The Illinois Family Institute’s Laurie Higgins is going after me (and my job) again.
… parents really should spend some time perusing… math teacher, Hemant Mehta’s website to determine whether he is the kind of man with whom they want their children to spend a school year. He absolutely has a First Amendment right to promote any feckless, destructive, offensive, and immoral ideas he wants via his blog, but, as I mentioned in my earlier article, parents have the right not to have him as a teacher and a role model for their children. I want to be very clear about what I’m suggesting: I am suggesting that parents who have serious concerns about Mr. Mehta’s potential influence on their children’s beliefs politely insist that their children be placed in another teacher’s class.
Of all the reasons I’ve ever heard for kids wanting to switch teachers, I’ve never heard anyone say, “That teacher’s private life disturbs me.”
Maybe she’s upset that no parent has complained yet. Or maybe she’s upset that parents actually thank me for teaching their child math because, for the first time in the kid’s life, he or she is actually excited about the subject.
But how dare I be good at my job while also being a vocal, out atheist! (Can you imagine the field day she’d be having if I were gay?)
Since she can’t attack me for preaching atheism in the classroom (because I would never do that), her only fodder is the material I write on this website. And, apparently, the things I don’t write on this website…
Mr. Mehta has several regular contributors to his blog, one of whom is Richard Wade. On August 18, a young woman calling herself “Poly,”–short for “polyamory”–wrote to Richard Wade for some relationship advice. Here is the letter from “Poly” followed by the response from Mr. Mehta’s regular contributor:
Although Mr. Mehta did not write this blog entry, he posted it on his blog, so one can reasonably assume–as his students might–that he endorses the ideas expressed by his regular contributor.
Richard Wade’s comments have always been appreciated by readers. I know his inbox has been getting swamped with advice requests. But I have no idea how his opinions have anything to do with me and my job. I’ve posted interviews with Lee Strobel on this site. Do I endorse his ideas? Absolutely not.
(If Higgins wanted to attack me for allowing polygamy to be discussed on this site, how on earth did she miss this post? And how did she miss the posting where I– oh, I’ll let her find the other stuff. She doesn’t seem to have anything better to do.)
She’s also mad that I linked to sex columnist Dan Savage:
And finally, there’s the blog entry in which Mr. Mehta cheerfully encourages his readers to visit the obscene column of homosexual activist Dan Savage who urges a young man to act upon the same-sex attractions he is struggling to resist because of his faith. Here’s an excerpt from the Savage column that Hemant Mehta recommends on his blog:
Savage is hilarious, realistic, and, yes, sex-positive.
I don’t recall handing out a printed version of his column to my students, though… maybe Higgins can remind me of when I did that.
Some parents fail to understand the adolescent mind: they fail to understand that teens are often predisposed to affirm the ideas of adults whom they find cool or personable or funny or iconoclastic. Those parents, no matter what their personal beliefs, will likely be comfortable with their children in Mr. Mehta’s class.
Some parents may be ideological kindred spirits with Mr. Mehta. Those parents may relish the idea of their children being impressed by Mr. Mehta and influenced by his subversive ideas.
But those parents who are troublied by the ideas Mr. Mehta expresses, posts on his blog, and endorses, and who recognize that their teens may be predisposed to look favorably on his ideas merely because they like him, may want to ensure their teens have another math teacher.
It’s all about diversity and choice.
Would anyone care to explain that last line to me? Her idea of diversity and choice seems to be that children should have only teachers who share their religious and social viewpoints.
On the bright side, I suppose I can thank Ms. Higgins for calling me cool, personable, funny, and iconoclastic. (As one reader suggested, I can use it as a blurb for my next book.)
Speaking of which, she didn’t mention my first book this time either! How many times do I have to ask?
Just for the record, Ms. Higgins: The book is called I Sold My Soul on eBay. It can be bought on Amazon. And I’m pretty sure it should be on every banned books list. Thanks in advance.