Category Archives: Christianity

The Case for Christ (book and film–spoilers)

I was sent this book a few years ago by someone who thought it’d convince me of the divinity of Jesus. I felt that the book didn’t prove it’s point. I saw that the film is now on Netflix, so I figured I’d better watch it to see what points are emphasized (since the film can’t hope to bring in as many arguments and evidence as the book did).

Since it’s been a couple years since I read the book, I have decided to A) not re-read my previous review and B) look back at the book as I feel is appropriate.

In watching this film (currently paused at exactly 29 minutes), I am struck by his outward hostility to Christianity. I view Lee Strobel as a very passionate person. Passionate people tend to be all or nothing. So, while it seems like he’s a “devout” atheist, I’m more inclined to believe that he’s just the kind of person who views the world as black or white. There is no grey for him. So he either believes or he doesn’t believe; nothing else matters.

I got this from the book, too, I think. For him, he’s able to drum down the truth of Christianity to just the Resurrection. I find it ironic that he got this idea not from his own investigations but (by film-lore) by his editor, I think. This strikes me because, well, what if his editor had told him that all of Christianity revolves around the Virgin Birth? Or the Literal Interpretation of the Bible?

There are a lot of atheists who come to the conclusion that there is no god after years of studying the Bible. Here’s an excellent example.  These are people who know the Bible inside and out and have many, many reasons why they don’t believe it. Yet, Strobel, a “devout” atheist has no clue what even the basic tenants of Christianity are. He’s saying he doesn’t believe in something he knows absolutely nothing about. It’s then not a surprise that when given a glossy bit of the faith, he believes that there must be something there and since the world for him is black and white, he now must do everything in his power to prove it correct.

Which brings me to why I just hopped off the couch and grabbed my copy of the book. I don’t read bibliographies very often. Mostly I just look at them to see if they exist and to what length research was done. In this first 29 minutes of the film, I realized that Strobel is the kind of journalist who likes to talk to experts and read their books, but I wasn’t sure if he’d spend much time in a library looking at the primary sources.

Guess what? Out of about 140 citations, 4 seem to come from primary sources. All the rest appear to be secondary sources or not contemporary to Jesus sources (depending on the nature of the source).

I’m not saying that this is a bad way to do academics, but one of the things that I recall from the book was the chapter on how immediate to the Resurrection the sources were. What I mean is, Strobel spent some time discussing when the Gospels were written and other sources and concluded that most were written 30 to 80 years after the Resurrection. But, every subsequent mention of this dating used the low end of the spectrum. Since I was reading this like a regular book and not as an academic challenge, I wasn’t paying a lot of attention to what sources he was directly referencing when talking about a particular date, so maybe he was always using evidence from an earlier source rather than a later one, so claiming it was written 30 years after the Resurrection was appropriate, but my memory has him speaking very generically about all his sources, yet using the earlier date.

By the way, shortly before the 29 minute mark, Strobel is talking to a scholar who claims that some sources are from mere months after the Resurrection seeing Jesus walking around. Strange, that sounds like what the Gospels say but these weren’t actually written down for that 30 to 80 years. Plus, I don’t recall Strobel writing about such a short time frame. The way it’s presented in the film, you’d think you can go to an archive and pull out a bunch of bound diaries where folks wrote:

3 June 0001

Today I saw Jesus walking around the market place, buying some sugar. Funny, I swear he was crucified 2 months ago!

Okay, the film is resumed. I don’t know if I like the way it’s focusing on his family life and “transformation” from atheist to Christian. I guess it’s because I don’t buy him as being particularly strong in his atheism (he seems to not know why he’s atheist, since he doesn’t even know what it is that he doesn’t believe in). It seems fake and I’m not sure how many people can really identify with him. I mean, I know that there are plenty of people like him, but I think that there are a vast majority more who are atheists because they know the Bible and other religions well, are agnostic because they’ve never had an interest one way or the other and don’t care about what they don’t know, are “spiritual” because they don’t know about theism, or are deist because they don’t believe in the power of prayer.

Ooh…We’ve hit the first bit of historical flubbery in the film. Comparing the Iliad to the Bible for historical authenticity. Yes, we believe that copies of the Iliad are accurate to what was originally written by Homer. But this doesn’t prove that Hera and Zeus actually had the conversations that are written there. Or, since I know the Odyssey better than the Iliad, Odysseus didn’t actually fight a cyclops or deal with Circe. Just because it’s a reliable copy doesn’t make the subject matter as written true. Supernatural events are probably made up.

Ugh. Lee is an asshole. Telling his wife that she’s “cheating on him with Jesus” while he’s staying up all night and obsessing about disproving Christianity.

Ooh! He’s actually discussing the evidence. Yes, the questions are good and the answers probable. But, they still miss a certain bit. When a Biblical scholar asks an atheist if they want the truth or just want to prove what they already believe, ding, ding, ding! That’s exactly what Biblical scholars are doing! If they’re Christian, then they’d be hard pressed to come up with an explanation that doesn’t lead to their Christian faith.

And boom! The scene ends with a hanging issue: sure, it’s reasonable that the 4 gospels would have varying accessory details about the main story of “a group (or single) woman visits Jesus tomb and found it empty”–cool! I can believe this. Except: where’s the evidence that no one removed the body during the 3 days?

Answer: I remember that he’ll get to this in a little bit, and the answer is that there was a guard and moving the stone and other stuff that’s a great argument if we knew for certain that there’s no evidence of tampering. Except, I’ll refer you back to the Iliad: a work of fiction that is taken as a very reliable source for what it says about historical facts. It’s still full of conversations between the gods that are obviously made up, unless they were divinely inspired, of course. There are plenty of contemporary sources that aren’t included in the New Testament. Why? Because of tradition and because they alter the story a bit (don’t do anything to prove the supernatural bits).

Power: what’s the agenda. It’s not a new thing.

Ugh. Why is the wife getting advice that she’s supposed to listen to Lee? She tries to talk and he shuts her down, but she’s supposed to just listen to him and take his abuse while he gets away with abusing her?

I guess I wasn’t paying much attention in the book about his story of the cop shooting gang informant (I don’t remember this). But wow. What a way to seriously prove my hypothesis about him seeing the world as black and white. All he cared about was telling the world about how the police were protecting their informant. He didn’t think twice about exposing the truth (as he saw it) without considering the consequences. He didn’t wonder why the cop got shot (since the cop and the informant had a history, there’s definitely a motive that needs to be addressed, especially with the history of abuses in the Chicago PD) or consider what information the informant was giving police. Was it worth keeping quiet about? In Lee’s world, shooting a cop is a black and white event and the guy deserves to go to jail for life without any consideration of extenuating circumstances.

I’m not saying that the informant doesn’t deserve to go to prison, but depending on what information he gave and why the shooting occurred, he doesn’t deserve to have any “friends” in prison knowing that he’s a snitch and killing him for it. The world is a very gray place!

God. Lee is such a misogynistic asshole. He’s decided that his wife is incapable of deciding for herself what she believes and that she’s being manipulated. Excuse me, but she’s a grown woman who can decide for herself what she thinks. She doesn’t need a husband to tell her what her opinion is. Strange, he sounds like most Evangelical Christians who buy the whole “Umbrella of Protection” crap and that women need a keeper.

Why do I expect he won’t change a bit once he becomes a Christian? Oh wait, he doesn’t have to!

Wow! “She’s different”–like, she’s her own person with her own mind and her own thoughts! Why is this so baffling to assholes? Oh yeah. Because they’re assholes!

Ya know, I don’t recall being this upset with Strobel while reading the book. I mean, I disagreed with his arguments, but I didn’t judge his character. But with this film, his character disgusts me!

Sigh, I wish that Lee had gotten a tougher lecture when it came out how crappy a journalist he’d been with the Hicks trial. Oh yay, he got to go get drunk and have his own pity party. Because he’s the smartest man in the world! Grr.

Sigh. And of course, the film ends at the exact same place the book does: he still has questions and doubts, but can’t deny what evidence he’s gathered. There still isn’t any proof, but there’s enough probable cause to get him to become a Christian.

That’s probably the thing that makes me mad at Christians like Strobel. They claim to have all the answers (or rather that all the evidence points to where they want it to) and declare that to believe otherwise is wrong. Here’s the thing! A lot of people are presented with every bit of evidence that Strobel was and they have decided that it’s just not enough proof. Or rather, there is plenty of room to doubt.

Like I said, the Iliad and the Odyssey are a good example because they show how easily fact and fiction can be intertwined together. It doesn’t really matter that the Bible had multiple authors because there was always the one narrative: the one that Jesus wanted publicized.

Erm…Hmm…

Okay. So, here was my thought process as I wrote the above paragraph about Jesus’ end-game. “Huh. I wonder if the author’s were present at the Loaves and Fishes Miracle (since it’s one that I happen to remember).” So, I went and pulled up the Loaves and Fishes and read the Wikipedia Article. Which led me to take the link to a chapter of Mark that talks about Jesus feeding 5000 and then 4000 in two separate miracles.

This is a chapter written by “Mark”. I’m not a theologian, but a quick Google search led me to another Wikipedia article that says that historians believe that Mark is actually written by an unknown person. Which is fine for the point I will be making here.

2Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

–Mark 9: 2-8

 The author of this is using a third person omniscient perspective. They know all, yet weren’t actually there. In this case, the only people on the mountain were Jesus, Peter, James, and John. So,unless one of these men is the anonymous author of Mark who writes of themselves in third person, the author wasn’t there and this is a bit of he said, he said. John, who apparently is the same John that authored a gospel, doesn’t seem to mention this event, but if he did mention it in passing (debatable) he’s very vague on details. If God had spoken so blatantly to me, I’d definitely write all about it! So, did it happen? I’m dubious. If the 4 did go to the top of the mountain and decide that Jesus would be labeled the Son of God, but didn’t decide on the details, then yes, artistic license 30 to 80 years later is very probable. The exaggerator and the circumspect.This makes as much sense as any explanation.

Which is why The Case for Christ doesn’t make as strong an argument as it claims to.

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Complementary Relationships Aren’t Necessarily Bad– Date Lab – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/date-lab-height-is-of-utmost-importance-to-these-two-could-we-deliver/2017/11/07/37596350-ae92-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?hpid=hp_weekend-chain_date-1112%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.7900b384e27e

You really should be a complement to your partner, in every sense of the word. Not too overly same or overly different. 

However, in Christian Conservative circles, complementary strictly means the if you have a vagina you do X and if you have a penis you do Y. Roles in these relationships aren’t based on a person’s abilities and interests, but on strictly what the Bible says a man or woman is supposed to do.

Secular folks have let the Christian right commandeer this term and that’s sad. 

Texas Church Shooting Video Shows Gunman’s Methodical Attack, Official Says – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/us/texas-shooting-video-devin-kelley.html

If there are no criminal negligence charges filed against those people in the Air Force who didn’t do their job and report his assault convictions to the federal background check system…I don’t even know.

Will Republicans who have been bitching for years about how perfect the background check system is (“there can’t possibly be a way for someone who shouldn’t get a gun to get through the system! We don’t need more gun laws!”) finally understand what we (moderate) gun control folks want?!?!

1) A comprehensive background check (extreme vetting? Sure, IF we’re going to be assholes to refugees, too.) And a life sentence in prison if your negligence leads to someone purchasing/using a weapon that they use to do harm.

2) Comprehensive and regular gun safety training. No one should be stupid enough to leave ANY gun where a child can find it! Regular reminders of how badly gun ownership can go IS A GOOD THING! And, yes, I’m cool with having similar retraining for a driver’s license!

3) A limit on the number of guns a person can buy in a month (ideally in a lifetime). A gun is a WEAPON, not a toy! It should NEVER be an impulse purchase. If you start crying like a three year old because you can’t get a toy RIGHT NOW!! you are part of the problem. Grow up!

Guns become illegal when a person with no (recorded) criminal past purchases guns to sell to people who can’t purchase guns themselves. Period. Limiting the supply (with limits on purchases) not only increases the price on the black market (which will cause purchasers to need more money, leading to more non-gun using crimes (because they can’t afford one yet) that will make it easier to catch them before they buy the gun), but will obviously reduce the total number of illegal guns on the streets… eventually. TL;DR: Make it harder for criminals to buy guns on the black market=more slip ups=more arrests=ultimately less crime.

No, these 3 demands AREN’T perfect! Probably nothing would have stopped Paddock in Las Vegas. But I live in a place where between the 7 cities where is usually a gun related murder (or 2) every night. The status quo doesn’t work. There is a hole in the system that can be closed IF we quit pretending it doesn’t exist or worse care so much about our own ability to purchase guns like candy that we feel no guilt when someone’s death is directly related to our own greed and entitlement.

Christianity Is Just A Better Religion Than I | The Daily Caller–A Rebuttal

http://dailycaller.com/2017/11/02/christianity-is-just-a-better-religion-than-islam/

“But the ‘renaissance’ injected into western man an absurd inferiority complex in regard to pagan antiquity and then the ‘Enlightenment’ insisted on eliminating from public policy and public law the very Christian revelation which defined and ennobled western man. “

Except, the Renaissance and Enlightenment literally brought Christians out of the dark ages. Education was quite stagnant in Christendom during the dark ages. There was minimal innovation and little exploration. Then, Christians invaded the right places in the Islamic world and REDISCOVERED the philosophical works of the Greeks and Romans. Art, Literature, Science,Mathematics were REBORN in Western Culture. 

Excerpt, this wasn’t pure Greek and Roman. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and possibly 0 are known as ARABIC numerals (as opposed to Roman numerals: I, II, III, etc). You see, while Christians were busy planning invasions of the Holy Lands (the Crusades), the Islamic world was translating and expanding on the philosophical works they were protecting, probably stolen, but that’s okay in 1000CE, because they were stolen manuscripts depicting educational materials. Would you think a manuscript with Pathagorius’ (sorry about spelling!) notes on triangles valuable enough to steal in a world where Christians were looking for the Holy Grail?

I’m not sure when Islamic scholars decided that the Earth circled the Sun, instead of the Sun circling the Earth, but Copernicus sat on his research until his deathbed, some 20 years after he more or less figured it out (1543), because he was certain he’d be jailed or killed for his heresy. Galileo WAS placed under house arrest ~70 years later when he proved Copernicus’ theoretical mathematics correct after building his own version of the telescope.

What is most telling about Fimister’s complete ignorance of history is this:

 The ‘Enlightenment’ is a parasite, it will not survive the death of its host. But it is strong enough to weaken the West to the point where its traditional external enemy the Islamic Ummah can strike the killer blow. Deep down the liberals know this is case, as they contracept and abort and legislate our civilisation into extinction, but in the end they don’t care. Their ultimate motive was always less the love of ‘liberty’ and more the hatred of Christ.

Without the Enlightenment, and it’s emphasis on the intelligence of man, there would not have been a Reformation!

Martin Luther is as much a child of the Renaissance and Nicholas Copernicus! They wereboth seeking answers outside of the monopoly that was the Roman Catholic Church. They both were heretics with ideas that threatened Church Doctrine. Both men show that anyone, not just Catholic Priests, are capable of making discoveries on their own.

Probably the stickiest part argument in favor of Christianity (which I assume is modern Evangelical Christianity) is that the most important person other that Luther for the spread of Protestantism is King Henry viii, who changed England from Catholic to Protestant solely so he could divorce Catherine of Aragon. After 6 marriages and 3 divorces, the Tudor line started many started many religious wars, but didn’t extend their reign. Had Henry stayed Catholic, America would probably be a more Catholic nation where divorce and birth control are taboo.

Of course, America would still be ruled by Britain because Democracy? Freedom of Speech? These are totally Enlightenment things.

Gluttony: The Acceptable Sin – The Transformed Wife–A Rebuttal

https://thetransformedwife.com/gluttony-the-acceptable-sin/#comment-16140

By why is your condemnation of gluttony limited only to the consumption of food?!?

Do you see Christmas decorations in the stores you shop in now? This is the most visible form of American gluttony.  The “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie” mentality.

The man who was elected president in 2016 is a glutton. Not satisfied by his first wife, he replaced her.  Not satisfied again, he replaced her, too. He bought an airline and had the planes repainted again because the T wasn’t big enough! Also with this airline, he ignored customer surveys that wanted  their flights to be on time, and instead invested in ultra plush carpet (telling flight attendants to push harder) and gold plated sinks.

Not satisfied with owning one nice casino in Atlantic City, he had to have 3, which in competition with each other, led to all of them losing money and ultimately all 3 closing their doors.

Trump doesn’t just want to have more, he wants the MOST. Trump doesn’t just want better, he wants the BEST. He claims that he’s trying to get the most and the best for everyone, but that is logically impossible. Besides, everything he and Republicans have done so far take things away from others, which is the exact opposite of giving everyone the best!

 

2 Indian Christian Women Arrested, Slammed With False Charges of Forced Conversions

https://www.christianpost.com/news/2-indian-christian-women-arrested-slammed-with-false-charges-of-forced-conversions-204814/

The women were arrested after the Hindu activist group Hindu Jagran Manch complained to police about children being taken to Mumbai by train.

The activist organization reportedly accused the women of trying to take the kids to be forcibly converted. Along with being charged with violating the state’s anti-conversion law, the women were also charged with kidnapping.

Kunwarlal Warkade, a local police official, told ucanews.com that the two women were charged with kidnapping four girls and six boys under the age of 14. Warkade also stated that it has been alleged that the women lured the children with the promise of education and toys.

These children have parents or guardians who would have sufgned permission slips for the women to take the children anywhere.

Without permission slips, this is kidnapping. Period.

Promising education and toys to children so longcasvthey say they’re Christian? Done. That’s a coerced/bribed conversion.

Ignorance is no excuse for this sort of thing.

But they don’t deserve a living wage? Health care?

I’m still in chapter 7 of Good: The Joy of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

Tony Reinke is explaining why he teaches his children to say thanks before every meal:

Besides being an extremely nostalgic vision of food production and distribution in America, it also comes across as being very self-centered (“look at how many people God influenced so that we can eat!”)

I’m pretty sure Reinke has never worked in customer service or really any job where he was responsible to actual customers. He’s also never paid any attention to any kind of reporting on the food industry in America:

  • Hubby was a long haul truck driver. He would refuse loads of groceries, especially produce because of how many regulations there are/demands by customers.
  • A few years ago, one of the major news agencies did some investigative reporting on trucks driving around with perishable groceries and their refrigeration units (reefers) turned off or to the wrong temperatures, so food was melting/getting too warm for safe consumption. Hubby said that California inspectors would tell drivers to turn off their reefers because their trucks were polluting too much 😐.
  • There is constant debate about how much room chickens need to be able to move freely.
  • Chickens are not herbivores! Yet, I’ve seen organic chicken advertised as being fed an “All Vegetatarian Diet”.
  • Food, Inc is a documentary that delves into the modern American food industry and it’s toll on the people employed by it.
  • The poultry industry is lobbying heavily right now to get the FDA to let them increase the speed that workers process a chicken at, despite risks to employees, animals, and consumers (do you want the mechanical eviserator flinging feces all over your chicken legs, thighs, breasts?). EWW!!
  • And finally (though there is so much more!here are some stories from the hell that is customer service/retail.

    This tiny section of the book goes a long way to explain why Conservatives don’t think workers deserve a living wage and health care benefits! They’re completely oblivious about the real world! 

    {Well, I kinda already knew that!}

    Obedience and Disobedience

    I’m back to reading Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood. This sentence from Chapter 7: Everyday Forward, brought me to a screeching halt:

    Disobedience brings negative consequences; obedience brings positive consequences.

    Now, I realize that this is coming from a dad who means it quite innocently in the way of “there’s a good reason why a child should STOP on a dime and not run out into the street.”

    But, we literally just had a chapter on how and why women are supposed to submit to their husbands and earlier in this chapter, this same dad “explained that civil authorities (like presidents) are God-given blessings for our flourishing.”

    [I wonder how much tongue biting went with saying/writing this about Obama.]

    The chapter on submission implies that wives aren’t supposed to blindly to bad husbands, but since I hat advice is immediately followed by:

    “Ultimately, Christ is a wife’s final authority….As a wife follows her calling to submit in marriage, she is ultimately submitting to Christ”

    Paired with NO ADVICE on how a woman is supposed to deal with an abusive husband (i.e. divorce his ass!) and Lori Alexander’s disgusting article about how women are supposed to submit without any expectation that their husband will reform himself (or as I think of it, the most blatant propaganda to keep women in abusive relationships), it appears that “not blindly submitting” really means that women know and accept that they are being treated like dirt.

    {If you feel you are being abused and need help, please call the Domestic Violence Hotline:  +18007997233 or visit http://www.thehotline.org}

    Is it no wonder I got concerned when a dad wants to teach his children that obedience (always and only) leads to positive effects and disobedience (always and only) leads to negative effects?

    The world is not black and white and children are NEVER too young to learn that sometimes disobedience is the correct choice!

    • Being abused by a person (especially when the person is in an obvious position of power).
    • The Holocaust HAPPENED! Other Genecides are happening today!
    • Jesus Camp has a scene where a 10 year old boy says that Galileo should have submitted to the Church’s teaching on the Sun orbiting the Earth. Because apparently scientific discovery is disobedience.

    Children  should be taught right from wrong and why they shouldn’t do certain things for their own safety. But teaching children to “do what I said because I said so” doesn’t teach children real life skills except how to please people.

    Christian Post: 3 Reasons School Choice Should Matter to Christians–a Rebuttal

    This is a response to this article from Christian Post

    https://www.christianpost.com/news/3-reasons-school-choice-should-matter-to-christians-204310/

    Their reason #1 is that “Choice matters because parents are best equipped to care for their children”. Let me remind you that this was in the papers this week:

    Mom Who Beat Daughter for Not Reciting Bible Verses Correctly Sent to Prison

    Yes, I made sure to link to the story as told by Christian Post. You’d think that the best argument in favor of at least a wee bit of governmental oversight over the raising of children would be a case of a mom abusing their child, in this case for not reciting Bible verses correctly.

    But, it get’s worse: “When parents can’t afford to live in a strong school district, or don’t have the means to private school or homeschool, freedom to educate their children as they see best is restricted.” At the surface, I agree 100%. But let’s dig a little deeper:

    • If a parent can’t afford to move or send the child to a private school, what are the odds that they can afford to drive their child to a better school? Are there any better schools within reasonable driving distance? Does a school choice voucher include a stipend for this transportation?
    • Does the better school have enough seats for all the students who want to go there? Does a school choice law include funding for expanding the buildings of popular schools?
    • Assuming that there is no transportation or space issues, what happens to the bad school once all the students of parents who care about school choice leave (meaning, there’s now a school full of students of parents who don’t care about their children’s education).

    The real costs of school choice is reflected in the above bullet points. It’s not just about letting parents pick their favorite schools, it’s about ensuring that students can get into those schools.

    Public schools are divided into districts for two simple reasons: transportation and space. Students who live near a school are the easiest to transport via buses and district size can be dictated by the number of seats available in the school.

    My dad has 7 brothers and sisters (all born within 10 years). When the family (Navy) moved to Norfolk for the second (and final) time, my grandparents were not impressed by their district’s public schools, so they enrolled all the kids into one of the local Catholic schools. They got either discounts or scholarships or some other way of paying for this private school that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford. But that “free” education came with a cost: my dad and his siblings had to ride the second bus. Despite going to their neighborhood on both trips, my dad and his siblings had to stay at the school an hour or so longer every day because the paying students got preferential treatment for the bus. 

    I’m not saying that this is still true at private schools (I’m the product of public school), but if no additional funding goes towards transportation, what will happen with the students who use a voucher to afford to attend a school? Will they also be treated like second class citizens?

    #2: Choice matters because every child is unique.

    Well, I’m in school right now to become an elementary school teacher. My education class for the semester is Language Acquisition and Reading.

    Every chapter of our main textbook includes a section on English Language Learners and emphasis is placed on how these students learn best when their native language is respected.

    Our secondary textbook, which teaches teachers about phonics, has 10 recommendations “intended to provide a beginning point for the application of reading diagnosis as it applies to phonics instruction within the multilingual classroom.” (Self-Paced Phonics, 5th edition by Roger S. Dow). Most of the recommendations are items I consider common sense for educating ALL children: “Know the cultures of the children in your classroom”, “Use a wide range of teaching approaches and strategies”, “Use meaningful reading material”, “Model and teach tolerance”, “Adopt and value dialogue as a teaching style”, “Be open to Change”, “Be reflective”.

    Now, I realize that the fact that these items are needed in an textbook for educators hints that these aren’t values that have been ingrained in the career called Education (meaning that teachers of yester-year didn’t and don’t think that the above items are important in their classroom). So, school choice is a rebellion from a culture of bad teachers. But, here’s the thing: teachers and administrators retire. Young people, such as myself, are comfortable with multiculturalism and globalism. We’re obviously being taught by folks who think that students deserve to be respected and involved in their education rather than being trained to remember rote facts.

    I’m learning tons about what Common Core actually is. Yeah, it sure is different from my parent’s education. Students are now expected to think deeply about the content! The mantra is “College and Career Ready”. Are there still teachers who think that it’s best to teach the test? Yes. Will they be weeded out? Yes, but it will take time.

    That’s why it’s important to keep parents who are involved in their children’s education IN public schools! Who else is going to blow the whistle on bad practices? Bad teachers?? It took the random placement of my AP class (we 20 kids were the only ones placed into most of the AP classes in my high school) in to the AP Psychology class that was usually reserved for letting regular/honors kids into an AP class without risking bad grades, to get rid of a crappy teacher. I don’t know if he was fired from the school, but he was not allowed to teach AP Psychology the next year. We also had to teach the newly minted AP English Literature teacher how to proctor AP tests and gave her tips on how else to teach an AP class. The only reason we could teach the teachers was because we’d already had, gosh, 3 or 4 well run AP classes. Why these teachers hadn’t been properly trained or monitored is beyond me!

    #3 School Choice Empowers the Underprivileged

    Ooh! Way to make it look like y’all care!

    Except that this is a rehashment of the arguments of #1: Economic status should not influence where a student goes to school (except when it comes the actual logistics of attending that school).

    I believe I’ve heard that most students don’t live in an area where another school exists within 30 miles? This article from the News Observer in North Carolina says that there aren’t any charter schools within 40 of their 100 counties. Assuming that some of those 40 also don’t have a private school, it’s entirely possible that there are counties with just public school options.

    I started thinking about public school districts in Southeastern Virginia, where I live.

    Southampton County has 4 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 1 high school.

    Isle of Wight County has 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 2 high schools.

    Accomack County has 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 4 high schools (though 1 of the high schools is on Tangier Island and teaches K-12 with a 7 person graduating class “last year” according to their website).

    There’s 16 miles between the high schools in Isle of Wight. 21 miles between two of the high schools in Accomack. That’s not including the driving distance if you live at either end of these two long and narrow counties. That’s a long drive!

    The Christian Post article ends with a plea for people to participate in their local school board elections.

    Sigh.

    First of all, I don’t think it’s entirely proper for people to be voting in school board elections when their children don’t attend a particular school. So, this author needs to make up his mind: do people take their children out of public schools or do they vote in school board elections? Public school boards aren’t going to be the ones lobbying for more charter schools and private school vouchers since both of these agendas take money and students out of public schools. If the author favors school choice, he shouldn’t be asking parents to vote in school board elections, but to vote in all state elections for legislators willing to fund charter schools and vouchers.

    Yes, more parents need to get involved with the decisions that the school boards make! Parents should also be involved in the PTA and should join field trips as chaperones often. Parents should be advocates not only for their own children, but for ALL the children of a particular school, district, state, etc!