Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Martyrdom update

Dave Thomas of New Mexicans for Science and Reason sent me this link to The Nugget Newspaper of Sisters, Oregon, the local paper where Helphinstine was fired. Apparently The Nugget is not indexed by Google News. Their coverage adds a lot of details to the stories in the AP and The Bulletin. It confirms most of my suppositions about how far out of line Helphinstine was.
"Actually, I did not teach creationism," Helphinstine said. "That's one thing I did not teach. I understand that's not my job. As far as what I taught. I taught ... natural selection, the effects of natural selection, genetic drifts and allele frequency that's what I taught."

That's not how some parents of students in the class see it. One parent, John Rahm, said his daughter reported that only "one day of 10" was devoted to the study of evolution, with the rest devoted to devoted to "Intelligent Design" materials.

"The test as well was 90-plus percent ID material," Rahm said.


According to Rahm the material was "conspicuously intelligent design type information or teaching. Actually if you took the material and Googled the crucial passages it takes you to a creationist Web site called Answers in Genesis, www.answersingenesis.org, that is run by Ken Ham. ... One of the lines in his (Ham's) mission statement for the Web site is any statement which contradicts the Bible is inherently false," Rahm said.

Meanwhile, his ascention to the ranks of the martyred is well underway among self-identified Christian bloggers. While many of these blogs merely link to the story as an example of something that their readers will understand without comment, others have not been able to resist adding their two cents worth (not that I criticize that, I'm up to a buck seventeen). Some samples:

From Oregon Crossroads.org:
The Big Bang Theory has new meaning: mention the Bible in biology class, and—BANG!—you’re out of a job. Religious intolerance has reached a fever pitch.

From Sharp Arrows:
Is it illegal for a teacher to use Bible references in public school? Perhaps it is, I don't know for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised. A more pertinent question might be, do you want to send your child to a school where the Bible is not even allowed to be mentioned by a teacher? How about one where if the teacher does reference the Bible, the crime is seen as serious enough to warrant termination. That's serious stuff.

From The Demented Log Blog:
You will get fired for teaching any truth these days. This is a time when darkness is called light and light darkness.

From Rapture Alert.com:
God help us that we have so many in our world today who have bought the lie of evolution hook, line and sinker and want their children to grow up believing in same!

Who would've thought that a day would come when the Holy Bible's teaching would be referred to as something that prevented a child from learning what they "need to know?"

Who would've thought twenty-five years ago we'd see a day come when parents would be concerned that the minds of children could be "POLLUTED" by hearing a reference made to the Word of God in a classroom?

And, in three different fonts and four colors of type, we have The Sope-Bocks:
First, I wonder if Mr. Harrison and Mr. Rahm would have had the same reaction if their children were being given references to homosexuality or pagan rituals. Somehow, I seriously doubt it. This story just goes to show the extreme bias against Christian values. It also shows the lengths some people will go to in order NOT to challenge the religion of evolution.

I applaud Mr. Helphinstine for pushing the students to think critically about what they are being indoctrinated with in public schools. His courage to challenge the system with the truth is admirable. Unfortunately, teaching anything other than extreme liberal thought will be a death-nail to your career in Oregon. Sad, but true.

Almost all of these sites linked to the version of the story carried on Fox News. A small sub-set of the religious right bloggers were less interested in proclaiming Helphinstine's martyrdom as a soldier of Christ than they were excited about his PowerPoint presentation that links evolution, Nazism, and Planned Parenthood.

Again, if Helphinstine is interested in the professional martyr career path, his future is bright.

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