The Illinois Family Institute Is Upset That People Are Mocking Them

***Update***: The slightly-altered PDF is now back up online. It’s now titled “Reject Teachers Who Exploit Position

Every time the Christian Right says something crazy, liberals tend to quote them word-for-word, and the Christians get mad because their own words make them look silly. It’s a formula The Daily Show uses to perfection.

So you can imagine how upset the Illinois Family Institute was the other day after I wrote about their back-to-school warnings for Christian parents.

They’ve already taken down the original post claiming “it was not supposed to have been posted until it was reformatted with IFI’s new logo”… because that was the problem with the article. The logo. (***Edit***: I’ve been informed that the logo was left off the PDFs, not the article, and it will all be back up shortly.)

But Laurie Higgins is once again trying to pick a fight with me, unnecessarily citing my school’s name in the process and posting a badass five-year-old picture of me with Christopher Hitchens, while attempting to defend the garbage IFI puts out.

I should keep this picture on my desk.

Let’s dissect some excerpts, shall we?

… not-so-friendly atheist Hemant Mehta… seems to spend a fair amount of time monitoring my writing.

Well, someone has to keep tabs on them. Plus, it’s not like this was some IFI Classified Document. They posted it on their website for everyone to see but they’re upset because I read it…?

He is particularly exercised by my suggestion that parents request teachers for their children who do not abuse their government-subsidized positions to promote their personal “progressive” views on controversial moral or political issues.

Saying LGBT students, just all students, shouldn’t be bullied is hardly controversial. Having students read and discuss challenging books isn’t controversial. Teaching evolution and set theory isn’t controversial.

(Don’t you love how these issues are only “controversial” if IFI takes a different position on them?)

What is most laughable about Mehta’s critique of my suggestions is that while mocking my reference to “cool teachers,” he tries to make the case that “cool teachers” are those “who challenge students’ thinking from all sides and make them see things in different ways.”

I would completely agree that the best teachers are those “who challenge students’ thinking from all sides,” which is exactly what does not take place in public schools on the topics of homosexuality, gender confusion, or Critical Race Theory. Can you imagine a public school teacher even using the terms “homosexuality” or “gender confusion”? Teachers who choose to address those topics will use only the rhetorical inventions of the Left: for example, gay, gender identity, or transgenderism.

So I should stop using words like “gay” and “transgendered” because… what, those students don’t exist?

Here’s the difference between the Illinois Family Institute and me: They show Christian love by demeaning LGBT students and telling them they’re just confused. I show Humanism by letting LGBT students know there’s nothing wrong with them, no matter what they hear from their parents or pastors. But in their eyes, I’m the bad guy for doing that.

The Huffington Post has picked up Mehta’s silly and dishonest critique and included in their post the Southern Poverty Law Centers’ canard that IFI is a hate group. What many don’t know is that the ethically impoverished Southern Poverty Law Center has an “educational” project disingenuously called “Teaching Tolerance.”

The “educators” at Teaching Tolerance, like so many agents of change, foster a peculiar kind of education that encourages students to “think from all sides” and “see things in different ways” as long as those ways conform to “progressive” dogma.

This is a classic argument from the Bigot Rule Book: “They claim to be tolerant, but they hate intolerance!” Damn right we do.

For what it’s worth, the SPLC doesn’t go after evangelical megachurches even though they condemn homosexuality. They focus on anti-gay groups who demonize LGBT individuals by calling them “perverts” and spreading untrue “facts” about them. That’s not religious belief; it’s pure hatred. And it’s something IFI (and its former leader Peter LaBarbera) practice all the time.

They don’t see young gays and lesbians. They only see little sexual deviants who need to be cured.

You tell me which group is “ethically impoverished.”

For someone who prides himself on his logic, Mehta, the atheist, uses little of it in his critique of my recommendations. Distracted by his own glib pseudo-cleverness, he ignores the substance of the issues I address. For example, in order to help parents know which teachers may be “agents of change,” I listed some of the symbols of the homosexuality-affirming movement, which activist teachers affix to their “spaces” to announce their moral and political beliefs, one of which is the lambda symbol (λ).

Mehta then mocked me for “going after physics and chemistry classes,” conveniently eliding the fact that the lambda is a well-known symbol of the movement to normalize homosexuality. While reveling in his ridicule, he forgets to mention that two homosexual advocacy organizations include “lambda” in their names: Lambda Legal and the Lambda Literary Awards.

Way to take a joke there, Laurie…

Yes, we all know λ is a symbol used by the gay community. (I even referenced the wonderful Lambda Legal organization in a post a couple of months ago.)

But, just like the Safe Space stickers and the rainbow symbol, the goal for any teacher who puts up a λ symbol in the classroom is to let LGBT students know our classes are safe places for them, where bullying and bigotry will not be tolerated. Even though there would be nothing wrong with it, it’s not “affirming” anything.

Isn’t it amazing how, when a Christian Right group sees teachers protecting victimized students, their focus is not on preventing further bullying but rather on vilifying the teachers who try to make things right?

does Mehta actually believe that conservative Christian teachers have been using the classroom to promote their beliefs in a “much more egregious way” than have progressive agents of change, particularly on the topic of homosexuality? Can he provide evidence of conservative teachers assigning any resources that espouse conservative views on issues related to homosexuality?

… Mehta and I agree on one thing: Sponsorship of clubs is not the same as endorsement. But the reality in public schools is that the sponsors of gay-straight alliances are usually homosexuals or their ideological allies, and the sponsors of Leftist political activist groups like AWARE are usually Leftist political activists. Similarly, the sponsors of Christian groups are usually Christians. The difference is that conservative sponsors of conservative groups tend not to use the classroom as their personal platform for proselytizing.

Seriously?

Yes, Christian teachers proselytize in the classroom all the time. Church/state separation groups file lawsuits against them all the time. The book I’m working on has *tons* of examples of teachers preaching instead of teaching.

Bradley Johnson had these banners in his classroom:

David Paszkiewicz said all non-Christians belonged in hell in his class.

Jerry Buehl‘s syllabus said he “teaches God’s truth.”

We could go on for a while. IFI won’t condemn any of these people, by the way, because they’re promoting their form of Christianity.

But they think liberal teachers are the problem because we’re trying to stop bullying. (Incidentally, IFI spoke out against anti-bullying legislation in Illinois. I know that because, you know, I monitor everything they do.)

I… suggested that [Mehta's] very public blog reveals something of his character and his beliefs about which parents of impressionable teens may be concerned.

On his very public blog, he ardently promotes atheism, commonly uses obscene language, and has provided platforms for the advocacy of polyamory. I suggested that parents who believe that teachers are role models for their children and who recognize that adolescents can be mightily influenced by teachers may not want him as a role model for their children. Teaching is unlike other professions. Teachers, whether they want to be or not, are role models. Mehta has every right to express anything he likes on his blog, and parents have every right to decide they don’t want their children under his tutelage — even for math.

Hey everyone, did you know my blog is very public? Also, I promote atheism. And I think what people do in the privacy of their own homes is their own goddamn business. Oh. And sometimes, I swear on the Internet. (IFI must have some impressive investigative reporters on staff to pick up on all of this.)

I don’t have kids yet, but When it comes to role models, I’d rather put my kids in a classroom with someone who doesn’t look at LGBT kids as little perverts. I want a teacher who accepts those students and will stand up for them whenever people like Laurie Higgins try to make them feel like shit.

After five years, I’d say my record is pretty good. The last time IFI tried to get parents to remove their kids from my classroom, not a single parent complained. It’s almost as if they know I don’t bring my politics into the classroom and their only concern is whether I’m doing a good job teaching their children math… fancy that.

Mehta, implies that my concern with teachers posting symbols that indicate affirmation of homosexuality means that I want students to feel “isolated, abnormal, and lost,” which is an ugly lie.

I don’t think Laurie wants students to feel that way.

I’m saying she does make students feel that way, regardless — and that’s sad, because there’s no reason for LGBT students to think there’s something wrong with them. The only people who seem to believe that any more are religious conservatives. The rest of us know better.

Parents need to take a stand against public school employees using the classroom to advance their views on controversial moral and political issues. If school administrations won’t establish policy that requires teachers who assign resources on these kinds of issues to spend equal time on dissenting resources and if school administrations won’t establish policy that prohibits teachers from expressing their personal moral and political views in the classroom, then parents should request that their children be placed in the classrooms of teachers who demonstrate such integrity on their own.

Thankfully, homosexuality isn’t a contentious topic for most of us. It’s only a problem if you hold the warped belief that your God only likes straight couples.

Homosexuality is “controversial” the same way evolution is “controversial” — that is, the people who actually know what they’re talking about accept both of them because the evidence points to the fact that there’s nothing abnormal about homosexuality and all the evidence supports evolution. Just because a couple of bigots and ignorant Creationists hold different views on the subjects doesn’t mean their views are credible or that we should waste our time “debating” the issues.

When I’m in the classroom, we talk about math, not homosexuality. But if students can’t learn because people are harassing them about their sexual orientation and their minds are preoccupied, the least I can do is hang a Safe Space sticker in my classroom to let them know I won’t be adding to their struggles and that I support them as they are.

The funny thing is that if groups like IFI dropped their obsession with everybody else’s sex lives, we wouldn’t have to put those symbols up in the first place.

Side note: Considering that Higgins went through my whole article, I just want to mention how she (again) completely ignored the point about how IFI condemns the student-led Day of Silence (for LGBT students and their allies) as an example of “politicizing the classroom,” but remains forever-silent on the conservative Christian “Pro-life Day of Silent Solidarity.”

They still won’t admit they’re complete hypocrites on the issue.

I know she’s reading this. So what gives, Laurie?

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.

  • Happy Nagashetti

    Hey Hemant

    I love your facebook page Evidence of Harm by Religion, but for some reason I am not able to comment on the page.
    I dont think I have done anything for you to ban me or something. I literally had no other way to get your attention.
    Can you please look into the matter.
    And BTW they said the creater endowed everyone, he sure dint endow me enough and I can prove it.

    Cheers

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      https://www.facebook.com/EvidenceofHarmbyReligion isn’t Hemant’s page.  Whoever runs it points to this blog sometimes, but I’m quire sure it’s not Hemant’s page.

      I looks like I can post there, and I’d never been to the page before.  Have you “Liked” the page?  I didn’t need to, but might be worth a try.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CathySeipMcLean Cathy Seip- McLean

    Enlightening as usual. Thank you for standing up for those that can’t. The demographic that can’t vote yet and has to live under hate and tyranny. 

  • Kurt

    Great article!

  • Urklvt

    Hemant, a public service needs a public voice. Your blog and Facebook posts are liberating and enlightening. Thank you for not cowering under the oppression of Christian bullies and thugs.

  • 1000 Needles

    Hi Laurie! Enjoy your slide into irrelevancy! Lambda lambda lambda!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Judith-Bandsma/1539649418 Judith Bandsma

    Do you really think she’d be any different if you followed the religion of your parents? Hell, I think she’d go after you if you were christian and espoused the view that all students should be treated equally and affirmatively.  She’s a nasty little bigot who can’t see beyond her own hate.

  • RodChlebek

    Dear god she’s nuts. If she can’t be correct, at least she’s consistent.

  • NixManes

    How unfortunate it is that responses like this are necessary. Fortunately, it’s easy to expose the lies and hypocrisy of people like this. Too bad hardly any of the readers of the IFI nonsense will bother to read anything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Irvine/506893850 Andrew Irvine

    Just face it, Hemant, you just aren’t smart enough to see that the Emperor is wearing clothes.

  • Tina in Houston

    Great post! BTW, Ms Higgins and her ilk sure have interpreted freedom of speech in a weird way. It’s OK if it’s conservative but anything that is not strictly conservative and godly should be silenced. Typical.

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

    The funny thing about faith-based arrogance is that it blinds its possessor to the point that he or she spouts out incredibly inane ramblings.

    • The Other Weirdo

       Sorry to correct your spelling, but I think there’s an ‘s’ missing in your ‘inane’.

      • Guest

        Nope,  “inane” is a word; silly: irritatingly silly or time-wastinginsubstantial: empty, insubstantial, or void

        However, her ramblings were also “insane” ;)

        • The Other Weirdo

           Ah, yeah. I know that “inane” is word.

          • Susan

            I guess you needed a ;-) on your comment. ?  I knew what you were doing and it made me laugh. :-D

            • The Other Weirdo

               If you have to explain the joke…
              ;-)

        • Cincinatheist

          I think your sarcasm meter needs tuned. ;-)

      • Cincinatheist

        Well played. Well played. 

  • Stophe

    How can I make my blog, which is on the internet, into a VERY public blog?  Is there some kind of HTML that makes it more available to others? Or maybe a list I can be registered with?  Can I pay more to my service provider and move from a VERY public blog to an INCREDIBLY public blog?  

    • http://www.facebook.com/Garagegoblin Joe Smith

      You just have to add and of course end it with

  • Barbara

    “They don’t see young gays and lesbians. They only see little sexual deviants who need to be cured.”

    And this is at the heart of what’s wrong with groups like IFI. They use their belief in an unseen, unspoken supernatural power to justify their bigotedness. What a disgrace to humanity. 

  • PegK

    Hemant Mehta  — you’re the greatest.

  • Noadi

    I don’t know if you missed it or not when you were copying that nonsense but one of the things mentioned along with homosexuality and “gender confusion” is critical race theory. That’s basically the study of the effects of white privileged and institutional racism on society. It seems odd to me to put that in with the other two, unless IFI argues that racism doesn’t exist anymore (or that it’s not a bad thing)?

    • cathouseumbrella

      Yeah, I was pretty shocked by that too. Maybe IFI is one of those groups that thinks white people are “victims” in the same way they think Christians are.

  • http://twitter.com/TychaBrahe TychaBrahe

    I have to take you to task on one point, Hemant.

    Mehta, implies that my concern with teachers posting symbols that indicate affirmation of homosexuality means that I want students to feel “isolated, abnormal, and lost,” which is an ugly lie.

    I don’t think Laurie wants students to feel that way.

    I think that’s *exactly* how she wants them to feel, her and her whole group.

    • MargueriteF

      Of course she does. Because then they’ll realize they are lost without Jesus, and begin to see that there is something terribly wrong with their wicked homosexual urges, something that can only be cured by lots of prayer and Christly therapy. Then these poor kids can convince themselves they’re “cured” and hate themselves for the next sixty years. Hallelujah!

    • Digger231

      “Do I want homosexuals to ‘feel isolated and ashamed to the point of suicide’? Of course not. I want them to feel isolated and ashamed to the point of  repentance.”

      Daniel Spratlin, http://www.examiner.com

  • Georgina

    All MEN are created equal.

    But we women evolved – awesomely!

    • The Other Weirdo

       I found the sexist, and it’s you!

      • Gerogina

        It’s the logical result of being awesome!

        (but I gave your comment a like because, if I wasn’t joking you would be right.)
         

  • Glasofruix

    I’m often amazed when i read things like that how people in the US of A “THE” land of freedom, tolerance and opportunity are intolerant. When i was in high school (public) we had an openly gay teacher, everyone knew he was gay he never hid that fact, and not even ONE parent ever complained about him.

    • digitalatheist

      sigh… one of the best loved counselors at my high school was gay… everyone knew it. but if a parent or student needed to talk to someone about stuff… he was the go-to guy.

      before that, he was a teacher, and from what I understand from people a bit older than I, one of the best loved teachers you could want to have. I’d take 6 of him as my teachers over even one of what this religious dingbats want to have in the schools.

      • Blacksheep

        I had the exact same experience in High School – he in fact was one of the best teachers I have ever had.

  • Bo Tait

    My favorite part: 
    “I rarely criticize liberal teachers who keep their keep their religious, irreligious, moral, and political beliefs out of the classroom. Generally, I wouldn’t rail against such teachers. I would applaud them.”
    Then.
    “I also suggested that his very public blog reveals something of his character and his beliefs about which parents of impressionable teens may be concerned.”I applaud you for keeping your views out of the class. Unless I disagree with those views. Then it’s cause for concern.

  • Onamission5

    Oh noes, you hurted her feewings!

    Seriously, I think it’s hillarious that any time someone doesn’t like your criticisms, the first thing they light upon is your blog title. As if someone cannot be friendly and also care about facts, and about calling bullshit when they see it. Apparently friendly means doormat and critical thinkers who call hate groups, hate groups, and address their points succinctly and plainly are just all big meanies?

    Now if you’d have taken the IFI’s position and called a whole group of disenfranchised youth perverts, or lied about liberals by equating them to fascists, then they’d be applauding your “honesty.” It’s like up is down and blue is orange in the IFI’s collective head. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=775209902 Stephanie Thayer

    These are the people that make me more “Militant” in my beliefs. I feel like I have to fight discrimination like this on behalf of every LGBT or secular student that’s simply too afraid to. Their game plan is obvious , first they use bullying to put the “little deviants in their place”, then they cry “victim” when someone points out how hateful and cruel they are. Our government has let Christians get away with bending and breaking the law for too long. I have two children that will both be in public school this year and you better believe that I will stand up for them if I see something out of place.

    • Tainda

      I say the same thing over and over again about me becoming more “militant”.

      They REALLY don’t want to piss me off.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    Intellectually, the IFI is equivalent to the Flat Earth Society. Both espouse viewpoints that are factually false: that is, which are solidly contradicted by objective evidence. We can all laugh at the Flat Earth Society, of course, because it takes no moral position, and its absurdity is harmless. The IFI, on the other hand, seeks to impose an ethical standard on society that a growing number of people (at the least, a narrow majority) consider immoral, and which more thoughtful people recognize as dangerous. Dangerous in the sense of posing an actual risk to human life, and which has actually cost human lives.

    The position of the IFI and other hate groups is not a rational one, and the best strategy is to point out that irrationality using their own words against them- because those words are not defensible. We see that in their response to comments here. Except for their own little choir (which is getting smaller every day), their view is laughable… or would be, but for the real harm it creates.

    Tolerance means respecting the right of people to hold views contrary to our own… but only when those views cause no harm to ourselves or others. When people express views that do cause material harm, tolerance itself becomes unethical. We all have a duty to speak out against such views, and those who hold them. We have a duty to challenge organizations like the IFI, to attempt to neuter them, to tear them down. They need to be seen in the same light as the Flat Earth Society- laughable little fringe groups that absolutely nobody takes seriously.

  • stop2wonder

    How come the right only uses the term “activist” to describe the other side, and wield it like its a curse word?

    Do they not recognize that they are also being activists for their side?

    • Baby_Raptor

      They see it as a bad word, and they believe that they can’t do bad things. To them, they’re standing up for their freedoms and their god. It never occurs to them that the people they’re targeting have freedoms and religious beliefs (or no religious beliefs) as well. 

  • Graham Martin-Royle


     Critical Race Theory”

    I’ve never come across this phrase before. Just the sound of it is racist. Is it?

    • Noadi

      Exact opposite actually. It’s more about studying the effect of racism, the law, and white privilege, it’s an offshoot of civil rights scholarship. That the IFI opposes teaching it is pretty telling (also it’s not exactly something that gets taught in highschool or earlier because it’s fairly complex).

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Felix-Hoefert/1034053621 Felix Hoefert

      Opposition to CRT (it’s on wikipedia, by the way) means that the IFI denies that such a thing as white privilege exists, among other things.

      • Graham Martin-Royle

        Thank you Felix (and Noadi) for that clarification.

  • Susan

    Great response! And, yes, that is a badass picture of you and Hitch. 

  • http://twitter.com/ftsor ftsor

    What boggles my mind is how little idea IFI has of how damn STUPID they sound. Ugh.

  • Cincinatheist

    I wish I had even a single teacher with the devotion, passion, and  conviction of Hemant when I was in middle/high school. 

  • Gringa

    Laurie, do you read comments too?  Your “arguments” are lacking.  You should work on that.  Perhaps you should seek out a liberal teacher for those lessons because bigoted “arguments” only make sense to bigots, and the rest of us aren’t going to be convinced.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    Teachers shouldn’t be critiquing homosexuality in the same way they shouldn’t be critiquing the consumption of bacon. If your religion forbids you from doing it then by all means don’t do it. But don’t force people to follow your religious beliefs and don’t harass them for not doing so. This apparently is too difficult for these “family” institutions to understand.

    Also, with all these family institutions in the country, why is it that we are only one of three countries in the entire world not to offer paid parental leave to new parents? (The others are Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.) They don’t seem to fight for anything that would actually help families…

    • Xuuths

      The U.S. Military does offer paid parental leave to new parents.

  • Octoberfurst

      These right-wing Christian loons irritate me to no end.  They are so smug and self-righteous. (Not to mention the fact that they are pathological liars!)  It makes my atheist convictions even stronger!
      I find is amusing that these Christians keep complaining that “Leftist” teachers are trying to indoctrinate kids into becoming liberals because they don’t show BOTH sides of the argument. (Yeah like they do. ~snark~ But I digress.)  So lets say a teacher is discussing race relations. Would it be ok with the fundies if the teacher not only said that Blacks were treated like second class citizens and that is wrong but also gave the other side by saying that some people consider Black people to be subhuman, lazy and stupid?  No they wouldn’t. (At least I hope they wouldn’t.)  So why would they think we should tell kids that gays are perverts?  (You know, the “other” side of the discussion.)
      The fact is that these bigots think it is perfectly fine to tell kids that gays are evil and going to hell but it’s wrong to tell kids that it is ok to be gay. That’s “indocrination”.  Yeah right.

    • Baby_Raptor

      Totally with you. The number one reason I’m an atheist is because of christians. Their actions prove that their god simply cannot be real.

  • Onamission5

    Another thing, is anyone else as tired as I am of backwards, religious right wingers continually co-opting the terminology of family and values for their nefarious purposes? Liberal people, gay people, we have values and families, too.  They have been doing this for so long. Back in the 90′s, the OCA labeled themselves as such so they could otherize the opposition to their bigotry as non-citizens. Groups like the IFI lay claim to words like family so they can otherize their opposition as being anti-family. Ultra conservatives do not have a monopoly on patriotism, family or values, but they sure like to claim they do by labeling themselves thus.

    I will say it over and over until it sinks in: Family Institute,  you do not speak for nor represent *my* family.   

  • M Eickmann

    I’m jealous that you have a picture of yourself with Hitch and that I’ll never be able to get one myself. Oh, and another EXCELLENT article, as always!

    • pRinzler

      Me too, only more so.

  • Wild Rumpus

    Interestingly, according to the IFI website, they are sponsoring a banquet in September and the gurst speaker will be David Barton!

  • TheAmazingAgnostic

    I actually took the time to read through Ms. Higgins’ response to your previous post, and I found it to be very unconvincing. (No surprise here.)

    Laurie takes an approach to LGBT issues in the classroom that is mostly equivalent to “Teach the Controversy.” She claims that gay rights advocates have gained an “ideological monopoly” over the educational system; the only way to remedy this “unfairness” is to expose students to the writings of “conservative scholars” such as Professor Robert George.

    However, there’s a problem with this approach. The vast majority of psychologists and social scientists recognize that homosexuality is not an affliction or a sign of mental illness. While the issues surrounding gays and lesbians may be controversial, the science is not. There is no controversy to teach. Finally, some of you may wonder, who is this professor cited by Higgins as a conservative luminary whose works we should show to high school students? Sure, he is a Princeton board member and legal scholar, but his views on social issues are very hardline. Not only does he believe that gay marriage should be banned nationwide, he also wants to criminalize gay sex because it is a “deviant act.” Even worse, he has worked closely with a few organizations listed by the SPLC as anti-gay hate groups.

    A nice guy, eh?

  • Mr. Szklarski

    Guy sounds like an idiot, good work.

  • Phil Bellerive

    If you read SPLC’s rationale for labeling IFI a hate group, it was because of Higgins’s writings/rantings.  She pays lip service to “neutrality” and opposition to bullying of LGBT kids, however a more thorough read of her articles indicates that these children are to be mere collateral damage in her jihad against any ideology that conflicts with her own hardcore bigotry and hatred of LGBT people or casts the same in a less than flattering light.  

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

    The hate that Laurie has directed toward you for years now is disgusting.  She is obsessed with sex AND you, Hemant.  To send emails directly to your school and the board, bypassing you altogether, as she did in the past is completely unprofessional.  She wil NEVER get it, not then, not now, not ever.  Were it not for the fact that I’d NEVER live anywhere near Chicago, I’d love for you to teach my math-gifted son.  :-)  Keep up the great work! 

    Just a question… has ANY parent ever, in the history of your teaching career, pulled their child from your class because of atheism, your blog, or anything non-math related?  Just curious if anyone has ever bought into Laurie’s or any conservative’s BS.

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

      Never. Parent-teacher conference days are full of positive interactions, too.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

        I figured as much… must be plenty of intelligent people around where you are to be able to ignore that nonsense.  Either that or they haven’t been exposed to it.  Either way, hats off to you and I hope your educational career is long and properous to you and your students.  :-)

  • Gunstargreen

    Great job of standing up to the lunacy of Laurie Higgins and the IFI. 

    They might continue to rail against you like children throwing a temper tantrum because you so expertly shrug off their sticks and stones, but considering they actually removed their ridiculous post because of your response I think we can safely place this one in the win column for Hemant.

    On a side note I wonder inf Laurie honestly thinks you teach some kind of mystical homosexual variant of math to kids.

  • The Captain

    I love how she doubles down on the fact that her religion really is politics. Her rants against “liberal” and “progressive” views just shows that her true savior is not jesus christ but ronald reagan.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/A37GL7VKR3W6ACSIZPH7EID3LI rlrose63

      That nearly had me spraying coffee on my monitor!  Good one on Reagan!  :-)

  • Acartier1981

    Definitely keep that picture on your desk :)

  • A Reader

    Wait…this blog promotes atheism? Well, my mind’s just been blown.
    Great article.

  • smg77

    I love when Ms. Higgins forgets all the previous times you’ve torn her apart and tries to stir up trouble. It must be very frustrating to be her.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Gotta love how they can say whatever they want…Openly lying and slandering people they disagree with…Yesterday, an article went up about a “man of god” saying that gay parents’ kids should be kidnapped. And if anyone comments, we’re attacking their rights.

    But if we say anything, this is the shit we get. Hypocrisy at it’s finest. 

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

    Can we put Hemant Mehta and Laurie Higgins in a room together and  video tape it?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I vote Hemant shares his dirty hippy vegan s’mores recipe.

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

    Just finished reading through all the comments on this article. Not a single IFI follower came here to defend Laura. They never do. =(

  • Margaret Whitestone

    Laurie Higgins needs to know that Lying for the Lord is still lying.

  • Kevin

    I remember back when I was in high school I had a couple teachers that would openly talk about religion and politics. they were always conservative and Christian. I had a science teacher flat out refuse to teach evolution. I had a history teacher telling me that Obama was like Hitler and that being a good god fearing republican was the only way to be. Now I never once had a teacher openly talk about atheism or any leftist ideas at all. I’m sure IFI and organizations like them would turn a blind eye to this

  • Cat Hen

    Hemant, I hope my grandchildren get at least one teacher in their lives as wonderful as you are. Thank you for calling out these hypocrites. It must be difficult for them, living in constant fear knowing that their house of cards is so weak it only takes a few choice words for it to come crumbling down. Too bad all that praying they do doesn’t somehow transform them into loving Christians.

  • Brianna

    I love this article and have so much respect for you for standing up for the children. They truly are the most important people to protect.


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