Thursday, August 04, 2005


Teaching Both Sides

''Both sides ought to be properly taught [evolution and intelligent design] says President Bush, "so people can understand what the debate is about."

''Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought," adds Bush. "You're asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes."


Does our president's sense of fairness extend to sex education classes, as well? His right-wing political supporters want to prevent students from learning that condoms can protect them from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Will the right now reverse course and agree that "both sides" be taught in health classes?

How about in English classes where the president's supporters demand that certain books be removed from the curriculum? Will they now agree, with the president, that people ought to be exposed to different ideas? Will they end their campaign to prevent students from reading books such as The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, among many, many others?

In their campaign for prayer in the schools, will they allow Catholics, Jews, Muslims, and secular humanists -- perhaps even the members of the young Goths club -- to offer their own prayers, too. If they truly want to expose people to different ideas, surely they won't restrict school prayers to Protestant fundamentalists. Will they?

The Odessa school board made news the other day by voting to teach an elective bible study course there. Critics complained that the curriculum advocated by the sponsors reflected only the sectarian views of Christian fundamentalists. Now that the president has spoken out for fairness, and equal time, will the bible study advocates change course and include Muslim and Jewish interpretations of the Bible? Will they include other world religions and religious writings in the curriculum?

We have heard a lot of noise from the intelligent design crowd that evolution is nothing but religious dogma. Will they allow the views of scientists, secular humanists, agnostics, and atheists to be presented in the bible study classes so that people can hear both sides. So they can understand what the debate is about?

We're not holding our breath.


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