Monday, April 7, 2008

California Teacher Makes Anti-Christian Remarks

Saw this story in a number of places, first at One News Now:
Sixteen-year-old Chad Farnan is accusing Capistrano Valley High school history teacher James Corbett of making numerous anti-Christian remarks. Farnan claims that while recording class lectures for note-taking purposes, he recorded Corbett stating that "Jesus glasses" obscure the truth and that Christians are more likely to commit rape and murder.
Another one is at the Thinking Christian:
James Corbett “Taught Us How To Think”
And from Webloggin:
Almost without exception, his supporters say that it’s appropriate to crudely insult religion and to use history lessons as a rant against Christianity. Why? Because in their minds he’s speaking truth, and it’s an educator’s responsibility to bring truth to his students, especially the benighted Christian ones. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that there is a problem, not with discussing faith, but with insulting faith.
Each of these has their own perspective that they bring to this that I find interesting. In one they mention Corbett talking about the Flying Spaghetti Monster so I have to assume he's an atheist since that is an atheist's joke. It's how we point out how absurd we find people's religious views, often a comparison is made to belief in Santa Claus as equivalent to most religious belief.

My first thought on this is; how many times have Christians been up in arms when someone complained about a Christian pushing religious propaganda in a classroom? They scream like a banshee who has stepped on a nail about their freedom of speech and religious freedoms being taken away. The fact is they always want it their way with no consistent logic or fairness other than "We are right and everyone else is wrong!"

So as an atheist how do I feel about it? Corbett was out of line. I think it is perfectly OK for him to have brought up the subject of religion, especially Christianity if it's a class on European history, and even to express his own opinion on it. Where he was out of line was in trying to proselytize in a public classroom and in insulting the people who believe it. If a Christian had done that inside a classroom as a teacher I'd be screaming like a banshee who had just stepped on a nail.

Worse than just being impolite, he might have ruined what could have been a very thoughtful discussion and alienated the very people he wants to listen to him. If he was anywhere outside of the classroom and outside a position of authority then I think he has the right to say whatever he pleases.

On the other hand I think the entire story has to be taken with a grain of salt. I haven't heard Corbett's actual remarks and I know Christian's often think anything that isn't fawning praise is an insult. So maybe Corbett wasn't out of line. I certainly don't think he should be fired or suspended, but I do think he should tone it down a bit. Read the links and decide for yourself.

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