Being pagan in Georgia: Do schools promote some religions while denigrating others?

UPDATE: Folks, I closed comments on this at 10 p.m. Friday. Have a great holiday weekend. Maureen

A common plaint on this blog is that religion has been banished from our public schools. The usual comment is that we have kicked God out of the schools.

But some argue that not all religions are met with hostility in the classroom, only those far outside the mainstream.

That complaint was made this month via an Internet campaign on behalf of a pagan family in Carroll County. Stephanie Turner said her 11-year-old son was singled out and punished after he took off the neopagan holiday of Samhain. Once the boy returned to class, his teacher allegedly questioned him and said,  “Paganism is not a religion.” Then, the teacher assigned a class essay on “How Christmas started,” according to the complaint.

(You can read more details on the “Turner Family Support” Facebook page.)

I exchanged e-mails with Turner seeking information about her son’s experience, but then received a call from Selena Fox, founder and executive director of the Lady Liberty League, an organization that advocates for religious freedom for Wiccans, Neopagans and other nature religion practitioners.

A Wisconsin resident, Fox explained to me in our telephone conversation that she was calling on Turner’s behalf to let me know that they were attempting to meet with the school district. In the meantime, websites and pagan organizations that took up the Turner family cause urged people to send e-mails of protest to the Carroll school chief, principal and teacher. And apparently they did.

When I contacted Carroll County two weeks ago, spokeswoman Elena Schulenburg told me: We are currently working with the parent to review this matter. The e-mail was circulated over the weekend ahead of our opportunity to meet with the parent to discuss any concerns. As always, our focus is on the safety and welfare of all students.

Accompanied by four advocates including an attorney, Turner met with Carroll school officials on Dec. 12. She and her advocates issued a statement later on the outcome of that meeting: First, a sincere apology for recent events and misunderstandings has been given by school administration and accepted by the family. Second, the Bowdon Elementary School guidance counselor will educate staff and students about honoring and accepting the differences that make us individuals. Third, procedures have been put in place to ensure classroom activities don’t alienate students.

In a Dec. 13 radio interview on Pagan Warrior Radio hosted by Selena Fox, Turner thanked the national pagan community for its support, saying, “It has helped my son so much knowing that he is not alone.”

The New York Times has a good piece about the encroachment of religion in public schools. Several of the examples of proselytizing occurred in Southern schools.

The New York Times story notes:

At a school assembly here in South Carolina on Sept. 1, a preacher described how Christ saved him from drugs, telling his rapt audience that “a relationship with Jesus is what you need more than anything else.” A rapper shouted the Lord’s praise to a light show and most of the audience stepped forward to pledge themselves to Christ while a few remained, uncomfortable, in their seats.

Such overt evangelizing would not be unusual at a prayer rally, but this was a daytime celebration in a public school gymnasium, arranged by the principal for sixth, seventh and eighth graders.  When the rapper posted a video on YouTube, announcing that “324 kids at this school have made a decision for Jesus Christ,” he drew unwelcome public and legal scrutiny to the event. It was the kind of religious advocacy that is increasingly coming to light, legal experts say, as school populations become more diverse and as the objection of non-Christians — or, in this case, the rejoicing of evangelists — is broadcast on the Internet.

In landmark decisions in 1962 and 1963, the Supreme Court barred official promotion of religion in schools. That principle has remained solid, if pilloried by conservatives who blame it for what they see as the nation’s moral and social decline. At the same time, the courts and Congress have also reinforced the rights of students to pray on their own and to form after-school religious clubs.

But battles over the place of religion in schools continue. This month, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit demanding that the Chesterfield County, S.C., school district end what the suit describes as the continuing promotion of religion in several of its schools, including the middle school that held the prayer rally. The A.C.L.U. brought the suit on behalf of a seventh grader who said he was subjected to unwanted proselytizing and has been harassed for his avowals of atheism.

Christian legal advocates counter that such plain violations are far less common than the opposite problem: overzealous officials trying to cleanse the schools of religion, punishing students for protected speech like personal prayer or handing out devotional messages to their friends.

Watchdog groups like the A.C.L.U., Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation say that in the last few years, they have learned more often about what they call blatant violations like the South Carolina rally. It is unclear, they say, whether the number of such events is growing, or whether they are now more likely to come to light. But still, these advocates say, even when clear violations occur, concerned families are often reluctant to bring legal challenges because they fear social hostility.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

563 comments Add your comment

Ole Guy

December 28th, 2011
5:13 pm

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO THE CONCEPT OF SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE? Being pagan, sun worshiper or, for that matter, any religous/non-religous persuasion in existance, the entire issue should be moot and of no consequence whatsoever. When I want a drink, I go to the bar…when I want to see a movie, I go to the movie house…when I wish to outwardly practice my religous beliefs, I SEEK OTHERS WHO SHARE MY BELIEFS! When I want to become educated (or when I want my kid to become likewise), I seek an institution of learning.

If none of this makes any sense…GO TO HECK!

the Rev. Jim Ignatowski

December 28th, 2011
5:21 pm

Fascinating post and comments, Maureen, because it all reveals how our personal faith must contend with our rational brains whenever we struggle to answer “why?”. Believers strive to explain something they just “know”, and agnostics strain at the limits of their cognitive minds. If there is a creator-level power out there, I am probably never going to be able to get my head around that – I simply believe or I don’t.
Tertullian addressed this conundrum: “Creo quia absurdam est.” It may be the very implausibility of the Christian story that leads some people to accept it while others can only wander in intellectual mazes of their own construction.

Rev Ellen

December 28th, 2011
5:32 pm

@ Christian to the Core, I see you didn’t really research the incident in question. The child took a day off for a religious observance, just as a Jewish child would take a day for Yom Kippur. But then when he came back to class was taken out of class by the teacher and lectured that his religion wasn’t real. (Bullying by the TEACHER) Then back in class the class was given a writing assignment about the origins of Christmas but don’t write about the “pagan lies”. This child was not trying to abolish Christ, nor is his mother. They are just trying to be treated with equal respect due any human. Isn’t that what Jesus taught? She doesn’t want her child to end up like Tempest Smith. I dare anyone to look up and see what happened to a 12 year old child as the result of Christian bullying.

duke

December 28th, 2011
5:35 pm

You’ve got it backwards, Maureen. In a country whose initial Pilgrims came to this wilderness to worship God according to the Bible; in this country whose founding revolutionaries shouted the motto, “No King But Jesus!” ; in this country whose Constitution represents the culmination of 200 years of Puritan political thought; in this country whose first Congress appointed a Chaplain to begin each session with prayer; in this country, whose national Supreme Court still begins each session with prayer; in this country where, in living memory, invocation and prayer were routine at most public events; Christian prayer has been banned from public schools for decades. But in many schools, Muslims have special prayer rooms, and are allowed to take off for Muslim holidays. Any Christian child who missed school for a Christian holiday would be punished, but any non-Christian religion gets special treatment.

For an introduction to the pernicious influence of paganism in our public schools, see “Brave New Schools”, by Berit Kjos.

John K

December 28th, 2011
5:49 pm

D, what you actually meant to say is that you don’t want to admit you believe rights should only go to the majority.

mountain man

December 28th, 2011
5:54 pm

“Any Christian child who missed school for a Christian holiday would be punished, but any non-Christian religion gets special treatment. ”

What are you talking about???? The school year is PLANNED around Christian holidays! No school on Sunday, no school on Christmas, what other Christian holidays are there? Easter is on Sunday. But Yom Kippur is not a holiday nor is the school year planned around it. When school is planned for Christmas day and Christians are not allowed to have it off, then I will say they are discriminating against Christians.

Prof

December 28th, 2011
6:06 pm

As many here have already noted, many of the Founding Fathers were Deists, including Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. Deists are NOT Christians, for they do not believe that God is divided into the Trinity that includes Jesus. The Puritans who landed here were fleeing from England because they were Dissenters who did not believe in the state’s Christian Church of Anglicism. Many who settled here were Huguenots, or persecuted Dissenters from European Catholicism. (And yes, Catholicism is Christian.)

In other words, our earliest founders were European Dissenters who didn’t belong to any state Christian church.

And I won’t even go into what they did to the Native Americans they found here.

AChangedLife

December 28th, 2011
6:24 pm

A teacher disgracing any child for any reason like this is wrong, and that teacher should be responsible for apologizing and correcting the action. This country was founded on Christianity. Yes as well as the ability to freedom of choice as well. This country and it’s leaders are trying to change everything the country was founded on, We are one nation under GOD, not under anything else, or multiple, our founding fathers were Christians. As for bashing Christianity and Jesus Christ, all I can say is it’s a life changed, when it’s not a “religion”, when its a real relationship, wow, it’s awesome and lifechanging. It’s about love, forgiveness, peace, joy, patience, freedom from addictions, and a true living God. I’ve experienced the change, I’ve seen my husband’s life turn around completely delivered from addictions, and become the husband I dreamed of, once your have the revelation you understand…

Paul Noto

December 28th, 2011
6:24 pm

I have been teaching Biology and Earth Science in a public school for 17 years now. Everyone has an opinion, so I will give you mine. I grew up in public school, and was bored about half the time, so much so that I used to create my own research projects just to stimulate my own education. Public education is worthy of much more than its current funding, and deserves much more in terms of actually educating students to think, to create, and to explore. It is increasingly under the spell of materialism and standardized test scores such that the curriculum gets narrowed and dumbed down. Teachers are called on to do more with less just as they are increasingly blamed for a dysfunctional
system. Much of our appoach to education involves training kids to “fit in” to a dysfunctional society.
Thank God for all the devoted teachers. My experience has always been that teachers are among the most giving and dedicated professionals. Teachers are not treated that way, economically, and schools are not adequately funded to develop and implement high quality education for all citizens. The system, like our economic system, is materialistic and product oriented.
Some students and teachers (with the help of parents) are able to overcome limitations despite the dysfunctional system that exists.
When it comes to religion or spirituality, public school has always been a wasteland. The only solution, in my opinion, is to start broadening the curriculum to include so much that has been excluded, such as classes in philosophy and religion/spirituality. At least what is done on a college level can begin to be infused into middle and high school education. This is when kids need to develop their minds to improve our society. The biggest problem with this, is the unwillingness of people to be tolerent enough to do it. Society needs to grow up. Unfortunately, there are forces that work against that. In the absence of a society where tolerance, intellectual and creative freedom rules, we still need to make an effort to get ideas and opportunities into public education. We have to start somewhere. Too many kids get all the fluff of socialization like trained animals, and too little opportunity to break though the limitations.
Colleges and Universities appear able to approach these subjects without ridicule and proselytizing. Do not underestimate the middle and high school students of today. We need to objectively widen the curriculum to stimulate higher levels of thinking in our students beyond prejudices. They need to be given a wide range of choices, and be allowed to make them in the taking of such courses. Yes, parents need to back off to some degree and let thier children explore, so that they actually form their own moral values and intellect. I am tired of all the “spirit assemblies” for the sake of training kids to compete, or to attempt to address social issues when the answers offered are half-baked. We do not need to cram stuff down the throats of the younger generation. We need to give them the opportunity to explore , think, and come up with their own solutions.

Prof

December 28th, 2011
6:58 pm

P.S. I should have added that other Founding Fathers who were Deists were Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams.

Deism was the major European religious belief-system of the 18th century, holding that God created the universe and then sat back, allowing it to run according to the natural laws of science. Deists did NOT believe that God had a Son or a Ghost, just that there was a, well, creating Deity. THEY WEREN’T CHRISTIAN!

And I forgot the other major Dissenting group that settled America, the Quakers.

This country was founded by religious dissenters, who were not considered to be genuine Christians by the orthodox churches of the time. Let us remember that.

FormerWitness

December 28th, 2011
7:00 pm

I grew up a Catholic. Then in third grade my parents studied to become jehovahs witnesses. We started going to the kingdom hall and started doing the whole jehovahs witness thing. No holidays, no birthdays etc. There were 7 Jw kids in my grade alone. We did not participate in anything against our faith. We took Friday off in the summer for the convention. If the school did what that that school did with the rapper there would have been an issue. We were to keep separate from non jw teachings etc. That would have included that rally. It would have been uncomfortable for us as well to stand out like that. JW is a christain religion but it separates itself from all other forms.

JW knock on doors doing that to others and most people would say that dislike that. I would say it is wrong myself. No one likes others forcing their beliefs on another. I know from having a sister Inlaw do it to me w her faith. I felt uncomfortable and that’s when I understood how people at the door must have felt when I would go out in the preaching work as a jw. I don’t wish that forcefulness on anyone.

I am no longer a jw. I am doing my own thing. Learning about alot of other faiths now and am much happier. I don’t want my kids to go through what I did in so many respects.

D

December 28th, 2011
7:06 pm

Once again John, you can’t bait me. I said no such thing. Tell you what, go over to any country that has a majority religion different from your own and start preaching. Let’s see how long it takes before you disappear under mysterious circumstances. In this country you have the right to say what ever what you want within limits even if you’re in the minority, but over the last twenty or so years the majority has been told to shut up and listen to the proud minority weather they like it or not. Doesn’t sound very nice does it?

Obama is a LIAR

December 28th, 2011
7:35 pm

The prolitical correct crowd wants it both ways. They only mean no to Christians. But they the ACLU will protect Muslims Terrorists that kill Christians but won’t protect Christians in school or their rights. America is a Christian Nation first. Someone should tell that to dumbass Obama.

V for Vendetta

December 28th, 2011
7:40 pm

Wow. Sorry I missed this one over the holidays. Good to see that the usual nuts came out in defense of their silly, old book. Always makes the arguments easier.

D

December 28th, 2011
7:47 pm

V, that’s a very ignorant and mean spirited comment. No one should disparage an entire belief system just because they disagree with those beliefs. I’m not a Christian, but I will defend anyone that wants to express their beliefs.

God was never in schools in the South

December 28th, 2011
7:54 pm

@Obama is a Liar. You are a poster child for the phony self-righteous self proclaimed Christians filled with hate and venom. You carry the spiritual mantle of those who plotted the crucifixion of Jesus!

God was never in schools in the South

December 28th, 2011
8:01 pm

Obama is a Liar is living and breathing proof of the fact that the US, and in particularly the South, has never been a Christian nation.

God was never in schools in the South

December 28th, 2011
8:05 pm

And such trashy language from a self-proclaimed self righteous “Christian.”

Zeus is my Homeboy

December 28th, 2011
8:06 pm

The same people who complain about political correctness pitch temper tantrums when they aren’t given preferential treatment for their cultural and religious beliefs. America is largely a nation of people who practice some form of Christianity, however, this country was not founded on Christianity. Some of the colonies were founded for religious reason, but most of them were founded for purely economic reasons. The political controversies that fueled the call for Revolution had absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. The Articles of Confederation and The Constitution make absolutely no mention of Christianity. Furthermore, most of our early presidents were not particularly religious and at the very least they didn’t believe this was a “Christian nation.”

“Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
-James Madison

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”
-Thomas Jefferson

Truth in Moderation

December 28th, 2011
8:19 pm

I must confess being ignorant of the intricacies of Paganism’s religious beliefs. Ironically, my first Bible teacher was a former witch. She did equate “New Age” teachings with her former beliefs. I did a little reading on the subject and went to Selena Fox’s site. On this particular one, she eulogizes Marion Weinstein, a fellow Pagan/Witch who was raised in a Jewish family. It is very enlightening.
http://www.circlesanctuary.org/memoriam/mweinstein.htm

Another interesting Pagan leader, Isaac Bonewits, grew up in a Roman Catholic home. It seems he was introduced to Paganism at U.C. Berkeley and joined the Reformed Druids of North America and was ordained a Neo-Druid priest in 1969. Amazingly, he graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Magic.
“Berkeley Student Will Graduate With Bachelor of Arts in Magic”. New York Times: p. 24. 1 June 1970. ISSN 03624331. “BEREKLEY, Calif., May 31 (UPI)—Among June graduates at the University of California is Isaac Bonewits, who will receive a bachelor of arts in magic.”

According to Wikipedia,
“During this period, Bonewits was recruited by the Church of Satan,[6] but left due to political and philosophical conflicts with Anton LaVey. During his stint in the Church of Satan, Bonewits appeared in the 1970 documentary Satanis: The Devil’s Mass.[7] Bonewits, in his article “My Satanic Adventure”, asserts that the rituals in Satanis were staged for the movie at the behest of the filmmakers and were not authentic ceremonies.[8]”
Please read his, “My Satanic Adventure”, for an intimate account of his early influences/experiences with his belief system. http://www.neopagan.net/SatanicAdventure.html

ChristopherBlackwell

December 28th, 2011
9:16 pm

East Repeat, You like getting attention judging from how often you post. However I am glad I am not of your religion for you are certainly an embarrassment to it with every word that you type of your ego based arrogance. Fortunately my religion does not require me to pump it in the face of everyone, nor play the cowardly bully that you seem to be. My religion does not play the numbers game, needing increasing numbers to justify its members’ ever shaky faith. It does not require me to try to claim my opinion somehow is god’s thoughts on the matter. Nor need I try to pretend that god is some sort of old man with a beard, nor human like in anyway. Nor does he play power games here on earth with the lives of humans. Unlike you I am not required to make a fool of myself claiming to know or understand god, which by human terms is the great mystery and beyond human understanding. No I will leave that arrogant silliness to you, since you seem to have need of it. With every post you embarrass your religion and you fellow believers. Note that I can use my actual name, not having to to hide in behind a handle.

Red Herring

December 28th, 2011
9:29 pm

this country was founded on christian religious views–look at your money–look at your government buildings, monuments, etc in washington d.c.. if you want to take free goods (such as your free education) from the u.s. government then you should abide by it’s rules and perhaps while not being required to participate in it’s religious traditions at least show respect for them while they are being practiced. if you can’t do that then perhaps you don’t need to be feeding at the u.s. government trough. it would help this country tremendously if you would pay your own way.

Truth in Moderation

December 28th, 2011
9:38 pm

@ChristopherBlackwell

According to you, you are not egotistical or arrogant. You have never embarrassed others. You are brave, always kind, and keep your thoughts to yourself. You are the only one who adheres to your religion. Your opinion is better than some god’s. You do not know or understand this god, BUT, you know he is not an old man with a beard nor human-like in any way. This unknowable god does not play power games, you state. Your religion gives you super-human understanding because you state your knowledge is “beyond human understanding”. You never embarrass your religion nor are you silly. You have a one word name and are proud of it. You never have to hide.
Please tell me the name of your mystery religion!

honested

December 28th, 2011
9:43 pm

GAD, this thread is still going!

And for every thoughtful and sensible post, there are still at least 3 SB nutcase responses!
Remember, back in the late ’80s, think back, which church had the gall to run an ad that said
“Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion”.
It made me so glad I escaped the churchnuts, and never for a second looked back.
If only Hitch had still been healthy, he could have explained to this little girl and her whole school that they would have been much happier to put ALL superstitions behind them and never let them cloud objective thought.
But that would never have happened at her school, would it?

honested

December 28th, 2011
9:47 pm

Red herring,

You would need to look at these things before the early 1900’s (especially the 1950s when attachment to religion was supposes to ‘keep the commies away’) and then you would see those things WERE NOT THERE.
This nonsense attachment to religion was not part of early America, it was ADDED by religious nuts elected to office.
Even the ‘Pledge of Allegience’ was an exercise in hollow patriotism that was infiltrated by religious atrocity.

God was never in schools in the South

December 28th, 2011
9:54 pm

East Repeat, Maybe you can convert Obama is a Liar and some of the other hate filled self-proclaimed “Christians” to the Gospel of Love. Or do you just give them a pass on their un Christlike attitudes, actions, and words because they call themselves Christians? Not everyone who cries “Lord, Lord” will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!

Wow

December 28th, 2011
10:04 pm

Okay, God was never in the South: I can forgive your ridiculous ID. I can forgive that your ID makes a travesty of all religion. But what I can’t forgive is your paragraph @9:54

C+

You would pass my English Class, but try getting into Yale.

Moron.

[...] http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/12/28/pagan-students-and-public-schools/?cxntfid=blogs_g... An educator’s blog discusses whether some religions are considered less worthy than others in GA public schools, and cites the Lady Liberty League’s involvement with the Turner family discrimination case.  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildhunt/2011/12/pagan-news-grassroots-journalism-and-the-mainstream-media.html#disqus_thread “The Wild Hunt Blog” examines how Pagan media contributed to the issue. [...]

Exteacher

December 28th, 2011
10:21 pm

I think religion is total junk. No god, at least not one who cares. I have had several “saviors” who ask me what it would take for me to believe. Very simple. PERSONAL APPEARANCE!!! If there was a god, why wouldn’t this entity let us know the real score? We have to have faith? PLEASE!!! If you all want to pray for something that would truly change things, pray for a personal appearance /message from the almighty. Isn’t it time to sort it out, GOD?

Truth in Moderation

December 28th, 2011
10:24 pm

Well, here’s something everyone on this blog can rally around, INTERNET FREE SPEECH.
NOW is the time to join together and OPPOSE “SOPA”, the internet censorship bill. Watch this video and call Washington. Send them packing if they support this bill!
http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/tide-turning-against-sopa-…-and-we-might-actually-succeed-stopping-it

Truth in Moderation

December 28th, 2011
10:26 pm

Truth in Moderation

December 28th, 2011
10:54 pm

@exteacher
Your statement reminds me of a beautiful song by Gospel singer Sandi Patty:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56ovSaoWpOM
Based on these verses:
‘For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1Corinthians 13:12
and this:
I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1Corinthians 15:51-57

John K

December 28th, 2011
11:01 pm

Really D? You’ve got that victim mentality down cold, congrats! So the majority have been told to sit down and shut up? Really? You’re going to make that actual claim? LOL. Yep, you’re so repressed.

irisheyes

December 28th, 2011
11:12 pm

Ah, nothing like religion to get people all crazy.

I will admit that I am unfamiliar with the holiday that the student took, so I may have questioned him as to what it was, but I’m pretty generous with marking absences as excused. I get lots of notes that say “family emergency”. Who knows what that is. The best note I ever got said “Please excuse *** from school.” I guess I’m not sure why the teacher was so stubborn about granting the excused absence. Is it really that much stress for her to let him make up his work? I don’t have the time or the energy to try and determine whether someone’s religion is “true”. I’ll believe what I believe, and those parents can raise their kid how they want. As long as he works hard in class and tries, who cares what he and his parents do on Sunday? (Or any other day of the week.)

But, let’s argue about whether God’s in school or not. Who was it that said “As long as there’s algebra, there will be prayer in school”?

Wow

December 28th, 2011
11:12 pm

Okay, Exteacher. You deserve as much as St Thomas, the “doubting thomas” got.

You ask for proof. I suggest you do the math. 12 disciples. 12 oral traditions that managed to get finally written down within one generation of the Rising Christ, man? Of course they had crude notes. But mostly the 12 minus one disciples spoke their testimony far and wide. Remember that if they had been caught they would have been killed. By whom? Who would havbe killed these obscure zealots?

Paul. Read about who Paul was. He was the Jewish Kojak. He succeeded in killing every single stinking Christian he could find. He was the wrath of God Almighty upon the Blasphemous Christian Sect of Demons who comprised the remnants of the 12 disciples. Paul was about saving Judism.

Judism. Worthy of saving, wouldn’t you say? But…….

Suddenly Paul became a Christian advocate to the point where Christ’s message was spread far further than it ever could have been spread by the disciples. Suddenly, the dead Christ had a PR Genius. Maybe the greatest adverstising agent of all time ever. PAUL.

There is no explaining why Paul, who was a self appointed and self admitted mass murderer of Christian men, women and children, (mostly by stoning), BTW, suddenly decided to risk his own life and his family’s life to testify for the dead Christ. no.explanation.at.all.

Read about it.

Then tell me GOD didn’t fix it all HIS way. The road to Damascus? (sure)

Look. The Lamb of God. Don’t you get it? The entire old testament was about sacrificing LAMBS.

TO GOD.

So, a man appeared amongst us all. And declared himself to be the lamb of god. OMG. So we sacrificed him more barbaric than we would a real lamb?: Really?: That’s US?

Sorry, but the entire new testament is history.

Either accept the oral/written tradition of the crucifixion/ressurection as history or become the dust from which thou emerged.

Think about how the gospel is a history of Man being himself vs man being God. You’ll get it.

and fast.

honested

December 28th, 2011
11:28 pm

irisheyes,

That would be part of the holiday that Caesar Augustus decided to modify, along with Saturnailia, and spit out what marketers today call ‘christmas’.

Yep, it has always been fudged.

Progressive Humanist

December 29th, 2011
12:06 am

Wow,

You’re a real nut case. I hope no one lets anywhere near a job with any form of responsibility.

That’s what you call proof? Evidence? A nonsensical fable (myth) that doesn’t even qualify as hearsay and would be thrown out of even the most lax court of law? You ramble on about fictitious occurrences, practically chanting in tongues and dancing with rattlesnakes, and you think that a rational person would be swayed to adopt your beliefs?

You have clearly been brainwashed into a nonsensical cult. I recommend you seek help and I hope that someone in your life performs an intervention to help bring you back to reality.

Truth in Moderation

December 29th, 2011
1:07 am

@Progressive Humanist
Why do you call yourself “progressive” and not just a “humanist’? What progress have you made in understanding the mystery of death? What is your evidence?

thomas

December 29th, 2011
8:08 am

Wow, I’ll respectfully engage you w/ a question about CS Lewis’ argument that Christ was either (a) a lunatic, (b) a liar, or (c) the Lord. I always believed Lewis achieved notoriety with this argument because he only offered three choices, the first two of which are borderline blasphemous.

The fourth option – and the one that doesn’t get mentioned – is that Jesus’ life, words, and deeds were hyperbolized, sculpted, and adapted over hundreds of years and what truly happened in Bethlehem, Gallieee, and Golgotha are not the things that were eventually written down, translated, revised, edited, debated over, and then finally politically approved by the Constantine and the Council of Nicea.

Religion is – in all cases – an ultimate leap of faith. That’s not a criticism, it’s just the truth. There are things that defy logic, history, and factual findings that one must reconcile to become a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, even a Pagan. There’s mystery that invades the history.

So, I applaud you being a believer, but I find your piety about how ‘obvious’ the math is as to how others get there a bit off-putting.

Many, many agnostics are not thumbing their noses at God, they are just earnest seekers struggling to figure it all out, and not as willing to accept the notion of blind faith. Holes can be poked in any religious text. It’s a matter as to whether your faith can help patch those holes or not.

Probability

December 29th, 2011
8:44 am

Wow. This just to help see if we can reach 500. Politics doesn’t get people nearly as fired up as religion. Given the virtually infinite variation of belief in something bigger than we are (or not), seems to me the best guess is that either everybody’s right or nobody’s right. Either way, seems like as long as you’re not hurting someone else, you should get to believe what you wish. Intersting that neither Christianity nor Islam has been particularly prone to that view over the course of history.

Progressive Humanist

December 29th, 2011
9:14 am

Moderation- If you think there’s a mystery to death then you have the mind of a 3rd grader (which is why it’s so easy for immoral charlatans, usually their parents, to brainwash them into religious belief). There’s absolutely no mystery. The heart stops pumping, blood stops flowing, the brain and all other organs cease functioning. The lights go off and that’s it. That’s what the evidence says. If you believe otherwise then you’re just wishing there was something else because you’re scared to not be here any more and you’re delusional, “believing” in something you know isn’t true- an eternal afterlife with a magical primate up in a cloud somewhere. Conquer your fears and delusions and accept reality. Your life will be more meaningful if it’s not based on fiction.

Good Mother

December 29th, 2011
9:29 am

It doesn’t matter what religion we all believe in or even if we have a religion at all.

What matters is that we must be free to practice our own religion while still following the laws of the United States of America.

In other words, we are free to be Mormons but it is illegal to have more than one wife (at least not at the same time, meaning, you can be Newt Gingrich and have many wives, just not be legally married to them all at the same time. You are however allowed to have sex with as many congressional aides as you want while being married to your legal wife, even though she is dying of cancer while you serve her divorce papers….)

bteacher99

December 29th, 2011
9:40 am

The entire class had to write an essay on the origins of Christmas? How horrible! It’s only celebrated by a significant portion of the people living in the southern United States, associated with a variety of customs around the world, and even includes the oft-in-the-news Turkey as source of the original St. Nick.

It IS possible that the teacher simply was skeptical of the boy’s reason for being absent. Did he miss a test or get extra time to complete a major project? Did the parents remember to contact the school in advance of the holiday (as is policy in most districts)? The mom was within her rights to keep the boy home from school, and she was within her rights to request an alternate assignment for her son. My guess is that she did neither and drew much more attention to herself and her son than is deserved.

For those who will try to claim “separation of church and state”, do two things. 1) Read the 1st Amendment, then read it again. Those words have nothing to do with the phrase Jefferson wrote in his letter. SCOTUS overstepped its Constitutional bounds. 2) Look at the National History Standards to see all the different types of religious history and background that is included in the suggested “need to know” content for our students.

Just because you don’t want to learn something or acknowledge its existence doesn’t mean that you are to be free from ever being exposed to its presence.

Misty Fyed

December 29th, 2011
9:53 am

This is a great argument for school vouchers. If you want to teach your kids that God doesn’t exist;t hat worshiping rocks and snakes or whatever is better because YOU FEEL it is; you have the freedom to do so. If you chose to disregard the fulfilled prophecies of the “Abrahamic” religion; the consistencies of the scriptures written by different authors over hundreds of years, you have the freedom to do so. But Christians aren’t going away. Hate and scoff all you want.

And using the title “Prof” as a moniker doesn’t make you right. Before claiming the founding fathers weren’t Christian, you should read their own autobiographies. For not being Christian, they sure went to Christian church a lot.

John K

December 29th, 2011
10:02 am

Wait, are you saying vouchers should be used for people who don’t want Christianity preached in public schools?

Brett

December 29th, 2011
10:19 am

Funny, the teacher says paganism isn’t a religion and then tells the class to write about how Christmas started. I wonder how red faced she would be if she knew the FACT that Christmas was invented to coincide with the PAGAN holiday Sol. Christmas wasn’t invented to celebrate the birth of Jesus, it was invented to bring pagans and wiccans to Christianity. So when you Christians celebrate Christmas you too are celebrating a holiday of pagan origins. Don’t believe me? Look it up for yourself.

Archie@Arkham Asylum

December 29th, 2011
10:41 am

@Brett: I believe you are quite correct! Christianity actually has quite a bit of pagan DNA!

Kimberlee

December 29th, 2011
10:41 am

I love the irony of “How Christmas Started” as a punishment for Paganism. Delicious.

Progressive Humanist

December 29th, 2011
10:57 am

Misty, while the moniker “prof” doesn’t make the poster correct, the content of the posts was correct. Many of the most influential founding fathers were deists, not Christians. There’s no debate about that among people who know their history. And even those people who identified themselves as Christians back then did not embrace the type of psychotic fundamentalism that is common today. They viewed their religious belief as more of a formality, a social tradition to follow. Religious concepts were viewed more as aphorisms, not as literal interpretations as they often are today. This is why the deists fit in comfortably among the Christians. None of them believed the Christian myths in a literal sense. I guess in that way many Americans have regressed 400 years in their current thinking. (See “Wow” “Ron Burgundy” “Red Herring” etc. above.)

Puddintain

December 29th, 2011
10:59 am

Religion is historically an excuse for killing those who disagree. When in the clutches of Fire, Flood, Tornado or Hurricane, it could be advantageous to remember that it is The Mother who is in charge. In those times it is Her protection that you need to call for not His.