Tuesday, December 18, 2007

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. A Mission Viejo history teacher is being sued for making what a student calls anti-Christian comments.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 Placement European history promoted religious intolerance in violation of the First Amendment.Court papers cite classroom tape recordings in which Corbett says "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth," and other remarks that troubled Farnan.

Some of the comments by his teacher, James Corbett, included, "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth” and "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies – that's interfering with God's work.” The comments were made while he was teaching Advanced Placement European history at Capistrano Valley High School.

Corbett also said that Christians want their women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Nice.

I completely agree with Chad Farnan and I wish him all the best. I hope that he is vindicated in this lawsuit and the teacher in question is reprimanded. I have said many times that anti-Christian bigotry is the only accepted form of hate in mainstream America nowadays. This is just another example, but there are many more out there. Recently, a commentator with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer said this about Mike Huckabee: “If you happen to be walking behind presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee, you might see a small trail of blood and hear a scraping sound. That’s because his knuckles are dragging. This darling of the evangelical right has proven himself to be every bit the caveman we mainstreamers believe him to be.”

And what's interesting is that these are the very people who claim Christians are intolerant! Amazing.

Farnan's claim is that the teacher violated his first amendment right by promoting religious intolerance and hostility towards the student's religion. Liberals often forget that the first amendment protects the "free practice thereof" when it comes to religion, something I'm sure many of them would LOVE to change. In my opinion, I think Farnan has a legitimate gripe, although proving the teacher was prohibiting his free practice of religion may be a stretch. Nevertheless, I hope the young man is successful.

I think a better argument would be one of discrimination. What this guy said was blatant bigotry. Don't believe me? Well, let's take the "Jesus glasses" comment, change one word, and see how it sounds:

"When you put on your BLACK glasses, you can't see the truth"
"When you put on your JEW glasses, you can't see the truth"
"When you put on your GAY & LESBIAN glasses, you can't see the truth"
"When you put on your MUHAMMED glasses, you can't see the truth"
"When you put on your FEMINIST glasses, you can't see the truth"

I think my point is clear. I'm willing to bet that CNN, the NY Times and the major networks didn't cover this story, which would hardly be the case if a public school teacher had uttered one of the above remarks to his high school history class. In fact, one of the above remarks probably would have gotten a teacher fired on the spot. But not when that person attacks Christians.

I've said before, attacking someone for their religious beliefs is fundamentally un-American, UnConstitutional and should not be tolerated in any environment. This teacher deserves a serious reprimand and all teachers must learn a valuable lesson. Your job is to teach our children history, math, English and science while keeping your personal hatred and bias to yourself. If you can't do this, then it's probably time to find a new profession.


Allisoni Balloni said...

Unfortunately, it is Christians who cause this dislike of Christianity to exist. I don't really know any serious Christians who don't have a problem explaining to me, or complaining to me, about how all other religions are wrong and those who are not Christians are surely going down the wrong path. You will complain when Christianity is "attacked," but not when other religions are discriminated against. Frankly, you believe that what is right for you should be right for everyone.

I find it interesting that those who are the most educated tend to be less religious, especially in the fields of science and history. Does this not imply anything to you? I have no problem whatsoever with being spiritual or religious, but to deny facts about how much war and how many atrocities have been committed in the name of religion, or to deny strong scientific theories because of it--that is simply ignorant, and it is the job of educators to teach the facts. Facts are proven, and faith is not.

It is up to the courts to decide if what this teacher said is worth the lawsuit, but that's my two cents.


For whatever it's worth, I've met a
few phd's' that are very sincere Christians. My son-in-law & oldest daughter are Christian, and he's a nuclear engineer (metalurgy & ceramics).

Some phd's are Athiests, and yet they acknowledge it's tough to prove a negative!
No Creator. Really? Prove It!

I would tend to agree that High School History Teacher's Should Teach HISTORY, rather than spend valuable classroom hours spewing Pedantic Hatred! If it's only American Christians that reap his anger, then we all know what that's about, or at least, we should! reb

Kristina said...

Allison, it is not that this guy was teaching history that didn't agree with the kid's religious beliefs. The problem was that he got off topic and started saying things about the kids religion. Granted, he was probably not speaking directly to or about that kid, but the effect is the same.

I have found that it is quite all right to "Christian bash". It is NOT all right to bash anyone else, no matter what your thoughts are on the matter. It is not even all right to joke about it. This is not about Christians being right or wrong, it is about intimidation and discrimination.

I agree, Dr. I certainly wouldn't want my Jewish boys having to sit through this. Just like I wouldn't want them sitting through a speech about how awful men/women/blacks/Jews/Muslims/gays/lesbians are. All this does is create hatred. I don't want my children growing up filled with hatred. No, thank you.

Edwin Drood said...

Lately it would seem scientists and formally educated people are not religious. Look into history and we see some of the men and woman who laid the foundations for modern science were devote Christians.

Example: Darwin, Isaac Newton, Pascal

The list goes on those are just some I know off the top of my head. But who knows maybe the average college professor has surpassed these men in intellect and intelligence.

Dan Trabue said...

I agree that this teacher's comments were out of line (especially in high school setting) and the teacher should be reprimanded. (I'm not sure if it's lawsuit-worthy, but if I were a principal, I'd have a talk with that teacher.)

But I have to wonder, along with Allison, do you all support the complaints when they're coming from Muslims, racial minorities, etc?

Too often, Christians on the Right recognize slight discrimination when it happens to them, but when it happens to other groups and the other groups complain, too many on the Right say that they're just "being too PC," and dismiss the complaints as not worthy of attention.

Are y'all in that group or in the group who is consistent against abusive language towards whichever group might be involved?

Dan Trabue said...

I've said before, attacking someone for their religious beliefs is fundamentally un-American, UnConstitutional and should not be tolerated in any environment.

Having made my earlier comment, I might respond to this by saying, It depends upon what you mean by "attack."

We have a long tradition of lambasting those we disagree with in this country. The protestants have lambasted/lampooned the catholics and vice versa, the christians and muslims have heaped verbal abuse upon one another, theists and atheists have disagreed often and loudly, sometimes stooping to ridicule of the Other.

I wouldn't want to get to the point where one can't legally criticize and even lampoon and tease one another. However, when the attacks turn physical and the speech turns towards hate (and there is a difference between belittling the Other and dehumanizing the Other, THAT to me is where we need to draw the line.

Having said that, I think elementary and secondary education should be safe havens from that sort of thing - with more leniency for disagreements being expressed the older you get.

Confusing enough?

Kristina said...

Dan, I actually believe that the people in this country are too sensitive. However, the problem here is that this teacher was using his place of authority to degrade Christians. He wasn't just questioning their faith, but actually making degrading remarks about them in general. That is wrong. In a high school setting, it is completely wrong. I agree that we need to be able to critize each other--isn't that what free speach is all about? But, I also agree that elementary/secondary education should be free of that overwhelming vitriol. And that is what this is about.

Dan Trabue said...

Which is why I was surprised when some on the Right came to the defense of the high school students who put up a noose from a tree as a "joke" or a threat to some black students. These folk on the right dismissed those who complained about hints of lynchings as being "PC."

Childhood schools ought to be safe places. Lynching threats/"jokes" do not make for a safe feeling.

I'm just looking for some consistency in how we deal with it. Too many people want to dismiss any concerns when it's the Others (whether that's mormons, jews, blacks, muslims, christians...) who are being castigated, but complain when it's THEIR favorite group that is being "attacked."

John Washburn said...

"it is Christians who cause this dislike of Christianity to exist"

Allisoni, do you also blame blacks for racist actions taken against them. This very statement is quite remarkable, as well as the accusations leveled against me and other CHristians. This site has never criticized someone for their religious beliefs.

"I find it interesting that those who are the most educated tend to be less religious"

Do you realize how much blatant stereotype and prejudice are in these comments? Do you have any actual statistics or data to back up this claim, or are you just making a broad generalization about an entire group of people without any facts to support it? Are you really saying that, as a whole, Christians aren't as educated as atheists, or agnostics? Would you tolerate that kind of speech against any other ethnic/religious group?

For the record, my wife and I are devout Christians and have a total of 18 years of higher education between the two of us. Trust me, we are not the only ones. I think you got a bit reckless in your response. Your comments were foolish.

So do you personally condemn what this teacher said? Or are you okay with it?

Dan, I condemn all forms of bigotry, hatred and discrimination. I can't speak about specifics without knowing what specific situation you're referring to. I do think the noose prank was wrong but, as others have said, is a different issue because this teacher was showing hostility towards his students' religious beliefs from a position of authority. This wasn't some petty playground argument. I think if a teacher had displayed a noose in the classroom, there would have been a much different reaction, both right and left.

Allisoni Balloni said...

It is absurd to me that you would said that you condemn all forms of hatred and discrimination. You believe that we should kill people for their crimes (as if returning the favor somehow changes the orginial damage that was done), you believe that gay people should be treated differently than heterosexuals, you believe that Christianity should be in the spotlight and tolerated at all times because clearly it could never be offensive to anyone. I stick to all the comments that I have made, I do not believe they are foolish, you believe that they are because you are unable to see through your beliefs that you just may not be right all the time.

I did not say that Christians justify any hateful words or actions against them. I said that there is dislike of Christianity because of Christians. Dislike, in MY mind, does not equal committing hate crimes or making verbal attacks. While I choose not to practice a Christian religion at this point in my life, I do my best to educate myself about ALL religions and to go to different religious services and see for myself what is going on. I don't rely on Christian websites that are horribly biased to tell me what's going on. Because of that, while I may dislike certain religious practices, that does NOT equal hatred or discrimination of anyone.

My statement about education was based on what I have observed as a college student. It is not a stereotype or any for of prejudice. If I were just assuming that without prior observation or knowledge, then it would be. I was not saying that Christians are "less educated," that is a blatant twisting of my words. I was simply pointing out that as one becomes more familiar with the atrocities that have been committed in the name of religion and the strong scientific theories that exist and conflict with religious doctrine, it becomes more difficult to have a strong religious faith. That is not true for everyone, and it does NOT imply that Christians are less educated that atheists.

I do not agree that teachers should teach their beliefs, they should teach the facts and maintain a learning environment that is comfortable for everyone. Looking at the details of the story, however, there doesn't seem to be anyone else who is complaining about this teacher. They heard what he said and they either disagreed that it was meant to be offensive or serious, or they took it with a grain of salt because they don't need to file a lawsuit in order to stand up for what they believe. It should be handled within the school or within the district, not within the courts. Receiving MONEY will not make his words less offensive, and if they do, then the motive here is more than questionable.

BB-Idaho said...

You are right about coverage for the story. A number of right-wing blogs eviscerating the guy...and this rally by his former students:

John Washburn said...

"you believe that gay people should be treated differently than heterosexuals, you believe that Christianity should be in the spotlight and tolerated at all times"

This is a lie. Allison, you have a bad habit of doing this and when I call you on it you argue with me, as though I don't know what I think or feel or know. I believe in EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL as the Constitution mandates. I believe that all religions should be treated equally, and not one particular religion deserves to be in the spotlight. Equality is what I believe. I would be just as irate if this teacher had made offensive remarks about Muslims or Jews. And I think you would join me in that feeling. But you're not too upset about anti-Christian remarks, are you? There is a certain degree of permissiveness from liberals when it comes to bashing Christians - and make no mistake, this guy wasn't expressing "dislike", he was expressing hostility. Was that the teacher's fault or the student's.

Allisoni Balloni said...

I already answered that question. Dislike is something that can be held but doesn't justify attacking someone or discriminating against them--that is the choice of the person doing it.

Kristina said...

It is not the choice of someone who is in a position of authority. Sure, Christians have done some pretty horrible things in the past. Certainly just about every race of people and religion has done horrible things throughout the course of history. But to tell the students "When you take off your Jesus glasses, you can see the truth" is blatent discrimination and most Christians can certainly tell the truth about history and it's correlation to the present without stopping being Christians.

Quite frankly, I find it offensive for anyone to lump a group of people together and say they are one thing when if you talk to each one, you'll find that they each have different oppinions and beliefs. As a non-Christian, I can still understand that not all Christians are the same, just as we are expected to understand that not all people of any religious faith, race, or sex are the same.

Since this man was in a position of authority, what he did was wrong. He has freedom of speech, but that does not include saying that he can say that "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies-that's interfering with God's work." That is blatant idiocy. I'm a conservative and I'm not even a Christian. It is also very insulting. Really, seriously, think about this and think about how you would feel if you were a Christian, who did not believe in birth control, sitting in that room. I know that when I was growing up, I was different. It is not always a comfortable feeling. When you are told these things, it is not, "being made to think", it is being degraded.

And yes, I have a problem with actual discrimination against anyone. There is just so much call of discrimination that is ridiculous, that it becomes hard to decipher. Finally, do you know what they are suing for? They are probably doing it to finally get discrimination against versus by Christians in the public eye.

Alexander said...

Chad Farnan Wins!

OC student wins case against Christian-bashing teacher