Church and State: March 2006 Archives

March 25, 2006

Work of literature not banned by US school board

United States: In a surprising decision, given recent events, a school board in San Antonio, Texas, has decided not to ban Margaret Atwood's 1985 classic The Handmaid's Tale. Superintendent Ed Lyman had banned the book from the advanced English curriculum, but the school board overturned the decision.

If we do ban The Handmaid's Tale because of sexual content, then why not ban Huckleberry Finn for racism? Why not ban The Crucible for witchcraft? Why not ban The Things They Carried for violence, and why not ban the Bible and argue separation of church and state? Judson senior Craig Gagne told trustees.

As well as complaining that the book was sexually explicit, Lyman insisted it was offensice to Christians. Well, I suppose if you are a barking mad fundie, I suppose it would be offensive to read a fictional reminder of what a society run according your interpretation of The Big Book of Fairy Tales would be like.

School board reverses ban on Handmaid's TaleHouseton Chronicle, 24th March 2006.

March 21, 2006

Another one bites the dust

United States: Life is hard right now for teachers who want to teach the classics. Yesterday, we mentioned the case of Tresa Waggoner. Today it's the turn of drama teacher Wendy DeVore, formerly of Fulton High School, Columbia, Missouri, who has resigned from her job, complaing that [i]t became too much to not be able to speak my mind or defend my students without fear or retribution. Fear of whom? Barking mad fundies of course!

The trouble started when she and her students put on a performance of the musical Grease. Admittedly the 1972 musical is a lot more hard-hitting than the film, and concerns the trials and tribulations of a group of teenagers, including the various ways in which they get into trouble. Members of Callaway Christian Church complained about scenes showing teens smoking, drinking and kissing and DeVore was ordered to stick to more family-friendly material in future.

So, she turned to that old staple, Shakespeare. Parents often complain that the Bard isn't taught enough in schools these days, so surely there should be nothing wrong with A Midsummer Night's Dream?

Apparently, the literary classic, a staple on English Literature exams throughout the English-speaking world, is right out. Apparently there's too much dicey subject matter, including suicide, rape and losing one's virginity, none of which can be found in the Bible, of course.

And the spring production, the cancellation of which led to DeVore's resignation? The Crucible.

Teacher decides to leaveColumbia Daily Tribune, 18th March 2006. See also Prat of the Year 2006, first nominees: George Sauter and the BabisPagan Prattle, 20th March 2006.

Archbishop: teach science, not religion, in science classes

England: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has strong words to say about teaching creationism in schools.

I think creationism is ... a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories ... if creationism is presented as a stark alternative theory alongside other theories I think there's just been a jarring of categories ... My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it, he said.

In the interview at Lambeth Palace, Dr. Willams also criticised Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, accused of inciting violence against Muslims.

Archbishop: stop teaching creationismThe Guardian, 21st March 2006.

March 18, 2006

A Signature From God

United States: Paul Sewell, a self-employed bond enforcement agent, has had a run-in with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. It seems they take a dim view of his long-held habit of signing his name as God on official documents, including his drivers licence and voter registration form.

...he signs official documents as God because fugitives always preface their comments with Oh, God, when he captures them. He said his co-workers thought that was funny and took to calling him God.

In his appeal to the court, he said I do not know why they are cancelling my driver's licence that I have had at age 16. Now I am 40.

He signed his appeal, God.

Cross with 'God' driver [BugMeNot] - Sydney Morning Herald, 6th February 2006.

March 13, 2006


England and Wales: Regular commenter G. Tingey managed to contact the Prattle Towers Temporary Irish Encampment with news from home. The message consisted of the word Arrrrggghhh! and a link to this story: Creationism to be taught on GCSE science syllabusThe Times, 10th March 2006.

March 3, 2006

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

United Kingdom: Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that he asked his imaginary friend before sending British troops to Iraq. The voices in his head apparently told him it was okay.

Prime Minister Tony Blair says he prayed to God when deciding whether or not to send UK troops to Iraq.

Mr Blair answered yes when asked on ITV1 chat show Parkinson if he had sought holy intervention on the issue....

In the end, there is a judgement that, I think if you have faith about these things, you realise that judgement is made by other people... and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well, Mr Blair said...

The only way you can take a decision like that is to do the right thing according to your conscience.

Blair 'prayed to God' over IraqBBC News, 3rd March 2006.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Church and State category from March 2006.

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