New Documentary: In God We Teach

Filmmaker Vic Losick has released a new documentary called In God We Teach, where Matt LaClair recorded one of his teachers, David Paszkiewicz, essentially preaching to his class in a public high school in Kearny, New Jersey. Here are some of the things he told students in his history class:

“If you reject his gift of salvation, then you know where you belong. He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you, and he’s saying, ‘Please, accept me, believe.’ If you reject that, you belong in hell.”

He also attacked evolution and the big bang theory, talked about Biblical prophecies and explicitly told LaClair during one recorded conversation that he was doing nothing wrong by preaching to his class. You can hear some of the recordings here. And here’s the video of the documentary about this:

httpv://youtu.be/wP6B4gpgyRI

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  • D. C. Sessions

    The schools, and even more so districts, that go more or less officially religious get the news, but all it really takes is an administration (can we say, “Freshwater?”) who look the other way while teachers do the main work.

    And far, far more of that goes on precisely because it’s under the radar.

  • No Light

    I watched it last week, that kid has stones the size of bowling balls.

    It was really interesting, especially from my viewpoint as a non.American. The very idea of a teacher, or school board, acting like this – well it’s bizarre. The town meetings were simultaneously hilarious (because I don’t have to live there) and terrifying (you guys have your fingers on the Big Red Button )

    Most churches here wouldn’t even be as fiercely critical of the kid. They’d have another cup of tea and a biscuit, and say “The box has a point. Did you see Eastenders last night?”

  • No Light

    Not ‘box’ but ‘boy’. Stupid predictive text.

  • reddiaperbaby1942

    This happened in 2006; why is it news now? On the other hand, I’d be interested in knowing what happened both to the teacher and to Matt; where are they now?

    These “teachers” MUST be stopped from spreading their obscurantist poison. The place for that (if anywhere, which I doubt) is not in the public schools. Our children must be protected from such people.

  • dog healed my dyslexia

    @#4: Perhaps because it’s in a recently released documentary, as Ed notes–not a current news story.

  • dog healed my dyslexia
  • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com TCC

    I watched this recently; it’s pretty interesting just to watch Paszkiewicz talking to the group he advises, not to mention the recordings of him talking in class and in private meeting with LaClair. And I wholeheartedly endorse No Light’s description of LaClair above @2.

  • jba55

    Ugh, this type of thing makes me furious. Doesn’t help my reaction that I have nieces and nephews in NJ, I hope they aren’t being preached to. Of course they’re already Mormon so at least it probably wouldn’t stick. Not that that makes it right.

    “He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven, so much so that he took your sins on his own body, suffered your pains for you”

    OT, this is a pet peeve of mine. To the above argument for why I should accept Jesus I always say “Even if he did do that (and I in no way think it’s possible) I didn’t ask him to. A favor done without being asked for doesn’t need to be accepted or returned. Dammit.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/manlystud mickscott

    Nor is that “everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven.” He could have tried some reason, some evidence. Or appearing to me in a convincing way.

  • D. C. Sessions

    He could have tried some reason, some evidence. Or appearing to me in a convincing way.

    Or maybe even, like, do something besides a metaphysical protection racket.

    “Nice little soul you have here. Be a shame if eternal torment happened to it.”

  • caseloweraz

    Damn, D.C. Now you’ve got me thinking of Monty Python’s “The Bishop.”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven

    Did He really? Did He appear simultaneously to all the peoples of the world to make no one got left out? Did he make it possible for you to make only good and righteous choices while still enjoying free will? Did He absolve the silly rule requiring someone to die for your sins? And who set up that rule anyway, if not Him/His Father?

    .

    I conclude either he did not care that much whether you make it to heaven, or else “everything in His power” reveals that His powers are quite limited.

  • timpayne

    Anyone suspecting that the teacher, David Paszkiewicz, might have smartened up in the last five years, would be wrong. Here’s him commenting on the Cranston prayer banner (Jessica Ahlquist) in February.

  • hypatiasdaughter

    #9 mickscott

    Or NOT choosing to whisper his purpose only into the heads of a very few “special chosen spokesmen” (AKA his prophets); then commanding them to go forth and convert the rest of us, using persuasion, threats, blackmail, bribes, arrest, imprisonment, exile, torture and murder. All with god’s personal stamp of approval.

    And usually his “special chosen spokesmen” are lunatics, liars and losers…..

  • Yoritomo

    From the NYT article:

    […] the controversy here, 10 miles west of Manhattan, hinges on assertions Mr. Paszkiewicz made in class, including how a specific Muslim girl would go to hell.

    Sorry, what?! A teacher telling one of his students she’ll go to hell? I’m at a loss for words.

  • http://en.gravatar.com/mrupright Mr. Upright

    @Yoritomo:

    I don’t remember it, but my mother said my 1st grade teacher (public school) told us our parents were going to hell if they drank coffee. Apparently I came home and begged her and my father to quit.

  • dave

    He did everything in his power to make sure that you could go to heaven

    Right on the label, it says that Dog is omniscient and omnipotent. Since he is omniscient, he knows what would allow me believe. Since he is omnipotent, he is capable of doing that which would allow me to believe. Since I find that I cannot believe, I conclude that if he exists, it is part of his ineffable plan that I not believe.

  • stubby

    Thanks for the recommendation, Ed.

  • sanford

    Interesting documentary. What happened to the teacher that was sued in California and took so much grief from O’Reilly? As Ed says it it not wrong for the kids to pray out loud as long as it is not promoted by the school. Too bad nobody told the teacher that told that girl to stop praying.

    I was just reading an article about Josh Hamilton. He and his wife are very religious. They believe Jesus and God speaks to them to help them with their problems. Especially when it comes to Josh. I have sympathy for him and his problems with drinking and the problems he did have with drugs. I hope he stays sober, but I wonder what he says if he goes on another binge.

    I can kind of understand people with extreme problems like Hamilton trying to find anything that will help them to remain on a good path. You do read many stories about people who find god, when maybe it was all about them finally coming to a decision to do the right thing

    As far as the teacher in this documentary, he seems like a good person, but his world view his just skewed by his religious beliefs. I wonder if he comes from a very religious background or something happened in his life that caused him to become the religious person he is.

  • jnorris
  • http://rockstarramblings.blogspot.com/ Bronze Dog

    As Ed says it it not wrong for the kids to pray out loud as long as it is not promoted by the school. Too bad nobody told the teacher that told that girl to stop praying.

    That’s one thing that’s infuriating about the whole situation. It’s a self-fulfilling persecution complex: Fundies keep spreading the false idea that prayer or religious expression of any sort is banned in school in all contexts, a lot of teachers end up believing it, thus leading to them cracking down on students’ free speech. Then the teacher’s misunderstanding is used as “evidence” that religious expression is banned in school.

    And when atheists stand up for a student’s religious freedom for the sake of protecting human rights in general, we’re ignored.

  • dan4

    Good documentary, but what was the point of the “This is where the Sopranos was filmed!” tour through Kearney. The point of the documentary was about an incident that HAPPENED to have occurred there, not about the town itself.