A Pennsylvania mom who sued after her son's school did not allow her to read a Bible passage to his class will not have her case heard by the Supreme Court.
The reading was to be part of an in-class assignment in which the children were invited to present important aspects of their lives to their classmates. As part of this “All About Me” week-long assignment, (Donna Kay) Busch’s son, Wesley, made a poster displaying photographs of himself, his hamster, his brothers, his parents, his best friend, and a construction-paper likeness of his church.
One part of the “All About Me” curriculum included inviting parents to “share a talent, short game, small craft, or story” with the class that would highlight something about their child. Busch said her son asked her to read the Bible to the class, an activity she and her son shared together at home.
The mother selected verses 1-4 and 14 of Psalm 118 from the King James version of the Bible. She later testified that she chose those verses because they were similar to poetry and that they did not make any reference to Jesus. Busch testified that she wanted to avoid any mention of Jesus because she felt there was a level of hostility in the school district to her Christian beliefs.
Of course the Supreme Court declined to hear the case; it seems straightforward than an adult reading to a kindergarten class during a session they had to attend might blur the line between free speech and state endorsement of a religion. So why sue over something so inconsequential? It's really more about how Busch felt the school district was hostile toward her Christian beliefs.
She wasn't able to prove, in this case, that they were actively discriminating against her. It's just that she believes she was discriminated against. More than that, she wanted to be the aggrieved party in a public forum. She's not alone in the evangelical Christian world.
At Open Left, Paul Rosenberg wrote about the ongoing myth of Christian martyrdom in talking about the American anti-gay community's culpability in the Ugandan law that allows gays to be executed.
So, is (Popular pastor Rick) Warren saying that 146,000 Christians were killed because of their faith in accord with "evil laws"? What laws, exactly would those be?. . .
. . .Open Doors is a decades-old organization identified as "Serving persecuted Christians worldwide." It produces an annual World Watch List of the 50 worst countries in terms of persecuting Christians world-wide, but its literature is remarkably free of any sorts of mass murders on the scale one would need to get anywhere near 146,000 martyrs--as I explained to Warren's PR flack, who at first seemed pleased that I was referring to this site.
Warren's PR people got back to him. Rosenberg wrote a new piece about their continued citation of high numbers that were also cited by another Christian group, but they said they did not know exactly where Warren got his numbers from.
These figures are patently bogus--as I will shortly demonstrate. But they are also, apparently widely believed in the evangelic community. It helps to notice first of all that there is simply no comparison to executing people for being gay. Murdering people because of their religious beliefs is utterly heinous, but it is not state action, and not the least bit comparable to the sort of law being contemplated by Warren's purpose-driven fans.
I've never understood the ability of the Christian right to turn Christians into victims, despite their overwhelming majority in the nation and in running its powerful institutions. Maybe it's because the other choice -- realizing their role as both powerful and sometimes oppressive -- would put them on the wrong side of a biblical tale.
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