Illinois Family Institute Issues Ridiculous Back-To-School Warnings for Parents

Before you go back to school, the Illinois Family Institute wants to remind Christian parents everywhere how they can go after those damn teachers who challenge students’ thinking.

No joke. Laurie Higgins‘ piece is entitled “Challenge teachers, not books” (PDF). Because, as we all know, teachers who discuss banned books are the real problems with our schools.

Parents can object to teachers rather than texts. Here are some suggestions for parents who are fed up with the subtle and not so subtle messages that activist teachers of a liberal bent work into their classroom teaching…

My favorite piece of advice to parents has to be this one:

Students usually know who the liberal, activist teachers are. Liberal teachers develop reputations, often as the “cool” teachers.

NOOO! NOT THE COOL ONES!

Umm… I work with students (unlike anyone at IFI). If you talk to them, then you know that they never say, “Mrs. Whatever is cool because she’s a liberal activist.”

The cool teachers, in their minds, are the ones who can teach effectively. The ones who make you work harder because you want to do well in their classes. The ones who remember what high school was like and can empathize with students’ struggles. The ones who challenge students’ thinking from all sides and make them see things in different ways.

The cool teachers are not the ones who wear their personal politics on their sleeves and make conservative Christian students feel like shit. Those teachers — if they existed — would be just as unpopular as any who promote their Christianity in the classroom (which, by the way, IFI is perfectly fine with, seeing as they thought teacher Bradley Johnson was just presenting “diverse viewpoints that include God’s place in American history and culture” when he hung Christian banners in his classroom).

And I think Higgins is going after me again, because she has it out for triangles, the devil’s favorite shape:

If parents have children who have already gone through the school or have already completed a year or more, they should ask those children and/or their friends or friends’ parents which teachers are known for bringing their politics into the classroom or who displays a “Safe Space” sticker, the inverted pink triangle, the rainbow flag, or the lower case Greek letter “lambda” on their desk, classroom door, or wall.

No lambda?! Oh no! Conservatives are now going after Physics and Chemistry classes, too!

This must appear in Laurie Higgins’ nightmares

Maybe I should replace all the x’s in my math equations with lambdas, just to freak IFI out. Or rearrange my desks in the shape of a triangle…

And what’s the problem with “Safe Space” stickers? Is IFI that afraid to let LGBT students know that they have nothing to fear in the classroom? Would they rather those students feel isolated, abnormal, and lost? Because that’s how they tend to feel now, in large part thanks to the propaganda pushed by evangelical churches. It’s disgusting how much contempt IFI has for teachers who make minority students feel loved and accepted.

Finally, this step borders on crazy:

Parents can go to their middle school and/or high school websites and find out which teachers sponsor gay and straight alliances and liberal political activist groups (e.g. AWARE).

Why? What would it matter? Teachers are legally allowed to be sponsors of those groups. If the GSA needed a faculty sponsor, I’d step up. If an atheist group ever formed at my school, I’d sponsor that, too. And if a Christian group couldn’t find a sponsor, I’d bite my tongue and help them out because they also have a right to meet after school and discuss their beliefs.

Just because teachers are sponsors of religious or political groups doesn’t mean they endorse the groups nor does it mean they espouse those views in the classroom.

But IFI won’t say that. They know damn well that the Equal Access Act says exactly what I just did — that teacher sponsorship of a club isn’t the same as endorsement, that political/religious student groups have a right to form in schools, that expressing concern for bullied students ought to be encouraged instead of condemned, etc. — but instead of explaining all that in a balanced way, they just try and scare Christian parents into thinking that liberal teachers ought to be avoided at all costs. (And, presumably, that IFI needs money to keep fighting this fictitious battle.)

This is the unfortunate (for them) position IFI has put itself in. They have to make up problems to solve because no real ones exist. Anything they accuse liberal teachers of doing, they know Christian teachers have done the exact same things in a much more egregious way.

For example, IFI wants to stop things like the student-led Day of Silence (for LGBT students and their allies) because it’s an example of “politicizing the classroom.” But that argument gets them nowhere because conservative Christians already promote the “Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity” in the classroom, and IFI has never said a word against that event whatsoever.

They want to rail against liberal teachers — even ones like me, who keep our religious beliefs out of the classroom — but they’re silent when it comes to Christian teachers who proselytize instead of teaching. And you can bet that happens far more often.

They’re hypocrites who refuse to acknowledge it and school districts know better than to take them seriously.

That’s why IFI has to make up fake enemies. That’s why they go after atheist teachers and English departments and pink triangles and lambda symbols. Because the teachers who preach atheism or Islam or Hinduism in the classroom don’t exist. Preaching instead of teaching is something certain Christians do, not the rest of us.

And if you’re a Christian and you agree with me, then say something about it to them. Stop being silent. It’s not like they care what atheists have to say.

On the brighter note, IFI staffers won’t be teaching in any public schools this fall.

But I will be.

Me and my evil, liberal, hippie, godless, proof-loving, triangle-drawing, “cool” ways.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • Alexander Taylor

    It is folks like you (and those rare teachers which I encountered), and sentiments such as the ones expressed here, which make me wish that I was neurologically capable of being an effective teacher (ASD).

    Also, the comment system is terrible.

    • Darbyella

      Wow! As a teacher, I love the idea of being “neurologically capable”. Sounds so goood. Like I can handle anything that comes my way. By the way, I am one of those cool teachers, and it’s because I keep them actively engaged and interested–all with no politicization on my part.

  • Misty Walst

    After encountering your polar opposite yesterday, let me say thank you. 

    Yesterday was horrible enough, I’m having to consider going to the state school board about this teacher. *sigh* 

  • http://www.theaunicornist.com Mike D

    I strongly believe that modern Christianity thrives on an insular, groupthink fueled culture. Y’know, Us vs. Them. Righteousness vs. Temptation. God vs. The Sins of the Flesh.

    When I was a believer, that became a huge red flag because I was actually interested in contrary viewpoints. The way I saw it, if what I believed was as iron-clad as I’d been told, then I have nothing to fear from exposing myself to dissenting opinions. The truth, in the end, would be clear.

    Well, the truth was clear in the end, and it’s now pretty clear why these people take such steps to shield themselves from ideologies that differ from their own. Ignorance is bliss. 

    • Themiddleme

       Mike D, in my case it was torment, not bliss. Utter and total torment. I never felt the “love of God.” I was told it was not a feeling, anyway. I complained about stuff and was told it was because I was not forgiving or I was arrogant or I was blocking God’s blessings and so on. the idea of HELL chasing you constantly if you couldn’t be perfect was destroying me and my life. I still fear Hell because of the complete brainwashing. I think there are a lot of Christians who are anything but blissfully ignorant. I think they are trapped and terrified and they can’t get out because they have the threat of eternal punishment hanging over their heads. They are to be pitied because it is a completely heartbreaking thing to suffer with day after day for the benefit of some people on high.

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      I wouldn’t limit this to “modern Christianity”. Almost all religion requires at least some degree of insularity to survive. There’s a cult mentality running deeply through all of it, for the simple reason that most religious ideas don’t hold water when examined critically… and the quickest path to critical thinking is exposure to conflicting ideas.

      Us versus Them is something hardwired into our brains, and therefore easily exploited… which is well understood by religious (and political) leaders.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Once again showing that idiocy begs to be satirized.

  • Drakk

    Sorry, but what does lambda symbolize? All that comes to mind is an element’s decay constant. Do fundies hate radioactivity too?

    • http://blog.luigiscorner.com/ Azel

      What came to my mind is lambda calculus…they must hate functional programming.

    • fett101

      They’re obviously working with the Combine and are attempting to capture Gordon Freeman.

    • Marguerite

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_symbols
      “The Greek letter lambda was selected as a symbol by the Gay Activists Alliance of New York in 1970. In December 1974, the lambda was officially declared the international symbol for gay and lesbian rights by the International Gay Rights Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland. The lambda signifies unity under oppression.”

      Everything listed in that paragraph seems to refer to LGBT symbols, which makes me wonder if this article really is opposed to “liberal activism” or homosexuality. Maybe in fundamentalist eyes, they’re the same thing.

      • Wcopic

        I think that goes without saying.

        • Marguerite

          True enough.

    • Themiddleme

       Wow, do some research before you jump on the typical “academic intellectual” response. See Marguerite’s response below. How hard is it to Google stuff these days, people?

      • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

        How hard is it to not be a complete and total ass for no good reason?

        • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

          I’m not sure if it was because of the cadence of the comments leading up to yours, or the timing, or your very precise word choices, but TerranRich, you now owe me another double espresso and about $7 to dry clean my shirt.

          But you made me laugh, so we’ll call it even. :-)

          • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

            Then my job here is done. :)

    • Reginald Selkirk

       Wavelength.

    • B_R_Deadite99

       The YEC ones do.

  • gski

    ‘t’ is a christian symbol and all teachers displaying it should be reported.

    • Barbara

      And no more addition problems in math class. Darn Christian plus sign…

  • http://www.facebook.com/elly.pemberton.3 Elly Pemberton

    I actually did have a couple teachers who mentioned their anti-war (ish) stances. An English teacher referred to the killing of children in wars in response to some pro-war/pro-killing statement from a student, which apparently pissed off a couple of people I talked to regularly. 

    I also got in an argument with a really pro-war guy in art class and at some point the teacher jumped in on my side of the argument, clearly livid with what the guy was saying.

    Both occasions were incredibly amusing. This was a majority Christian, Republican/conservative school with a couple liberal teachers. The atmosphere was generally more relaxed and comfortable between students and teachers because it was really low population. 
    And then there was my history/economics teacher who pointed out bad (but true) things about both political parties, but never shared his actual beliefs.

    • Themiddleme

       At least you guys were arguing it and not just staying quiet. I don’t know if the teacher should have jumped in on your side (or the other person’s side) as we all have a right to our opinions. I don’t like the idea of a person being ganged up on or another being unable to fight their own fight. The point also should not be to silence the opposition because silence doesn’t equal victory. There can be no meeting of the minds if one side is beaten down by the other.

    • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

      That sounds exactly like the school atmosphere I teach in, and I try to at least play devil’s advocate whenever a student is being overwhelmed by a large number of students or an especially overbearing student. Students need to have their beliefs challenged by hearing well-reasoned alternatives, even if those alternatives only serve to help them figure out why their position is superior to the alternative.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ORRVVC5R2QWLTXEM6SX5L6BORE Jay Arrrr

    “The ones who challenge students’ thinking from all sides and make them see things in different ways.”

    In the eyes of the IFI, the “dangerous ones”…

  • Joseph

    This fear of “the other” is the reason that so many people are home schooled in my state (Texas — as if the public education system here wasn’t conservative enough).  I teach at a state university here, and my home-schooled students tend to be the most insular, narrow-minded, indoctrinated group of the bunch; they also tend to be the most religious (one of the main reasons reason people here home school) and demonstrate a know-it-all attitude which is not conducive to learning in a college environment.  I know there are lots of good reasons to home school, but children really need to be exposed to different viewpoints regardless of where or how they are educated. 

    And if high school teachers think they have been painted with the “liberal activist” paint brush, that’s nothing compared to college professors, who are often expected to be somewhat provocative in the classroom; that comes off as activism, when it is intended as a way to get a vigorous discussion going.  I was raised in a Republican, Catholic household — and to this day, my own father blames the fact that I am a progressive-minded atheist on my being “tainted by the liberal education system.”  The way I look at it, higher education didn’t brainwash me — that was done at home before I went to college — they simply allowed me to open up my eyes to other ideas and viewpoints, which allowed me to make my own choices.

  • Barbara

    Some of the IFI links are gone. Looks like IFI is quick to clean house. Typical of people with something to hide.

  • Carla

    Damn hippies.

  • http://aboutkitty.blogspot.com/ Cat’s Staff

    You should print out a big lower case xi (ξ) and put it on the front of your desk…just to mess with them.

  • Themiddleme

     I long for the day when we have Safe Space stickers for fat kids. At least people can’t tell you’re gay just from looking at you, unlike fat kids who have to wear it 24/7 and are subject to attack everywhere they go. (And before someone starts going on about how fat kids can lose weight, that’s like telling a gay person not to “act” gay or talk about gay things. Some people are genetically predisposed to have slow metabolism or other hormone imbalances, but they are viciously attacked for it and told they can change it if they work hard. Sound familiar? (Exodus international)

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      The “safe space” sticker should cover ALL forms of diversity, appearance, orientation, and positions.

  • Guest

    It’s ridiculous because, in most cases, it’s obvious.  It usually takes about the first five minutes of a class for the students to figure out where a teacher stands on issues, especially nowadays when issues are what increasingly define us (and are what we typically use to define others).

  • Stev84

    How do they even have standing to sue?

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    These folks are simply so insecure in their beliefs (as they should be!) that the idea of their kids being out of their direct influence for 8 hours a day terrifies them. Most can’t afford to send their kids to a private indoctrination center, so they are dependent on public schools… and they hate the fact that these are largely out of their control. So they come up with nonsense like this. But it doesn’t work. And the brighter kids will come away with broader ideas than their parents would ever wish. They will reject some or all of their parents’ ideas. And society will move on.

    • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

       Yep. Their idea of indoctrination is “not being indoctrinated our way.”

    • crash2parties

       “And the brighter kids will come away with broader ideas than their parents would ever wish. They will reject some or all of their parents’ ideas.”

      Depends on how they were raised.  All it takes is a wee bit of “you’re not good enough” drilled in at an early age (start with Original Sin and build on that) and by the time they’re 18-20 years old it’s going to be really difficult to break away.  Just look at all the totally repressed closet cases out there for examples.  The dichotomy actually fuels their over the top hatred in some cases.

  • Chris Kilroy

    I fail to understand how “liberal” has become synonymous with “evil.” In fact, the word has become overused incorrectly to describe anyone with whom a  believer or political conservative disagrees. I am also really tired of this continued effort to suppress quality education. It is clear that theists realize that critical thinking and education are the single-biggest “threat” to their power over the masses and future generations. 

    • 3lemenope

      I fail to understand how “liberal” has become synonymous with “evil.”

      I’ll say, as a conservative, I really don’t understand it either. At some point in the fairly recent past it became politically acceptable to voice the notion that people one thinks are doing things or believing things in a wrongheaded manner are morally deficient, evil, unpatriotic, and a threat to humanity’s continuity. 

      Now I’m not a person who looks through the past through rose colored glasses; there have always been periods of extremity where people acted in this manner. However, those periods are usually punctuated unpleasantness set against the majority backdrop of a decent amount of comity. It used to be, under most times and circumstances, absolutely beyond the pale to imply that the political opposition is not just wrong but fundamentally illegitimate and unpatriotic. But this period has been sustained far longer than any other such periods in the recent (say last century or so) past. Even desegregation didn’t bring on a crisis of political comity as sharp as the one we are going through today; when the John Birch Society ran their “Impeach Earl Warren” gambit, everyone thought they were crazy, even people who agreed with them. Whereas in most times such behavior (while it always exists somewhat) was pushed to the margins and not given mainstream respect, these days it has become a shibboleth of political faith to heap biting scorn upon the opposition, to tear down their exponents as people, and to substitute noise for discourse.

      I take solace in the fact that if history is any guide, things will almost certainly go back to a more pleasant equilibrium sooner or later. With the consolation that if they don’t and the system finally just flies apart, at least the little time left to experience it won’t be boring.

      • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

        Nicely put, 3lemenope. If I may add an observation from my armchair…

        Perhaps the difference, the reason why polarization has become as extreme as it has, is because of a bunch of factors that have come together at the same time. The attack on the twin towers, the religious right seeing their following beginning to evaporate, a black man in the White House, etc.

        All of these factors taken independently would galvanize the social conservative bloc. Put them together, and you have a bubbling alchemy of staggering proportions. Not being a US history expert, I can only guess wildly that social conservatives haven’t been this threatened in decades, if not ever.

        There’s a fantastic article over at CPW (thanks to Pseudonym for turning me on to the site) that explains why in the face of evidence, common sense and equity conservatives still win. Ultimately it’s because: “When two groups compete, the one with the most social cohesion wins in the long run.” I would suggest that when a group feels threatened, they circle the wagons and their social cohesion spikes, which also explains why social conservative leaders seem to love “othering” and painting the world in black and white terms. So given the threats they see, their cohesion increases, and polarization entrenches even further. These are armchair guesses only. But I think they’re plausible.

        • 3lemenope


          The attack on the twin towers, the religious right seeing their following beginning to evaporate, a black man in the White House, etc.

          I think in particular the second and third on that list are causing an intensification of the phenomenon. 

          The Religious Right really is panicking; they are losing oh so badly on the culture war front when it comes to gay rights issues, and they know full well that any victories they extract now are going to be temporary at best, and so the strategy now seems to be institutionalizing their policy preferences as deeply as possible into the structure of law (such as State constitutional amendments) so it is as difficult and annoying as possible to extract later. Churches are hemorrhaging young members like crazy, and even the members that stick around are getting pretty sick of their religion being politicized. The writing is on the wall. 

          President Obama is, unfortunately, very easy to otherize, simply because he looks different than most Americans, and worse (to them), he sounds exactly the opposite of how the stereotypes trend for someone who looks like him. Yes indeed, that sort of racism is alive and well; when people perceive a disjoint between expectations and reality, they are more willing to embrace tenuous-to-outright-crazy theories to explain why. I think in large part the tenacity of religion is owed in large part to the fact that reality is deeply counter-intuitive and people, generally speaking, really truly don’t want to believe that. They want to believe that what you see is what you get and that their intuitions are thus adequate guides for navigating the world. A fear of science, in large part, is a fear of being powerless and adrift in a world you don’t understand. Religion provides explanations that are comforting insofar as they are simple and they follow basic (esp. moral) intuitions about how the world ought to work.

          On the other point, I think that you (and the article) are right insofar as the conservative coalition overall has been much more disciplined and cohesive than their progressive opponents over the past forty years or so. I also think, though, that that tight coalition has made the very opposite error, enforcing discipline to such an extent that their attempts to police disagreement are backfiring. The coalition is literally in the process of flying apart; folks like Andrew Sullivan, Francis Fukuyama, Bruce Bartlett, and David Frum being drummed out of the movement by zealotry is a really, really bad sign for the movement’s overall health. Paleo-cons of the Eisenhower/Goldwater mold (like me, though I also have more than a touch of libertarian) have already mostly abandoned the GOP and currently have no political home. The lower-l libertarians are getting more and more fed up with the religious right, as are the neo-cons, and of course at the bottom the neo-cons and the libertarians can’t stand each other either for entirely different reasons. IIRC the Paulites are actually counter-programming the damn GOP convention this year, so at least there’s some entertainment value there in that little piece of political theater. 

          I actually voted for Obama in 2008 as the most conservative candidate; McCain was an unpredictable radical who proved that assessment by picking a nutball for a VP, and Barr and Nader were either too doctrinaire or too polyannish to be taken seriously. I don’t intend to in 2012; he disappointed me in some very serious areas having to do with particular campaign promises, as well as an abandonment of what I thought was his great strength: promising to lead where the evidence pointed him, rather than being guided by either ideology or political expediency. Romney, on the other hand, nakedly represents pretty much everything that has gone wrong with the GOP. I’ll probably end up voting for Gary Johnson. 

          • Neil

            Just wanted to say:  It’s refreshing to see a thoughtful and rational conservative speak up.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are millions of you (us?)- I myself swing very libertarian except with a more liberal baseline of certain social and economic intersections.  But on the whole, reasonable conservative and libertarian views aren’t being presented at the same frequency as wingnut ridiculousness, and the media certainly isn’t going out of its way to help that problem. 

            So keep up the good work, the world needs you! 

            • 3lemenope

              Thanks!

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002459130781 Bernie Keefe

                 I love your analysis, Thank you.

          • http://profile.yahoo.com/VB5JNSDA5E5GZGDD4ZJXLRXUZY rob

            You claim the wildcard “Nutball” you could not vote which is simply a backup position… (i.e. VP).. the media scared everyone away real easy, forgetting the simple truth that S.P. had way more experience in leadership than B.O. and had actually work experience. Also, many very liberal social Democrats gladly will sit at the feet of the Kennedy family.. figure this one out:
            B.O. is clearly involved with a Kennedy hater – B.Ayers. How could that be true? Well, B.A. dedicated a book he wrote in the early 1970′s to several people, including the murderer of Bobby Kennedy.

            • 3lemenope

              You can’t be serious. The single most important decision a presidential candidate can make is who their running mate is, because that is the person who will ascend to the highest office if anything should happen to them. The one–and only–significant qualification for that office is “ability to do the duties of the President of the United States”.  Heck, even Dick Cheney didn’t think Palin was ready for that sort of responsibility (and he said as much just recently).  Palin just went ahead and confirmed that later with further erratic behavior up to and including quitting her gubernatorial term early for no discernible reason, in case one were (implausibly) harboring lingering doubts at that point as to her unsuitability.

              16 of the past 42 presidents were governors of a state prior to holding office. 15 of the past 42 presidents were in the US Senate prior to holding office. Five presidents had held no prior elected office at all. So I’m not seeing a wild prior official job duties gap. I don’t know in what universe being a community organizer isn’t “real work”, at least any less so than being the mayor of a small Alaska town. 

              The rest of your post is just a non sequitur of singular impenetrability.

  • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

    Opposition to a safe place symbol just makes the necessity of such symbols clear.

    It’s like all the opposition to a workplace anti-discrimination law here in Lincoln, NE for LGBT employees because “we don’t need it.” Well, I wasn’t sure we needed the law UNTIL YOU OBJECTED TO IT.

  • The Captain

    “teachers of a liberal bent” Everyday we get another example of how the religious right is really just a political movement rather than a religious one.

    • crash2parties

       In their minds, it’s all one in the same and feel certain that is nothing to be ashamed of.  You see, they see it as their deity-granted duty to save YOU because you are obviously not capable of doing it yourself.  Everything else (ie politics, social structures, etc) are man made artifacts and not “god given”.  Therefore they fall into a lower priority.

      The supreme irony is that Conservative religious practices have evolved over a few thousand years into an amazingly effective way to control masses too large to control by brute force alone.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The cool teachers, in their minds, are the ones who can teach effectively. The ones who make you work harder because you want to do well in their classes.

    This does not correlate with my high school experience. The cool teachers were the ones who let students off easy and had a generous grading curve. Meanwhile, the most effective teacher I had during high school was considered extremely uncool. And he made us do our homework.

    • Glasofruix

      The best teacher i’ve ever had in high school was a total douche (he was also gay and used to say a lot of gay jokes/puns), he graded severly, had us to do homework every friggin’ time but he made the stuff he taught us extremely interesting. On the other hand we had teachers who graded generously and going to their classes was a total bummer.

    • machintelligence

      I guess it depended on what group of students you hung out with.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      It can go either way. One of my favourite teachers was a Monty Python-loving, Beatles blasting before class Earth Science teacher. I (and most other nerdy students) loved her, some kids hated her. Why? She made us work hard for our grades. You didn’t get points just for warming a chair. Those of us that loved her learned a lot and greatly missed her when she passed away.

      Then we had another teacher. Similarly hardass. Everyone hated her. She taught English and I’d call her a grammar Nazi, but she also taught German, sooo ya know… Anyway, we all couldn’t stand her because her personality was like acid. I thanked her at graduation because I did learn a lot, but she was a jerk overall.

      I think it’s a matter of personality coupled with the things Hemant mentioned.

    • Tainda

      I’m with everyone else.  One of the most popular teachers at our school was my AP History teacher.  He expected you to learn but he was also funny.  He looked like Joe Cocker and would do an impression of him if everyone did well on the class at the end of the year hahaha

  • DelAnaya

    Does anyone know if these people are influential in the christian community or not?  It’s a question of where to put our time and effort. There are plenty of little ankle-biting christian loonies out there and you could waste all your time countering them and miss the real trouble makers, if you don’t know.

  • Julian Bucknall

    The lambda thing makes me laugh. So, real Christian programmers don’t use lambda expressions in their code? They don’t use functional languages either? Real Christian mathematicians don’t study the lambda calculus? (Regarding the latter, it was after all invented by Alonzo CHURCH!)

    (Shakes head is utter amazement.)

    • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

      That was my first thought, too, as a web developer. “You’ll never take my anonymous functions!!!”

  • Bill J

    I am glad you are out here doing what you do, Hemant.

    KEEP IT UP!!!!  WE NEED YOU!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    All this time playing Half-Life 2 I hadn’t realized that those weapon and supply caches were in fact collections of gay and lesbian batteries, health kits, grenades and ammunition.

    • Stev84

      Now you know

      • http://twitter.com/m_ethaniel Mistletoe Ethaniel

        And knowing is half the battle.

        (someone had to say it, dammit!)

  • http://twitter.com/kjwinston11 Kimberly Winston

    Hemant, we all know you’re one of the “cool” teachers! I wish you had been my math teacher – I might actually remember something – like what a lambda stands for!

  • Onamission5

    Unfortunately for groups like IFI, reality has a liberal bias, therefore any educator who teaches facts in the classroom will be a threat to them. 

  • Em

    The only specifically political statement I ever heard one of my high school teachers make (while I was a student of theirs, that is; now I’m on Facebook with several of them and know a lot more!) was when we asked my favourite gym teacher, an American, why he moved North to Canada. Several of us, myself included, were immigrants and we’d been sharing the various stories. He answered that his government had wanted him to shoot people in Vietnam, and he hadn’t wanted to, so he changed governments. (Oddly enough, we’d just reached the seventies in our 20th Century History class – I wonder if he’d coordinated with our history teacher!)

    Beyond that, the coolest teachers were the ones who gave us as much data as they could and asked us what we made of it.

    • Em

       I should mention, though, that even though the high school I went to had crosses in every room and a Catholic RE class – late nineties, we’d just transitioned from religious school boards to linguistic ones here, and we non-Catholic students had “Morality” class which was essentially Ethics – the idea that a “safe space” sticker would be a political statement, let alone a Bad Thing, would have appalled the administration.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I do recommend getting to know your children’s teachers approach to science.

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2011/09/06/back-to-school-your-letter-to/ 

  • cipher

    Would they rather those students feel isolated, abnormal, and lost?

    Yes – that is precisely what they would rather have.

    • Tainda

      Cause it makes them turn straight, dontchaknow

      • crash2parties

         That *is* the basis of reparative therapy…otherwise known as, “managed shame therapy”.

  • A Reader

    “Cool teachers” are the ones who make me want to learn, and who listen to and challenge my ideas. Not the ones that preach at me. I totally agree with this post.

    Also, lambda? Really? So I should just stop trying to calculate wavelength? Silly conservatives. It’s *almost* like you don’t want me to have a good science background.

    • http://howtofaint.tumblr.com/ How to Faint

      Wavelengths are clearly dangerous homosexuals, so yes, stop trying to calculate wavelengths before you start wanting to fornicate like wavelengths.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-David-Barber/100000327055940 Michael David Barber

    No one want to be near the little KKKrister fascists.  Please keep the bigots at home.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VB5JNSDA5E5GZGDD4ZJXLRXUZY rob

      Oh kkk – you found out that was started and has been propagated by the dnc!

      Dump yo – mama,
      drop his hope.
      dump this dope.

      • crash2parties

         When I hear ‘propagated’ and ‘dnc’ I get all worried that our SA screwed up again and I can’t get to my servers…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-David-Barber/100000327055940 Michael David Barber
  • B_R_Deadite99

    At least they’re not bitching about evolution. I get so tired of that I could choke.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/VB5JNSDA5E5GZGDD4ZJXLRXUZY rob

      caution the evo. fear – as survival of the ‘fittest’ mindset – automatically disqualifies some groups…

      “hate group” is an added definition to this institute in Ill. for Families…
      Families have Children.
      Children are best taught by those who care about their best interest (not a political view of pluarization..).
      Parents are the gateway to their health – not this claim of ‘tolerance’.
      Changes to a society that lessen protecting children and women – end up hurting children and women the most.

      How about another re-usage of a word as this OVERUSE of the word hate (i.e. those who hate call others ‘haters’)…
      h – phobic (def’n) = a person or group afraid to tell onel living a h lifestyle the TRUTH.

      • B_R_Deadite99

        You know, I would agree or disagree with your comment, but I don’t understand it. Unless English is a second language that you’re in the process of learning, you need to take a grammar class.

        • stonedwolf

          Apparently you do not need infinite monkeys or infinite time, it’s perfectly possible to re-create the entire works of Rob with one monkey, a  wonky typewriter,  and an overcast Wednesday afternoon.

  • Gunstargreen

    Considering none of the teachers would be doing anything that could get them in trouble legally or otherwise I’m not entirely sure what Laurie Higgins and the IFI are hoping to accomplish.

  • Captainjack58

    Christians do speak up against this type of thinking. But then they just tell us we’re going to Hell and they refuse to listen. My own cousin deleted a comment of mine off her FB wall because it presented an alternate point of view based on  sources that I helpfully provided. It didn’t support her illogical values, so it was simply deleted. And that is what she has been TAUGHT to do. If someone tells you something that is different from what you have been taught, turn away and refuse to listen because those people are agents of Satan. You can’t win with these people. Their ignorance and foolishness will never go away.

  • crash2parties

    Identifying the corrupt teachers is all part of making sure the school environment is pure for the Good News Clubs that will be meeting at your school and sending home official looking flyers with the other notices.

    “Would they rather those students feel isolated, abnormal, and lost?”

    Well, sure.   They’re sinners.  They should be ashamed and then maybe they’ll decide to embrace the Grace of The Christian God.  You know, because he’s made them feel so welcome up to that point…

  • crash2parties

    The tactic sounds harmless enough, if a bit crazy. 

    But remember that in most locales, Board of Education members are elected politicians at heart and tend to notice when a new source of parental voter bias surfaces, maybe every 4-8 years or so.

  • mel from surrey

    Teachers should mess with them by displaying crosses and rainbow flags. Oh and teach Leviticus….. all of it. That will gat them going.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    Scrolling down, scrolling down, scrolling down, giant symbol used in one of my favorite video games, scrolling down… wait what.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    “If an atheist group ever formed at my school, I’d sponsor that, too.”

    I thought one did…? or do you not consider SSA to be necessarily an “atheist” group?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Nope. None exist at my school (including SSA).

  • David

    Great post.  Laurie (“Carrie’s Mom”) Higgins is furious, and just fired off her response on her Hate Group’s site.  Poor thing.  She’s still bitter that she lost her attempt to get you fired.  When bigots like Higgins are angry, you know something good is happenning.

  • Arthururban

    Stand with you 100%. conservatism is the biggest opponent to this society advancing forward. Eep up the good work.


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