DOE chief of staff: Too many school systems hostile to Christians

I reported the other day that new school chief John Barge chose his new leadership team, including chief of staff Joel Thornton, who is now president and CEO of the International Human Rights Group and a former classroom teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic School and Model Middle School in Rome.

Several readers sent me a link to Thorton’s own blog, which they found troubling and felt portended a blurring of the church/state dividing line.

I am not sure if we can judge how Thorton will run the state Department of Education based on his blog musings, but after spending some time on Thornton’s blog today, I note that he doesn’t write about what I consider the core questions facing Georgia public schools, teacher quality, curriculum, testing and rigor.

His references to public education deal with the elimination of God from the schools and what he perceives to be a growing hostility to Christianity in schools in America and beyond.

Here are long excerpts from the blog. Take a look yourself. (V, I am very interested in your view):

We no longer have that moral center.  Now, we find ourselves in a culture that not only does not believe, but actually mocks belief in one God.  We have gone from the place where it is okay to make fun of belief in God in limited cases, like a Hollywood movie or a book.  At the same time, it was not okay to make fun of the core beliefs that surrounded the belief in God.

Now we do not have the mockery limited to Hollywood, it is the core of how our average citizen thinks.  We cannot offer any type of spiritual help to struggling youth because we have no place for God in our schools.  We have nothing to base our moral core on because we suddenly do not believe in moral absolutes.

Here is a blog on homeschooling:

It is important, however, that we find a way to put aside our personal feelings about home schooling when we look at the international movement.  I believe that one of the most important requirements of a Christian is to raise their children in the fear of the Lord.  We have a great moral responsibility with our children.  If they are lost there is little hope for the coming generations.Many school systems in America and abroad are becoming more secular and more hostile to the Christian faith.  This hostility is played out in a number of ways.  It might be a resistance to any type of Christian faith being shared amongst students.  It might also be a curriculum based not just on a lack of faith, but on a hostility to faith.

Modern man is turning further and further from God.  The public education system is beholden to the government.  Governments around the world are moving further and further away from any foundation of Christian faith.  This means that their school systems will, by design and involuntarily, move further from any foundation of Christian faith.

We first saw this in America with the debate over the teaching of evolution in the public schools.  The original request by the evolutionists was to grant them equal access to the students on their theories.  They turned equal access into access only for evolution.  The system that now exists is one that denies any belief in God.

The fight that is accruing in courtrooms around the country is a battle to keep out the simple belief that maybe, just maybe, there is a creator of some type who moved the process of evolution along.  Even this is unacceptable to evolutionists.

Many schools are also teaching sex education from a purely secular point of view.  This means that any teaching regarding abstinence is not allowed, as this is considered an antiquated religious view of sexual education.

Then there is a lot of new age religious teaching.  It might be a teaching regarding spiritual matters without a Christian base—something as simple as controlling the environment in a room by the proper placement of the furniture.  Now, I believe the furniture should be arranged properly, but that does not add a spiritual power to the room.  It could be teaching regarding other occultist beliefs that might seem harmless to some.

In America we have the ability to opt our children out of these questionable teaching sessions.  In Europe most schools do not allow the parents to opt out their children from questionable teaching that contradicts the core beliefs of the family.  There is a belief that the children belong to the State when they come onto school property and the parents do not have any right to question the educational choices of the State.

There is something going on here that is much deeper than merely home schooling.  Most of the home school families I know in Europe and in America are home schooling because of a sincerely-held religious belief.  They believe God has ordained for them to teach their own children.

As to that end, the German Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights both give parents the right to control the education of their children.

So you see, the education of children is a parental right that is often guaranteed by governments.  This battle is not merely about home schooling, it goes much deeper than that.  The battle is over whether the State or the family has the right to determine what the children will be taught.  At its core the question is are children wards of the state, or wards of their parents.

It is a much deeper right than merely the right to educate.

It is a right that goes to the very right of parents to train their children in the ways they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it.

On president Obama:

I miss the days when we were honest about our politics and not hiding behind the politically correct nonsense to stop those we disagree with.  Let me say it on the record, when I am against a policy of Barack Obama I could care less that he is a black man.  If he were white I would still disagree with policies with which I disagree.  I know it seems like a circular argument but that is what we are reduced to making.  I used to believe that Jimmy Carter was the worst President we ever had.  Take heart Jimma, your incompetence is being challenged.I know there are some who will consider me a racist because I do not blindly follow my leaders, and now my leader is a black man.  I guess because he is black I should change my approach to government and trust him.  After all, because he is black he cannot be a racist and therefore I should trust him to look out for me.

Let me be perfectly clear, I am against socialism.  I do not care what color you are.  I do not care if you are Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Canadian, African, or German, I do not think socialism is a good idea.  If that qualifies me as a racist, then it seems we have redefined racism.

Green is the new red.  Atheism is the new religion. Socialism is the new racism.

Somewhere, George Orwell is rolling over in his grave with one thought on his mind—when I wrote 1984 I was not aggressive enough.  I should have had more insight or more courage.  What a fool am I?

Well, George, you might have foreseen it, but we have to live with it.  Pray for us!

On global warming:

Is anyone besides me glad to finally be getting some manner of the truth from the Global Warming Nuts?  It has been colder at my house.  Maybe we need to drive our cars more to heat up the climate so that we don’t have to wear our coats everywhere.I have to admit, it is tough giving up the dream of having my Georgia home become beach front property.  I guess we will still have to drive to Hilton Head, South Carolina for our traditional summer beach fun.  Now I have to live with my property values not getting spike.  Of course, this also means that I do not have to worry about hurricanes hitting the house some four hundred miles inland—so I guess it is a fair trade off.

The trouble with the revelations of this week is that we are learning that the new religion, science is not as trustworthy as we have been lead to believe.  Remember when we were told that these folks did not have an agenda, except to find the truth and make life better for us all.

In light of this past week’s revelations we have to ask ourselves what else we should not believe.  Maybe we should question the theory of evolution—like global warming, evolution has long been shut off from scientific debate.

The most important thing we should to learn from this is that no one can separate their own beliefs from their science.  Also, we have learned that you can prove anything if you are willing to ignore critical facts and twist the data to your own ends.

By Maureen Downey, AJC Get Schooled blog

231 comments Add your comment

Teacher

November 20th, 2010
9:14 am

Who will save Georgia’s children now!

northatlantateacher

November 20th, 2010
9:34 am

WOW. This is scary, but not surprising. Even though it’s 2010, we’re still in the Deep South in every way.

Dunwoody01

November 20th, 2010
9:36 am

Wow, we actually have someone in the School system that is not afraid to say what he thinks! I am overjoyed. While I do not participate in organized religion, I’m happy to see someone will stand up for those who are strong in their faith. It seems many of the religions of the World are acknowledged in our School system, as long as they are not based in Christianity. Our Country was founded on the belief that all men are CREATED equal. And our declaration of Independence states “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them” and “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. I believe that those who do believe should and must have the RIGHT to hold those beliefs, in the home, in the schools and in every walk of life. I believe this is true of ALL faiths, and none should be persecuted for showing their faith. How can teachers TEACH this without at least acknowledging the belief our forefathers held that we do have a Creator?

northatlantateacher

November 20th, 2010
9:37 am

And we’re going to stay there with this kind of uniformed and clearly biased leadership.

northatlantateacher

November 20th, 2010
9:41 am

Dunwoody01: What about his musings on global warming, which are ignorant of the actual facts? It’s about changing weather patterns, not about the entire planet getting hotter. It’s obvious he’s just repeating whatever he heard from a conservative politican, or maybe what he’s heard in church (I went to a sermon that actually managed to attack Al Gore and his global warming ideas – on Easter. Creative.) And where is the discussion about what the REAL issues are in education?? There aren’t any! That’s my concern. He comes across as just another sheep in the herd. Which is exactly what we DON’T need.

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Chrome Gouda

November 20th, 2010
9:46 am

This guy is certainly entitled to his beliefs, but some of his statements are so far-removed from factual that it really makes me worried that our already troubled public schools will be dragged further into mire.

Regarding his statement that, “Now we do not have the mockery limited to Hollywood, it is the core of how our average citizen thinks.” is easily discredited by volumes of survey data, from a multitude of sources, that indicates that a majority of Americans do beieve in God. It worries me that someone who will be at the forefront of our state’s educational policy seems to be so blinded by his own religious beliefs that he disregards factual data.

And the whole racism/Socialism diatribe is obviously developed from devoted viewing of FoxNews. He’s hitting all the talking points that they push! Another worshiper at the Alter of Beck.

God help us all. Save those of us who believe in You from those of us who believe in You.

Maureen Downey

November 20th, 2010
9:50 am

@Chrome, My concern is that we get diverted by culture wars at DOE at a time when I think we have to get down to the near impossible challenge of producing gains with greatly reduced resources. We can’t afford that diversion right now as I think we are in critical times.
Maureen

Chrome Gouda

November 20th, 2010
9:53 am

Obviously, the debate on this board, for this article, is going to quickly devolve into a “God is allowed in our schools/God is absent from our schools” shouting match. But as a former public school teacher, who as recently as eight years ago was teaching comparitive religion at Paulding County High School, I can tell you that at no time was I ever not allowed to discuss the tennents of Christianity, from an acadmic standpoint. We discussed the basic beliefs of Christians, and compared them to other major monotheastic and polytheastic religions. Those who think discussion of Christianity is banned from schools seem comical to those of us who are actually in the schools every day, because we know that this is not the case. Academic discussion is allowed. Proselytizing is not.

Now I’m getting the heck out of Dodge… watching the sparks fly in here should be entertaining.

Dunwoody01

November 20th, 2010
9:54 am

To the two “teachers” commenting above me … you have every right to believe what you want … but you do not have the right to “indoctrinate” or teach our children or grandchildren that the core beliefs of our family are wrong, nor do you have the right to persecute their faith. I’m shocked and appalled that you are against anyone, simply because they believe. Who will save our children? Well I would hope it would be their parents and a firm faith in whatever the children believe in, whether it be science, religion, or core moral code. Teachers and the educational system are in place to TEACH reading, writing and arithmetic. You are not entitled to denigrate the morality or political correctness of my family’s faith.

I PROUDLY live in the Deep South, even though I wasn’t lucky enough to be born here.

Chrome Gouda

November 20th, 2010
9:55 am

Maureen,

I share your concern 100%. Please continue your incredibly valuable work, monitoring our schools and those who run them. Your voice is a powerful one, and the debate on this blog, while sometimes over-the-top, is important.

Patrick

November 20th, 2010
9:57 am

Dunwoody01 – in GA having administrators speak their mind is not a problem, the problems is what is in their mind. God in schools, or the perceived lack thereof, is not a problem.

If you’d like your children to receive religious training there are many, many churches and other religious institutions that will assist you. Some even offer k-12 education in addition to regular religious services. I’d prefer that for the time educators have my child they teach him about reading, writing, science, the arts and how to think critically so that he can navigate his way in this ever changing world. You want him to learn about you Lord Jesus Christ whose teachings so many supposed Christians cant seem to or refuse to follow – they can learn about him in history class when they talk about all the wars in His name.

Wasting everyone’s time and energy on God in the classroom cheats our children. This man has no business being chief of staff to the new head of GA DOE

Hermione

November 20th, 2010
10:02 am

@Patrick Well said!

Chrome Gouda

November 20th, 2010
10:03 am

@Dunwoody

“you do not have the right to “indoctrinate” or teach our children or grandchildren that the core beliefs of our family are wrong, nor do you have the right to persecute their faith.”

You’ll need to explain where this is happening. Just because teachers are not actively promoting Christianity above all other faiths, does not mean children are being indoctrinated in anti-Christian beliefs, nor are Christians being persecuted for their faith. Muslims, Jews, Taoist, Atheists, Agnostics… none of them are being allowed to promote their beliefs, either. Are they being persecuted, too? Are they being taught that their core-beliefs are wrong, too?

northatlantateacher

November 20th, 2010
10:03 am

Dunwoody01: No need for sarcastic quotations. I am a teacher. I don’t have the time nor the inclination to indoctrinate my students. I am too busy teaching them the standards set by our state board of education. It’s laughable and frankly sad you think any teacher would spend the valuable time we have trying to brainwash students. It’s that kind of thinking that takes away from intelligent discussion.
My concern with this new leader is that he does not appear interested in addressing the real and serious issues in our schools that have nothing to do with religion or politics – none of which are addressed on his blog.

Dr. Proud Black Man

November 20th, 2010
10:04 am

No big surprise here, after all Georgia elected a governor that can’t handle money.

ScienceTeacher671

November 20th, 2010
10:06 am

What does it say about John Barge that he chose a man with these beliefs to be his chief of staff?

Thornton doesn’t seem to understand science, and in fact seems rather hostile to it.

Just what we need in Georgia (sarcasm).

And if he believes that individual parents, not the state of Georgia, should determine what children are taught, what business does he have at the GaDOE? Doesn’t even make sense.

ScienceTeacher671

November 20th, 2010
10:10 am

I agree that schools shouldn’t be hostile to Christianity — or to any other religion.

Nor should they proselytize for any religion.

Concerned Henry Co. Parent

November 20th, 2010
10:11 am

The Progressives and their marry band of liberal ideologues have infiltrated and shaped the public education system for the last several decades. How’s that worked out for us? I will answer my own question – disastrous!

Good for Mr. Thornton for being open and honest about his Christian faith. I applaud him for that, and am not bothered in any way by his strong convictions. What I am afraid of are people like Kevin Jennings, our Federal “Safe Schools Czar” appointed by Obama. Mr. Jennings is a gay activist who now has the power and backing to push his agenda. You liberals are scared of the wrong boogeyman!

TBS

November 20th, 2010
10:15 am

The socialism argument is so tired. The police, fire fighters, medicare, libraries, airport control towers, roads, are all examples of socialism. We all pay in and we all get to take advantage of the benefits they offer us. Now this anti-police department robot programmed to regurgitate Fox News talking points is in charge of one of our most important social programs, our schools. Great…

V for Vendetta

November 20th, 2010
10:15 am

This. Is. Idiotic.

Let me be frank: the idea that Christianity is somehow persecuted in GA schools is laughable at best. I teach at one of the “good” schools in metro Atlanta, and I have Christian belief, prayer, and (so-called) morality shoved down my throat every single day–by the STAFF. My school was one of the schools that participated in the “Fields of Faith,” at which one of the speakers declared there was more evidence for Jesus Christ than there was for the Roman Empire.

Huh?

This is the kind of tripe and ignorance we are allowing in our public schools? Which, by the way, are supposed to be secular and not conform to or endorse any particular religion. If you want to see indoctrination, proselytizing, brainwashing, etc., you need go no farther than your local church. I am interested in teaching children about the facts of reality. If you’d like your child to learn about the magical spiritual realm as described by a dusty old book that was written by perverts a few thousand years ago, be my guest. But keep it the hell out of public school.

I’m dead serious. I’m sick and tired of being frowned upon because I want to teach kids about what is there, what is real, and what is logical. Christians (and many other faiths) act as if I am somehow in the wrong for wanting to equip children with the knowledge to deal with observable reality. Why? What knowledge do you have that I lack? Morals? Ethics? All of which can be derived from logic and reason. Belief in a creator or savior? Neither of which add anything to your life. I’m a family man; I give to charity; I TEACH CHILDREN FOR A LIVING.

But I’m a passionate and outspoken Atheist. So I must be a bad guy.

Mike the Original

November 20th, 2010
10:16 am

Well Maureen, so much for that ‘Barge being smart enough not to set us back’ stuff you were saying the other day. I am sure there is more to come.

David Sims

November 20th, 2010
10:19 am

Joel Thornton is right that schools should include moral training, but he is wrong in thinking that Christianity provides sound moral training. It does not. It never has. It cannot because it occasionally confuses right with wrong, and it has sorted its values with the wrong priority. Christian morality is a recipe for cultural weakness in the face of aggressive competitors. It is not the way to live effectively in this world, and it doesn’t pretend to be.

Rather, Christianity purports to prepare (indeed, qualify) someone for living in Heaven, with God, in the world which worthy people shall enter after their death in this world. However, it is most likely that Heaven is not a real place, that God does not exist, and that there is no Afterlife. These are ideas spun off primitive animistic superstitions, embellished in such a way that a priesthood can make an easy living through a pretended authority.

That isn’t to say that moral training has no place in schools. What I mean is that Christianity is not, nor has it ever been, a qualified supplier of moral training because too many of its ingrained ideas about morals are false. Moral systems better than the Christian one have been invented many times. They haven’t caught on because the major religions control the tactical high ground: the propaganda bandwidth, the money, etc.

Still, there is one thing to remember. Christians do most of the work, and pay most of the taxes, that make public schools possible. Depriving them of their proportionate measure of influence in those schools is a form of enslavement, since it requires the Christians to work in order to advance a social agenda contrary to their own and to which they are opposed. If the public schools are going to be on the State side of a wall of separation of Church and State, then that part of taxation that builds, maintains, and operates those schools should be likewise partitioned. No Christian should be taxed to build, repair, supply, or run any public school, neither directly or indirectly, for as long as that wall of separation continues to exist.

V for Vendetta

November 20th, 2010
10:19 am

Concerned Henry Co.,

Yeah. We should fear the gays. They’ve done so much harm to us. They slaughtered thousands who don’t agree with them, tortured and murdered people who didn’t share in their gayness, and want to tell people how to live, act, and reproduce according to their beliefs.

No. Wait. That was Christians.

My mistake.

Patrick

November 20th, 2010
10:22 am

The only boogymen are those you create through your hate. The concept of religion and it’s history is taught in every school. That your particular brand isn’t the only one being taught is by design of the Founding Fathers.

Christians who focus on this issue simply want our tax dollars to fund their particular religious instruction. Vouchers and home school arguments for the next 4 years. They’re not for religion being taught generally – that would include other faiths and you can’t have that cuz that’s liberal. After all, learning about other points of view might be good for education, but is the antithesis to organized religion.

oldtimer

November 20th, 2010
10:25 am

I agree with a lot of what he says…I also believe many texts are anti American…especially the Prentice Hall Texts used in many Middle Schools. They mostly point out how bad the US is. We all know it is not perfect, but we are still the best choice in the world. Kids can come away thinking communism is good and free enterprise is bad…Teachers must be very careful. I believe we need to put some empasis on patriotism back in education. In addtion to making the books easier to read much of the real information is gone and they are boring.

Patrick

November 20th, 2010
10:27 am

Re “No Christian should be taxed to build, repair, supply, or run any public school, neither directly or indirectly, for as long as that wall of separation continues to exist.” the separation is the law of the land since the founding. thanks for making my point. Taxes fund education. Taxes fund the department of defense. You don’t get to pick and choose where your tax dollars get spent – only who is in charge of spending the, according to the laws of the land. If you want a Christian education, go to a Christian school. Or just pick up the bible and read it – everyone is suppose to be able to understand it after all.

drew (former teacher)

November 20th, 2010
10:28 am

Or maybe the title of this blog should be: “Too Many Christian Zealots Hostile to Education”.

“The most important thing we should to learn from this is that no one can separate their own beliefs from their science.”

That’s correct. And I guess if Mr. Thornton had his way, we’d be teaching students that the earth is only 6,000 years-old. After all, we can’t allow some silly scientific facts to counter someone’s fundmentalist religious claims.

“Also, we have learned that you can prove anything if you are willing to ignore critical facts and twist the data to your own ends.”

Exactly!! Like when you ignore science in favor of unfounded religious claims.

“Let me be perfectly clear, I am against socialism.”

Sounds like Mr. Thornton would love to see the “socialist” public schools die completely and let religious institutions and home schooling take over. Then he wouldn’t have all these silly facts and science getting in the way of his religious beliefs.

I have no problem with religious zealots…until they try to push their unfounded beliefs on me or my children. If I thought this guy could actually make any progress forcing religion into schools, I’d be afraid. But he won’t, and I’m not.

Concerned Henry Co. Parent

November 20th, 2010
10:29 am

Good grief people – calm down – get over yourselves. I never said in my post that I thought the Christian faith should be “taught” in schools. I never did say that I hate gays. Why would I hate gays? I said that our “Safe Schools Czar” is pushing his gay agenda in the schools. There’s a big difference. I don’t want anyone’s personal agenda pushed on our children, including V for Vendetta’s athiesm.

Why are you liberals always so quick to pounce on people who believe differently than you do? You really are angry people.

Aquagirl

November 20th, 2010
10:31 am

Thornton’s January 2010 post would be right at home on a creationist website. This guy shouldn’t be anywhere near a school.

Chris Murphy, Atlanta, GA

November 20th, 2010
10:33 am

This past election gave the voters what they wanted. How much they’ll still want it in a couple of years will be very interesting- indeed, crucial. I thought Kathy Cox was in over her head- I guess I’ve seen nothing yet.

[...] DOE chief of staff: Too many school systems hostile to ChristiansAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)His references to public education deal with the elimination of God from the schools and what he perceives to be a growing hostility to Christianity in … [...]

oldtimer

November 20th, 2010
10:37 am

Also, contrary to much thinking here..There is still prayer in school, especially before tests. FCA (or FCS)and many other organizations are popular clubs. And in the very rural are I taught in after I retired in GA JRROTC is a big organization with 4 staff members and many college scolarships offered. Getting out of the city things really change.

Thomas

November 20th, 2010
11:00 am

@Henry Co – What pray tell is the gay agenda? It wouldn’t happen to be tolerance, would it? Or are you still under the impression that being gay is a choice we shouldn’t allow our children to have?

The ajc’s blogs are where the true characters come out. I never knew that liberals were the only angry people out there! I know that O’Reilly or Limbaugh have never raised their voice and keep to peaceful accepting views of all of humanity…wow, could barely type that!

I feel the main points for dissecting this dude have already been made. He’s a moron for wanting what the courts say can not be in the classroom, and he’s against the very instrument that keeps him employed (socialism).

V for Vendetta

November 20th, 2010
11:03 am

Concerned Henry Co.,

Atheism isn’t a belief to be pushed. It’s just a lack of belief–i.e., a focus on facts, reason, and logic. Sounds like things we should be teaching in school, eh?

Patrick

November 20th, 2010
11:22 am

Henry Co. feigns “oh you liberals are so angry … How could you ever think I meant that.” it’s my fav right wing smear. How, brcause it is what you said.

If a religious person would like to stop me on the street, place an ad, rent a billboard to try and convince me of the merits of their ways, so be it. I’ll engage or ignore as is my right as a free thinking American. What I should not have to tolerate is this or that religious faction demanding that their views be taught to the public at large through public schools. It’s not the place and I have infinitely better things to do with the time I do get to spend with my child and his friends than correcting / qualifying the myth / belief system of someone else.

Hopefully the chief of staff will be a reasonable public servant and avoid pushing a religious rather than educational agenda. Unfortunarely, the content of his writings don’t give me much hope. But Im always open to being proven wrong … Unlike some.

Joe

November 20th, 2010
11:26 am

Just another nut in the long line of whackos at the Department!

Posterchild

November 20th, 2010
11:32 am

As someone who has to use personal leave for religious holidays, I have little sympathy for his claims.

Teacher

November 20th, 2010
11:47 am

If Christians could only model to me what they preach, maybe I would be one. Contrary, the bible thimpers I have met talk the talk, but cannot walk the walk!
Schools are for education. Period. I give you bible thumbers the right to indoctrinate your children how you choose, but please do this on your own time and your own dime so my children can learn to think for themselves!

Jennifer

November 20th, 2010
11:53 am

Public – you get what you ask for. People should have been paying attention during the election.

Prince Velveeta

November 20th, 2010
11:55 am

Save me Jeebus, save me!

Dr. John Trotter

November 20th, 2010
11:56 am

Maureen: I am about to post a rather long entry, and I hope that the Filter Monster doesn’t throw a body block on it! Ha!

Concerned Henry Co. Parent

November 20th, 2010
11:57 am

Oh – to be as enlightened as Thomas, Patrick, and Vendetta! As far as they and others like them are concerned, I am just a neanderthal because I don’t see anything wrong with Mr. Barge hiring someone with a strong Christian faith to be in a leadership position. I am just a neanderthal because I don’t think it’s the place of the schools to teach impressionable kids that being gay is cool and okay, and if you question that premise, you are a homophobe, a hater, a gay basher. I am just a neanderthal that doesn’t see anything wrong with saying a prayer before a football game to pray for the safety of the athletes. I am just a neanderthal because I don’t see a problem with the line “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Gook luck Mr. Barge and Mr. Thornton – you’re going to need it.

Dr. John Trotter

November 20th, 2010
11:58 am

Maureen: I suppose that you are now beginning the attack on John Barge by attacking his choice of Chief of Staff, Joel Thornton. Full disclosure: I don’t know either gentleman. I have never communicated with either, directly or indirectly. But, I did observe that the voters of Georgia voted fairly overwhelmingly for Dr. Barge. I even voted for him. So, please get over the fact that your guys, both Brad Bryant and Joe Martin, did not win. I tried to let you down easily on these two. I told you well in advance that they were not going to win, didn’t I?

So Mr. Thornton holds some rather conservative political/social/economic/religious views. So what? Most Georgians hold similar views. I share many of his views myself. I too reject the notion that macro evolution should be the only explanation (which is all a theory is — an attempt to explain phenomenon) of the origin of the Universe. Origins are not even subject to history. No person was there to observe and record the account. Origins are not subject to the scientific method. The scientific method deals with repeatable phenomenon (e. g., two elements of hydrogen and one element of oxygen equals water…every time — repeatable and observable). Origins fall within the areas of philosophy or religion. Quite frankly, I think that there are significant problems in the naturalistic evolutionary explanation of the origin of the universe and its living creatures evolving over billions and trillions of years from a sexless, one-cell amoeba. This would necessitate upward progressions on a phenomenal level, and we know that the world is in a running down process (Second Law of Thermodynamics). The Law of Biogenesis demonstrates that life comes from life. So, where did this sexless, one-cell amoeba come from? Just a thought, heh? There are a lot of anomalies within the attempt to explain the Universe with strictly naturalistic phenomena. I simple start with a First Cause, God, and this is my big miracle. An evolutionist expects us to accept a myriad of smaller miracles or anomalies which violate known natural laws. I prefer not. Now this is the crux. Whose explanation should have a monopoly over the minds of our public school children? I say present both reasonable theories, and I think that most Americans (and certainly most Georgians) would have no problem presenting competing theories to the origin of the Universe and life as we know it to public school children. This is only fair, I would think. Let’s not have short memories, Maureen, for Kathy Cox was beat up early in her administration for wanting both theories presented, right?

Mr. Thornton doesn’t buy into the hysteria of global warming. So what? Many American do not. I believe it is our responsibility to be good stewards of the environment but I too have noticed the very cold winters which we have been experiencing! Ha! The temperatures appear to move in epochs — would this be “epochally”? Mr. Thornton is not too out of line with the thinking of most Americans, if out of line at all.

About public schools being godless: Well, it is what it is. It appears that our educrats have strained a gnat and swallowed a camel here as well. I don’t think that the current Court’s posture is that God or religion in schools are “malum prohibitum.” Sure, the public schools do not need to proselytize the students. I would not want the schools to proselytize my children. The religious upbringing of my children belong to their mother and me. But, I don’t want the Religion of the Occult or the Religion of Humanism having free reign in the public schools as well. This is an attempt to proselytize the public school children.

I think that Mr. Thornton simply shares some beliefs, concerns, and convictions of many Americans, and to attempt to besmirch him as a public servant before he even enters into that array is somewhat disconcerting and disingenuous.

Just my thoughts…What say ye? Now back to ESPN’s Game Day!

wxwax

November 20th, 2010
12:02 pm

Wow.

No wonder Georgia ranks so poorly in education.

I’m sorry to be so blunt, but this man is a fool.

I have no problem with his faith. Faith helps many people. But when he wields his faith as a weapon against sound science, he abandons common sense. When he denies a scientific fact that not even deniers deny — that the planet is getting warmer — he abandons the right to our respect.

That a man so poorly informed and so dogmatic in his views is holding an important public office is a disgrace and reflects poorly on our state.

You can hear them still laughing at Georgia’s expense.

Smart-Human

November 20th, 2010
12:05 pm

I don’t understand. What is wrong with teaching children, that they are responsible for their education, not some deity. It’s the hard work of studying that results in good grades, extra practice in sports that make you a better player, not some theorized all powerful “God” that makes things happen. Teachers should teach children to take responsibility for their actions, vs. teaching them to “pray”; which is nothing more than a waste of time.

high school teacher

November 20th, 2010
12:11 pm

Let’s look at this situation if it were reversed: let’s pretend that the new chief of staff was an atheist, and he posted on his blog his thoughts that any mention of Christianity should be removed from schools altogether. Then the Christian posters would be up in arms calling him a fool, while the others who are now calling him a fool would be crying “freedom of speech” and that we shouldn’t condemn a man in a particular position at DOE just because of his personal beliefs that he posted on a blog. I’m just sayin’…

Teacher

November 20th, 2010
12:16 pm

Religion does not belong in the schools! Period. This discussion is an embarrassment to our state. So what else is new?

high school teacher

November 20th, 2010
12:19 pm

Maureen, I try to refrain from criticizing anyone personally on this blog; we have enough posters who do that on a regular basis. However, I find this entry to be a bit hypocritical on your part. You adamantly defended a teacher who lost her job over a facebook posting (I agree with your stance, btw), yet you highlight the fact that this blog, which appears to be independent of any state/school affiliations, “portended a blurring of the church/state dividing line.” How can you defend free speech and a separate life for educators in one blog, and then condemn the chief-of-staff choice simply because of a non-school related blog that he has?

Aquagirl

November 20th, 2010
12:22 pm

Dr Trotter—if you don’t understand the difference between scientific theory and the word “theory” as it is commonly used, call your alma mater and get your money back.