Tag Archives: home-schooling

(Revised:) Mike Huckabee wins the White House!

Repugnican Tea Party douchebag Mike Huckabee announced last night that he isn’t running for president in 2012, but since he’s busy helping to rewrite U.S. history in order to indoctrinate the youngins, hell, he can just write right now that he won the 2012 presidential election and that he was the nation’s Best! President! Ever!

Many others have covered Huckabee’s participation in the selling of really bad cartoons on “American history” for home-schooled kids (such as here and here, and Rachel Maddow has covered it too). The cartoons are so fucking bad that they appear to be parodies by the creators of “South Park,” but oh, they’re not parodies…

The episode that predictably deifies Ronald Reagan (which notes, among other things, that “he worked against Communism in Hollywood” [not that he was a McCarthyite]) has this nice little image:

051211huck.jpg

Yes, that appears to me to be a knife-wielding, menacing mulatto. In the video he apparently commands the good little white kids (who have access to a time machine, but of course as long as we’re still anti-science we’ll never get to that point): “Give me your money!” Subtle!

(If I had written the little video, I might have had the good little white kids retort: “First show us your birth certificate!”)

The Orwellian right-wing attempt to rewrite U.S. history is nothing new. Glenn Beck has the online “Beck University,” and its home page proclaims, “LEARN REAL AMERICAN HISTORY.” (Also on the home page is a link to a nice little video of Glenn titled “Presidents You Should Hate,” because Glenn’s a good little Mormon boy and God wants him to hate and to tell you whom to hate [you have to subscribe to the website to get Glenn’s God-given insight, though…]).

One of “Beck U”’s “professors” — and all of his “professors” appear to be middle-aged to old white men, shockingly — is David Barton, a white wingnut who has thought himself qualified enough to write on rewrite black American history:

I’m thinking that maybe Anita Bryant should write a book on gay and lesbian American history. Perhaps Maggie Gallagher could take some time out of her crusade against marriage between any two consenting adults to be a co-author of the enlightening, setting-the-record-straight (wink wink) historical account.

The radical-right-wing attempt to rewrite U.S. history is chilling, but while I don’t want to underestimate the radical right’s harm to the nation and to the world, I can’t see a day when their “history” ever becomes mainstream. True, our mainstream U.S. history taught to public schoolchildren is whitewashed as it is, more or less teaches our children that the U.S. never can do any wrong (even the many, many episodes of the oppression of minorities are portrayed as just little potholes in the Road to Freedom, you see), but Huckabee’s and Beck’s brand of U.S. “history” is highly unlikely to make it very far outside of its apparent target audience of home-schooling parents.

One child who is home-schooled in wingnuttery is a tragic loss — not only will the successfully brainwashed child be unable to function in a world in which his or her backasswards beliefs are in the minority, but the world will have lost a fully functional human being — but the percentage of parents who would expose their children to stupid white male propaganda thankfully remains small. Most parents want their children to be well-adjusted, functional, productive adults.

Anyway, Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and a former Southern Baptist pastor, has indicated that God doesn’t want him to run for president, but I think that even Huckabee, as off of his rocker as he is, knows that his ilk is a dying breed and that he can’t win the White House. White people who hate non-whites, non-“Christians,” non-heterosexuals and non-Americans and who believe that women should be subservient to men are finding it increasingly difficult to succeed on a national political stage because their numbers are decreasing.

The Internet, too, while it contains a lot of garbage, also has made it increasingly difficult for stupid white men and their supporters to keep the masses ignorant by keeping information unavailable to them. The wingnuts no longer can stem the flow of information as easily as they have in the past.

The wingnuts can put all of the revisionist books and videos out there that they want. I wish them luck in “protecting” their offspring from being exposed to what the saner members of the much larger world believe. This is exactly what they want to do, of course, and thus, home-schooling.

This is, of course, the largest logical weakness of such oppressively closed systems: If the system is so accurate, so true, so right, then why must it shut out the rest of the world? Why must it be so encapsulated?

Anticipating this question from the home-schooled kiddies, apparently, one of Huckabee’s “history” cartoons has one of the kiddie characters declaring (at the triumphant end of a cartoon on World War II): “What we see in here [in their time-machine travels] isn’t always the same as what we read in books or see on TV. So what? We know the truth, and that’s good enough for us!”

Wow. That says so much more than I could continue to say right now.

But I will say good fucking riddance to Mike Huckabee, who never will be president of the United States of America* — except perhaps in his really bad propagandistic cartoons for the kiddies.

*The Associated Press notes:

Ed Rollins, who chaired Huckabee’s 2008 [presidential] campaign and had been talking with fundraisers about a 2012 Huckabee bid, said it would be difficult [for Huckabee] to find another opportunity like this.

“It was all there for him,” Rollins said.

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Most home-schooling is child abuse

Blogger’s note (March 8, 2010): I have added the word “most” to the title of this blog post. I felt that my intent was clear in the body of this post, but apparently the title lacking the word “most” set some people off…

I touched on the topic of child abuse recently in discussing a very apparently brainwashed Mormon teen. Religiously brainwashing children, who are helpless because they depend entirely upon their parents, I asserted, is a form of child abuse.

Home-schooling, too, in most cases is done for the purpose of brainwashing, and therefore in most cases is child abuse.

The Associated Press ran this story on home-schooling (I’m presenting it in full so that I can’t be accused of picking and choosing only portions of it):

Louisville, Ky. – Home-school mom Susan Mule wishes she hadn’t taken a friend’s advice and tried a textbook from a popular Christian publisher for her 10-year-old’s biology lessons.

Mule’s precocious daughter Elizabeth excels at science and has been studying tarantulas since she was 5. But she watched Elizabeth’s excitement turn to confusion when they reached the evolution section of the book from Apologia Educational Ministries, which disputed Charles Darwin’s theory.

“I thought she was going to have a coronary,” Mule said of her daughter, who is now 16 and taking college courses in Houston. “She’s like, ‘This is not true!'”

Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth’s creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children “religious or moral instruction.”

“The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians,” said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their home-school program.”

Those who don’t, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.

Two of the best-selling biology textbooks stack the deck against evolution, said some science educators who reviewed sections of the books at the request of The Associated Press.

“I feel fairly strongly about this. These books are promulgating lies to kids,” said Jerry Coyne, an ecology and evolution professor at the University of Chicago.

The textbook publishers defend their books as well-rounded lessons on evolution and its shortcomings. One of the books doesn’t attempt to mask disdain for Darwin and evolutionary science.

“Those who do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God will find many points in this book puzzling,” says the introduction to Biology: Third Edition from Bob Jones University Press. “This book was not written for them.”

The textbook delivers a religious ultimatum to young readers and parents, warning in its “History of Life” chapter that a “Christian worldview … is the only correct view of reality; anyone who rejects it will not only fail to reach heaven but also fail to see the world as it truly is.”

When the AP asked about that passage, university spokesman Brian Scoles said the sentence made it into the book because of an editing error and will be removed from future editions. [An “editing error”? WTF???]

The size of the business of home-school texts isn’t clear because the textbook industry is fragmented and privately held publishers don’t give out sales numbers. Slatter said home-school material sales reach about $1 billion annually in the U.S.

Publishers are well aware of the market, said Jay Wile, a former chemistry professor in Indianapolis who helped launch the Apologia curriculum in the early 1990s.

“If I’m planning to write a curriculum, and I want to write it in a way that will appeal to home-schoolers, I’m going to at least find out what my demographic is,” Wile said.

In Kentucky, Lexington home-schooler Mia Perry remembers feeling disheartened while flipping through a home-school curriculum catalog and finding so many religious-themed textbooks.

“We’re not religious home-schoolers, and there’s somewhat of a feeling of being outnumbered,” said Perry, who has home-schooled three of her four children after removing her oldest child from a public school because of a health condition.

Perry said she cobbled together her own curriculum after some mainstream publishers told her they would not sell directly to home-schooling parents.

Wendy Womack, another Lexington home-school mother, said the only scientifically credible curriculum she’s found is from the Maryland-based Calvert School, which has been selling study-at-home materials for more than 100 years.

Apologia and Bob Jones University Press say their science books sell well. Apologia’s Exploring Creation biology textbook retails for $65, while Bob Jones’ Biology: Third Edition lists at $52.

Coyne and Virginia Tech biology professor Duncan Porter reviewed excerpts from the Apologia and Bob Jones biology textbooks, which are equivalent to ninth- and 10th-grade biology lessons. Porter said he would give the books an F.

“If this is the way kids are home-schooled then they’re being shortchanged, both rationally and in terms of biology,” Coyne said. He argued that the books may steer students away from careers in biology or the study of the history of the earth.

Wile countered that Coyne “feels compelled to lie in order to prop up a failing hypothesis (evolution). We definitely do not lie to the students. We tell them the facts that people like Dr. Coyne would prefer to cover up.”

Adam Brown’s parents say their 16-year-old son’s belief in the Bible’s creation story isn’t deterring him from pursuing a career in marine biology. His parents, Ken and Polly Brown, taught him at their Cedar Grove, Ind., home using the Apologia curriculum and other science texts.

Polly Brown said her son would gladly take college courses that include evolution, and he’ll be able to provide the expected answers even though he disagrees.

“He probably knows it better than the kids who have been taught evolution all through public school,” Polly Brown said. “But that is in order for him to understand both sides of that argument because he will face it throughout his higher education.”

Where to begin?

It generally is accepted that parents have the responsibility to raise their children in ways that will enable their children to become well-adjusted adults.

How does protecting children from the real world, and teaching them a worldview that only a small portion of the population has adopted (radically fundamentalist “Christianity,” in the case of most home-schooled American children), enable children to become well-adjusted adults?

Does it really serve these children to teach them, explicitly or implicitly, that they are righteous and are God’s chosen and that their non-home-schooled peers, whom they can’t even play with, are going to hell?

Only if these home-schooled children never are exposed to the rest of the world — only if they remain surrounded by the like-minded — can they find something like contentment as adults.

I surmise that there are rather large geographical areas in the nation, such as Utah, where children brainwashed by “Christo”fascist adults actually can live their lives from cradle to grave surrounded by the like-minded, but what if these brainwashed children, as adults, want to live elsewhere in the nation or the world, elsewhere where the worldview is quite different from the one that they were taught?

The best parent raises a child who can be as well-adjusted as possible anywhere.

It’s not just about whether or not a child believes in evolution (although I imagine that an evolution-denier would have a rather hard time succeeding the world of marine biology…).

It’s about reality-based parenting. It’s about teaching children to think and to analyze and to use their intelligence and their reason, not to believe mythology that was written centuries ago, based upon “faith” (which, as I understand it, is the believing of something for which one has absolutely no rational, intelligent basis to believe). It’s about giving children the tools to succeed in the world of today, not the world as it was centuries ago.

Children home-schooled by “Christo”fascist parents are put at a huge disadvantage. Even children who are home-schooled for reasons other than religious indoctrination — children whose home-school curricula aren’t religious-based — are put at a disadvantage because they don’t get the same opportunities to socialize with children who come from different backgrounds as do their non-home-schooled peers.

Freedom of religion and the freedom of parents to raise their children as they see fit (with the exception of obvious, blatant child abuse) are sacrosanct in the United States of America, and to suggest that faith-based home-schooling be banned would be to stoke the paranoia of those who already see a “socialist” (or worse) takeover of the nation.

But I feel for every child who is being home-schooled because his or her parents believe that the world is such a frightening, dangerous, even satanic place that there is no alternative.

It’s one thing for the parents to have a self-imposed tiny universe of ignorance and fear whose borders must never be traversed.

But their children deserve much, much better.

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Tim Tebow nativity story false?

FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2010 photo, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow ...

Associated Press photo

CBS will show football star Tim Tebow’s anti-choice ad paid for by the radical-right group Focus on the Family during the Super Bowl, but reportedly has turned down an ad for a gay men’s dating service. Meanwhile, the circumstances of Tebow’s nativity have been called into question. But the most important question of all still remains: When do we get to see him nekkid???

Shit, with all of the controversy surrounding the impending Tim “I’m Sure Glad That My Mama Didn’t Abort Me!” Tebow anti-choice Super Bowl commercial coming up, Focus on the Family could have saved its $2 million-something for the ad, since we all know the story by now.

But is the story true?

According to Wikipedia,

Tebow was born on August 14, 1987, in Manila in the Philippines to Bob and Pam Tebow, who were serving as Christian missionaries at the time.

While pregnant, Pam suffered a life-threatening infection with a pathogenic ameba. Because of the drugs used to rouse her from a coma and to treat her [amebic] dysentery, the fetus experienced a severe placental abruption. Doctors expected a stillbirth and recommended an abortion to protect her life[, but] she carried Timothy to term and both [of them] survived.

That’s a story to warm a wingnut’s cold, cold heart, but apparently the doctors were trying to prevent Pam Tebow’s death. I don’t think that they were hell bent on snuffing out her unborn child.

However, an interesting twist to the Touching Tebow Birth Story is that, according to an article in AlterNet:

In a series of new interviews, the first of which was given to RadarOnline, high-profile attorney Gloria Allred argues that Pam Tebow’s heartwarming story omits a rather significant detail that renders the whole thing suspicious: namely, the fact that abortion was illegal in the Philippines in 1987.

Indeed, abortion has been illegal in the Philippines since the 1930s, even in cases of rape or incest or if the mother’s health is in danger.

According to Radar:

Allred says she believes it an impossible scenario to believe that Philippine doctors would [have] ever suggested abortion as a viable option for Tebow in the first place.

And when you learn that physicians and midwives who perform abortions in the Philippines face six years in prison, and may have their licenses suspended or revoked, and that women who receive abortions — no matter the reason — may be punished with imprisonment for two to six years, it’s easy to see why.

Stay tuned. Hopefully we will learn soon whether the Tebow Nativity Fable is apocryphal or not.

Hell, I’m surprised that Pam Tebow doesn’t just claim that Little Timmy, God’s Gift to Football If Not to Mankind, was an immaculate conception. You know, she was visited by an angel wearing a golden football helmet or something… 

After all, Wikipedia also notes:

All of the Tebow children were home-schooled by [Pam Tebow], who worked to instill the family’s Christian beliefs along the way. In 1996, legislation was passed in Florida allowing home-schooled students to compete in local high school sporting events.

The rest, of course, is history; now all of that home-schooling will pay off as Tiny Tim delivers a misogynist, anti-choice message to the world.

But seriously, that Tim Tebow was home-schooledwow.

No wonder he wears scriptural references painted on his face like a Jesus-freak drag queen.

I have at least a little bit of sympathy for him now that I didn’t have just hours ago. Given his indoctrinating parents, it appears as though he didn’t have much of a choice except to become a Bible-thumper.

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