Sunday, November 12, 2006

Public school teacher tells class: "You belong in hell"

The following is from Paul L. LaClair, a NYC attorney who lives in Kearny, New Jersey, and is posted with his permission. David Paszkiewicz, the teacher described here engaging in incompetent teaching and dishonesty, is apparently a youth pastor at Kearny Baptist Church in addition to being a public school teacher. LaClair's son Matthew has previously garnered attention for protesting Bush administration activities by refusing to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. He seems to be a principled and courageous young man who has caught a really bad teacher:
Kearny, New Jersey
November 10, 2006

A history teacher at the local public high school here may have bitten off more than he cares to chew this fall. Self-described conservative Baptist David Paszkiewicz used his history class to proselytize biblical fundamentalism over the course of several days at the beginning of this school year.

Among his remarks in open class were statements that a being must have created the universe, that the Christian Bible is the word of God, and that dinosaurs were aboard Noah's ark. If you do not accept Jesus, he flatly proclaimed to his class, "you belong in hell." Referring to a Muslim student who had been mentioned by name, he lamented what he saw as her inevitable fate should she not convert. In an attempt to promote biblical creationism, he also dismissed evolution and the Big Bang as non-scientific, arguing by contrast that the Bible is supported by what he calls confirmed biblical prophecies.

After taking the matter to the school administration, one of Paszkiewicz's students, junior Matthew LaClair, requested a meeting with the teacher and the school principal. LaClair, a non-Christian, was requesting an apology and correction of false and anti-scientific statements. After two weeks, a meeting took place in the principal's office, wherein Paszkiewicz denied making many of these comments, claiming that LaClair had taken his remarks out of context. Paszkiewicz specifically denied using the phrase, "you belong in hell." He also asserted that he did nothing different in this class than he has been doing in fifteen years of teaching.

At the end of the meeting, LaClair revealed that he had recorded the remarks, and presented the principal with two compact discs. The teacher then declined to comment further without his union representative. However, he fired one last shot at the student, saying, "You got the big fish ... you got the big Christian guy who is a teacher...!"

Commenting on the situation, LaClair's father, attorney Paul LaClair said, "In a few short weeks, this teacher has displayed bigotry, hypocrisy, arrogance and an appalling ignorance of science. The school's administrators seem not to appreciate the damage this man is doing to young minds. He has some real abilities as a teacher, but this conduct is the intellectual equivalent of the school cafeteria serving sawdust."

The student and his parents have requested that the teacher's anti-scientific remarks be corrected in open class, and that the school develop quality control procedures to ensure that future classes are not proselytized and misinformed. They have also referred the matter for disciplinary action. No apology has been forthcoming from the teacher or from the school. The parents state that because of the administration's inaction, they have taken the matter to the school board this week, from whom they are awaiting a response.
Some local press from this story is expected this week; the blogosphere may generate more attention.

(This came to my attention from a post on the SKEPTIC list by Paul Harrison--thanks, Paul.)

UPDATE (November 15, 2006): This story has now been reported in the Newark Star-Ledger.

UPDATE: The Jersey Journal has picked up the story and put some of the audio online. The story is also being picked up by NYC-area radio and television--the LaClairs have been interviewed by or have scheduled interviews with WCBS radio, 1010 WINS radio, Fox 5 News, and NBC 4 News.

UPDATE (November 22, 2006): The Observer (the weekly newspaper for Kearny, NJ) has published some quotes from the recordings and a few letters to the editor.

87 comments:

The Flamingo said...

This guy is a history teacher? Judging from the account of what he told the class, he believes the earth is about 6,000 years old. That view ignores somewhere around 95,000 years of human history.

I feel bad for those students. The kids he had been teaching for 15 years are the ones who really lost in this situation.

The Flamingo said...

By the way, I linked to your blog from mine. Come check it out if you wish.

The Honorable Flamingo

Zeno said...

Well done!

Orac said...

That's way, way too close to home for comfort for me.

Einzige said...

If this article from John Stossel has any truth to it, then I predict that this guy will still be a teacher a year from now.

Einzige said...

(and, yes, I recognize that the teacher was in New Jersey and not New York)

Anonymous said...

Are you sure this story isnt totally full of shit? I looked, and looked, and looked for ANY kind of verification to this, and came up with NOTHING, other than that David Paszkiewicz is a world class Rubik's cube puzzle solver (or a name on a church webpage.) There isnt even any local news to support this claim. *Sometimes i worry about the power bloggers have... <sigh>*

Jim Lippard said...

smtr: I exchanged emails with Paul LaClair about it. He says he expects some local newspaper coverage this week; the local paper there comes out on Thursdays. I've also asked to be able to listen to some of the audio clips; he's said OK, but so far has said that they've had some technical issues and I've not yet heard anything.

I have verified that David Paszkiewicz is a U.S. History teacher at Kearny High School; he's also head coach of the women's crew team.

Anonymous said...

Dude this is a fucking joke...... first off why the fuck would you want so much attention over stupid shit... and second... i know this teacher personally and know he is a good person and diddnt mean to offend ne one... and fuck the little bitch ass who recorded this shiit... im a senior @ khs and this just adds to all the fucking drama in this school.. so u know wat fuck all u bitch asses who want to see action taken... u r a sad sad person and need to fucking get a fucking life so ya im done here..... u wanna talk shit tell me @ neo1123@gmail.com

Jim Lippard said...

neo1123: It's not a joke, it's a violation of the U.S. Constitution's Establishment Clause by a teacher who is using his position of authority in a public school to push his religion on students, as well as to purvey misinformation about science--and has then lied about it to the principal when called on it. The teacher has broken the law, demonstrated incompetence as a teacher, and shown himself to be dishonest. That's three items that argue for his permanent removal from the classroom.

If your comment here is an indication of your reading comprehension skills, your writing skills, and your critical thinking skills, I don't think you should be receiving a high school diploma.

Einzige said...

neo1123: How good a person he is has no bearing on the issue of whether or not a public school classroom is the right forum for proselytizing.

Anonymous said...

I believe this is the most stupidiest thing ever. That kid is just trying to find attetntion for himself. I've had this teacher and he is one of the best teachers. He taught history the way it was and in group discussions he would view both points without no religion remarks. So who ever reads this, don't be ignorants and know the facts first. The kid who claimed this is the type of kid no one likes and wants to drive attention to hiself. I say to the father to drop it because that teacher is loved by many and going against it will cause much problems.

Anonymous said...

Neo1123

We 'pay attention over stupid shit' because your teacher was doing something very wrong to the students in his charge.

Look at it this way, if the school ignores one religious teacher's words, then they might also ignore another religious teacher's words.

Would you have been so willing to come to the defense of someone who professed that all Christians were going to hell because they had the wrong religion?

Perhaps you would be uncomfortable with a teacher who claimed that his religion "just knew" that Blacks were inferior to the White Race.

Both beliefs have a lot of supporters in this world - and although human culture is a great topic for a High School class, teaching these beliefs as truth is as wrong as what the History teacher did.

Lastly, you're a senior in High School, and this is how you communicate? Perhaps your school has failed you. If this teacher is any indication of the quality of your school, I'd be inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt.

Anonymous said...

I am a graduate from KHS and have been in this teacher's history class. In no way does he preach or push on his religious views. No students in his class, when I was there, had problems with his behavior. In turn, we we're mature and debated with him. Students who disagreed with his MENTIONS to the Bible--not preaching--debated the teacher and we actually enjoyed the intellectual debates with him. Paszkiewicz does not say you must be Christian, he just expresses his point of view. From my experience in his class, students are the ones who initiate a religious discussion: They would ask him what he thought of gay marriage and why. He would respond with his view and back it up with HIS VIEWS--as would a Muslim with his, as would a biologist with his, and as would a Jew with his. If students want to know what this man's views are toward a particular issue or even his views about the Civil War or about Kennedy's assassination, he will answer them. Why should he lie and/or alter his views toward historical issues. If he feels Kennedy's life was up because God was calling him, then the teacher ought to express that since the student's ask HIM--they asked for his views. If the teacher's views about a historical event contain religious backing and the questions from students ask for an opinion, then he should give his honest opinion. I had class with Mr. Paszkiewicz and for 15 years no students took such measures--not because of fear--but because we enjoyed debating him. I know for a fact, that if you ask any other student at KHS, they will tell you that they support the teacher--and NOT the student. It's unfortunate that the teacher's reputation has been tarnished because he is one of the best history teachers at KHS and has one of the most interesting and student engaging teaching methods--via official debates. Before, you all accept LaClair's atheist views--which he has said they are, consider and listen to OTHER students who admire this man. Thank you.

Oolon Colluphid said...

"Former Student",

Unless Paszkiewicz has gone off his meds since you allegedly took a class from him, I highly doubt your characterization of things, since part of the recordings have been made available online.

Can you tell us the precise pedagogical reason for telling a class "You all belong in hell."?

Listening to the tapes, if this man is the best history teacher you have there, then the whole school is a dead loss.

Anonymous said...

am a sister of a fellow classmate in this kids class.If you did not hear the recording correctly, it clearly states that Mr.P says"Does anyone have a problem that we are talking about religion and not populism (the topic)"? If that kid Matt had a problem, right then and there he should of said,"Yes" But yet, he insisted on being dificult.Also,in this particular recording if you did not hear correctly it also said that Matt started the hole thing with religion. He is simply not proving anything.He is playing the victim when he is infact the bully.From what my sister tells me he infact is an amazing teacher. He didn't do anything wrong and I don't think he would ever want to intensionally offend someone. I honestly think that this case went overboard,if he had a problem he should have switched his teacher or told the teacher he disagreed with talking about religion.So in conclusion,I think that Matt took this way overboard and he lost the case because you have to hear what the recording says clearly.Lastly, i'd like to say that if everyone else in his class says they love the teacher and would never harm or affend a thing then why would only one student think that? It could of simply been delt with if he would switch his teacher or have a conference.But instead he wants to get everyone's attention when there are more important things to deal with in life.

P.S. I know i don't have the best english grammar. =)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

First off, I am a recent graduate fro KHS, so I am very in touch with how the class was run.

Second, If any non-Christian asked me if they were going to hell, I would answer, "There is a strong possibly that yes you are, unless God wants to save you from eternal damnation."

Also, the quote was taken completely out of context. Anyone, with any common sense, can determine that. Furthermore, there is no need to target the school and its curriculum. You cannot disagree with my statement that he is one of the best history teachers, until you have taken his course. Also, are you from Kearny? Do you know the environment in my town? Are you aware of anything that has to do with the school itself? If not, then anything you say is mere speculation and assumption based on one source--Matt's quotes and recording.

Also, the the previous speaker said, the teacher did indeed ask if everyone was OK with the path the lecture took. The class enthusiastically said yes. Matt planned the whole event, the questions, recording, and initiating the topic. The teacher did not walk in and say, OK instead of populism we will talk about God. The student and students initiated and prolonged the discussion.

The teacher was confronted about the issue in September and no longer mentions God in the classrrom. There is no need for prosecution since the teacher no longer acts as he did before. This clearly shows the student's ongoing appetite for attention and attempt to tarnish the teacher's reputation. This is the same kid who refuses to stand to the Flag Salute because it says Under God and because he hates Bush. This is not the first act of defiance by this young man. So please, all I ask, is that you hear all sides of the story and hear the students/alumni views before making any judgments about a man and kid that none or most of you have not met.

Jim Lippard said...

Former Student: You, like the other students posting here, are failing to address or even recognize the actual issue here.

You should ask yourself this question: Would it have been OK for this teacher to have injected his personal religious views into the classroom if he was a Muslim, a Scientologist, or an atheist? If your answer is yes, then at least you are advocating a consistent position. If your answer is no, then you are only supporting the teacher because his religious views are the same as yours, and you don't understand what the U.S. Constitution requires of a teacher in a public school--which in turn means that you've not gotten the education about U.S. government that you should have gotten from your high school.

I also haven't seen any of you address the fact that the teacher *lied* when confronted about what he had done, denying that he had said the things that he had. Don't you agree that's wrong? Or is lying also acceptable in Kearny, as long as you're a Christian?

Anonymous said...

I am a 28 year old female resident of Kearny. I attended KHS from 1992-1996. I also had David Paszkiewicz as a history teacher while I attended KHS. ALSO, when I was younger, I had David Paszkiewicz as a Sunday School teacher at the then named church, Gospel Light Baptist Church. It is located behind West Hudson Hospital. David Paszkiewicz used to preach about the usual "no sex before marriage" but while on a church Memorial Day outing to New Life Island, I caught David Paszkiewicz having sex with his then girlfriend in the woods. That is part of the reason I lost interest in religion, granted not all of it.

As far as David Paszkiewicz interjecting his personal religious beliefs and his religious version of history in the classroom, I've also witnessed that first hand. In fact, any of my other friends that had him all said the same thing. How he would tell the students back when I attended how he had this archeologic friend who would follow real archeologist and "disprove" whatever findings they came across to disprove evolution or the existance of dinosaurs. We *were* supposed to be learning about WWII.

As far as the statement made by the person who stated that David Paszkiewicz would ask the class if anyone had a problem with discussing religion, here is something not considered. As a PUBLIC SCHOOL teacher he shouldn't have asked the question to begin with. If David Paszkiewicz wanted to teach history with a religious twist perhaps he should go teach at Queen of Peace. No matter what, David Paszkiewicz should know better than to even entertain the idea of discussing religion in class like that. I've had other history teachers while I attended KHS, Mr. Muro for example, and when asked a question even remotely resembling religion Mr. Muro would say how he couldn't discuss it.

I do not feel bad for "Dave", as we used to call him in youth group meetings at church, he is a grown man who should know better than to even entertain a religious topic in a public school.

I'm glad someone finally had the nerve to say something about David Paszkiewicz's religious history being taught at KHS and was smart enough to record it. I'm going to cover this topic on myspace today. I bet my friends will feel the same way. Thank you Matthew LaClair for doing what no one has had the guts to do since 1992. If you need someone to testify stating that this has been going on for years, let me know.

Hannah said...

To "former student":

Second, If any non-Christian asked me if they were going to hell, I would answer, "There is a strong possibly that yes you are, unless God wants to save you from eternal damnation."

God does want to save us from eternal damnation. That's why He sent Jesus.

He also told Christians not to judge those that don't share our beliefs. So if any non-Christians ask you whether they're going to Hell, the correct answer is "I don't know." That is, of course, unless you are God.

Oh, and as for the Flag Salute, if I disagree with the way a country is run and the reasons it goes to war, I'm not going to pledge allegiance to it.

Jim Lippard said...

Paul LaClair has pointed out at Ed Brayton's blog that the claim that Paszkiewicz was "set up" or instigated into his remarks by his son Matthew is absurd. He provides this summary of the 40-minute class:

"Paszkiewicz initiated nearly every topic in this 40-minute class session, except as otherwise noted. The topics, in order of appearance are:
(1) He does not want his children dressing certain ways on Halloween;
(2) He home schooled his children until recently.
(3) Kearny is a good town (student initiated)
(4) Criticism of public education, e.g., cannot read from the Bible
(5) He believes in sin and man's fall
(6) His children must follow his religion until age 18
(7) Purposes of public school (student initiated and quickly disposed of by Paszkiewicz)
(8) The Christian scriptures are not religion
(9) Evolution is not science
(10) The Big Bang could not have happened
(11) Faith (student initiated)
(12) A being created the universe
{At this point, for the first time, Paszkiewicz asks, "Is this bothering anyone?"}
(13) Christian faith is proved by Biblical prophecies, which have "come true to the letter and verified"
(14) God told Moses what he had done before there were people to observe it, that's how Moses knew what to write
(15) Suppose you were God. God gives choice
(16) My son's reply: I wouldn't send my children to hell for eternity.
That is what "elicited" the comment about belonging in hell.
What happened is that Matthew challenged his theology, and Paskiewicz responded accordingly. Draw your own conclusions."

Jim Lippard said...

CFF1226: Could you please provide a way that you can be contacted? You can email me at lippard-web at discord.org.

Oolon Colluphid said...

First off, I am a recent graduate fro KHS, so I am very in touch with how the class was run.

Second, If any non-Christian asked me if they were going to hell, I would answer, "There is a strong possibly that yes you are, unless God wants to save you from eternal damnation."


Well, according to your mythology, not only does God want to save people from eternal damnation, hence the substitutive sacrifice, but also is the only arbiter of who is saved and who isn't.

Also, the quote was taken completely out of context. Anyone, with any common sense, can determine that.

Well, I asked you to put it in context for me by telling me the precise pedagogical reason for telling a classroom that they all belong in hell. You didn't answer that question.

Furthermore, there is no need to target the school and its curriculum.

I'm not targeting the curriculum; I am however saying that I am strongly inclined to believe that telling a class that they belong in hell is not in the curriculum.

You cannot disagree with my statement that he is one of the best history teachers, until you have taken his course.

Even if the rest of his course was nothing short of perfection, the recorded comments would completely remove him from even being in the running for "one of the best history teachers". History classes are not places to be talking theology--period.

Furthermore, I can determine from what he said that he doesn't have a good grasp of history.

For example: "Scriptures aren't religion, they are the foundation of all of the world's major religions."

Does that include Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, etc.? Or do religions with hundreds of thousands of faithful not constitute a "major religion"?

"Religion's a set way of doing things, like for example if you take christian faith, right you have main varieties, there's Roman Catholicism, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists."

When your sole idea of the major sects of Christianity is the Roman Catholics, the Methodists, the Presbyterians, and the Baptists, then you do not have the historical knowledge to even be expounding on your religion's history, much less the history at large. What about the Greek and Russian Orthodox, the Coptic Christians, the Lutherans (as in Martin 95-Theses-nailed-to-a-church-door Luther), the Calvinists, the Anabaptists, etc.?

Here's another doozy:

"But that's the generation ["prior to 1962"] that did not have terrorism did not have race agression and all of that."

Yes, Nat Turner's rebellion, the Indian Wars, lynchings, slavery, race riots all over, including Tulsa where 300 were killed, etc. simply never happened!

To say nothing of terrorism. I mean that wasn't a tool ever used by anyone, was it? The FLN (in a war started by the pieds noirs, French colonialists, bombing the Casbah), John Brown, the Wall Street Bombing, the burning of the port of Ostia, numerous assassinations and bombings of government heads and government offices, etc. None of those existed either!

"But if my kid is aged 12 and he's kinda like dad, i appreciate what you've taught me but i've decided in my 12 years of religion that i'm gonna stop going to church, after i break his backside, we're gonna have a little attitude adjustment and i'm gonna say you're gonna get in the car with the rest of the family and go to church. you're entitled to your own opinion, but you're gonna do what i tell you to."

And that just screams that this man should have a perpetual restraining order on him, keeping him five hundred feet from any children at any time (especially his own).

Also, are you from Kearny? Do you know the environment in my town? Are you aware of anything that has to do with the school itself? If not, then anything you say is mere speculation and assumption based on one source--Matt's quotes and recording.

Bwahahahahahah!

Basically that statement boils down to "What are you going to believe? What you hear or what I tell you?"

Also, the the previous speaker said, the teacher did indeed ask if everyone was OK with the path the lecture took.

It doesn't matter. It's not appropriate for him to be taking up class time with his private religious views. Even if he asked at the outset (he didn't), there should have been nothing to ask about.

The fact is that he knew this, which is why he lied to the principal until he was confronted with the recordings, then he shut up (a rare moment for him, apparently) and asked for his union rep.

The class enthusiastically said yes. Matt planned the whole event, the questions, recording, and initiating the topic. The teacher did not walk in and say, OK instead of populism we will talk about God.

Really? You chide me for not knowing about your city, and yet you are prepared to stake a claim to clairvoyance, claiming you "know" what Matt did? Furthermore, again, it doesn't matter. Even if he set it up with the questions, a claim I doubt seriously, the teacher did not have to blissfully babble on about his private religious beliefs in a public school classroom when he should have been teaching history.

The student and students initiated and prolonged the discussion.

Irrelevant.

The teacher was confronted about the issue in September and no longer mentions God in the classrrom.

Well, if he were confronted about it, then his preaching in lieu of teaching couldn't have been as uniformly popular as you're attempting to claim. You can't have it both ways.

Furthermore, there were plenty of "god" references and religious talk in the recordings, so obviously he's failing to teach properly even after he's been notified of complaints. He should be summarily fired for that.

There is no need for prosecution since the teacher no longer acts as he did before.

Who's talking about prosecution? You can't be prosecuted for this. He should, however, be sacked.

This clearly shows the student's ongoing appetite for attention and attempt to tarnish the teacher's reputation. This is the same kid who refuses to stand to the Flag Salute because it says Under God and because he hates Bush.

Oh! Horrors!

The right not to salute the flag has been one's own since the ruling in Barnette v. West Virginia. Obviously he understands that, so maybe he should be teaching the class, since he seems to have a better grasp of history than you or your former teacher.

This is not the first act of defiance by this young man.

This sort of irrelevant tripe being taught as fact in a history classroom should be defied.

So please, all I ask, is that you hear all sides of the story and hear the students/alumni views before making any judgments about a man and kid that none or most of you have not met.

Well, I've heard your side, and my opinion remains unchanged. The teacher should be fired for negligence and gross incompetence.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from Kearny high and i have to say that even though Mr.P brought up such references in class, he never brought it up unless he was provoked into it, or someone asked him a question on the issue. My guess is that this kid provoked him into discussing this because i know personally that he does not teach everyday about god or church, and only when something was brought up would he do it. This kid is also his own hypocrite in that on tv he said he does not want a big thing to happen with this and just wants him to stop talking about church in a public school, but if this kid did not want such a bit issue about it, why would he call the star ledger, channel four, and cn8 about this issue unless he wanted such attention. I have said to this teacher before i dont feel that we should talk about religious issues at this point and he respected my wishes, now if this kid felt so uncomfortable in class why did he not say something, rather he got a bunch of recording equipment and provoked him into talking about it. I do feel religion should not be taught in public schools but to make such a huge fuss by calling in media who will blow up every little thing about this teacher is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

I have a question, as I am also a recent graduate of Kearny High School. What is the difference between a teacher saying his views on religion when it is common knowledge that he is a minister, and any teacher preaching the glory of liberalism. If Mr. Paszkiewicz is wrong shouldn't forcing politcal views on students also be wrong?

Anonymous said...

Oolon Colluphid said...
"Well, according to your mythology, not only does God want to save people from eternal damnation, hence the substitutive sacrifice, but also is the only arbiter of who is saved and who isn't."
You shouldn't question God with such pittiful quetions. Unless you are a zombi, I don't think you have a clue of what will happen after death, or God's plan in that matter. God gives you the choice to belive in him or not. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for you and I. The Bible is the most printed book in history and is known all around the world. Durring one's life time, I believe God gives you many chances to give him a chance. You shouldn't assume that God makes people knowing who is going to go to hell and who isn't. Who are you to ask?

"Even if he set it up with the questions, a claim I doubt seriously, the teacher did not have to blissfully babble on about his private religious beliefs in a public school classroom when he should have been teaching history."
Mr. Paszkiewicz was in no way prattling on about his beliefs, and it is very ignorant of you to make that comment. You yourself weren't there either. In the beginging of the school year, no books were available, leaving teachers with open class discussions. In that case, the discussion led to religion, which is unfortunate to Matt LaClair. Now many people dislike him for what he has done, and he himself brought more religion into the school. I've never seen so many people standing up for Jesus on school grounds. Therefore, thank you, Matt LaClair, I pray for your own salvation.
Though I pitty Matt LaClair, I oppose him and what he has done, but you could say my opinion is biased, being I'm Christian myself. It seems to me that Matt LaClair did indeed premeditate his actions. People have blown the First Amendment out of its original meaning. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting hte free exercise therof; or abridging hte freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." Mr. Paszkiewicz did not force anyone to believe in what he does.
"or prohibithing the free exercise therof".... Seems to me people against Mr. Paszkiewicz's right of speech are the ones that are going against the Constitution..
"or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.." I think Mr. Paszkiewicz is the real victim here. Athiests have no more fight in them and are resorting to pathetically trying to shut them up.
Our founding fathers set this country up with God in mind. How can something such as religeon which is so huge be ignored? Especially in history class. If athiests want to ignore religeon, I want to ignore all the worldly junk that is being funneled into my mind, as well as everyone elseses, daily. Athiests like Matt LaClair have been pushing this line back further and further. When are we going to stop them? Music so vulgar and disgusting was never allowed.... They pushed that line back as far as it could possibly go. Worldy music is so disgusting and vulgar now a days that the only thing censored are very strong curse words. Athiests just don't want any one to be influenced by the Word of God. They have gone far enough. When are we, believers going to stand up for what is really right and start pushing back? Everything worldy is what we should be worrying about. THAT is what is truly influential. Everywhere you go, music, advertisements, television, etc. they are just getting more and more influential to everyone. But that is the least attacked subject. Instead, people would much rather attack someone who died for them on a cross. Women and men used to have respect for themselves. Now, sex before marriage is as common as ghanaria. The divorce rate is soaring higher and higher as marriages separate like highschool break-ups. This issue is getting sickening by the day! Last Christmas, everything pertaining to Christ was taken out of Christmas songs. Again the athiests are pushing that line farther back. The most secular things could be heard on the radio, but when a classic song has Christ's name in it, immediate action is taken. "Schools used to be able to open the Bible and read it as if it were a history book" I believe I heard these words from Mr. Paszkiewicz. Since athiests removed this, along with prayer in school, America has been rolling in a dirty mud pile of secular confusion. I think we should learn from Matt LaClair. Us belivers should be fighting for Christ stronger than him. Instead, athiests like Matt make movements because the believers don't open their mouths. Matt LaClair doesn't pledge the allegiance because it says "In God we trust." I wonder if he refuses to spend American dollars as well. We have to stop this before they uncapitalize the word God on the dollar. Before they take the word God out of the Pledge of Allegiance. Before America loses every foundation it was built on.
Another thing I would like to bring up is how horrible the people in school are to Matt LaClair. Because he is against God, they shoot him down for it. If you are for God, you should want Matt LaClair to be saved as well. Cursing him, and befriending him is the opposite of what could save him. Be an example to him, don't show him hatred. All day today at school, I heard remarks, such as, "I hate that kid," etc. People think they are doing the right thing standing up for Jesus' word, but are contradict their point when they attack him. God doesn't want people to believe in the Saviour out of fear or neglection. Jesus was sent for us to understand how God is. We should be an example of Jesus Christ to everyone, ESPECIALLY those who don't believe. Mr. Paszkiewicz is my first period teacher (The best teacher to start off my day, if I may add) and I know that if he denied some things he said, it was by accident, and not intentional. Its not his fault that he didn't record the discussion and listen to it over and over. That would be the only way he would remember such remarks. Thank you.

Einzige said...

Joelle, you win the prize for the most non sequiturs in a single comment.

Jim Lippard said...

KHS graduate wrote: "I have a question, as I am also a recent graduate of Kearny High School. What is the difference between a teacher saying his views on religion when it is common knowledge that he is a minister, and any teacher preaching the glory of liberalism. If Mr. Paszkiewicz is wrong shouldn't forcing politcal views on students also be wrong?"

The difference is that political views don't constitute an "establishment of religion." However, it could well be inappropriate for a teacher to advocate a particular political view, depending on how it's done--that's what caused Jay Bennish in Colorado to get suspended for a week from his teaching position earlier this year in a case that was in some ways similar to this one.

While the Bennish case was actually less serious a violation (at least he was talking about subjects that directly pertained to the course he was teaching!), he got a more severe punishment.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure which is more disturbing, the poor judgment displayed by a high school teacher or the poor education displayed by the high school students posting here. Obviously there is a causal relationship between the two, which is why this teacher should be fired.

(Hey, Jim, ltns...I'm glad this incident led me to your blog!)

Doogman said...

Funny how nearly every supportive post also mentions their relationship to the teacher via their church.

Good grief people, you're making the argument FOR firing him. Shut up already.

sheesh

Anonymous said...

Public schools are for education with facts NOT religous beleifs. This guy is a wacko... He is a baptist pastor! Educated by the cult leader Falwell himself! Some people just have to fight for what they believe in even when it is wrong. Eventually scientifical facts will be accepted by the masses of the ignorant whom have fallen in the darkness of the bible. Honestly there are a lot of morons who think he is a good person. A christian pastor is far from that and this guy's actions are what infect their faith. 90% of Americans beleive in a higher being and 90% of people eat at the Olive Garden. That doesn't mean the Olive Garden has good food! More instances like this need to happen so America can stand up and fight against these sick people and their beleifs.

Anonymous said...

Hmm religious nuts suck. I think this teacher should be sacked and banned from teaching history and stick to being a religious educator/propagandist. Definitely, so long as this one -->http://www.myspace.com/mshoover is being sacked for posing nude for art photographs. (She WAS an art teacher, until a more prurient teacher with a grudge decided to use fear of the naked body (ooh its a disgusting unnatural thing that is going to inflame our sordid desires and corrupt us etc etc) to see her removed from the teaching staff.

bacci40 said...

this is alledgedly a us history class

if the school wishes to have a comparative religion class, then it should be given to mr p, and he can spew his convoluted beliefs there.

i did not hear students initiating the discussions, nor did i hear mr p giving credence to any views other than his own

i dont care how long he has been teaching, he should not be allowed in the classroom

let him go preach on a street corner

mutterhals said...

Whatever this man did or did not say, talking about one's religion in public school is usually not allowed. He should have enough sense to not interject his personal opinion into the lesson.

Anonymous said...

Joelle Perry said...

"Our founding fathers set this country up with God in mind."

Obviously your history teacher isn't teaching any actual history. While I agree that most of the founding fathers believed in God and were Christians, they certainly did not believe that they were founding a Christian nation or that religion and government should mix. Please read The Treaty of Tripoli which was passed by the Senate and signed by one of our founding fathers, President John Adams, in 1797. Here is Article 11:
"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of emnity against the law, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered ......" you can read the rest here:

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=llsp&fileName=002/llsp002.db&recNum=23

Anonymous said...

I advise school districts on how NOT to get sued. That's my day job.

I am going to use this as a case study on how NOT to deal with this situation. The administrators did not exercise due diligence and have made the district - and themselves personally - vulnerable to litigation.

It is apparent that this is not an isolated occurrence with this teacher, as former students are coming forward and saying he did it in their classes too.

Obviously the administrators and teachers in this school district need REMEDIAL classes on religion in schools. They obviously have no clue what they are doing.

whatdoyouwant said...

this is getting a lot of attention and I totally agree with the fact that these things should not be said in a public school...not that they should never be brought up because people can believe what they want but not in this manner at all....meanwhile our government is always pushing the views of christianity on us and there's nothing we can do about it.

joey said...

I just heard about the story and just wanted the teacher to know that i fully support the guy and his beliefs and make sure he understands there are NO such laws against teaching creation. What's so bad about EDUCATING students with both views rather INDOCTRINATING them with the RELIGION of evolution that has absolutely no empirical evidence!

Einzige said...

Joey,

We are indeed fortunate to have a one such as you - so well versed in law and biology. Thanks for clearing the issue up for all of us.

Jim Lippard said...

Joey, you must be a troll.

This isn't specifically a creationism case, but creationism is religion, not science (as per the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Edwards v. Aguillard), and may not be taught in public school science classrooms without violating the Constitution's prohibition on establishment of religion.

CN said...

Will this teacher be fired?? How can we support the LaClair family in this fight??

I thought young LaClair handled himself with great aplomb on CNN this eveing.

CN

joey said...

Thank you Jim for the wonderful complement but before you use Edward vs. Aguillard agains't creation, READ IT! All it did was determine that states could not mandate that creation be taught in the science classes of their public school. You can't force a teacher to teach it. He still can. That does not mean it cannot be taught! Before you define science, let's define it. SCIENCE:thestudy of the natural world, things you can test and know; knowledge!If what you consider science is the Theory of Evolution, lets define the SIX meanings of EVOLUTION: (1) Cosmic, i.ei the big bang (2) Chemical, (hydrogen evolving into other elements, (3) stellar and planetary (4) organic (life coming from non-life!) (5) macro (animals producing DIFFERENT kinds of animals and (6) micro evolution (variations within kinds. you'll never get a dog to produce a non-dog, they produce after their kind! just what the bible says.)
You see jim, for you to consider evolution science, you must take a HUGE leap of faith for your religion because only one of those definitions is scientific, the last one. The rest are all pure imagination. If you wanna believe we came from a ROCK 4.6 billion years ago, thats fine but DON'T call it science. It's a religion. You see, both are religions about ORIGINS. Why should children be INDOCTRINATED with one religious view on origin. Why not EDUCATE them with BOTH views!
And yes Jim their are laws against pushing one's religion upon students but there is NO SUCH law against discussing creation science. So stop lying and start thinking.

Thank you einzige for that. Hopefully, this excites you too.

Jim Lippard said...

Joey:

Edwards v. Aguillard found that creationism is religion. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits establishment of religion, including the endorsement of creationism by public school teachers. The Kitzmiller v. Dover decision extended that from creationism to intelligent design.

Further, teachers in elementary and secondary schools do not have the freedom to teach whatever they want--they need to stick to the curriculum and comply with state educational standards.

There are no doubt ways in which creation science can be discussed in public school classrooms without falling afoul of the First Amendment--e.g., in a world religions class, in a critical thinking class as a source of examples of fallacious reasoning, etc.

Your discussion of science and evolution is a bit less than precise or accurate. "Evolution" is sometimes used in a broader sense than referring to biological evolution, but that's not what the creation/evolution dispute is about. Biological evolution is about how life changes and diversifies, and it's well established science.

artoo45 said...

Those students offering defense of Mr. Paskiewicz seem almost incapable of constructing cogent sentences in English. Your right to swing your Jesus (or Mohammed or Xenu or Buddha) ends where my (or anyone else's) face begins. Any other solution will end up in endless conflict. It would be a shame to bring our species to an end arguing over things that don't exist.

joey said...

Artoo,

The evidence of a Designer is shown through the design of His creation. Research the stars, the constants, the extremely fine-tuned universe. Laws rule our universe. Did they evolve from nothing? are they still evolving? They are set to the precise numbers needed for earth to be habitable. If changed, even a fraction, life wouldn't be able to flourish. Study the position of Earth from the sun. One inch closer or further would cause us to burn or freeze. The fact that we're in a safe zone of our galaxy is positive evidence for a Designer.

The DNA code itself is overwhelmingly complex. If all the DNA in your body were placed end-to-end, it would stretch from here to the Moon more than 500,000 times! In book form, that information would completely fill the Grand Canyon more than 75 times! Yet,if one set of DNA (one cell's worth) from every person who ever lived were placed in a pile, the final pile would weigh less than an aspirin!

The evidence for design cries out for a Designer. I know Him personally and i know He loves you greatly and would love for you to seek Him.

Got questions? E-mail me at godboy7@aol.com

joey said...

As far as what the LAW says,

JIM,

It has never been illegal to teach Creation in public schools. Evolution is what came later but creation has never been made illegal. It's only illegal to forcefully try and convert one's religious beliefs on students but it is perfectly fine to teach about creation.

The evolutionist Steven Jay Gould said,

"no statute exists in any state to bar instruction in 'creation science.' It could be taught before, and it can be taught now"

--THE VERDICT ON CREATIONISM, New York Times July 19, 1987, p.34


Evolutionary biologist Micheal Zimmerman said,

"The Supreme Court ruling DID NOT, in any way outlaw the teaching of 'creation science' in public school classrooms. Quite simply it ruled that, in the form taken by the Louisiana law, it is unconstitutional to demand equal time for this particular subject. 'Creation science' can still be brought into science classrooms if and when teachers and administrators feel that it is appropriate. Numerous surveys have shown that teachers and administrators favor just this route. And, in fact, 'creation science' is being taught in science courses throughout the country."

--"Keep Guard Up After Evolution Victory." BioScience 37 (9, October 1987):636

President of NCSE, Eugenie Scott said,

"The Supreme Court says only that the Louisiana law violates the constitutional seperation of church and state: IT DOES NOT SAY that no one can teach scientific creationism--and unfortunately many individuals do. Some school districts even require 'equal time' for creation and evolution."

--National Center for Science Education, Nature 329 (1987):282.

Wlliam B. Provine(evolutionist) said,

"Teachers and school boards in public schools are already FREE under the Constitution of the USA to teach about supernatural origins if they wish in their science classes. Laws can be passed in most countries of the world requiring discussion of supernatural origins in science classes, and still satisfy national legal requirements. And i have a suggestion for evolutionists. INCLUDE discussion of supernatural origins in your classes, and promote discussion of them in public and other schools. Come off your high horse about having only evolution taught in science classes. The exclusionism you promote is painfully self-serving and smacks of elitism. Why are you afraid of confronting the supernatural creationism believed by the majority of persons in the USA and perhaps worldwide? Shouldn't students be encouraged to express their beliefs about origins in a class discussing origins by evolution?"

--Biology and Philosophy 8(1993):124


Now lets see what some of the cases actually say.

In the landmark ruling of School District of Abington Towship v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 225,(1963)the court held that,

"it certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for literary and historic qualities. Nothing we have said here indicates that such study of the Bible or of religion, when presented objectively as part of a secular program of education, may be effected consistently with the First Amendment.


In 1980 The Supreme Court said,

"the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like."

--Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39, 42(1980)


In 1987,

"Teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of mankind to school children might be done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction. Teachers already possess the flexibility to present a 'VARIETY of scientific theories about the origins of humankind'...and are 'FREE TO TEACH ANY AND ALL FACETS OF THIS SUBJECT."

--Edwards vs. Aguiliard, 482 U.S. 96(1987) p.14


As for Kitzmiller v. Dover,

“to preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment … , we will enter an order permanently enjoining defendants from maintaining the ID policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.”

Simply put, in that case the court ruled against requiring teachers to teach the faults in evolution. It also ruled against REQUIRING the teaching of creation. That DOES NOT mean it cannot be taught as my very detailed summary of the law shows.

For anyone who is reading this, please see the law as it is. I hope Mr. Paskiewicz gets a hold of this. I'm finished.

Einzige said...

Joey,

Your "design" argument supports the idea that God loves black holes and hard vacuum far more than "He" does life. And, anyway, how do you get from that to the idea that Jesus Christ is Lord?

Quite a gap of logic, there, it seems to me!

Next, all your court decision and other quotes strike me as red herrings. Paszkiewicz wasn't teaching a science class, nor was he engaged in "appropriate study" of anything "presented objectively as part of a secular program of education." He wasn't even teaching "scientific creationism." He was spouting off endless personal opinions and absurdities.

Why do you think such a moron is worthy of defending?

Jim Lippard said...

Joey:

Einzige has it exactly right--your response has nothing to do with what Paszkiewicz was doing in his *U.S. History* class, which was proselytizing so blatantly that the Rutherford Institute agrees he was in the wrong. And he wasn't even teaching creation science or intelligent design, as Einzige notes. Teachers in primary and secondary schools do not have complete freedom of what to teach; they need to follow the curriculum (and, in a science class, the state science standards).

I've already agreed that there are ways "creation science" can be taught in the classroom without violating the Constitution, so you're beating a dead horse on that point. How about addressing the subject at hand? This blog post is not about possible circumstances under which creationism can be taught in schools, it's about what David Paszkiewicz did. If you want to argue about whether creationism is science and how it can be legally taught, go do that at an appropriate thread on The Panda's Thumb (www.pandasthumb.org) or in the Internet Infidels' Discussion Forums (www.iidb.org), not on this one.

If you return here, please address the subject at hand. What, if anything, do you have to say in defense of what David Paszkiewicz did (and is still doing) in his classroom? Would you support an atheist, a Muslim, or a Scientologist similarly injecting their own religious beliefs on a daily basis into public school classrooms, or are you supporting Paszkiewicz as special pleading for the Christian religion, without regard for principle?

joey said...

I have come to the conclusion that God doesn't believe in Athiests but He still loves them and is more than willing to forgive anyone's sin if they are willing to accept Christ's ultimate sacrifice on the cross.

I BELONG IN HELL ! -And i'm a Christian.

I'll be the first one to say it. I have done nothing worthy of God's love but i've accepted HIM TAKING MY PLACE on the cross. God hates the sin but loves the sinner. Just like a mother may love her son but does not love his misbehavior.

The reason Atheists can't find God is the same reason thiefs can't find the police.

I've also come to the conclusion that everyone dies...duh. And everyone will be dead much longer than they've lived. Atheists better be absolutly sure God doesn't exist cause when WE ALL face Him that day we'll be without excuse.

I'm not trying to start another dialogue. I just want to see people in heaven just like God does.
If i'm wrong about the afterlife then fine, no problem, we'll all return the earth and become trees.
If atheists are wrong then...uh oh. We'll all face God and have tell him why we didn't accept His FREE gift of salvation.

So to anyone reading this blog site, realize its about much more than whats being done in the classroom. It's about what happens when we die. I want you in heaven, God wants you there too. (Satan hates you and DOESN'T want you there.) Accept His grace and forgiveness and build your relationship with Him.

Jim, God bless you man.

Einzige said...

Let's dub Joey's response the "retreat to non sequitur," shall we?

For some reason I never cease to be amazed at the depths of people's stupidity.

Truly a sight to behold.

quickkid said...

You know what Einzige

You call christianity stupidity but acording to you, you believe when you die you go in the ground and become a tree. And you know what i hope you do, because when you do im going to cut you down make you into paper and print the bible on you.

Jesus loves you,

Joseph

quickkid said...

You know what Einzige

You call christianity stupidity but acording to you, you believe when you die you go in the ground and become a tree. And you know what i hope you do, because when you do im going to cut you down make you into paper and print the bible on you.

Jesus loves you,

Joseph

Einzige said...

Actually, quickkid, if you'll notice, I wasn't calling Christianity stupid (though, in point of fact, I do believe that to be the case), I was calling Joey stupid, based on his apparent inability to articulate a coherent argument.

I'm not sure where you got the idea that I believe in reincarnation, though. As far as I can tell, when I die I'll simply cease to exist. What you--or the billions of bacteria who will undoubtedly have me for lunch--do with my remains at that point is none of my concern.

quickkid said...

why do you think that christianity is stupid???

Einzige said...

quickkid,

Have you actually read the Bible?

Please don't misinterpret the tone of the above question. You appear to have asked yours in earnest, so I am responding earnestly, as well. I have read a lot of the bible and have found it very difficult to take seriously at all. In fact, a lot of it is nothing short of utterly reprehensible.

Flip to virtually any page and you're bound to find something that is, on its face, patently absurd. Take a look at these, for a start.

quickkid said...

True i can admit that the bible is a little confusing but you must remember the bible was inspired by God but written by men. what they wrote was simply their interpertation of what God was saying. please check out this site it explains a lot about how the bible is proven to be true not only through a christian stand point but a scientific stand point as well http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-t003.html

I think what people like to get caught up in is tring to find mistakes and contradictions in the bible and they totally miss the great messege that the bible is tring to give.

think about it.. if christanity is wrong then whats the big deal if you believed in jesus christ and his teachings. its not going to count agianst you. But if your wrong then you will have an eternaty in hell regreting that you rejected God and his teachings. thiers really no thought needed.. why not play it safe and believe in Jesus Christ and the bible. its a win win situation. either you die and go to heaven or you die and become dirt and nothing more. But why risk going to hell by simply not believing in nothing. theirs no point.

Think about it thats all i ask..
oh and tell me what you think about that site.

Monika said...

quickkid wrote:

"think about it.. if christanity is wrong then whats the big deal if you believed in jesus christ and his teachings. its not going to count agianst you. But if your wrong then you will have an eternaty in hell regreting that you rejected God and his teachings. thiers really no thought needed.. why not play it safe and believe in Jesus Christ and the bible. its a win win situation. either you die and go to heaven or you die and become dirt and nothing more. But why risk going to hell by simply not believing in nothing. theirs no point."

You just evoked Pascal's Wager. Do you really think that the God you believe in would reward you for your belief if the basis of that belief is merely "Just in case God exists. If not, oh well."? Really?

Also, there remains the problem of whether you are picking the right diety to believe in the first place. There are many more "gods" other than the Christian God that require a belief in him/her/it/them to avoid going to the "bad place" in the afterlife. How would you go about covering your butt on the off chance that one those other gods really exist?

quickkid said...

To Monika,

so you fill that it would be better to believe in nothing then? Insted of "chancing" that you might have believed in the right religion you would rather just give up completly and lose any chance you had at going to heaven?

Do you have any real proof that Christanity is a wrong religion or are you just simply basing your argument off of personal opinion

Einzige said...

Quickkid,

The main problem (and there are several to choose from) I have with Pascal's Wager is that it recommends belief in pretty much anything for which there is a potential payoff and virtually no cost. Along with Christianity, Quickkid, do you also believe in leprauchans and Djinnis? If not, why not? Isn't it better to believe in them than not?

Regarding your web site recommendation, I'm checking it out and will definitely have more to say on it later.

Re your latest argument to Monika: The burden of proof is on the Christian to demonstrate the validity of his claims. Non-belief is the default position and, given the paucity of evidence for the virgin birth and the resurrection, etc., I'd say you've got quite a burden yet.

quickkid said...

true i did use a bad example i was simply trying to say that its better to believe in something then nothing. And no, im not saying that, that is the reason that i believe in christianity (simply as a safe gaurd) I believe in it because i truely believe it is the true religion. i must admit i did make it sound like i only believed in christianty just to be safe but thats not the reason at all. oh and no i do not believe in lepercons and djinnis because there is no proof that those things exist. as where in the bible it numerously gives accout and even prophecies historical events that did come to pass.

so why exactly are you an atheist

i would just like to see your views

Einzige said...

"oh and no i do not believe in lepercons and djinnis because there is no proof that those things exist."

Think about it... if leprauchans and Djinnis don't exist then what's wrong with believing in them? It's not going to count against you. But if you're wrong then you will have missed out on the possibility of finding that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or that lamp to rub for the 3 wishes.

There's really no thought needed... Why not play it safe and believe in Leprauchans and Djinnis? It is a win-win situation. Why risk missing out on a pot of gold when it's better to believe in something rather than nothing... Hmmmmmm?????

Give the strongest example of a fulfilled prophecy that you can think of.

I am an atheist because I can't bring myself to believe in things without reason (and I mean a better reason than simply "playing it safe"). Why are you a Christian, quickkid?

Einzige said...

...you must remember the bible was inspired by God but written by men. what they wrote was simply their interpertation of what God was saying.

So then how can the Bible be helpful at all in understanding God and what He wants for us? And why would God leave such an important job to people he must have known would corrupt his word? Doesn't that seem just a little strange to you?

...and they totally miss the great messege that the bible is tring to give.

What message is that? Why would a loving, caring, all-knowing God, who certainly ought to be capable of writing compellingly and persuasively, churn out the confusing mess that is the Bible? You would think that it would be literally impossible for anyone to misinterpret it! The fact that people do demands an explanation! (Personally I think the simplest--and most likely--one is this: The Bible is not divinely inspired)

oh and tell me what you think about that site.

In a word: unconvincing.

Bryan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bryan said...

Jim,

What is the source of the material you apparently quoted in the original blog post (in italics)?

I've followed the URLs you provided in the text without satisfaction, and the author isn't identified, either.

It wouldn't be a bad idea for you to provide clear identification of the source you used.
It's an issue of credibility.

Bryan said...

Nevermind.
I see you attributed it to Paul (LaClair) up at the top.
Paul would not admit having authored it in a fairly recent message board conversation.
For whatever reason (perhaps on the advice of his lawyer in light of impending litigation).

Thanks for making it sufficiently clear.
Cheers!

Bryan said...

Blogger is giving me an error message when I try to eliminate the near-duplicate post.

This new Blogger interface still seems to have some problems.
Apologies for any inconvenience (but I blame Blogger!).

Jim Lippard said...

Bryan:

You are mistaken.

The source is identified in the first sentence of the blog post: "The following is from Paul L. LaClair, a NYC attorney who lives in Kearny, New Jersey, and is posted with his permission." I came across this text posted to the SKEPTIC mailing list (by someone other than LaClair, who had seen it on another mailing list), then tracked down Paul LaClair to verify that he had written it, and obtained his permission to post it on my blog. I also obtained a copy of the recordings from the LaClairs.

Monika said...

quickkid wrote:

"so you fill that it would be better to believe in nothing then? Insted of "chancing" that you might have believed in the right religion you would rather just give up completly and lose any chance you had at going to heaven?"

I'm not saying that it would be better for you or I to believe in nothing instead of your God. I'm just pointing out how weak that particular argument of yours is. Even you say that self-preservation is not the reason you believe in your God. At least, it's not the primary reason. You didn't directly say so, but I'm guessing you agree that your God wouldn't appreciate self-preservation to be the main reason for someone believing in Him. Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't that level of reasoning actually be an insult to your God? The threat of hell/punishment is sufficient for small children, but we tend to want better justification for our beliefs as we mature. So, my advice is for you to just stop using Pascal's Wager in your arguments, since it'll only weaken your position, not strengthen.

On a related note, you may have noticed that I kept using "your God" instead of just "God" in the above paragraph. This is because not only are there several other "gods" of the non-Christian type that can potentially be worshiped, but there are also several different versions of the Christian God that can by believed in, too. Just look at how many different Christian sects are out there. These sects differ not only in what meanings (literal, metaphorical, broad definition of words, narrow definition of words, unfortunate mistranslation, no longer applies to modern society, etc.) they inferred from God's Word (Bible), but also in which version of the Bible they are inferring from. It sometimes even depends upon the individual preacher who happens to be leading a particular group within a larger sect.

To say that all of these sects worship the same God would lead you into quite a snag if you are confronted with a sect that interprets God's Word so differently from your interpretation that you blurt out, "They're not true Christians. That's not what God meant at all." In other words, the people in that sect do not believe in the same God as yours. (Do those people go to hell for their misinterpretations?)

This leads to the question of what a "true" Christian is, or, specifically, which version of the Christian God is the correct one. Obviously, you believe that your particular sect knows which God is the real deal (just like all the other people in their own particular sects believe that their version of God is the real deal). You might answer me that your God would take into consideration the fallible nature of mankind and give brownie points for effort, as long as they get the very basics of Christianity down. But what are the basics? Again, this varies from sect to sect.

Given this, unless you start specifying to us what version of the Bible you subscribe to (don't forget to include the edition number and publishing company!), what your sect's interpretations on several areas of that Bible are, etc., we would have no idea of what we are being asked by you to believe in.

You asked me,

"Do you have any real proof that Christanity is a wrong religion or are you just simply basing your argument off of personal opinion"

Well, as I pointed out above, the term "Christianity" includes in its meaning very diverse and often-contradicting sets of beliefs. It's necessary for you to specify which set of beliefs you are basing your arguments on in the first place so that we can all avoid using what you would consider strawmen versions of your particular stripe of Christianity.

quickkid said...

(Do those people go to hell for their misinterpretations?)


Like i said in one of my previous comments is that people like to get caught up on the little things.

for instance:

some christans believe that the rapture will happen before the tribulation times
others believe that it will happen during the tribulation times
and others believe that it will happen at the end.

The bible does not give an exact date so no one can be sure, but that doesnt matter. whether you believe it will happen at the begining or the end is not important. thats not going to keep you from going to heaven.

what you need to believe is that Jesus Christ is the one true God, that He died one the cross for our sins, he rose from the dead on the third day, and that He is comming back for us again.

Einzige said...

Quickkid,

According to Jesus himself, we need to do quite a bit more than simply believe in him.

In Luke Chapter 18 Jesus says we must sell everything and follow him...

In Luke Chapter 14 Jesus says we have to hate our families and ourselves and give up everything...

In Matthew 5 he says we need to be more righteous than the Pharisees...

In Matthew 18 he says we have to become like little children (and what the hell is that supposed to mean?)...

In John 3 he says we need to be born again (again, WTF?)...

If we don't do all those things then we're still going to hell. Jesus says it!

Have you sold everything? Are you following the Mitzvot?

I'll see you in Hell!

quickkid said...

so you believe in hell?

quickkid said...

in responce to Luke Chapter 18

More important is the man's question. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He wants to know how he can be sure he will share in the life to come. Jesus' reply focuses on the standard of righteousness as represented in portions of the Ten Commandments. Avoiding adultery, murder, stealing and lying, as well as the positive call to honor one's parents, are specifically noted. The spirit of Jesus' reply fits with what was said in 10:25-28, where the commandment to love God and others was cited more generally. In this context the reply is significant, because the issue of money, which will surface shortly, can make us view others as means to an end, rather than as people. So Jesus concentrates here on commandments dealing with how we relate to others. Jesus wishes to check this confidence with a further demand that will reveal two things:

(1) how generous the man is and

(2) whether he will listen to Jesus. He still lacks something. Here

JESUS IS NOT ASKING THE MAN TO DO SOMETHING HE ASKS EVERYONE TO DO, SINCE HE WILL COMMEND ZACCHAEUS'S GENEROSITY IN 19:1-10

without asking him to sell all. What Jesus does is test the man's heart and attachments. Is God placed ahead of worldly possessions in this man's life? Does the man really love God and others? So Jesus tells him that he lacks one thing: he must sell all his possessions.

But to stop here is to miss the point. Jesus goes on to promise the man treasure in heaven if he will follow Jesus. The need to come to Jesus, to trust him, is not absent from the passage. It is merely defined by reference to the obstacle that stands between the man and God: his security in his wealth.

The man's response says it all. He is very sad. The choice is a painful one, and he refuses to consider it. Grieved at the options, he chooses his wealth.

quickkid said...

in responce to luke 14 26

So Jesus calls for a follower who will hate his mother and father, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life. The point of the list is that no other relationship is first for a disciple. "Hate" is used figuratively and suggests a priority of relationship. Jesus is first. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus, not anyone or anything else. A disciple is a learner, and the primary teacher in life is Jesus. This total loyalty is crucial, given the rejection and persecution that lie ahead. If his followers care more about family than about Jesus, when families are divided under pressure of persecution, they will choose against Jesus. This is what lies behind Jesus' remarks. Discipleship is not possible if Jesus is not the teacher.

quickkid said...

in responce to matt 5:20

As if Jesus' words in 5:3-16 were not strong enough, he presents even more stringent demands of the kingdom in these verses. While various groups of Christians today may differ concerning exactly how Jesus intended his disciples to interpret the law, one point is clear: Jesus was not an antinomian. He expected his followers to understand and apply the moral principles already revealed in Scripture.

quickkid said...

in responce to matt 18

Here Jesus begins the fourth discourse in Matthew, addressing relationships in the church, the community of the kingdom (18:1-35). Relations with the state (17:24-27), with one's spouse (19:1-9) and with children (19:13-16) surround this section. Yet Jesus' teaching on relationships here especially addresses relationships among disciples. As God's community, they are to watch out for one another, expressing patience toward the spiritually young as well as seeking to restore the straying, gently disciplining the erring and forgiving the repentant.

quickkid said...

Thus, in his response to Nicodemus, Jesus is giving Nicodemus the opportunity to recognize who it is that stands before him. But Nicodemus gets confused. When Jesus says one must be born from above (anothen), Nicodemus takes it as being born again (cf. NIV text and note). Jesus is speaking of the spiritual realm, but Nicodemus thinks he is referring to the physical. Such a mistake need not be an absolute barrier to understanding Jesus. The Samaritan woman will have the same problem, and yet Jesus will use her misunderstandings to reveal himself to her (4:1-26). But Nicodemus is unable to pick up on the additional clues Jesus gives.

Jesus explains being born from above in terms of being born of water and the Spirit (3:5). The water of baptism and the coming of the Spirit have already been associated in this Gospel (1:31-33), and cleansing by water and new life from the Spirit were already associated with one another in the Old Testament, especially in Ezekiel 36:25-28:

THANKS FOR THE INVITATION BUT I’LL BE IN HEAVEN.

Einzige said...

So you believe in hell?

No. I do not. I was joking.

Thanks for your explanations of the various things Jesus said.

So Jesus was making a special case for that one rich guy, used the word "hate" when he didn't really mean it, apparently really meant it when he said we should follow the Mitzvot (including the animal sacrifices?), and the rest I confess to not understanding at all. Is that a good summary of your points?

Jim Lippard said...

quickkid: This is all getting rather far afield of the topic of this blog post. May I recommend the Internet Infidels Discussion Boards (http://www.iidb.org/)?

Monika said...

This will be my last post to quickkid.

quickkid wrote:
Like i said in one of my previous comments is that people like to get caught up on the little things.

You may recall my following statement:

You might answer me that your God would take into consideration the fallible nature of mankind and give brownie points for effort, as long as they get the very basics of Christianity down. But what are the basics? Again, this varies from sect to sect.

In your sect, the following is apparently the basics:

what you need to believe is that Jesus Christ is the one true God, that He died one the cross for our sins, he rose from the dead on the third day, and that He is comming back for us again.

Okay, that's fair. I'm guessing there's a bit more than the basics you outlined that didn't occur to you to type out at the time, which is understandable. Just make sure to not assume that just because someone is following the basics you gave above, then that someone also believes in many of the other things that you believe in, too. Some things you believe in may seem obvious to you, given the basics, but not everyone shares your assumptions or follows the same logic.

I am very glad you took my advice of explaining your beliefs in more detail, as can be seen in some of your responses to Einzige's questioning. I'm nowhere even close to knowing what the Bible says, and an attempt by me to read (starting from page 1) a Mormon Bible I got from a hotel room didn't last. The bile that made its way up my throat as I read the first 30 pages or so was enough to fling the book to the pits of dust-dom. No, I'm not going to skip ahead to the New Testament, so don't even try to reason with me on this.

*ahem* Anyway, whatever my horribly biased opinions, at least you are now making slightly more persuasive arguments for Jesus rather than just flinging his name around. Keep up with the details! ...in the other forum that Jim Lippard suggested, of course.

quickkid said...

Monica,

Thank you for the advice it was very helpful. it made me look deeper and find out exactly what i believe as a christian. in talking to you and Einzige you two haved helped me by challenging me to really look into the christan faith and find out the core belief which makes christianity different then all the other religions out there today

but if i could give you a suggestion

you said earlier that you attemped to see what the bible says by reading the morman bible

i would suggest that you read the book of Romans in a Christian bible and not a morman bible.


Mormons are not Christans and have a totally different belief system then christians do. I do not agree with the morman bible and according to what i believe mormans are not going to heaven.

thanks again,

Joseph aka(quickkid)

David said...

Hi Jim,

I'd like to clarify an earlier comment by "anonymous."

+++I looked, and looked, and looked for ANY kind of verification to this, and came up with NOTHING, other than that David Paszkiewicz is a world class Rubik's cube puzzle solver (or a name on a church webpage.)+++

I am David Paszkiewicz.

But I'm not the guy everyone's been talking about. I'm the guy who's producing a documentary on the Rubik's Cube, and for a while, I thought I had a unique name.

I know you've been covering this story for a while, and I'm sure a lot of people read this blog, so I just want to avoid being lumped in with the East Coast teacher-preacher. My mom is going crazy worrying about the bad rap that I'm getting over all this.

For the record, I don't proselytize, and I'm also not a world-class Rubik's Cuber. But I know a guy who is.

David Paszkiewicz, not David Paszkiewicz

Jim Lippard said...

David: howmanyofme.com says there are 9 people named David Paszkiewicz in the United States.

Don Sheffler said...

"Study the position of Earth from the sun. One inch closer or further would cause us to burn or freeze."

Couldn't stop laughing when I read that.

To the point of the article, I don't think I've ever seen a U.S. History teacher so tragically misunderstand the U.S. Constitution.

And yes, one of the most telling points in the entire episode is when the teacher completely denied saying any of the things the student claimed. He's a liar willing to sacrifice an honest student to get away with his actions. Very Christianlike of him.

AFMunoz said...

Provoking discussion on controversial issues is fine, but acting like there is such a thing as neutrality in pedagogy is another thing entirely. Science instructors, for example, are hypocrites if they think that they can teach from their own perspective without being religious themselves, since every statement of right and wrong is fundamentally religious in nature, and they're saying Darwinism is right, aren't they?

By making fun of Creationism, for instance, they are saying that theirs is a better religion than the one they're making fun of, because they're claiming to be right and the other side to be wrong. Again, the moral fundamental of all religions. They just won't name theirs, of course, because that's part of their religious beliefs to do.

All this is the same old same old religion in public schools. The best thing to do is do away with public school entirely. It serves Liberty best.

Jim Lippard said...

I'm not arguing for neutrality in pedagogy.

I am arguing for lack of establishment clause violations.

You're right that there's a tension between the establishment and free exercise clauses, but I don't think this is a problematic case.

oop_master said...

quickkid,

Mormons use a King James Version of the Bible, the only difference being the choice of references in the foot notes, and occasional offering of the original Hebrew/Greek words that were replaced for italicized words in the body. Mormons hail back to a more pre-Nicean, less Hellanized interpretation of Christianity, and they believe prophets and apostles are on the earth today preparing them for the second coming of Christ.

With that said, King James Version or not, whatever you have read in the Bible was not likely written by any apostle or prophet of the Christian faith as there is strong evidence that none of the gospels were written by them, and all epistles and handed-down-by-word writings and traditions from the Christian faith are several generations removed and severely tampered with.