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View Diary: The Religious Right vs. the Public Schools (96 comments)

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  •  The real consequences are kids who maybe go to a (1+ / 0-)
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    year of trade school and end up as a stay-at-home mother in a barely-financially-afloat family, or as the head cashier at the QuikEMart.  It's tragic, but the kids at Jesus Camp aren't going to be waging any real war anytime soon (note: Bush, though an idiot, and Cheney, though pure evil, received stellar educations which made obtaining enough power to create chaos slightly more likely than some poor kid stuck in Jesus Camp ).

    •  social disruption (1+ / 0-)
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      is often caused in part by the anger of poor and working class people who have been cheated by society.  And you don't need a stellar education to eventually figure that out. But the people a lot of these folks are likely to look to for answers, are not likely to be pointing the finger at Bush and cheney, or if they do, it will be secondary.

      The hateful scapegoating of gays and lesbians and immigrants is but the first wave.

      •  Social disruption on a scale we haven't seen? (1+ / 0-)
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        Elvis meets Nixon

        I have a hard time believing that.  There have always been poor and angry people in the US.  Many times there has been a Billy Sunday or an Aimee Semple McPherson or a James Dobson.  The point is, the pendulum of US history has swung pretty much like Arthur Schlessinger predicted.  Sometimes society seems to be dominated by crazy right-win nutjobs, and then something happens to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction.  Very few times have things been as dire as has been predicted.

        •  I have heard this kind of pooh poohing too often (1+ / 0-)
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          There is no pendulum.

          If you want to believe that the religious right is dead and insignficant, that is a choice you can make; but it is not one supported by facts.

          I am not a doom sayer. I have tracked the development of the religious right for a long time;written books and articles as well as blog posts. Attended RR events; visited their einsitutions, read their books.

          What you are saying now, is the same thing I heard in the late 80s when some high profile televangelist scandals set the rr back a bit. The pendulum has swung, declared the CW.  When Bill Clinton won the presidency, the pendulum has swung and the religious right is dead!

          I could go on.

          The simple fact is that this is one part of a wider assault on the public schools that has been underway for some time. My hope is that folks will take the time to take a closer look, and do thier best to defend the institutions they profess to value.

          The religious right is one of the largest and most successful political and social movements in American history, and it has not yet peaked.

          •  So give me some facts which might indicate they (1+ / 0-)
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            Elvis meets Nixon

            have enough power to bring down the public schools system.  And I never said, nor do I believe, they they are now or ever will be dead.  But they are less powerful than they were two years ago, and they did lose some power in the mid 90s.  Maybe I am terribly misinformed, but everything I have read tends to indicate that there was a definite peak in 2000-2004.

            •  I guess you don't read (2+ / 0-)
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              moiv, Cassandra Waites

              Talk to Action, or Church & State or the Public Eye, you know, places where people actually follow this stuff, think about it and try to evaluate its signficance. There are certainly some who think that the religious right was practically invented when W came into office, and have been in decline since then. Unfortunately, I think that their understanding of the movement is stupifyingly superficial. So yes, I would say that the set backs of the last national election not withstanding, you are misinformed.

              I did not say that the SBC or anyone else has the power to take down the public schools. At least not yet. What I am saying is that the movement bent on doing that has had some success in throwing significant monkey wrenches into the schools has built over the past 30 years to the point where it does indeed have some signficant capacity. We have seen it in the teeter totter battle for control over the kansas state board of ed, to offer one famous example. Control has switched several times between the religious right, and non-religious right factions. This has had consequences for the entire school system. To listen to the CW, because the religious right faction lost last time, that it is somehow all over. There is zero evidence to support such a view, unless you count wishful thinking.

              The SBC has not yet thrown its institutional support behind attacks on the public schools and the establishment of an alternative system. I hope it doesn't do so. It would be signicant if they did. And they are not the only ones thinking about it. If and when major insitutions in society get behind a major project, it has consequences. I don't have a reading on whether the SBC will pass this resolution this time. But I do know it will get a lot of attention, and continue to drive debate beyond the SBC, and that win or lose, it will be taken up by state SBC affiliates.

              The religious right has major institutions that did not exist a few decades ago. Let's mention just a few. Pat Robertson's Regent University is a graduate school with several thousand students, and includes a law school. As was reported recently, 150 Regent grads work in the Bush admnistration including Monica Goodling. Jerry Falwell has a huge undergraduate school and several grad programs including a law school. Patrick Henry College, just outside Washington, was founded and controlled by Michael Farris, (the head of the Home School Legal Defense Assoc mentioned in this diary) is a college primarily for conservative Christian homeschooled kids. It is very oriented to government and politics, and has more students working as interns in the White House than any other college.

              The simple fact is that the religious right is now and will continue to be a major factor in American public life for the rest of our lives.  

              •  Kansas is a good example of the limitations of (0+ / 0-)

                the religious right, especially in terms of public schools.  The dirty little secret is that the fundie member so of the board never got it together enough to adopt science standards which were taught in public schools before they were bounced out of office.  Either time.  Also, one of the primary nails in their coffin, the one that turned even the very conservative Western Kansas region against them, was when the commissioner (and former lobbyist for wingnuts) and the other fundies on the board suggested that perhaps the state should support a voucher system.

                •  your argument is a perfect example of my point (0+ / 0-)

                  Control over the board has gone back and forth severl times. Your view seems to be circumscribed by the last electio, as if nothing had come before or will happen in the future. Elections are indeed important. And the religious right will be back at all levels, and with more force and sophistication than you might like to think. You can count on it.

                  •  But you have to look at what the right achieved (0+ / 0-)

                    by controlling the school board TWICE (and I am looking at the cumulative effective over the last 10 years).  Parents have to sign permission slips before kids take sex ed (edit: oops, sorry, that was repealed on Tuesday).  ID taught in schools?  Nope.  Vouchers? Nope.  Sex ed banned?  Nope. And this is at a time when religious moderate organization was basically restricted to Johnson County (which generally has very sensible policies and excellent schools).  The religious right may come back with more force, but they will met with at least at least SOME force by moderates, as opposed to the none that met them from 1990-2002.

                    •  I have high hopes (1+ / 0-)
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                      that moderates and progressives will not rest on the last electoral victory. Certainly the religious right will not sit back on their loss.  Poltical circumstances evolve, and every movement has its setbacks on even when the trend is upward.

                      It is important for those of us who share concerns about the religious right and its agenda, to not confuse a setback for an overall trend or an ultimate outcome. That is the classic error, repeated many times by otherwise seemingly sensible people.

            •  This week, only a 10-vote margin (2+ / 0-)
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              IseFire, Frederick Clarkson

              saved public schools in Texas from becoming outlets for Christian nationalism. This is a dangerous curriculum.

              From: Free Market Foundation (Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family)
              Date: May 9, 2007

              Bible Curriculum Bill Sabotaged

              On Monday, we asked you to call your representatives and urge them to support Representative Chisum's version of HB 1287, a bill that could result in over 1100 school districts teaching the Bible. Over 9,000 messages were sent statewide; unfortunately they could not reverse the damage done in committee when Chairman Eissler allowed the attachment of harmful and unnecessary amendments. What began as a bill that would allow more students to take a Bible elective became a bill that would actually create a more difficult bureaucratic process than already exists! Representative Chisum tried to save the Bible bill last night in the Texas House by amending it back to its original version, but lost the battle by a 10 vote margin, after a speech by Rep. Eissler on respecting the committee's amendments.

              The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

              by moiv on Thu May 10, 2007 at 02:07:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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