Sunday, February 12, 2006

Radical Fundamentalists in Education

The King Fahd Academy in Bonn, Germany is a Saudi-funded private school for the children of Islamic families in the area. A few months ago, a German television station smuggled a camera into an academy classroom and recorded a teacher inciting a holy war in the name of Allah and advocating martial-arts training for their young Islamic terrorists of the future.

According to an article in Newsweek, "the Saudi government pumps tens of millions of dollars every year into such institutions around the world, including Islamic centers, mosques and schools named for King Fahd in Los Angeles, Moscow, Edinburgh and Malaga, Spain."

After the television station aired their hidden footage, the German government vowed to shut down the Bonn school, but quickly did an about-face after conferring with Saudi government officials. The Germans eventually backed down completely, citing "foreign policy reasons". A government spokesman recently praised the Kind Fahd school as an "important cultural institution" that contributed to good Saudi-German relations. Proving once again that when push comes to shove, links to money and oil outweigh any considerations about fighting institutionalized propaganda. Didn't the 9/11 terrorists hatch their plan in Germany?

Much has been said about how radical Islamic schools have been breeding young terrorists around the world, but then I read about another fundamentalist group spreading propaganda right here in the U. S., and the Bush administration seems to be doing everything in their power to help them spread their message of ignorance and mind control.

I'm talking here about those that espouse a complete rejection of instruction regarding evolution in the science classroom in favor of creationism. This does not bode well for the future of this country, especially when you consider the Bush administration (and our own boy-governor) is pushing public funding of private schools - where they can freely teach this anti-science propaganda to impressionable children.

A piece in the LA Times called "Their Own Version of a Big Bang" tells the story of a well-financed and popular (among Christian fundamentalists) new evangelical push that teaches children to openly question their science instruction. Austrailian evangelist, Ken Ham, is just one of many who have made a good living traveling around the country propagating this new brand of backward-thinking religious propaganda on thousands of school children.

During a recent stop at a school in New Jersey, Ham encouraged a group of 2,300 elementary school children, with the help of dinosaur puppets and silly cartoons, to reject much of geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology as a sinister tangle of lies.

"Boys and girls," Ham said. If a teacher so much as mentions evolution, or the Big Bang, or an era when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, "you put your hand up and you say, 'Excuse me, were you there?' Can you remember that?" The children roared as one, "Yes!".

Then he further works them into a frenzied state by leading them in cheers.

"Who's the only one who's always been there?" Ham asked.
"God!" the boys and girls shouted.
"Who's the only one who knows everything?"
"So who should you always trust, God or the scientists?"The children answered with a thundering:

How different is this from impressionable children in radical Islamic school chanting "Allah" at the exhortations of their fundamentalist indoctrinators?

"Who will help us fight the American infidel?"
"Who will lead us in the jihad against the great Satan?"

Evangelist Ham, a former biology teacher, likes to say that he is arming his youngsters with "Christian Patriot missiles" during his seminars and Christian pep rallies. The name of his ministry is called "Answers in Genesis".

According to the Times, this kind of "creation evangelism" has become a booming industry, with churches, colleges, private schools and rotary clubs providing venues for anti-evolutionary rallies.

With pulpit-thumping passion, Ham insists the Bible be taken literally: God created the universe and all its creatures in six 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 years ago. Answers in Genesis has an annual budget of $15 million to produce DVD's and home school materials. One popular seller is an alphabet rhyme that begins, "A is for Adam, God made him from dust / He wasn't a monkey, he looked just like us."

Ham's well-publicized speaking tours are supposedly booked three years in advance, and I see he does have Missouri listed on his itinerary. If you were wanting to preach this kind of baloney to Missourians, which part of the state would you pick?


Citizenkan said...

Jacke M.: What's your take on this story? Do you agree with this type of Christian schooling?

RSmith said...

Yeah, Jacke - how would a "progressive" Christian view these types of rallies? By the way, did I read on your blog that George Bush would go down in history as one of the best presidents of his era? Maybe I dreamed that.

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