A high school girl who refused to complete a history lesson about Islam has finally lost her court case alleging that the class went against her Christian beliefs and the Constitution.
Caleigh Wood challenged a history lesson on “the Muslim World” and her parents backed her up, ultimately suing the school when her grade on the assignment was affected. The lawsuit continued despite the fact that her grade in the class wasn’t impacted. Now, she has finally lost. It’s likely, however, that she will appeal the well-grounded decision.
The federal court found that the curriculum didn’t endorse a specific religion and didn’t compel the students to profess any particular belief.
I used to be a Christian. Truth be told, I still am. No, there is no God. No heaven. No hell. No angels. No golden mansion on streets paved with gold with a golden throne surrounded by all my dead friends and relatives who just so happen to be at JUUUUST the right ages that fit my memory and comfort level best, regardless of THEIR perspectives and similar wonts. No, that’s just silly comic book stories. And I’m not “spiritual but not religious” either, since I’ll be damned if I can understand the difference other than level of smugness. But there IS a code that outlines and defines being a decent, good, moral person of sound judgement and principled ethics. And that code is/was clearly proffered by Jesus Christ, real or not, fairy story or not. It doesn’t really affect the message nor the meaning. As Shakespeare said, “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet”, so do the beatitudes and parables and lessons lived and taught by Jesus hold just as true if Jesus weren’t Jesus. Call them whatever you like, ascribe them to whomever you wish, living, dead or fictional, it changes nothing really. And THAT is the secret evident in what is Christianity, forever lost upon those that should ascribe to it most: Christians.
American Christians are totally lost. When I say I used to be a Christian, I mean CHRISTIAN. Baptized. Born again. Came under the power of the Holy Spirit at a faith healing. Camped outdoors in Camp Agape in Jesus ’84. Youth retreats. Youth groups, sometimes twice a week at two different churches. Choir. RA’s. Pot lucks. Greek orthodox raised, Baptist bred, Catholic school/mass for 3 years, Charismatic Christian for 2 years. Methodist youth groups. Church of Nazarene via fosters. Jehovah’s witness upstairs renters. Synagogue with a couple of friends for good measure.
And brother, I lived it hardcore. Believed it hardcore. Knew it hardcore. Read all 12 volumes of the Bible Story twice. Read Pilgrim’s Progress half a dozen times. Learned the books of the bible backwards and forwards, thanks to Mrs. Walker in 4th grade Sunday School. Played piano in church by special request. Even preached some sermons while still in high school during a period between pastors. So believe me when I say that Christianity in America, John Pavlovitz and the like aside, is more than dead. It is the living dead, virulently animated but soulless in a twisted, horrific, bastardized version of terroristic proportions. It is become the very demon it has believed itself above and anathema to. Well, not so much become, as it always has pretty much has been (Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Missionaries to the New World…I’m looking at you), but, shall we say, EVOLVED. Or rather, malignantly distorted into a version that would Christ to return would see him quickly recrucified, 2019 style. Which is to say, literally nailed to a cross Medieval style, as that has become the norm again.
This article brought to mind a particular instance in my nascent evolution away from theism and the warmth of my Christian heritage towards the coldly clinical truth of atheism– When the thought that Christianity and religion in general was the diabolical force (and farce) that William Golding purported it to be was a new and very uncomfortable but clearly obvious reality to me. My inconvenient truth, as it were.
I had decided in college that I would expand my knowledge in as many areas as I possibly could, to take advantage of the education afforded me, and took as many classes and electives not just within my discipline of biology and medicine, but well outside it, as I could: philosophy, music, religion, history. Even angling and karate, though I never got credited for those. One of my favorite of these courses was “History of The Middle East”, a start to finish course jam-packed with all things Middle Eastern, which included, of course, a healthy few weeks on Islam.
Now, even with my upbringing and personal affectation towards Christianity, though challenged and in doubt at the time, I had always been able to segregate, as it were, the sacred from the profane. Education and faith, while not strictly mutually exclusive, were something that I could abide in equal tolerance if not fully conjoin. When one did force the other into question, I rode that bitch out as far as I could then, if still unresolved, put it in the “save it for later/more info needed” category and moved the fuck on.
I couldn’t resolve the dinosaurs/creation thing so I just let them coexist for as long as I could until I WAS able to reason through it in time. My faith was not threatened nor did my education nor my ability to reason suffer. There WERE answers, whether or not I could determine them, to explain these things. After all, the pyramids stood for no reason anybody could as yet could fully explain but yet, there they were anyway. The knowing of it was just waiting there to be uncovered.
I didn’t need craziness and idiotic conjecture to stand in for it in the interim. If alternative views as regarded my faith were proffered, I never took offense or abused the messenger. I tried to assimilate it immediately or just let it simmer on the back-burner until I could either cook that stew all the way or finally turn it off and toss it with the rest of the garbage. But that sort of tolerance and investigative reasoning is not the Christian way…apparently. Christianity does not endorse or weather logic or truth or encourage a thirst for real truth. I got a good dose of this reality during that Middle Eastern course.
We had a mid-term. Pretty much a huge portion of that test, obviously, covered Islam. As in the HISTORY of Islam. Its roots. Its principles. Its effect on the world stage, in politics and in culture and in the people as a whole and individually. The basic tenants and how it compares against, is influenced by and influences other religions. You know. LEARNING. But the Bible Belt boys and girls in Auburn, Alabama were having none of it.
After the tests were returned, my professor, a pretty smart and really cool guy, had to spend the bulk of an entire class addressing idiocy and vitriolic stupidity because so many students took it upon themselves to leave messages chastising him and wrote critiques admonishing Muslims, Islam itself, Mohommed in particular and praising their lord Jesus Christ, the one true God. These mini diatribes were written ON the tests in protest about lessons in HISTORY about HISTORY in a HISTORY class and in an HISTORICAL context. Apparently, or at least my impression was, this had never happened to the professor much, if at all, in the past…on account said college curriculum in an institute of higher learning wasn’t a cult of forced servitude but a HISTORY class about HISTORY. Things that happened, are happening, and the effects of said happenings. It was then that I saw, laid bare, the frailty of religion and Christianity in particular. It was a tenuous sham built on nothing but vague puffery and bluster, a cheap and lazy attempt to explain the difficult to comprehend and to control the weak for more nefarious means.
Why? Because it has no foundation based in reality. It isn’t real. It’s as believable but as the fairy tales it mimics, though far less innocuous, with nothing but the strength of the deliverer to give it life and purpose. Unlike facts and science, it has no set meaning, no set purpose, other than that which is morphed by the one or ones championing it. It mimics the life of that which is real but is just sheer façade. Christianity is the Pinocchio of reality. It is a hollow shell full of pretense and promise that can never deliver beyond what the deliverer brings to it, with no hope of becoming the thing it really long for. It is fraught with the wispy fragility inherent in fiction, waiting to be discovered for the fraud that it truly is, trying its best to deter that from happening with cruel threats and vainglorious promises of reward.
It is the whole concept of FAITH that protects religion, for there is no better protection from a lie other than avoiding exposure. What better way to have a lie lay hidden than to discourage the truth from ever being sought in the first place? It’s much harder to find something if you never go searching for it. To question faith, and religion by default, is to bring shame and sorrow, even plague and eternal damnation upon yourself. Not to question it is to bring all the greatest glories one could imagine.
Go one step further and proclaim faith as the equal to truth and you have now an (almost) foolproof scam ready to be used for whatever purpose the user would have: power to control without question, punish with impunity, steal without effort by tricking the victim into giving freely. Fortunes can be amassed. Worlds can be conquered. Whole societies or sects can be single handedly, and “justifiably” annihilated, all at the whim of one’s faith. The usages are endless with such a power, as HISTORY has proven. As America’s NOW continues to delineate. As Trump and his sycophantic worshipping “Christians” champion this vulgarity with brazen demagoguery that would make Nero puke.
How weak, how pathetic, how fragile one’s reality to attack with such ferocity even the most minor of perceived threats! Islam and Christianity share this fragility in spades. What is their true message? Is there even one anymore? How is that it always seems to benefit the most enraged? The most insulted. The most offended. The most weak. The most impotent and the most cowardly. How random the application of the laws and tenants of said religions. How alternative the meanings. How hypocritical the applications and teachings.
Christians don’t even bother with exhibiting ANY of Christ’s teachings anymore. The ONE thing that is persistent as it is consistent is the message of Christ, the very reason for being a Christian, the very reason the religion exists. And yet, Christ is the ONE thing missing from Christianity. Instead, what we have is some haphazard promulgation of esoteric nonsensical judgements; a conglomeration of cherry picked premedieval Draconian, OLD Testament logic used to separate, not join. To condemn, not comfort. To injure, not heal. To kill, not resurrect. To accuse THEM. To EXCUSE one’s self.
This isn’t Jesus. This is the pharisees and the elite that had Jesus killed. Jesus was the iconoclast. The hippie. The socialist. The tired and poor. The meek. The jailed. The immigrant. All these things…LITERALLY. And yet Christians feel empowered to the point of orgasmic rapture to rail against EVERY SINGLE ONE of these aspects of Christianity. Every. Single. One. Hypocrites, all.
Christianity is afraid. Afraid of anything that could expose it. Even those things that have nothing to do with it, no desire to even entertain the idea of intersecting with it. Christianity is afraid, yes, but Christ was not. Christianity today accepts nothing that isn’t it already. It’s morphed its message to embrace the very things it was meant to protect the faithful from: avarice, hate, prejudice, fear, bigotry, judgement, bloodthirst.
Christ accepted all. Christianity today would prefer to cajole and accuse rather than to listen and proffer assistance. Christ sat with the sinners. Ate with the outcasts. Lived with the unlivable. Gave when he had nothing. When he had LESS than nothing. Condemned not. Admonished not. Accused not. Judged not. Offered light and hope and forgiveness without condition, even if his audience refused or ignored or tortured, or even killed him. Even THEN, he proffered forgiveness, to his dying breath: “Forgive them father, for they know not what they do”. Absodamnlutely. And THAT Jesus, real or not, story or not, lesson or not, would STILL do it today. IS doing it today. “For as you do this to the least of your brethren, you do it to me.” He taught this, in his words AND with his actions. He would not understand a DAMN thing going on right now in his name.
The girl here that lost her lawsuit, and her parents, in this article IS Christianity today. Proud in its ignorance. Defiant in its stupidity. Unforgiving in its brashness. Unwavering in its hypocrisy. Yes, Christianity in America IS dead. It is become another beast altogether. To worship and herald the closest thing to the foretold Antichrist yet encountered, the vile and disgusting Donald Trump, is to expose one’s life as a lie and one’s faith as absolute bullshit. If you are a Christian who has supported and continues to support this demonic hellspawn of sentient greed that is your “President”, then you are forfeit in your faith and can only pray that your nonexistent God will forgive you before you die. Because in YOUR world, you WILL join Satan in hellfire for all eternity. Sadly, in my world, the real world, you just going to die a fucking asshole who fucked up shit for the rest of us so badly it may never recover.
Following a cult of personality as blindly and as dangerously as any terrorist, with the same fortitude and vigor in the FAITH that your vile and destructive hate will be rewarded is just as sick and disturbed. Trump, like all malignantly narcissistic sociopaths, doesn’t know and doesn’t care. They only see themselves, only care about themselves. They are eager to allow themselves to be crowned emperor of whatever the fuck just as long as they are emperor of whatever the fuck. For its part, The GOP has sold all it is and has stood for to cater to these ignorant monsters that now form its base. It’s easier to fool the already fooled, to strong-arm the already weak-minded. It’s more profitable to embrace the treason inherent than to take a principled stand against totalitarianism and plutocracy. The GOP are nothing but simpering cowards, yipping like a herd of Chihuahua’s from the comfort of their owner’s smoke-soaked Buick.
There is absolutely no difference today between a Christian America and an Islamist terrorist state, politically speaking. In truth, if the Conservative Right DID get their way, it would be EXACTLY the same as their Muslim counterparts: Complete with public stonings for the intellectual “elite”, hangings for the homosexuals and the like, forced servitude and torture for the blacks and immigrants and pretty much the same with an added sexual deviance spin for women.
THIS dystopia is the America envisioned by the Evangelicals that hold sway over the proud man-child pissing and preening in the Oval Office. THIS is the America every Trumpkin and Red MAGA donning douchebag is frothing at the bit to unleash. THIS is the America that today’s Republicans have sold themselves for in order to maintain a fleeting charade of power for a degenerate and Dionysian indulgence of vice and avarice. The LAST fucking thing they want is a goddam History lesson that foretells their downfall and penance to come.