First Amendment, Higher Ed., and Religion
Posted: 20 April 2007 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I heard about this from professors on campus and I was very surprised to see it in HNN (Humanist News Network) e-newsletter.  It so happens that, and I’ll be nice, an apparent Evangelical Fundamentalist is up in arms about an assignment she had to do in a Social Work class.

The assignment not quite made clear here:  http://www.humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=293&article=0 and to the best of my understanding dealt with writing a letter (social work style) to members of the Missouri government concerning Gay adoption.  Only position allowed was in favour of Gay adoption.

Oh, that shouldn’t be a problem, you and I say, but not to the Religious Right. This young student is taking Missouri State University (MSU), with the assistance of Horowitz, to court because they feel her First Amendment rights have been violated.  Mind you, she wrote the letter (to my understanding), but refused to have it mailed.  Secondly, the prof. did not reduce her grade because the student voiced her religious objections. The prof did take into consideration said student’s religious views.  The student still got the grade she deserved without discrimination or being forced to mail it.

At first glance you might think the student is complaining about having the right to be anti-homosexual, but it goes further than that. She wants the right to be protected concerning her POV that the Bible is inerrant.  She has that right already and the problem for various profs and students keeping up with this issue is that the wording is far to vague:

[quote:f2536dec13]Protected viewpoints include religious beliefs, as the bill states institutions must take steps to "include intellectual diversity concerns in the institution’s guidelines on teaching and program development and such concerns shall include but not be limited to the protection of religious freedom [b:f2536dec13]including the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant.[/b:f2536dec13]" (emphasis added)[/quote:f2536dec13]

The Act being proposed is thus:  http://www.house.mo.gov/bills071/biltxt/perf/HB0213P.HTM

It concerns me that it could ineffect stimi intellectual learning/higher education and free inquiry.  Will it stop me from stating the Bible is written by humans is therefore is [b:f2536dec13]NOT[/b:f2536dec13] inerrant?  Which is open to debate, if anyone wanted to debate me, of course.  I’m currently writing a paper with the thesis that C.S. Lewis was never really a true atheist and he just went full circle, which could step on a lot of proud Christian toes because they believe they converted a true Atheist.  What will this do to anything else I may have to say in such papers?  The prof, who knows I’m a Humanist, has challenged me on my statement, therefore, I’m going to go with it for my term paper and she has given me the full go ahead to do this.  I’m using as one of my supports in this research to show this an article from the Secular Humanism site.  It really should not be a problem, but if Dr. Horowitz gets his way I might not get to have this privilage.

[quote:f2536dec13]Coincidentally, the complaint was prompted by a visit to Missouri University by David Horowitz, an ultra-conservative pundit who fights against what he calls the "liberal bias" of the majority of professors teaching today. He has championed an Academic Bill of Rights to promote "an academic environment where decisions are made irrespective of one’s personal political or religious beliefs."[/quote:f2536dec13]

Oh granted there was no decision made irrespective to my own personal political or religious beliefs in this assignment, but if the Religious Right gets their way, I might not get to have free reign concerning the papers I write.  I have written papers in English Class in which I have compared mythology to Christianity and made "A’s".  Last one was Shakespeare’s "Midsummer Night’s Dream".  I literally called and classified Christianity a myth- something most Christians would get upset about.  I’ve done similar things in a History class too.

Currently this student does have the right to not complete an assignment based on religious grounds, but what does this vague wording imply to Secular students who have no problem with exposing the fallacy of religion and the opinions of the religious?  What will be the implications to free inquiry (I’m using the term loosely) of various issues that run contrary to the Religious Reich?  Will the Fundamentalists supporting this bill, both in office and in the general public, manage to get this passed and impose their ideology on others?  IMHO, this bill does NOT support "Intellectual Diversity".

Currently, I was excused from discussing my personal views, or rather lack there of, of Heaven and Hell when we were discussing C.S. Lewis’s "The Great Divorce" on the grounds that the majority of the class is Christian, I was already having issues with one (non-traditional also) student who is Fundamentalist- therefore I did not want more problems with her or anyone else, and I’m the ONLY Humanist in class, with the promise that my participation grade during the 3 day discussion would not be reduced because of it.

The issue, in my case, was not the topic matter, but rather fear of more persecution because I do not believe in Heaven or Hell.  This was an issue that the prof became aware of when said student made the comment in class, "Atheists do not have a sense of humour." I begged to differ and suddenly the student who brought it up decided she didn’t want to discuss it anymore.  The prof was going to allow the discussion, esp given the C.S. Lewis book we were discussing at the time and I was open to debate the student, but since I contradicted this student, she wanted no part of it and was angered because I tried to rid her of her stereotype.  Notice the fellow student labeled me an Atheist, I labelled myself a Spiritual Humanist the first day of class when the prof asked us about our backgrounds.  I made no attempt to hide that I am a Humanist, but suddenly my label got changed, not by me, but someone else.

A couple of the various professors’ concerns are that the wording is vague and that they may have to teach that the Bible is inerrant, which even those in the Religious Studies Dept know is not true and would not be teaching as they should.  The list of concerns goes on, but that is a few I have heard from the professors, even from the Religious Studies Dept.  More critisms:  http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/newsroom/highlightscurrent/H213.htm

What will happen if this bill passes as is, esp here in the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt?  I feel this is one more attempt by the Religious Reich to impose their views on others and impede intellectualism.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 20 April 2007 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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First Amendment, Higher Ed., and Religion

I heard about this from professors on campus and I was very surprised to see it in HNN (Humanist News Network) e-newsletter.  It so happens that, and I’ll be nice, an apparent Evangelical Fundamentalist is up in arms about an assignment she had to do in a Social Work class.

The assignment not quite made clear here:  http://www.humaniststudies.org/enews/?id=293&article=0 and to the best of my understanding dealt with writing a letter (social work style) to members of the Missouri government concerning Gay adoption.  Only position allowed was in favour of Gay adoption.

Oh, that shouldn’t be a problem, you and I say, but not to the Religious Right. This young student is taking Missouri State University (MSU), with the assistance of Horowitz, to court because they feel her First Amendment rights have been violated.  Mind you, she wrote the letter (to my understanding), but refused to have it mailed.  Secondly, the prof. did not reduce her grade because the student voiced her religious objections. The prof did take into consideration said student’s religious views.  The student still got the grade she deserved without discrimination or being forced to mail it.

At first glance you might think the student is complaining about having the right to be anti-homosexual, but it goes further than that. She wants the right to be protected concerning her POV that the Bible is inerrant.  She has that right already and the problem for various profs and students keeping up with this issue is that the wording is far to vague:

Protected viewpoints include religious beliefs, as the bill states institutions must take steps to “include intellectual diversity concerns in the institution’s guidelines on teaching and program development and such concerns shall include but not be limited to the protection of religious freedom including the viewpoint that the Bible is inerrant.” (emphasis added)

The Act being proposed is thus:  http://www.house.mo.gov/bills071/biltxt/perf/HB0213P.HTM

It concerns me that it could ineffect stimi intellectual learning/higher education and free inquiry.  Will it stop me from stating the Bible is written by humans is therefore is NOT inerrant?  Which is open to debate, if anyone wanted to debate me, of course.  I’m currently writing a paper with the thesis that C.S. Lewis was never really a true atheist and he just went full circle, which could step on a lot of proud Christian toes because they believe they converted a true Atheist.  What will this do to anything else I may have to say in such papers?  The prof, who knows I’m a Humanist, has challenged me on my statement, therefore, I’m going to go with it for my term paper and she has given me the full go ahead to do this.  I’m using as one of my supports in this research to show this an article from the Secular Humanism site.  It really should not be a problem, but if Dr. Horowitz gets his way I might not get to have this privilage.

Coincidentally, the complaint was prompted by a visit to Missouri University by David Horowitz, an ultra-conservative pundit who fights against what he calls the “liberal bias” of the majority of professors teaching today. He has championed an Academic Bill of Rights to promote “an academic environment where decisions are made irrespective of one’s personal political or religious beliefs.”

Oh granted there was no decision made irrespective to my own personal political or religious beliefs in this assignment, but if the Religious Right gets their way, I might not get to have free reign concerning the papers I write.  I have written papers in English Class in which I have compared mythology to Christianity and made “A’s”.  Last one was Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”.  I literally called and classified Christianity a myth- something most Christians would get upset about.  I’ve done similar things in a History class too.

Currently this student does have the right to not complete an assignment based on religious grounds, but what does this vague wording imply to Secular students who have no problem with exposing the fallacy of religion and the opinions of the religious?  What will be the implications to free inquiry (I’m using the term loosely) of various issues that run contrary to the Religious Reich?  Will the Fundamentalists supporting this bill, both in office and in the general public, manage to get this passed and impose their ideology on others?  IMHO, this bill does NOT support “Intellectual Diversity”.

Currently, I was excused from discussing my personal views, or rather lack there of, of Heaven and Hell when we were discussing C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce” on the grounds that the majority of the class is Christian, I was already having issues with one (non-traditional also) student who is Fundamentalist- therefore I did not want more problems with her or anyone else, and I’m the ONLY Humanist in class, with the promise that my participation grade during the 3 day discussion would not be reduced because of it.

The issue, in my case, was not the topic matter, but rather fear of more persecution because I do not believe in Heaven or Hell.  This was an issue that the prof became aware of when said student made the comment in class, “Atheists do not have a sense of humour.” I begged to differ and suddenly the student who brought it up decided she didn’t want to discuss it anymore.  The prof was going to allow the discussion, esp given the C.S. Lewis book we were discussing at the time and I was open to debate the student, but since I contradicted this student, she wanted no part of it and was angered because I tried to rid her of her stereotype.  Notice the fellow student labeled me an Atheist, I labelled myself a Spiritual Humanist the first day of class when the prof asked us about our backgrounds.  I made no attempt to hide that I am a Humanist, but suddenly my label got changed, not by me, but someone else.

A couple of the various professors’ concerns are that the wording is vague and that they may have to teach that the Bible is inerrant, which even those in the Religious Studies Dept know is not true and would not be teaching as they should.  The list of concerns goes on, but that is a few I have heard from the professors, even from the Religious Studies Dept.  More critisms:  http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/newsroom/highlightscurrent/H213.htm

What will happen if this bill passes as is, esp here in the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt?  I feel this is one more attempt by the Religious Reich to impose their views on others and impede intellectualism.

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 20 April 2007 01:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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If Barry were here…

I am at a loss for how the state can protect a point of view. And find this sort of nonsense legislation just the kind of evidence that suggest classically liberal governance (That government is best which governs least.” — Thomas Paine) is the standard by which all rational people should judge such events.

Further this move is self defeating. How can the government protect two opposing views equally in an institution? If a free press publishes a newsletter saying the bible is inerrant and distributes it on public campus, will those people also have to publish and distribute the opposing view? Can the House of MO ensure these same standards in it’s own affairs as a shining example of how well the bill will work in universities? I doubt it.

ETA: What is most likely to happen with this sort of nonsense (IMNSHO) is similar to the progress actually made by all the ID nonsense. That is that educators, will practice a sort of self censorship because they don’t’ want to be bothered. If this sort of nonsense had no wiggle room in court (due to limited government) perhaps more teachers would feel less threatened by court intervention. On our side that mean religious teachers would feel more free to be open about their views, but it also means that true fact could be presented without fear of reprisal.

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Posted: 21 April 2007 09:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First, I doubt this would stand up to a Constitutional challenge, even with our present Supreme Court makeup. 

Second, there are many, many contradictions in the bible.  I can see a professor choosing a number of the more egregious pairs and giving the Christian students this assignment:  “Since the bible is innerent, and it states both [list them], give a logical argument showing that it is correct in both of these statements.”

In other words, I think a law such as this would foster a great many articles bringing out these flaws and asking for the basis for belief in both.  This can only weaken people’s acceptance of the bible’s innerency.

Occam

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Posted: 21 April 2007 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I like that idea, Occam.  :D Now who’s going to sit down and look through the Bible for these contradictions?  I don’t want to waste my time doing that, personally, but maybe someone will.  Hey!  I know!  Let’s get the Bible Geek!  He might do it.  LOL  Then again, probably not.  He might say the same thing as I do- it’s a waste of time.  90% of it is probably contradictions.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 21 April 2007 01:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/by_name.html

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Posted: 21 April 2007 06:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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That’s an amazing list and quite a few I didn’t know and some I did know.  It also looks close to what I said it was- 90% contradiction.

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“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 22 April 2007 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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And what’s more fun, Mriana, is to quote some of these contradictions to a strong theist and innocently ask them to explain how they are not contradictions.  The tortured logic and tripping over their own tongues is wonderful to watch, but you have to be careful not to laugh.  smile

Occam

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Posted: 22 April 2007 03:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I don’t know if I could refrain from laughing.  LOL

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 April 2007 05:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Oh! I swear if I had myself a piece of chalk, I’d add 4 little legs to a hand full of these fish on the sidewalk! Campus Christian Crusade or some Christian student group seems to be bombing everyone they can with their little fish and message (all in chalk of course). As juvenile as it may sound and in light of the LAME court case, if I had a piece of chalk right now and someone to watch my back, there would be a few fish evolving around here. Thing is, instead of thinking about the message I’m trying to convey to them by evolving some of their little fish, they’d probably whine that I changed their little Christian fish into an Evolved fish.  rolleyes

But even that could end up funny, so…. Which of you nice strong men would like to watch my back while I send out a little non-violent message to our young Christian “friends”?  It really would not take very long to go down just one sidewalk and evolve a few little fishy.  LOL

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Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

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Posted: 23 April 2007 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’ve got your back! And I’ve even got a model on the back of my car if you need one. :D

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Posted: 23 April 2007 06:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Thanks.  Well I think I have a good picture of it in my head- just add four legs and the word EVOLVE in the center of their damn fish.  That should work very well.  Don’t you think?  Let’s grab some chalk to do the evolving and we’re all set.  :D

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Mriana
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Posted: 12 May 2007 05:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Well, It passed in the House or rather a “compromise” substitute according to this site:  http://www.freeexchangeoncampus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=548&Itemid=55  rolleyes  It is now in the Senate.

Unfortunately there are still concerns about this.  I contacted the FFRF, which I am a member of, and asked them if it warrents their concern too.  I thought about asking the AHLC too, but I am not sure if this is their venue or not.  I’ll wait and see what FFRF says about it and if they feel it is cause for concern I may contact AHLC too.  Freedom First might not be a bad idea either, but I’m not a member with them, except e-newsletters.  This smells like Religious Reich domination to me though and I don’t like it.

Unfortunately, this maybe out of CFI’s venue too, even though it concerns a State institution for higher learning and I have no idea how CFI can help anyway.  I’m sorry, but the Bible is NOT inerrant and the Religious Reich needs to STOP!  :evil:

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