Monday, December 18, 2006


Today's New York Times has a story about David Paszkiewicz, Matthew LaClair, a high school student in New Jersey who caught a Christianist teacher on tape proclaiming that a specific Muslim student was going to hell, that dinosaurs were aboard Noah's Ark, and that belief in evolution and the Big Bang is unscientific -- in a public-school history class.

I love the early reaction to the story by commenters at Ann Althouse's ersatz-centrist right-wing blog:

... this smells like a sting. If the story is accurate, how very convenient that the kid just happened to be the son of a secular humanist lawyer. I'd want to know if that's true, and if so, has the father previously litigated issues like this? Is he someone actively hostile to religion? The record is replete of examples where the left uses their children as a battering ram for their political causes: in recent memory, Michael Newdow and Cindy Sheehan spring to mind.


how very convenient that the kid just happened to be the son of a secular humanist lawyer

Yes, I was on board til I got to that little factoid.


This, also, from the story: "Matthew [is] a thin, articulate 16-year-old with braces and a passion for politics." I don't think it takes much of a stretch to guess what kind of politics he subscribes to. What we've got here, by the terms of the story, is a teacher who has no previous record of this sort of thing, who suddenly -- out of the blue! -- decides to start evangelizing in class. And by nothing more than sheer coincidence, it just
happens to be in the presence of a passionately political secular humanist (who, as even the NYT admits, was asking leading questions), who happens to have a tape recorder and father who could even litigate the matter. How extraordinarily convenient. Instant ACLU cause celebre - just add outrage.

Come on - you have to admit that this story smells fishy.


Ok, so both the teacher and the kid and his parents are not very smart, in the case of the teacher, or very honorable, in the case of the kid and his parents.

Wouldn't it be great if we could fire the teacher and kick the kid out of school for the rest of his life? I'd be jiggy with that....

So the kid is the bad guy, hunh? (The kid and his parents, and, incidentally, maybe the teacher also.)

Er, how different is this from assuming that a rape victim was "asking for it"? (The kid wanted it! He was wearing provocative ideas!)

To give Althouse's readers their due, cooler heads eventually prevail.

(Via Memeorandum.)

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