I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the pure lunacy going on with the Illinois Family Institute and Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist. You know a group is going to be wacky if they have to put 'Family' in their name in order to prove their worth (because they have no other redeeming qualities). And now they've taken a break fighting the evils of homosexuality to focus on an even more threatening menace: atheist teachers! The super short version of the story is that they're absolutely appalled that an outspoken atheist could be teaching your children (long story, please go here and here). Nothing else matters - Hemant has an excellent teaching record and never discusses atheism in the classroom, but he's still a role model. And who wants an atheist as a role model? After a stunning lecture about acute angles, all of your children will burning Bibles and eating babies! I know I thought my high school math teachers were the paradigm of cool! ...Hm, wait a second...
Anyway, IFI's latest post is a feeble attempt at spinning the story (likely before anyone threatens their ass for libel). They claim they never called for Hemant to be fired. It's technically true that they never used those exact words, but it was obviously their intention. Why else sent out an email to every faculty member in his school district(well, except him, how honorable), if not to alert his bosses of his evil ways? Why else email all of your members and encourage parents to pull their children out of his class? They can't get him fired because of that pesky First Amendment and other laws, but parents have power. If they refuse to let their children attend his class, then hopefully the administration's hands will be tied. They can't exactly have him teaching a class with no students, can they?
The thing that really gets me (well, other than the blind hatred that these people have) is their flawed logic. They compare having an atheist teacher to having one who is racist or a Holocaust denier. In the most ironic statement of the century, they claim "It's all about diversity and choice." You shouldn't have to have your student exposed to those evil atheists! This is ridiculous for so many reasons, please forgive me while I make a list:
1. If you're that concerned with letting your children see ANY sort of subversive culture (gay kissing!! someone not believing in your God!!! oh noes!!!!), you basically have no choice but to home school them and keep them under house arrest with no television, radio, or internet for the rest of their life. I'm terrified to even joke about this, because I know people who do such things and it's depressing. These children are being brainwashed by the hateful rubbish their parents spout and will never know an alternative.
2. The fact that atheists seem as bad as racists or Holocaust deniers (basically also racists) shows how insecure you are about your invisible Sky Daddy. The idea that our mere existence fuels doubt is both hilarious and rewarding.
3. If you're going to pull your child out of every class where the teacher doesn't conform to your narrow minded world views, then everyone has that right, yes? So when I reproduce, I in no way want my children to have religious teachers, or Republicans teaching history/government classes, or fans of modern art teaching Painting. They're obviously a horrible influence. ...Oh, wait, I actually want my children to be able to think for themselves, so I want them to be exposed to different viewpoints! That's right, I forgot.
4. And finally, the idea that Hemant is somehow the only atheist you and your family may come in contact with... You know what? You may want to sit down before you read this, because it's shocking: Atheists are everywhere! They're your neighbors, your doctors, your friends, your family, and yes, your children's teachers. Most probably don't have blogs, many are probably still closeted (because cruel people like you go around trying to turn them into the town pariah), but some are definitely outspoken.
If you want to go on a crusade against atheist teachers, why pick on just Hemant? I'm President of an atheist club, I have a blog no where near as Friendly as Friendly Atheist - more like, Friendly Until You Show Your Ignorance in Which I am a Snarky and Pissed Atheist (doesn't have as nice of a ring to it). And you know what? I'm going to be teaching starting Tuesday! Yes, I'll be teaching ickle sophomores how to run gels and do experiments with peroxidase and all sorts of neat Biology things. And even though I will never bring up atheism in class, never wear my club shirt there, never bring in a baby for a snack - my sheer awesomeness will surely convert them all to the evil ways of heathenism. So you have a lot on your plate, IFI. There are a lot more atheist teachers out there than Hemant and me.