Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why!!??
Ok, here’s the deal. Joel Osteen is headed to DC to pray with some people. Big whoop. But beforehand he’s gonna swing by a local elementary. I got this email from a concerned parent.
So in advance of his crusade, he’s coming to the school closest to the stadium. No other religious leader from any other faith tradition- or no faith tradition at all- was asked to take part. I confirmed this at the school today.
Allegedly, his wife will be reading “The Lorax,” and there won’t be any praying. Joel will be doing landscaping around the school grounds. I can’t imagine there won’t be plenty of photo opps.
I raised my concerns to the vice principal about the appearance of school and district endorsement of Osteen and was asked by the vice principal, “Your kid isn’t in the Kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade, so what’s your problem?”
Fewer than 20% of these students read at grade level. Fewer than 13% are grade level in science. Just 16% are doing grade-level maths. And the best the school and local government can do is bring in a megapastor who espouses prosperity gospel and anti-evolutionism to read to these poorly-taught students.
It’s legal to have them there, so long as they don’t pray or evangelize. Of course, I don’t trust them enough to be good and secular while in the school. I’d love to be surprised.
The thing that kills me is the reaction from the vice principal. As high school organizer at the SSA I can assure you that more often than not (I’m not exaggerating) school admins are willing to be somewhat underhanded about religion in public schools. Often it’s accompanied with this type of flippancy toward people who express concern about it.
The way to combat it is for me or the FFRF to send them letters explaining how the law works. Since the school isn’t breaking any laws here though (greeeeeeeeeey area), we go to plan B: name and shame.
Here are the people who could stand to build character. You can help by sending them emails.
Chancellor Kaya Henderson
1200 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Telephone: (202) 442-5885
Fax: (202) 442-5026
To e-mail: http://dcps.dc.gov/DCPS/About+DCPS/Contact+Us/Ask+the+Chancellor
Amidon-Bowen Vice Principal Dwayne Ham
401 I St. SW Washington, DC 20024.
Let them know that, especially in the DC area, there are much better options to bring to the school than people who lie to children about science.