A Message to Parents in Greenville, Virginia

Readers of this blog have presumably heard the news about a small number of parents in Greenville, Virginia who complained and threatened to pull their children out from school because children were learning about world religions, and one activity involved trying to imitate the calligraphy in which the Arabic statement of faith was written on the worksheet. [Read More...]

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Dangerous Items

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Stereotyping

I saw the news about Ahmed Mohamed being handcuffed at his Texas school for bringing to school a clock that he made himself. I lamented the unfair stereotyping of individuals based on their name, their religion, their background. And then I realized that all that transpired in fact confirmed stereotypes that some of us have…of Texans. Perhaps I [Read More...]

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Our Children Should Always Be Allowed To Pray In Schools

Hemant Mehta shared some nice reworkings of a popular right-wing meme about prayer in schools, which were created by Tracey Moody. All of the depictions of children praying in the memes on his blog are ones that he would support – except for the one in which a teacher is leading children in prayer, and thus imposing [Read More...]

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First Day of Classes

Today was the first day of classes at Butler University, as in many other places. This semester I’m teaching the Bible, the second semester of my first year seminar course “Faith, Doubt, and Reason,” and the second semester of a seminar course on “Religion and Freedom of Expression.” If you are an educator or a [Read More...]

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Jesus’ Prophetic Nightmare

David Hayward’s latest cartoon depicts Jesus as having a truly prophetic ability, as illustrated by this uncannily accurate nightmare: Presumably it would have been enough to cause a nightmare if Jesus had simply foreseen what some people speaking in his name would about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Hector Avalos, [Read More...]

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School Prayer Contradiction

I commented previously on some of the conservative Christian reactions to the Newtown school shooting, including in particular the attempt to connect it with the removal of prayer from schools. Today in church, as a longstanding public school principal who is a member of my church gave a children’s talk about prayer, my thoughts turned [Read More...]

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What Fundamentalists Worship

Quite a number of people are discussing t-shirts like this one (or the wider use of the sentiment expressed on it) in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy: I am glad that fundamentalists are finally being a bit more honest about what they mean by “God.” They clearly do not mean an omnipresent [Read More...]

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God and Tragedy in Secular Public Schools

Rev. Jeremy Smith posted some thoughts in response to those who claim that God being “uninvited” from schools has something to do with the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Randal Rauser did the same. I would go even further than they do, even further than I did in my previous post on the topic. The shooting [Read More...]

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Bible-Related Nonsense

img class=”alignleft” src=”http://i.ytimg.com/vi/COeqlKXvgN4/0.jpg” alt=”” width=”202″ height=”151″ />I focus on information literacy skills in my course on the Bible – i.e. the ability to identify and utilize reliable sources of information amid the wide array of sources of varying degrees of reliability – and ridiculousness – that abound on the internet. And so I asked them [Read More...]

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Is Praying for Academic Success Cheating?

Jen McCreight posted on her blog about someone who gave thanks for having passed an exam, and expressed gratitude for prayers offered on their behalf. Jen made several comments, among which this seemed to me the most interesting: Seriously, if God really is the reason that some students were doing well, they should be expelled. [Read More...]

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