Missouri school pulls "evolution" T-shirts in the name of "religious neutrality"

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Calboner, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Calboner

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    The director and the assistant director of the band of Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, Missouri chose a design for a T-shirt to publicize the band's fall program. The design featured a series of eight silhouette figures moving from left to right, ranging from an ape to a man, each of them holding a musical instrument. At the bottom of the image are the words "Brass evolutions 2009." Well, guess what happened next (quotations from the report in the Sedalia Democrat of August 28, 2009):

    What is really interesting is the rationale that the administrator gave for his action:

    So let me get this straight: an image that makes reference to the theory of evolution, used on T-shirts that represent the school, is in violation of religious neutrality.

    Huh?

    Does the administrator believe that the theory of evolution is a religious view? You could just as well say that the theory of gases or gravitation or quantum mechanics or chemical elements is a religious view: it isn't. More likely, he believes that it is a violation of religious neutrality to represent the school by means of an image that implies something that is in conflict with some people's religious beliefs. In other words, if there is somebody out there, or at least somebody in the school's community, who has religious beliefs that are in conflict with some idea, even if that idea is well-established science, then for the school to allow that idea to be used in representing it is a violation of religious neutrality.

    For a nice little satire on where this logically leads, read "Facts Are Not Anti-Religious," by Steven Novella at Skepticblog.
     
  2. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    Someone really ought to tell them that the Pope agrees that altough 'god' made man he did it using evolution so technically they are complaining about their own religious beliefs, how dumb, how pointless, how offensive to take offense at evolution.
     
  3. Industrialsize

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    Evangelicals believe the Pope is going to hell.
     
  4. bigbull29

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    and nuns and monks are, too.
     
  5. B_mitchymo

    B_mitchymo New Member

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    So who do they reckon won't be then :rolleyes:

    Heaven must be pretty damn empty and i imagine most would wanna go where the party is anyway.
     
  6. bigbull29

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    Let them wear the stupid T-shirts. It's just another theory among millions. I don't see what the threat is. It doesn't disprove the existence of God. :rolleyes:
     
  7. bigbull29

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    Evangelical Protestants do not believe that Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians are indeed Christians.
     
  8. HazelGod

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    Middle America is chock-full of willfully ignorant retards.
     
  9. Calboner

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    There is an episode of South Park in which it turns out that only Mormons have the right beliefs and go to heaven; everybody else ends up in hell. Saddam Hussein is having too much of a good time in hell so God punishes him by sending him to heaven, where he has to live with the Mormons.
     
  10. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    Missouri is nearly evenly split between Catholics and Southern Baptists. The state has a large population of people of German descent. All other faiths and denominations of Christianity are strictly in the minority. Even then, only half of Missourians describe themselves to be religious. It's definitely a southern state but less religiously fervent than some others.

    76% of Americans describe themselves as Christian. Only about 14% consider themselves to be, "non-religious." Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus only comprise together about 4% of religious affiliations. The US is, oddly enough for an industrialized devoloped nation, highly religious.

    While Catholics comprise about a quarter of the entire US population, the Southern Baptists comprise the next largest single denomination at around 16%. They may not be the biggest, but they are among the most vocal and influential as they are the group most actively courted by the political parties. The reason for this is that the Southern Baptist churches are concentrated in the southeastern US and to appeal to them is to appeal to the southern states. Southern Baptists used to be Democrats. Not any more. The Republicans went after the southern Democrats, known as the Blue Dogs, in the 70s and successfully changed the south's affiliation from Democratic to Republican. The Democrats want the south back and so work to court Southern Baptists disproportionately. As a result, Southern Baptists wield political influence beyond what their numbers might indicate.
     
  11. HazelGod

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    Actually, Satan is the one who sends Saddam to heaven...because he's breaking up with him and wants to get him the fuck away. :biggrin1:
     
  12. Calboner

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    That may be so, but if you leave St. Louis and Kansas City out of the picture, I'll bet that the makeup is much more like that of the rest of the South, i.e., of English or Scotch-Irish descent and evangelical religious affiliation. Sedalia is a little town in the sparsely populated center of the state. Someone who identified himself as a recent "transplant" to Missouri from Colorado wrote the following in a comment on a blog post about this story:

    ***
    Thanks for the fact-check.
     
  13. JustAsking

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    It is time for my standard disclaimer. Ahhh hrrmmm.

    "Some 80% of the world's Christians belong to denominations whose doctrines have official social statements embracing science. These statements also cite the Modern Theory of Evolution as being the best explanation for the diversity of life on the planet. These denominations include the RCC, the UMC, the UCC, the ELCA Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Presbyterians, and the Nazarenes."

    Or in other words, those Missouri school adminstrators are batshit wingnuts even within the Christian tent.
     
  14. JustAsking

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    I think that might be an overstatement unless you are confusing Evangelicals with Fundamentalists. There is a difference, and the gap is ever widening. I would not call myself either Evangelical or Fundementalist, however, I do have some respect for much of what is under the Evangelical tent.

    For example, consider the politics of Jim Wallis, who is considered a leading Evangelical. Notice that almost all of it is about addressing social injustice, poverty, misery, and suffering. Evangelicals like this not only recognize RCC and EOC as Christian, but partner with them for these causes.
     
  15. bigbull29

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    True, and thanks for that. There is a distinction made between these two terms, but often times they are used interchangeably. These terms are a bit confusing. But Fundamentalist Bible Christians do not consider RCC and EOC as true Christians. I'm not sure all Evangelicals do, either, but I believe that many do (Evangelical Lutherans, etc).
     
  16. JustAsking

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    Bull,
    This might be unimportant to most people here, but I want to make a distinction that is important to me. The denomination known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, or ELCA Lutherans are not actually "evangelicals" in the sense that the term is used in America. American "evangelicals" are somewhat conservative, born-again, and mostly non-denominational Christians.

    The term "evangelical" was co-opted by the non-denominational mega churches which have managed to turn the definition completely around. It is ironic, but there it is.

    ELCA Lutherans are not born-again, they baptize infants, ordain women as pastors, recognize the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and just voted in a ruling to allow congregations to ordain gay pastors who are in a committed relationship. They have one of the best worldwide relief organizations with an administrative overhead of about 7%. They come by their evangelical label from its original definition a few hundred years ago.

    Not only do ELCA Lutherans recognize Catholicsm, they consider themselves more of a reform movement within the Catholic church rather than a denomination in complete "protest" with it. They have also formed agreements of accord with the Methodists and the Episcopalians. As such, ELCA ordained pastors can be called to serve at churches in these other denominatons and vice versa.

    Being an ELCA Lutheran myself, I felt I needed to represent.

    As for Evolution and Lutherans, some of the best writing on science and religion comes from Lutherans. I have a friend who is a Lutheran pastor at an Episcopal church nearby, who is also a PhD in astrophysics and did his thesis on the physics of the first few milliseconds of the Big Bang.

    Finally, I would like to reiterate that the Missouri school board is batshit crazy to be banning those t-shirts for that reason. There is good grounds for a lawsuit given the reason they gave for banning the shirts. What they did was violate the neutrality principle of the Establishment Clause by banning secular apparel for religious reasons as agents of the US Government.
     
  17. Calboner

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    In Germany, the Heimatland of Lutheranism, the word for "Protestant" is "evangelisch." That confused me a bit when I first encountered it!

    I had not reflected, though, that the appropriation of the term "evangelical" by the born-again Christians is almost as insidious as their attempt to appropriate the term "Christian" for themselves (though it certainly must be less offensive to, say, Lutherans to be regarded as "not evangelicals" than it is to, say, Catholics to be regarded as "not Christians").
     
  18. JustAsking

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    The term 'evangelical' comes from the Greek euangelion, which means 'good news'. One of Luther's big beef with the RCC was about the requirements for salvation. The RCC had at the time a kind of transactional formula of repentence, works, etc, to earn salvation, including the ability to buy your salvation with indulgences.

    Luther had an epiphany that brought him to a much different conclusion which is that the New Testament was really saying (especially St. Paul in the book of Romans) that the work of salvation was and is accomplished already by Jesus.

    So the early Lutherans felt it was their responsibility to bring this good news to everyone, that the work is already done.

    So rather than haranguing people about "getting saved" like American evangelicals do, Lutherans are evangelical according to the original definition, whereby they want you to know that you are already saved. God's grace is sufficient.

    It only took 400 years or so, but Lutherans managed to get the RCC to agree on the sufficiency of God's grace for salvation in a famous Catholic-Luthern Joint Declaration of 1999.

    What a twisted web we weave.
     
  19. Calboner

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    Very interesting, JA. I don't know if you welcome the task of teaching Protestantism 101 here, but I was under the impression that Luther held that one is saved through faith and faith alone -- sola fides -- and that this was a point of difference with the Catholic Church, which holds good works also to be necessary.

    Edited to add: In my previous post, I used the word "insidious." I suspected at the time that that was not quite the right word, but only now that it is too late to edit the post do I realize that what I meant was "invidious"!
     
    #19 Calboner, Sep 9, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  20. Calboner

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    Here the history of the Reformation for ya, compiled from student essays (source):

    That's odd: I had heard that what Luther nailed to the church door was 95 feces. (The National Lampoon once had a hilarious cartoon showing this.)
     
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