions they are centers of indoctrination and an opportunity to isolate children from a larger world perspective. The woman who writes in confirms everything I suspect about the world of private Christian schools:

They start and finish their day with prayer. They pray before meals. They learn the Bible.

Are the children told the Bible is a Bronze/Iron Age text, written by people with no knowledge of science, very little understanding of the broader world around them and writing with some clear political agendas?

Then there’s this:

They learn morals and values and love for one another.

Here again we have the “you can’t be a moral person unless you’re a Christian” bovine fodder argument, which leaves out most of the rest of the world and the millions of people born before 33 A.D. I’m glad to see Dawkins, Harris and a host of other people are starting to trash this line of thinking on a regular basis. Agnostic Mom just announced that she has two articles in the upcoming book on secular parenting edited by Dale McOwen entitled, Parenting Beyond Belief. I would recommend that the person concerned with the closing of Cornerstone pick up a copy and try to understand that there are millions of good people out there who live joyful, moral, family lives without having to buy into second millennium BC mythology.

Finally this:

…I ask that you include Cornerstone in your prayers that God would bless them with more students…

What makes her assume God actually wants the school open? Did she stop to consider the possibility that, even if God exists, He may actually want the school closed because it fails to allow children the freedom of curiosity to explore the wonders of a larger creation without the intellectual shackles of biblical literalism? Of course, declining enrollments may have nothing to do with God. It could just be that most parents want their kids to grow up with more of an open mind and a better ability to the world in its wider context.

Until the Jan 16 edition....

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