Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't protest famed creationist commencement speaker; admire his tenancity in clinging to his beliefs

Emory University students and faculty are upset that renowned Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon, Dr. Ben Carson, will be this year's commencement speaker. Why the fuss? Because Carson's a creationist who denies the validity of the Theory of Evolution. 

In an op-ed column in Sunday's Baltimore Sun, acceptance of evolution with a lack of ethics and morality."

Weikart ends his column with:
Emory University graduates should feel honored to receive a commencement address from Dr. Carson. Aside from the obvious — his path-breaking surgical techniques and medical expertise that landed him a position at one of the most prestigious academic hospitals in the United States — his life story of overcoming poverty and his subsequent dedication to philanthropy are exemplary and inspirational. His willingness to courageously embrace ideas he considers true, despite the ridicule directed toward him, should count as another point in his favor.

Yes! Let's admire a man who despite the advantage of incredible intelligence and a good education, chooses to ignore science and reason in order to cling to a particularly anti-science and anti-education interpretation of mythology.

And, by all means, let's admire a man who adamantly believes in silly things despite ridicule. Because stubbornly refusing to change your views, no matter how ridiculous, is such a virtue.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

County commisioner to employees: No pressure, but come pray with me, monthly, in the County Office Building

Since Frazier has the right to privately pray, anytime, and anyplace, there must be a reason that she feels the need to ask 850 county employees to join her.

Some possible reasons:
  • Frazier is really lonely talking to herself--which is really what praying to a mythological invisible superbeing is.
  • Frasier is trying to promote religion as a leader of Carroll County government and pressure employees into participating in a religious practice in contravention of the First Amendment. But Frazier says there is "no pressure," even though the best way to show that she's not attempting to pressure employees to pray with her would be to not invite the county's employees to pray with her every month in the County Office Building. But really, rest assured, Frasier has no intention whatsoever in violating the principle of separation of church and state. She is quoted in The Sun as saying,"The Bible directs us to pray for our country." See? Nothing religious about that, right?
  • Frasier wants everyone to admire what a good, pious Christian she is. "Read my email in which I talk about my plan to lead employees in a group prayer. Admire what a good, pious Christian I am. Come witness me praying and setting a good example for you all."
  • Frasier is offering to share her special expertise in praying: "Let me lead you in prayer because you don't know how to pray on your own so I have to show you how to do it."
  • Frasier is concerned that Carroll County employees no longer have churches or other places of worship to pray in and believes that they cannot pray in their homes or anywhere else outside of the County Office Building. The County Office Building is the only possible venue for prayer.

Frasier contends that she has the right to use the County Office Building for religious purposes because "[o]ther groups use this same building for noncounty business." So, I'm sure local Muslims, Wiccans, Pagans, Rastafarians, and Pastafarians could start meeting in the building every month, and Frasier would have no problem with that. Some non-Christian religious group needs to test that. Soon. Really. And don't forget to request the use of the County's email system to invite 850 County employees to attend!

Or better yet, since "other groups" can and do meet in the Carroll County Office Building according to Frasier, local atheist groups, humanists, skeptics, pro-choice and gay-rights groups, and organizations like Americans United for Separation of Church and State should start meeting there every month. Because that would be an awesome way for Frazier and the other county commissioners to show that the County Office Building space really is a forum open to all, and that they aren't mixing their personal religious beliefs in with every resident's government.