Topic: God and US
Imposing One’s Values on Others: Does Teaching Science in Public Schools Violate the First Amendment?
My conservative friend mentions now and then that the one conservative columnist he really likes is Charles Krauthammer. I think I’m supposed to be impressed that Krauthammer is an MD of the psychiatrist kind.
A bit from Krauthammer’s biography -
But the problem is that every time I read on of his columns in the Post or Time I do wonder a bit about his mental health. No, not that. I question his judgment.
His days with Carter and Mondale are in the distant past. He’s now a contributing editor to the neoconservative publication of record, The Weekly Standard. He’s firmly in the reality-doesn’t-matter-because-we-make-our-own camp – those idealists out to remake the world the way it should be. That would be unregulated free-market American – where the invisible hand of competition weeds out the weak and foolish and each and every person is alone with his or her keenly active sense of personal responsibility and no one gets any help that in any way might undermine that sense of personal responsibility (unless they happen to be an embryo). People change over time.
But I read him nonetheless. And Krauthammer’s latest essay, a web only item in Time is really startling - In Defense of Certainty. This has the subtitle "It's trendy to be suspicious of people with 'deeply held views.' And it's wrong."
No, it isn’t. The suspicion is warranted, even if perhaps trendy.
Krauthammer is working on that "fair and balanced" thing of course ? that there are really two forms of "imposition of values" on society. One is by secularists and one by Christians. They are, in his mind, equivalent -
And that really ticks him off. Evangelical Christians who have a view that the words in the Bible are the only truth in the world deserve protection.
I caught a bit of that on CNN today ? a woman lamenting that in Sunday School her children were taught that homosexuality is a choice some people made, and thus a sin these people choose to commit, for which they deserved the punishment of God and the condemnation of society. Then in science class on Monday her kids heard a review of the scientific literature that homosexuality is most probably a biological condition and there may be no choice involved. Why, she asked, was the government out to destroy her religion, and her family? She was in tears. She wanted freedom of religion ? not a state that actively attempts to destroy hers.
One wonders, if her children were taught on a Sunday that in the nineteenth century one Bishop Usher proved, by a close reading of the Bible, that the earth could be no more than 6,300 years old at this moment ? then would geology and biology class on Monday morning be another government assault on her freedom of religion?
Would Krauthammer leap to her defense? It would seem so. This is all an imposition of values. And if her religion claimed, as a matter of faith, that the earth was flat?
The columnist Andrew Sullivan comments on Krauthammer?s no-one-should-impose-any-values essay here - and forgive him as he is gay, and a conservative Republican, and born in Britain, and going bald, and whatever (and those are my emphases below) -
The answer is obvious. But the evangelical literalists whine ? and Krauthammer stands by them.
Shall we stop teaching science so they feel better?
That?s what they say is their right. Deal with it.
But, as a humorous sally into what people believe, Amanda Marcotte over at Pandagon points to this ?
Women's Suffrage Opponent Seeks Office
John Hanna, Associated Press - Wednesday Jun 1, 2005 - 8:13 PM ET
Amanda Marcotte -
Oh, put her in charge of elections. Maybe she would bring back the poll tax and keep those black folks from voting too.
Marcotte also provides links to other comments ? my favorite being this open letter to Kay O'Connor -
Yes, that?s sarcasm.