Wednesday, April 2, 2008

It Is Barely Possible...

That these statements by this teacher were taken out of context. Fox News played some recordings this morning, and I confess that as much as I tried to imagine framing statements that would make these appropriate for a classroom (except, perhaps, in the Soviet Union), I just couldn't quite figure out how. From the March 11, 2008 Christian Post:
Dan Spradlin, attorney for Advanced Placement European history teacher James Corbett, had asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit filed by the teacher's former student. After Monday's ruling, however, the lawsuit will go to trial.

Chad Farnan, sophomore at Capistrano Valley High School and a Christian, and his parents sued the history teacher in December, alleging that the educator had fostered hostility toward Christians and promoted "irreligion over religion," violating the Establishment Clause.

According to the lawsuit, Corbett spent "a large portion of class time propagating his personal views to a captive audience."

Court documents cite statements tape recorded by Farnan during Corbett's lectures, such as “When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth."

Corbett attended Monday's hearing but declined to comment, saying, "I am frustrated that my side of this story has yet to be heard, but there is so much at stake for me and my family that my best course is to follow my lawyer’s advice and wait until this is over before I comment," according to the local newspaper.

The high school teacher has drawn support from hundreds of students who have rallied with "support free speech" signs and argued that he spurred discussions in an intelligent way.

Many have also flocked to Farnan, calling for and end to hate and intolerance and urging support for the student and the Constitution.

Lawyers for the Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a Christian legal group representing the Farnan family, released additional comments into the litigation this week that were made by Corbett during instruction:

"Aristotle argued there has to be a God. Of course that's nonsense" and "We do not invoke the supernatural every time we get stymied. It's okay for religious people to do that, or magicians. There might not be a distinction. What was it that Mark Twain said? He said that religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool."

Corbett's attorney argues that the comments were all taken out of context.
This article in the March 11, 2008 Orange County Register has some more inflammatory statements:
Court papers cite statements tape-recorded by Farnan such as "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies – that's interfering with God's work" and "When you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth." The Christian legal group that filed the lawsuit, Murrieta-based Advocates for Faith and Freedom, released additional quotes Monday attributed to Corbett, including "When you pray for divine intervention, you're hoping that the spaghetti monster will help you get what you want."
The tape recording that Fox News played this morning included the statement that the goal of Christians was to have women barefoot and pregnant until their bodies give out. Again, perhaps there's some framing context that might make this acceptable in a classroom--but I don't find it implausible that this suit accurately reflects the situation, since this does reflect the left's dominant prejudices against Christianity (see this example from a defender of Idaho public education):
Same group that wants to keep women barefoot, pregnant and abused. Perhaps their hidden agenda is to eliminate public schools.

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