Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More shameless caricatures

I just can't make this stuff up: N.Y. Teacher Fights Modern-Day 'Witch Trial' - Woman Says She Was Fired Because Principal Said She Practiced Witchcraft
(CBS) HAMPTON BAYS, N.Y. A Long Island elementary school teacher is suing the Hampton Bays school district after she was fired because her administrators allegedly believed she was a witch teaching witchcraft to her students. Her lawyer is calling the case a "21st century re-enactment of the Salem Witchcraft Trials."

Lauren Berrios told CBS 2 that she was terminated after she was told that she "entice[d] children into witchcraft and magic through literature."
Even before she was fired, Berrios says her principal removed books from her classroom, including the popular series "Goosebumps," as well as "Harry Potter." She believes books that didn't mesh with principal's religious values, even including African-American literature, were taken out of her curriculum.


Blogger David said...

Who's side are you on?

March 07, 2007 10:35 AM  
Blogger Duck said...

I'm not on the side of any school principal that thinks Goosebumps and Harry Potter are enticements to witchcraft.

March 07, 2007 11:28 AM  
Blogger David said...

But if Wicca is a religion and she was trying to make her religion look glamorous in order to entice her students, wouldn't you be against that? Gingerbread is great, too, but if she started to build a gingerbread house in the woods I hope someone would take notice.

March 07, 2007 1:19 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

"Goosebumps" and "Harry Potter" aren't obscure works that were in the classroom only to lure the unsuspecting into embracing Wicca, they were in the classroom because students got hooked on them outside the classroom.

I agree that "The Wicca Handbook" and "The Joy of Wicca" shouldn't be in elementery school libraries, although I'm fine with them being in high school libraries.

March 07, 2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger Duck said...

If the Bible is in high school libraries, why not the Wicca handbook?

Do you think that teachers should be denied the right to wear the crucifix or yarmulke or Ash Wednesday ashes? But this case doesn't even go there. What's the evidence that she's a Wiccan or was even displaying Wiccan behavior? Black fingernail polish?

Harry Potter and Goosebumps are mainstream culture, they are as religious as Halloween.

March 08, 2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger David said...

Duck: We don't know anything about the evidence, just cherry picking by her attorney. I'm skeptical that a public school principal on Long Island is a Christian fundamentalist unable to keep his religion out of the classroom, but anything's possible. I expect, though, that the school system thinks that it has a good defense.

I'm willing to tolerate quite a bit of religion in the classroom, both in terms of indicia of faith and also as part of the fabric of western civilization. I first read the Christian bible in public school and I didn't mind at all. I'd prefer that there wasn't any evangelizing, but I don't think that the federal constitution forbids it.

If Wicca is to be considered a religion, which I find dubious, then it should be governed by the same rules as any other religion. If the rule is no evangelizing, then that means Wiccans, too.

I haven't read Goosebumps, but the Harry Potter books are great. The people who think that they are inherently anti-Christian because they laud/promote/glorify witchcraft are kooks who are not within shouting distance of reality. But the school district's claim her, as presented by the teacher's lawyer, is not that she merely wore black nail polish and black clothes and had the class read Harry Potter, but that she was actively recruiting. I think that it is obvious that a sly Wiccan could misuse the Potter books as a wedge to evangelize and, if she were caught, that school should take action.

If a Catholic teacher planned to show A Man For All Seasons in class, organized a lesson about how his courage was informed by the beauty and majesty of the Catholic Church and then announced that she would be glad to introduce any students interested in Catholicism to her priest, would you be as calm?

March 08, 2007 3:08 PM  
Blogger David said...

And now that I googled it I see that the school's defense is that she is a nutbar who made up horrific stories about her husband and son (e.g., he lost some fingers in a vcr).

March 08, 2007 3:50 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

Witchcraft is as Christian as it can be. It's a Christian sin, but it's still Christian.

We materialists don't believe in it.

That's the problem with swallowing holy books. You have to choke it all down.

March 08, 2007 10:04 PM  
Blogger David said...

Harry: I'm not sure I get your point. You don't believe in Christianity, either, but presumably you don't want public elementary school teachers evangelizing. Nothing in this story depends upon whether witchcraft is real.

March 09, 2007 5:06 AM  
Blogger Peter Burnet said...

Nice try, Harry. I'll bet you see Christian influence in your most hated vegetable.

David, I think we may have to consider that the modern secularist is so far removed from matters spiritual that he/she isn't just defending Wicca on the basis of equal time or freedom of religion. It is actually more appealing and sensical than gloomy, warping old Judeo-Christianity. After all, it lets you make up your own personal cosmology and decide how to revere it. The feminism bears a striking similarity to press releases from NOW. It encourages you to do "whatever you will" as long as it doesn't harm anyone, but the really cool thing is you get to decide personally what harm is.

As long as they are smart enough to stay away from spells and hexes 'n stuff with kids, it all come across like J.S. Mill for folks with a poetic bent who like to gather harmlessly to chant in the forest and bay at full moons. Surely it is no more offensive than the Duckians relaxing after a hard day defending Darwinism by going out together to enjoy Phantom of the Opera?

March 09, 2007 6:19 AM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

As long as they're just gathering harmlessly to bay at full moons and run naked through the forest, then no, it is no more offensive.

March 09, 2007 7:43 AM  

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