Religious Speech and Public Schools

A high school teacher in New Jersey is in hot water for telling his students that the Bible is more fact-based than evolution and saying that people who don’t believe Jesus died for their sins belong in hell. He also allegedly told his class that the Bible has been proven to be true and that there were dinasaurs on Noah’s Ark. More amazing than the fact that an educator paid with public money would make such an outlandish claim is the fact that the school penalized the student who secretly taped one of the teacher’s lectures in order to bring it to the attention of the principal.

You might think the subject of this post is free speech or religion but the issue here is actually compulsory education and public schools. If education was treated as the duty of the parents rather than of the State then teachers like this would not be an issue. If there were no public schools funded by the threat of force (even from people who have never had and will never have children), then all schools would be private. As such schools could teach anything they wanted (including the aforementioned Mr. Garrison theory and if parents objected they could pull their kids out and send them to a different school. In effect every school would be a de facto school of choice. As such we would have no cases such as the above which try to balance the teacher’s freedom of speech with the student’s freedom of religion. In real life there is no right that violates the rights of another.

To be more specific, someone might say if I delete his comment from my blog that I am engaging in censorship and therefore violating their right to free speech. That would not be true, however, and Ayn Rand put it best when she said “No one has a moral obligation to publicize positions or viewpoints with which he disagrees, or to provide a free or paid podium for others because they lack the means of promulgating their viewpoints.” Free speech simply means that I cannot legally prevent you from saying whatever it is you want to say, it doesn’t mean that I have to provide you with the means to say it.

But when the speaker is being paid by the government, he is then on the collective dime and that is where the waters get murky. If you’re the one paying the piper then that bitch better play what you command. Since “the public” is paying for the aforementioned high school that means every tax payer has a say which is quite problematic. Take the “public” out of education and that problem goes away.

But teh Mexigogue, who would pay for schools? That one is easy. Those parents who could afford to pay would do so. Those who marginally might able to do so now would definitely be able to do so if public schools were erased because the elimination of public schools would immediately ease the tax burden. For others there would be institutions that would step in to create free or low cost schooling, both for ideological reasons (religious and social) and for “altruistic” reasons. If you can’t afford to send your child to a school you choose, then send him to a madrasah until you can earn some cash. If you object that many children will fall through the cracks I tell you to look at current drop out rates, WHAT WORLD HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING ON???

There I go using all caps again, time to settle down. I’ll start with a pot of coffee.

10 Responses to “Religious Speech and Public Schools”

  1. R says:

    “For others there would be institutions that would step in to create free or low cost schooling…for ‘altruistic’ reasons.”

    No, they wouldn’t for the same reason that people would abolish public schooling in order to ease their own tax burden.

    And you can’t associate drop-out rates with a failing of public schools. (If you wanted to do that, I’d suggest using results of standardized tests – and even those are heavily disputed for their methodologies) Drop-out rates merely show how many kids have refused the [i]opportunity given to them.[/i]

  2. Mexigogue says:

    You’re wrong R. There are some people and institutions that would be happy to provide education for no other reason than to promote their own agendas (ala the Catholic Church). Hell, there might even be lesbian schools popping up!

  3. Nice post, Mexi. Yet I caught the Freudian slip where you refer to MS. Garrison as MR. Garrison. This shows that you think Oswald shot Kennedy.

  4. mexi says:

    That was not a slip. I don’t regard transgender people as having actually changed their gender identity. Being male or female is more than just a matter of genitals, men and women are fundementally different in the mind (although this does not presume that one is more valuable than the other any more than a point guard and shooting guard are). A man with a surgically constructed vagina is still a man, only now he sits down to pee. (shout out to Gavin Spittle)

  5. dead baby says:

    Has anybody talked to Mario lately?

  6. Mexigogue says:

    Nooo we haven’t talked to Mario Miss Gotta Score me some Weed Injun Lady!

  7. Phelps says:

    Yeah, R, the argument that no one would educate children without Sticking Guns In People’s Faces To Pay For Schools Where We Stick Guns In Parent’s Faces To Make the Kids Go &trade kinda falls right in front of the fact that until the turn of the 20th century, most schools, especially urban ones, were actually run by churches or by donation and attendance was entirely voluntary.

  8. R says:

    I sincerely doubt any technological innovations were ever made at religious institutions funded by donation…except beer brewing technology at monasteries, of course.

  9. Phelps says:

    How about genetics, big guy? Mendel was a monk. Did his breeding at the monastary.

  10. Phelps says:

    Actually, I can do better than that. Newton wrote Prinicpa Mathematica at Cambridge — more formally known as The College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity. So far that is calculus and genetics born in religious institutions. And both beer and wine and champagne.