American Samizdat

Sunday, March 18, 2007. *
On Jan. 31, [Gary] McDonald gave the class, which consisted of juniors and seniors taking it as an elective, an assignment to read an Iroquois tale of creation, "The World on the Turtle's Back," in the course textbook. The textbook's teacher edition suggests having students compare the creation myth with other creation accounts, as well as discuss their own concepts of good and evil.

McDonald used the textbook's worksheet. On it, students were to give examples of how the Iroquois tale reflects four functions of myth - to instill awe, explain the world, support customs and guide people. But he adapted the form, and had the class do the same for the biblical account of creation in Genesis. He provided a paraphrase of the story. After they completed that assignment, he gave them another handout, titled "The Problem With Evil." That handout, which was not part of the textbook's materials, asked questions such as how evil could exist if God is good and all-powerful.

Junior Lanae Olsen, 17, said it all went too far. The assignment was offensive to her Christian beliefs, and came one day after McDonald told the class he was atheist.


"From a constitutional perspective, schools can't teach the truth or falsity of religious belief, and atheism would fall in that parameter," said Alan Brownstein, a constitutional law expert at the University of California at Davis' School of Law.

[Article continues at link. Mr. McDonald is just the sort of teacher that students should feel lucky to have. He did make a mistake in speaking of his personal beliefs. Not because he is an atheist, but because that's not appropriate for school. The comments of Alan Brownstein are confused and worthless. If schools can't teach the truth or falsity of religious belief then we have to stop teaching the Earth is not flat, that the germ theory of disease is more than 'just a theory,' and other facts in favor of giving equal time to bronze-age nonsense.]


posted by Trevor Blake at 8:23 AM
Post a Comment

Site Meter

Creative Commons License