A Cynical and Manufactured Ignorance

Some days I want to put my head through the drywall on account of how stupid people can be.  On some of those days I want to commit seppuku because they are our legislators.

Enter Justin Harris, state representative in my beloved home state of Arkansas, who owns a private preschool named “Growing God’s Kingdom Preschool”.  This preschool has been getting grant money from the state government.

Harris’ school has received $534,600 in Arkansas Better Chance grant money in the past two years.

This is, of course, against the law.  You can’t use state money to proselytize your religion.  But perhaps the school’s name is just a misnomer. Well, the Department of Human Services swung by the school to check it out.

The inspector wrote in her report that she found “scriptural pictures and decorations,” a hanging rug with a Noah’s Ark theme and two posters that refer to a “Pledge of Allegiance to the Christian Flag” and the “Pledge to the Bible.”

Nope, that’s illegal.  No grey area.  But c’mon, you can’t really expect him to know all the laws.

Webb said she hasn’t found language in grant documents clarifying to schools they can’t teach religion. She said the department is evaluating whether it can be more clear, either during the application process or during annual audits.

Of course!  It’s not Rep. Harris’ fault!  The grant application didn’t explicitly say you couldn’t use the money to break the law!  How could he have been expected to know you can’t use state money for a religious cause (aside from the fact he’s a legislator and it’s his fucking job to know the laws of the land)?  While they’re at it, they should include language in the grant documents that forbid the use of grant money for trafficking drugs,  buying beer for pre-schoolers, or for acquiring hookers for high-ranking federal employees.  Y’know, just in case the legislators are ignorant of the law.

To quote my father: “Isn’t it wonderful how those claiming the moral high ground don’t hesitate to break the law when given the opportunity to feed at the public dollar trough?”

And the real kicker?  There will be no attempt to recoup that money.  It’s gone.  This asshole stole half a million dollars from the taxpayers in that state and he shows nothing resembling remorse.  He exhibits plenty of piety though which, for a thief, is a more valuable means of evading guilt than invisibility – and it works because Christianity makes enough people gullible.

And there’s more of them.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State is drafting a letter to the Department of Human Services about two schools similar to Harris’ owned by state Sen. Johnny Key, Smith said.

I take back what I said atop this post.  These legislators aren’t stupid, they just have a very low esteem for the intellect of the people who employ them – i.e., Americans/Arkansans.  They think they either won’t be caught or, if they are, that their crimes will get ignored because they were committed in the interest of spreading Christianity.  The sad part?  They’re probably right.

I’m sure I will get the emails beseeching me to accept that these people and their constituents, who will turn a blind eye to these men stealing money from legitimate educational projects, are not true Christians.  If so, why is it atheists who are attempting to bring accountability?  Where is the religious outcry?  It’s non-existent, because while you may like to imagine Christianity makes people better, it doesn’t.  It’s about converting the wayward, not about honesty, playing fair, or even morality.  It is a hindrance to moral development.  It allows hordes of the faithful to lend tacit endorsement to the same thieves stealing their money.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • John Eberhard

    That was very well said.

  • Zugswang

    I’m sure I will get the emails beseeching me to accept that these people and their constituents, who will turn a blind eye to these men stealing money from legitimate educational projects, are not true Christians.

    Just like all those students that rioted against Joe Paterno’s firing weren’t “true fans”.

    Tell them to get off their self-righteous ass and do something about it. If they’re “true Christians”, then they would take the time to defend their faith against these alleged wolves in sheeps’ clothing, rather than wasting time chastising you for doing the very thing they say any “true Christian” should have.

    Will the real followers of Jesus please stand up (and do something)?

  • http://www.atheist-aaron.blogspot.com Atheist Aaron

    Fuck… just… Fuck. All I can do in response to that is swear. It really chaps my ass when people flagrantly ignore the law, any law, and then get away with it. We’re going to need that money back so that we can pay for your jail cell sir!

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Harris follow [reverently] God’s Law, not *sneers* Man’s Law.

  • http://www.twitter.com/realtomsawyer Tom Sawyer

    Thanks for the article. I have posted a link to it in our anti-Justin Harris facebook group.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Why-Does-Justin-Hate-Scooby-Doo/260841893976809

    Tom

  • http://bellesouthblogs.com Bellesouth

    Does anyone know if this school is tax-exempt since it’s a parochial school?

  • Pingback: Arkansas State Representative: Kids Can’t Pray in School? Then Let Them Sing!


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