The casual assumption of privilege

| 52 Comments

See update at the end of the post

One would think after two years of public hoorah in this county over church/state issues in the Freshwater case that there would be a heightened sensitivity to those issues among employees of Knox County (Ohio) schools. But that’s apparently not the case. A Job Training Coordinator at the Knox County Career Center, a vocational high school, is organizing a prayer group for county educators to meet at the local Nazarene University. That in itself is not problematic; such a group has a perfect right to organize and meet in that venue.

However, the organizer publicized his work telephone number and email address as contact information for people interested in the prayer group. More astounding, he specified that contact should be made during school hours!

For more information contact Cagle during school hours at 397-5820, ext. 3051, or e-mail [Enable javascript to see this email address.].

I know it’s a risk publishing the phone number and email address even though he himself has publicized them. Please don’t call or email Cagle to harass him.

Fortunately, I got a swift response from the Superintendent of the Career Center when I complained about the matter in an email sent last night, saying she intended to deal with it today. I also got a swift response from the President of the Mount Vernon Board of Education, who sits on the Career Center Board, giving me the same assurance. She at least has good reason to know the consequences of messing around with the Establishment Clause.

What was surprising was Cagle’s apparent assumption that it is perfectly OK to use his public school email and phone to organize a sectarian religious event on public school time, “during school hours.” That’s the “casual assumption of privilege” the title of this post refers to. I don’t know Cagle, but I don’t doubt that he’s an OK guy and competent at his job. But what part of “Not on the government’s dime, not on the government’s time” is so hard to understand?

I’m reminded of middle school teacher Dino D’Ettore testifying about giving a “salvation message” to students at the middle school, and of Lori Miller testifying about praying over students in the school, neither of them apparently having any idea of the inappropriateness of that behavior. There’s a real deep pool of ignorance of (or disregard for) the Constitution here.

Update

While I don’t see it on the Mount Vernon News web site, corrected contact information for Cagle at his personal phone and email was published in todays print edition.

52 Comments

I think you could make the same point if you X-out the phone number and email address. Even though he published it, he did not publish it in this context. I assume you really don’t want any Pandas Thumb readers to use this contact information, so there is no need to print it here.

I’m going to leave it. It’s in a newspaper story on the web, and has already been copied in a comment on another post. It’s out there, and I hope adult behavior will be displayed.

By the way, given that a majority of Americans seem to think the president made a controversial statement when he reaffirmed some obvious implications of the first amendment, is there really anything to be surprised about anymore?

Seems borderline to me. Our university allows us to take phone calls (say) from family about what to buy at the supermarket on the way home. This is not considered a misuse of the office phone. If you gave out your university email address as the contact email for (say) a political gathering you were organizing, would that be unethical?

On the other hand the rules get crazy. Forgetting and keeping a work-issued ball point pen in your pocket, and using it to sign a check at the supermarket is a major crime.

This is just incredibly disappointing. Despite all that community has been through, it seems like certain people are determined not to learn the appropriate lessons.

As for redacting the email address and phone number, they’re official numbers, not private numbers. Redacting them legitimizes the casual, privileged ownership Cagle assumes he has over public resources. I say let them stand as a shameful testament to his unethical behavior.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Seems borderline to me. Our university allows us to take phone calls (say) from family about what to buy at the supermarket on the way home. This is not considered a misuse of the office phone. If you gave out your university email address as the contact email for (say) a political gathering you were organizing, would that be unethical?

On the other hand the rules get crazy. Forgetting and keeping a work-issued ball point pen in your pocket, and using it to sign a check at the supermarket is a major crime.

None of those are analogous to using public school resources on public school time by a public school employee to organize a sectarian religious event. The issue is not merely misappropriating an employer’s resources, it’s the Constitutional problem with a government employee using government resources and time to promote a sectarian religious event.

Joe Felsenstein said: If you gave out your university email address as the contact email for (say) a political gathering you were organizing, would that be unethical?

Are you a professor or employee of the university? Yes! That’s grossly unprofessional. Anyone who sees that address could assume an official endorsement or affiliation. Anyone you have power over in a secular/non-political capacity is going to worry about reflecting opinions that differ from yours.

Signing up for a gmail account isn’t that hard, people!

I don’t see this as a failure to learn an obvious lesson. I see this as business as usual, and if you challenged Cagle or anyone like him to find something wrong with anything he’s done lately, without giving him any clues, he simply couldn’t do it. To him, he’s done nothing wrong.

And if I’m reading between the lines correctly, there’s either a majority or a sizeable minority who couldn’t for the life of them understand what Freshwater may have done wrong, and regard the proceedings as like being struck by lightning - just someone in the wrong place at the wrong time when the anti-god fanatics decided to punish some innocent Christian arbitrarily and perhaps viciously. Which is what godless people do, isn’t it?

Being able to LIVE your religion isn’t a “privilege”, it’s an emotional and intellectual requirement. Doing so isn’t “casual assumption”, it’s being a Good American, being normal, being a usefully active member of a godly community. Probably they see the schools as existing to promote Jesus as much as the godless meddling outsiders permit.

Sounds awfully similar to another case that’s been in the news recently.

Only this time, the boot is on the other cheek. Or something.

Flint said:

Being able to LIVE your religion isn’t a “privilege”, it’s an emotional and intellectual requirement. Doing so isn’t “casual assumption”, it’s being a Good American, being normal, being a usefully active member of a godly community. Probably they see the schools as existing to promote Jesus as much as the godless meddling outsiders permit.

Just ask Glenn Beck.

The Founding Mothers said:

Sounds awfully similar to another case that’s been in the news recently.

Only this time, the boot is on the other cheek. Or something.

It’s only similar if you think evolution is a religion.

To anyone who is defending this man, just insert “pagan orgy” for prayer circle. Using school resources to practice/promote religion is using school resources to practice/promote religion, whether it’s one you agree with or not.

Looks like the Mount Vernon News has taken their story down - the link is broken, and searching their site for “cagle” only returns an old photo…

Flint said:

Probably they see the schools as existing to promote Jesus as much as the godless meddling outsiders permit.

I suspect it is the incessant demonizing of everyone else that these sectarians hear from their leaders at least twice per week. You find it constantly over on AiG, at the ICR, and from the pulpits on the fundamentalist religion channels on TV. You can see it in the grousing self-pity over at the Discovery Institute and on Unimaginable Density.

They assert that everybody else, especially those in the schools, are working for Satan; and the US government is sponsoring the religion of atheistic secular humanism while sending children to Hell with evolution. They constantly refer to Columbine High School, teenage depression, and nihilism being the result of the teaching of evolution.

These fundamentalist prayer gigs are simply another way to put on the war paint, pump themselves up, and convince themselves that their unprovoked attacks on secular society are legitimate. They apparently believe they are wading into Satan’s camp at the beginning of every school year.

Freedom of religion to them means freedom to destroy the freedoms of everyone else. And everyone else becomes a legitimate target if they can be painted as subscribing to and pushing false religious doctrines.

In other words, they will invent any rationalization that comes to their minds in order to attack and proselytize others.

These patterns of fundamentalist rationalization never seem to change.

burk said:

Looks like the Mount Vernon News has taken their story down - the link is broken, and searching their site for “cagle” only returns an old photo…

My mistake - the PT link is messed up, but the story remains on the MVN site at

http://www.mountvernonnews.com/loca[…]or-educators

Not sure why it isn’t searchable from their own site…

burk said:

Looks like the Mount Vernon News has taken their story down - the link is broken, and searching their site for “cagle” only returns an old photo…

The link still works, it’s just double tagged in reference.

Here’s the workable link http://www.mountvernonnews.com/loca[…]or-educators

Rhacodactylus said:

To anyone who is defending this man, just insert “pagan orgy” for prayer circle.

If that were the case I’d very much insist that his phone number not be published. The poor guy’s phone would be ringing off of the hook.

These patterns of fundamentalist rationalization never seem to change.

Well, I simply do not see them the same way you do. They are living their faith, for the most part peacefully and nonconfrontationally, every day. Yes, from time to time it’s necessary to defend God’s Rightfulness against what can only be seen as outside attacks, but most of the time the outsiders are not attacking and everything is normal.

So they go to church not to be told how or what to think, but because that’s what you DO as a Christian, it’s what everyone does, it’s part of being a member of the Righteous, it’s taken for granted. You start prayer meetings and sectarian groups and activities because this is what Christian Zeal requires of you, and it’s only right and proper. You do this from where you work because that’s where you’re easiest to reach. Any right thinking person would do the same because it’s so self-evidently practical.

The notion that government should not be promoting one particular religion is, I suspect, not considered relevant. They are not living a religion the way the First Amendment means, they are living life as God intended, a process that has really nothing to do with religion, but rather with Absolute Truth.

Nor are they “attacking secular society”. They see themselves as doing what everyone should be doing. If they saw their beliefs as a religion the Constitution prohibits government from promoting, they’d simply regard the Constitution as wrong or misunderstood. After all, this country was (in their eyes) founded BY Christians, FOR Christians, according to Christian principles. A status which they see as being under constant attack.

So I don’t see them as evil, or out to destroy anything but what they consider evil (and shouldn’t we all be doing that?). You are trying to figure out why sane people would act this way, and I think you need to understand that these people are deeply, profoundly, incorrigibly insane. If you could only grant them half a dozen or so batshit axioms so deeply assumed they’re beyond any consideration, then everything else follows pretty logically without the need to project nefarious motivations at them.

Rhacodactylus said:

To anyone who is defending this man, just insert “pagan orgy” for prayer circle.…

Heck, just swap “Koranic study” for “prayer circle” and let’s see how the good people of Knox county respond…

David said: The link still works, it’s just double tagged in reference.

Here’s the workable link http://www.mountvernonnews.com/loca[…]or-educators

Ouch. Sorry. Fixed.

stevaroni said:

Rhacodactylus said:

To anyone who is defending this man, just insert “pagan orgy” for prayer circle.…

Heck, just swap “Koranic study” for “prayer circle” and let’s see how the good people of Knox county respond…

Or if he were trying to set up a community center!

Joe Felsenstein said:

Seems borderline to me. Our university allows us to take phone calls (say) from family about what to buy at the supermarket on the way home. This is not considered a misuse of the office phone. If you gave out your university email address as the contact email for (say) a political gathering you were organizing, would that be unethical?

On the other hand the rules get crazy. Forgetting and keeping a work-issued ball point pen in your pocket, and using it to sign a check at the supermarket is a major crime.

I’ve never worked at a place where I’d be allowed to organize anything non-work related during working hours. Not that there is never spill over, or that you couldn’t work on those projects on breaks and lunches, but you sure as hell couldn’t put your work phone number or email as the prime contact. That would just be asking to be interrupted at your job for issues unrelated to your work. Use your own phone and email as the prime contact and check and respond to those messages during your breaks and lunches. If you’re worried about being spammed, what makes you think your boss will appreciate it?

And that pen issue is like taking personal calls on the clock, you’re not going to get docked for it if its kept at a minimum, but they will come after you if your being excessive in your behavior: a call or two a day no problem, but 15 minute conversations every hour? Well, you obviously need to spend more time with your family, there’s the door. And where the line is between the door and ‘no problem’ is a gray area, that is determined by your employer.

Correction published

While I don’t see it on the web site of the Mount Vernon News, I’m told now that corrected contact information for Cagle was published today.

Flint said:

Well, I simply do not see them the same way you do. They are living their faith, for the most part peacefully and nonconfrontationally, every day. Yes, from time to time it’s necessary to defend God’s Rightfulness against what can only be seen as outside attacks, but most of the time the outsiders are not attacking and everything is normal.

No doubt most fundamentalists just try to live their religion within their own communities. That’s fine. Many people find their religious communities a place of support and centering for their lives.

Around my part of the country, we have these fundamentalist militia-like groups who feel they are constantly under siege. You may have heard about them in the news when they planned to lure a police officer to a scene and kill him. These people frequently frame their activities as righteousness in the name of God and country.

I also have in my files letters written to the editor of our local newspaper decrying exactly the things I mentioned and more. And we have had a local politician who, when he was in the State House of Representatives, frequently sponsored and cosponsored bills to get creationism into the schools. I’ve met the man. He goes to one of the churches that have a history of connecting up with the likes of Ken Ham. Duane Gish also started his campaign against evolution here. One of the people he harassed was a good friend of mine. His former church is still in this community.

So they are here and they are active behind the scenes. They come out of hiding when they feel the political atmosphere is in their favor. Thus they were quite active during the 8 years of the Bush/Cheney administration.

From what I can gather lately, they are keeping out of sight and smoldering.

The more I hear of these people, the happier I am that it is not my daughter’s school district (even though we’re a lot closer to AIG then is Mt. Vernon [Lakota]).

It does give me what is likely a healthy state of paranoia and I am watching her Advanced Science (7th & 8th Grade in one year) class like a hawk! I’ll echo others by thanking you for all you’ve done to turn the light on the actions in Mt Vernon.

dpr

From what I can gather lately, they are keeping out of sight and smoldering.

But I do not think you are describing Cagle or Freshwater or those like them, who clearly have constituted a sizeable proportion of the Mount Vernon citizens, teachers, school administrators, and generally folks on the street.

I guess I’m trying to distinguish the mindset of the radical activists you describe, from that of the normally devout churchgoers who form the large majority of the community. I don’t see Cagle as a radical activist, only as someone organizing yet another social get-together.

John Harshman said:

The Founding Mothers said:

Sounds awfully similar to another case that’s been in the news recently.

Only this time, the boot is on the other cheek. Or something.

It’s only similar if you think evolution is a religion.

John, I obviously didn’t make my point clearly enough for you. IIRC, Chris Cromer was (effectively) fired for using a Texas Education Authority e-mail address to “promote” a guest lecture on the tactics creationists use to advance their pseudo-pscience.

The particular law suit Cromer brought for unfair dismissal was ill-conceived, as it was based on the the Establishment Clause. She didn’t really have a hope of winning that one, given her circumstances. The TEA have a policy of neutrality for employees on matters of evolution/creationism, Cromer apparently wasn’t being neutral by promoting the lecture.

Now, if Ohio had a similar neutrality policy (or a policy, say, of enforcing the separation of church and state), it strikes me that Cagle would fall foul of it, for promoting such a religious meeting with state owned communication media. If someone actually brought the right kind of suit against him/her (Chrisitian’s usually a guy’s name, but in this case, it could be a religious title…), it’s hard to see how it would fail.

Flint said:

I guess I’m trying to distinguish the mindset of the radical activists you describe, from that of the normally devout churchgoers who form the large majority of the community. I don’t see Cagle as a radical activist, only as someone organizing yet another social get-together.

I’ve lived in a number of different communities over the years. A couple of those communities were quite progressive; and you would rarely hear of the kinds of things we saw in Dover, Mt. Vernon, or in the community in which I now live.

In some communities there seems to be a sort of “spinelessness” among the local churches in standing up to this type of fundamentalist radicalism. Gish is well-remembered around here, but still one doesn’t hear local churches taking a firm stand against that kind of stuff. And the effects of his campaign lingers on in the trepidation with which biology teachers approach (or simply don’t get to) evolution. There are a lot of the “reformed” type churches here.

In those other more progressive communities, evolution was taught, no question.

The Founding Mothers said:

John Harshman said:

The Founding Mothers said:

Sounds awfully similar to another case that’s been in the news recently.

Only this time, the boot is on the other cheek. Or something.

It’s only similar if you think evolution is a religion.

Chris Cromer was (effectively) fired for using a Texas Education Authority e-mail address to “promote” a guest lecture on the tactics creationists use to advance their pseudo-pscience .… The TEA have a policy of neutrality for employees on matters of evolution/creationism, Cromer apparently wasn’t being neutral by promoting the lecture.

She was a science educator, in charge of a statewide science curriculum, writing about lecture involving science education standards.

And the TEA didn’t seem to have much of a “neutrality” policy till they had to make one up to address the Comer situation.

After all, what would such a policy possible say, that a science director, whose job it is to promote science education had to remain neutral when bad science was introduced to the classroom?

In my humble opinion, Comer blew it. She should have just shrugged her shoulders, refused to sign anything and said “so fire me”.

Now that would have been a case to make Freshwater look like amateur night.

Er.. I mean, to make it look more like amateur night.

I don’t mind the religion so much, but they’re promoting free bagels and coffee too. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

386sx said:

I don’t mind the religion so much, but they’re promoting free bagels and coffee too. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I thought about remarking on the ethnic symbolism of the bagels in the OP. :)

To confirm, yes, RBH it is in Monday’s print edition. The correction lists a telephone number and hotmail address. It doesn’t say anything about being contacted during school hours.

Doubtless, part of this latest bit of “behavior” is due to fact that there have been no consequences yet to Freshwater’s actions (at least nothing they “they” construe as such).

I thinking though that they might end up running afoul of the “doing the same thing and expecting different results” definition of “insanity”.

dpr

D. P. Robin said:

Doubtless, part of this latest bit of “behavior” is due to fact that there have been no consequences yet to Freshwater’s actions (at least nothing they “they” construe as such).

I thinking though that they might end up running afoul of the “doing the same thing and expecting different results” definition of “insanity”.

dpr

That’s probably a little overly extreme. Sure he’s indulging in some demagoging and trying to gather some flocks together so he can be in charge of them and whatnot. And he probably thinks the rapture is upon us if he’s of the fundier persuasion of the Nazarene sect. All of the Nazarenes I know have been told for decades (at least) that the rapture is “any day now soon”.® If you want to cal that insanity then go right ahead, but don’t expect any of Mr. Cagle’s free bagels™. That’s entirely up to you.

Anytime an email address is posted online it becomes a target for harvesting by spammers. That’s guaranteed.

A happy hour meeting would be more fun.

386sx said:

D. P. Robin said:

Doubtless, part of this latest bit of “behavior” is due to fact that there have been no consequences yet to Freshwater’s actions (at least nothing they “they” construe as such).

I thinking though that they might end up running afoul of the “doing the same thing and expecting different results” definition of “insanity”.

dpr

That’s probably a little overly extreme. Sure he’s indulging in some demagoging and trying to gather some flocks together so he can be in charge of them and whatnot. And he probably thinks the rapture is upon us if he’s of the fundier persuasion of the Nazarene sect. All of the Nazarenes I know have been told for decades (at least) that the rapture is “any day now soon”.® If you want to cal that insanity then go right ahead, but don’t expect any of Mr. Cagle’s free bagels™. That’s entirely up to you.

And I should want Nazarene bagels???

dpr

Just Bob said:

Flint said:

Being able to LIVE your religion isn’t a “privilege”, it’s an emotional and intellectual requirement. Doing so isn’t “casual assumption”, it’s being a Good American…

Just ask Glenn Beck.

Having somebody associated with F-word News promoting honesty and integrity just proves how delusional the christofascists are.

The Founding Mothers said:

Sounds awfully similar to another case that’s been in the news recently.

Only this time, the boot is on the other cheek. Or something.

Is there any doubt whatsoever that if Chris Comer had organized a prayer group for county educators to meet at the local religious university and advertised it by email that she would not have been fired?

Flint said: So I don’t see them as evil, or out to destroy anything but what they consider evil (and shouldn’t we all be doing that?). You are trying to figure out why sane people would act this way, and I think you need to understand that these people are deeply, profoundly, incorrigibly insane.

I see them as evil. “They” (or at least some of “them”) want to convert, deport or kill everyone who is not a member of their narrow fundamentalist batshit insane death cult, overthrow the Constitution and rule America with their version of Old Testament-inspired / Taliban-like / sharia-like “law.” And no, I am not exaggerating - look at Rushdoony or other Christian Reconstructionists.

Paul Burnett said:

I see them as evil. “They” (or at least some of “them”) want to convert, deport or kill everyone who is not a member of their narrow fundamentalist batshit insane death cult, overthrow the Constitution and rule America with their version of Old Testament-inspired / Taliban-like / sharia-like “law.” And no, I am not exaggerating - look at Rushdoony or other Christian Reconstructionists.

I think Flint is simply pointing out that the vast numbers of religious people in most communities are simply going about the business of trying to hold to their religious tenets.

I think that is true. But I also think that communities have sectarian profiles that are related to the history of the community. Some of those communities began with large influxes of people who gravitated toward some rather rigid, authoritarian Christian denominations; in particular, some pretty strict Calvinistic versions.

The people in these communities are well-established in the community, own businesses and are quite wealthy. They are politically active. Their descendants and relatives are all part of the influential business and political core of the community. They do the hiring in the schools; they sit on the school boards.

They tend to be suspicious of the federal government; they don’t particularly care for that part of the constitution that restricts their sectarian activities within secular and government agencies. They don’t like federal regulations; it interferes with their authoritarian roles in the community.

So when you have a community with that kind of conservative, authoritarian core, those more meddlesome Reformed offshoots don’t get the kinds challenges from the entire community as they would in communities with historically more moderate churches whose members are more knowledgeable about constitutional issues and who have been historically more oriented toward social issues and who see their communities in a more global context.

The region of the country I live in has strong Calvinist roots and many, many splintered-off reformed churches.

I’m surprised the school district’s insurance company hasn’t required them to institute a training program on US constitutional law. At least the First Amendment, separation of church and state.

It’s going to ultimately cost the insurance company in payouts when all these cases are settled. They will probably raise the insurance rates of the school district. If they don’t they are foolish.

My school district had these troubles decades ago. They now have a strict no religious displays sponsored by the school rule. They don’t even allow holiday trees which are legal and which I don’t have a problem with. Nothing says Xmas as well as a Pagan symbol.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Seems borderline to me. Our university allows us to take phone calls (say) from family about what to buy at the supermarket on the way home.

Joe, You have totally missed to point. Cagle is using government property, and their tax supported time to organize and promote a religious/political activity. People go to jail for that.

raven said:

I’m surprised the school district’s insurance company hasn’t required them to institute a training program on US constitutional law. At least the First Amendment, separation of church and state.

AS part of their settlement with the City School district the Dennises specified that workshops on religion in the schools be given to teachers and staff. I don’t know what provision (if any) the Career Center has made in that respect.

But don’t forget that Freshwater actually took a course on “Religion in the Schools” at the Mt. Vernon Nazarene University where his instructor was good old “Coach” Daubenmire. Talk about foxes in henhouses!

Paul Burnett said:

Just Bob said:

Flint said:

Being able to LIVE your religion isn’t a “privilege”, it’s an emotional and intellectual requirement. Doing so isn’t “casual assumption”, it’s being a Good American…

Just ask Glenn Beck.

Having somebody associated with F-word News promoting honesty and integrity just proves how delusional the christofascists are.

By the way and totally OT, how did Beck’s appropriation of 8.28 go down?

stevaroni said:

She was a science educator, in charge of a statewide science curriculum, writing about lecture involving science education standards.

And the TEA didn’t seem to have much of a “neutrality” policy till they had to make one up to address the Comer situation.

After all, what would such a policy possible say, that a science director, whose job it is to promote science education had to remain neutral when bad science was introduced to the classroom?

In my humble opinion, Comer blew it. She should have just shrugged her shoulders, refused to sign anything and said “so fire me”.

Now that would have been a case to make Freshwater look like amateur night.

Er.. I mean, to make it look more like amateur night.

I completely agree, stevaroni. Bad personal decisions, bad legal advice? I don’t know the exact details of her situation. But it’s easy to suppose that a little more competence along the way could have exposed the TEA Party policy as the ridiculous sham that it is.

Paul Burnett said: Is there any doubt whatsoever that if Chris Comer had organized a prayer group for county educators to meet at the local religious university and advertised it by email that she would not have been fired?

Well, if Cagle hadn’t changed the contact details so quickly, we might have had a chance to put that sort of speculation to the test ;)

I like to frequently re-read Randall Balmer’s excellent essay “Jesus is not a Republican” He talks at great length about how the right-wing evangelical movement has completely subsumed the progressive/liberal wing of evangelicism. He points to the major Xian radio broadcasters, and how they’ve shunned, banned, and silenced any pastor who doesn’t tow the neocon line. Fascinating stuff. The dominionists have hijacked mainstream American evangelicals.

And someone new to the comm

Mike Elzinga said:

Paul Burnett said:

I see them as evil. “They” (or at least some of “them”) want to convert, deport or kill everyone who is not a member of their narrow fundamentalist batshit insane death cult, overthrow the Constitution and rule America with their version of Old Testament-inspired / Taliban-like / sharia-like “law.” And no, I am not exaggerating - look at Rushdoony or other Christian Reconstructionists.

I think Flint is simply pointing out that the vast numbers of religious people in most communities are simply going about the business of trying to hold to their religious tenets.

I think that is true. But I also think that communities have sectarian profiles that are related to the history of the community. Some of those communities began with large influxes of people who gravitated toward some rather rigid, authoritarian Christian denominations; in particular, some pretty strict Calvinistic versions.

The people in these communities are well-established in the community, own businesses and are quite wealthy. They are politically active. Their descendants and relatives are all part of the influential business and political core of the community. They do the hiring in the schools; they sit on the school boards.

They tend to be suspicious of the federal government; they don’t particularly care for that part of the constitution that restricts their sectarian activities within secular and government agencies. They don’t like federal regulations; it interferes with their authoritarian roles in the community.

So when you have a community with that kind of conservative, authoritarian core, those more meddlesome Reformed offshoots don’t get the kinds challenges from the entire community as they would in communities with historically more moderate churches whose members are more knowledgeable about constitutional issues and who have been historically more oriented toward social issues and who see their communities in a more global context.

The region of the country I live in has strong Calvinist roots and many, many splintered-off reformed churches.

Someone new to the community should have the same rights as an “established” member of the community. The “good old boy” networks of many small communities are exactly what is wrong here. They think they get to make the laws and govern how they wish. with disregard to others thoughts, ideas and rights.

The school system responded quickly and efficiently to a complaint, taking appropriate action. Some posters have suggested training courses and that’s a good idea too, but training isn’t going to stop all bad behavior. What else would we have them do? Pre-moniter everyone’s emails?

This is the way large organizations work - you can’t expect them to prevent every single instance of bad behavior, they’d have to create a police-state-like corporation to do that. IMO what they did is exactly what we should be driving for: swift, appropriate response.

I don’t know if it’s kosher to copy comments to a news article but here are all three of the comments attached to the “Prayer Group Started For Educators” article in the Mount Vernon news: “Yay! Another opportunity to display how ignorant Christians are. Thanks!” “Hey everybody get in line behind the school board to stamp THIS out.” “Here we go again! Another Freshwater breeding pool…your fine tax dollars at work, folks!”

Although this is hardly a scientific poll, it shows what I have been seeing in the last two years. Many people in Mount Vernon have gone from supporting Freshwater who they believed to be a good man and favorite teacher and taherefore should be allowed to keep his Bible on his desk, to recognising Freshwater as a religious nut who cost the community a lot of money.

Mike Balmer:

He talks at great length about how the right-wing evangelical movement has completely subsumed the progressive/liberal wing of evangelicism. He points to the major Xian radio broadcasters, and how they’ve shunned, banned, and silenced any pastor who doesn’t tow the neocon line.

Interesting. We don’t have many fundies out here and they are outnumbered by New Age Pagans so I never paid much attention until the creationists started their War on Science, which targeted among others, myself.

I’ve since noticed that there are occasional wars and power struggles among the fundies. The losers, usually progressives get purged. Since they don’t have their own gulags (there is a Mormon gulag system but it is only for children), so that is about the end of it.

The Nazarenes have had their wars and Dr. Richard Colling was eventually forced out. For evoutionism, a favorite target for purges are people who accept evolution and teach at their universities.

The Southern Baptists were taken over by right wing extremists who purged anyone left of Ghengis Khan. The Seventh Day’s have an ongoing crusade. The xian reformeds recently fired a prominent theologian for claiming that xianity and science are compatible. Pretty silly, if they aren’t, science isn’t going to disappear.

I’ve always thought it was a mistake to link religion and politics. Anyone who doesn’t share right wingnut politics will end up leaving eventually. In fact, even the Southern Baptists are slowly declining over the last decade and their own projections show them being cut in half in a few decades. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Joe Felsenstein said:

Seems borderline to me. Our university allows us to take phone calls (say) from family about what to buy at the supermarket on the way home. This is not considered a misuse of the office phone. If you gave out your university email address as the contact email for (say) a political gathering you were organizing, would that be unethical?

On the other hand the rules get crazy. Forgetting and keeping a work-issued ball point pen in your pocket, and using it to sign a check at the supermarket is a major crime.

First, your post was just plain dumb. The first Amendment doesn’t apply to my wife telling me to buy some fruit for her lunches or to let me know she’s going to be late from work.

It does, however, apply to her using her email for a specifically religious activity.

I’d suggest Rhetoric for Dummies and The Constitution for Dummies. Between the two, you might get a clue that there is only a limited wall, and it applies to the flow of one of man’s most destructive delusions – religion.

raven said:

I’ve always thought it was a mistake to link religion and politics. Anyone who doesn’t share right wingnut politics will end up leaving eventually. In fact, even the Southern Baptists are slowly declining over the last decade and their own projections show them being cut in half in a few decades. As you sow, so shall you reap.

I’m a former Southern Baptist. I’d think any denomination founded because of the controversy over slavery has no business getting into politics over a century after slavery was abolished. Oddly enough, that’s not mentioned on its official website:

http://www.sbc.net/aboutus/default.asp

Like the Roman Catholic Church and many other religious groups, the Southern Baptists will count you as a member as long as you do not officially withdraw. One of the things that makes the Unitarian Universalist Assocation more credible is that they will remove members due to inactivity after a couple of years, since churches must donate to the central organization based on how many members they have. Thus they are not motivated to overestimate their membership, lest they end up donating more to the UUA than they are supposed to.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on August 30, 2010 1:41 PM.

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