First, let’s define a couple things that every educated, thoughtful human being should be able to agree on.

There is a difference between SECULAR education (Academics) and RELIGIOUS education (Indoctrination).

Snake OilIn the case of the latter, we have a lesson that goes something like this:

“True believers know and accept that Betty Croker did, in five days, create the Great Sky Cake. The GSC is the most wonderful and delicious cake ever and you could eat forever and never be full or fat and all the secrets of the world will come known to you and you will be at peace. But the Space Gods TOOK the sky cake because some bad people ate with their hands and they did double-dip that shit. Now, in order to have the GSC you must live your whole life without eating other cakes. And you must cover yourself in frosting on every third Wednesday to symbolize Saint Croker’s Divine Confection. Also, you must not kill people. Or steal their shit. Unless they claim to have the sky cake or know the secret recipe and THEN the Space Gods are all about letting you blow that shit up. BUT, you better watch your ass or you won’t get GSC in heaven.*”

In the case of the former, you have a lesson that goes something like this:

“In 1968, a woman by the name of Betty Croker created a baked confection that some found so impressive that it became the central symbol of a religious movement known as THE GREAT SKY CAKE. Over the years, several high-profile clerics have converted celebrities and politicians to the promise of eternal Sky Cake at the feet of the Sky Gods who, they believe, took the GSC to save humanity from its own shortcomings and teach them to be better people. The followers of the GSC believe in many of the same things as other organized faiths. They abstain from consuming baked goods and wear a special symbol made of “Croker’s Frosting” to symbolize the creation of the GSC in 1968. There are 12 known temples around the world representing 400 members.”

You will often see one of these dressing up as the other – usually a religious description “factifying up” itself to sound scholarly. Secular education is Agnostic.

Now, if you believe in the Great Sky Cake or Odin or Cthulhu or the Awesome Noodled One, that’s GREAT! Super! BUT, there is a DISTINCT DIFFERENCE between teaching someone about the other people who live in the same world we do and preaching to them.

And there’s the problem. We see the use of certain words in certain environment and add the illusion of conspiracy. Or hypocrisy. OMG, we can’t pray in school so therefore we must not learn history, civics, or social studies.

What? No. Shut up. That’s wrong.

World Cultures is to Church what … jesus, that’s a tough one. There really is not comparison, is there? One is a study of cultures and ideas and the other is a place to get your God on.

So in this depth of ignorant knee-jerking stupitude, WHO is being indoctrinated in this story? Who is being forced to pray to any god, false or otherwise? Show me – DO NOT JUST IMPLY – where Christianity is not part of the offending curriculum.

I’ll wait. There’s a big box down below. The article doesn’t like facts. It likes the sweet taste of your anger. You’ll have to dig a little deeper for Knowledge(tm).

See, Sun Tzu was a pretty smart guy. He wasn’t a religious type, unless war is your religion and Death is your god. Sun Tzu’s approach toward conflict was very sound. This is why it confuses me that people who wear their fear, hate, or disrespect for Islam on their sleeve don’t DEMAND to know every last secret about Islam. Certainly, as Sun Tzu says, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

So. This attitude of not learning Middle Eastern culture (including a very, very, very superficial bit about Islam) is ignorant and fearful. Worse, it shows our enemies our weakness. Even if your ultimate, black-hearted goal is eradicating it from the Earth, your first and paramount goal is to UNDERSTAND it.

On the other hand, if your goal is to reach some kind of civil understanding and accept that we’re all going to be room mates on this rock for another million years, you STILL NEED TO UNDERSTAND IT.

And NO, Slappy. “Understanding” isn’t just what you’ve been fed and are comfortable believing. Understanding isn’t up to your personal choice. It’s usually way outside your comfort zone, but within your reach.

Opting out of understanding puts you in the Stupid Box. The Stupid Box is for people history will leave behind and laugh at. The Stupid Box is for the idiots who refuse to see people as people first and cling to cartoon ISMs. The Stupid Box holds people whose future generations renounce their last names because of their crimes.

Yes, there are murderous bastards out there who need to be handed a giant military fuck over. But the problem is that there are way too many of us who cannot or cannot be bothered to distinguish between the ones who NEED to be dealt with and the vast majority who would just like it very much if they could have food, clean water, a place to build and an even chance of raising their children to adulthood in relative peace. THAT’S IT. XBOX ONE ISN’T EVEN ON THAT LIST!

When a parent actively refuses to distinguish between secular academics and religious indoctrination, that’s bad for the future.

That’s one more meatball reactionist who’s going to froth up every time he’s shown a picture of a dark-skinned President posed like a donkey over a “news” story that doesn’t even involve him! One more meatball that’s going to read five paragraphs of exasperated “here we go again into that living hell of liberalism” nonsense to raise a mad-on over the bullshit claims made in the rest of the article.

Ignorance is a curable condition. Willful ignorance is disgusting. It nests hate and fear of the kind that burns nations when tied to charismatic leaders.

My kids read about the 10 Commandments in school. I had no problem with that. They learned about different Christian denominations. They learned about Hinduism, Islam, Judaism. Did it make them experts? No. Did it convert them? Hell, no. A public school history teacher is not a unit chaplain and does not offer a wide range of religious services.

I get it. Religion is about supplying answers to the unanswerable and explaining pain that comes without reason or end. It has a purpose and that purpose is noble. Striving to expand our knowledge of the world to bridge our understanding from the here and now to the infinite is already a long, tough journey. We don’t need idiots sitting in a bubble refusing to even acknowledge the world that will not go away no matter how hard they pray.

*Credit to Patton Oswalt

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