December 17, 2007

The arrogance

Can you imagine the reaction -- from the press in particular, but also from the education establishment -- if the target here was any other religion?

A history teacher has been sued for making what one student calls anti-Christian comments in the classroom. The case has sparked a debate about the role a teacher's convictions should play in their lessons.

Capistrano Valley High School sophomore Chad Farnan and his parents filed the lawsuit against James Corbett last week.

They allege that Corbett's remarks during an advanced European history class violated a clause in the First Amendment that prohibits the government from promoting religious intolerance.

Court papers cited tape-recorded classroom comments that allegedly included Corbett saying, "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth" and other remarks that troubled Farnan.

My emphasis. First off, the answer to the part about a teacher's convictions is a teacher should never part with his/her [political, religious] convictions in front of a class, especially a history class. Second, the plaintiffs don't know -- especially a student in an advanced European History class -- that the 1st Amendment doesn't have a clause "that prohibits the government from promoting religious intolerance"? Yikes.

But what gets me is the arrogance of the teacher in question and his supporters. One student said that Corbett "was being sarcastic 'to help prove a point.'" Right. By denigrating students' religion ("Jesus glasses"), and the majority one at that. Would that have been an acceptable response if the "point" included a jibe at, say, Islam?

Fellow history teacher Tom Airey supported Corbett too. "Corbett has been a powerful reminder to me that we 'Christians' do not have the monopoly on truth," he said. Why is "Christians" in quotes, I wonder? Is that another attempt at sarcasm? But the point is, who the hell cares that Corbett is a "powerful reminder" to you, Tom? The issue is why does he feel the need to make such "reminders" in class? Has any of his students expressed your very point Tom -- that Christians have a monopoly on truth? Even so, how is that unique to Christianity? Don't other religions also feel that their "word" is just and right?

Leftist academics seem to have this problem a lot. They feel that, since their beliefs are "right," "just" and "correct," they are free to express them at will. Who can object after all, right? IT'S THE TRUTH! But then, in the instances when they are called out for their silly utterances, they explain it's for "critical thinking" purposes, or just plain "truth." If you've read this blog for any length of time you know that I am very much for free speech including the academic arena. Ironically, it is the Left that gets its panties in a bunch over supposedly offensive speech (especially on campuses), but which also cries loudest about censorship and freedom of expression when a complaint from the Right appears. After all, if Corbett used "Mohammed" in his "sarcasm," CAIR would be on his ass so fast, and the MSM would be all over it almost as fast, as an example of religious intolerance. And I'd actually agree with offended Muslims in this [hypothetical] case, as a high school teacher doesn't -- and shouldn't -- have the same degree of freedom as a college professor. (It would still be an inappropriate thing to say in a college classroom too, but probably less actionable.) The comment was clearly offensive and if this teacher has a track record of such comments then the plaintiffs may have a case. There are easily other ways to make a point than by outright insulting students' religion(s). I couldn't even conceive of making such a comment in my classroom.

Speaking of Muslim students, a bunch of them are upset -- not about remarks made in a classroom setting, but by comments in a book (and reprinted in a magazine) and one they aren't even required to read.

Mark Steyn (at left) has been ordered to appear before Canadian judicial tribunal panels on charges tied to his book, America Alone, which argues that Western countries are losing out to Islamist imperialism.

Five Muslim law-school students have demanded that a magazine the reprinted part of the book be punished for spreading "hatred and contempt" for Muslims and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

A "guilty" verdict against the magazine would likely, as the editors of the New York Post write, "have a devastating impact on opinion journalism in Canada generally" akin to the devastating impact the speech police have had on U.S. campuses.

Hopefully, you understand the difference between the two situations, right? Can you imagine if a cadre of American Pentecoastalists brought a lawsuit against Mr. Corbett? The MSM, leftist pundits and academia all over would howl about academic freedom, censorship, and "Look what George W. Bush has wrought."

The bad news is, things aren't looking good for Steyn. Steyn, who has pointed out in his writings the ridiculous cultural double standards in Canada and elsewhere, is seen as more the enemy than sharia law in the West. For example, bringing up the murder of Aqsa Parvez by her father for not wearing a hijab is only done by "high profile conservative columnists" who have been "particularly vigorous about highlighting these pathologies." The more-than-obvious utter brutality of the father's actions has been softened because, after all, we can't take a chance on upsetting a minority group.

This is what radical multiculturalism has brought us to, people. Horrible actions like "honor killings" and female genital mutilation are downgraded (again, see the immediate link above, and recall Whoopi Goldberg's rationalization of the Sudanese Muslims' anger at that British teacher who agreed to name a teddy bear "Mohammed") all the while the criticism of such actions are deemed so "offensive" that people must be prosecuted for that criticism.

Posted by Hube at December 17, 2007 03:37 PM | TrackBack

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