In Arkansas, You Can’t Spell “Graduation” Without G-O-D

From KAIT, an ABC affiliate in Jonesboro, AR (via Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, of all places):

It starts out in pretty standard fashion (skip if you’ve seen this before): the Riverside school district has been having prayer at sixth-grade graduation ceremonies for a while. This year, a parent complained, the ACLU sent a letter telling the district what’s what, the district dropped prayer from the school ceremony, and the parents coordinated with area churches to have ceremonies before and/or after the one at the school, complete with prayer and pot-luck lunch.

Ha-ha! Just kidding about that last part. I meant to say that the district decided to be dicks:

LAKE CITY, AR (KAIT)- The Riverside School district has decided not to have a 6th grade graduation this year after a parent protested against prayer during the ceremony.

Local mom Kelly Adams presents the case for allowing prayer:

“As Christians and a mainly Christian town I think, there were a lot of people hurt that our rights were taken away,” Adams said.

“My daughter graduated last year from 6th grade and my son is graduating this year from 6th grade, and we had a pastor open our ceremony and my daughter actually closed the ceremony in prayer,” she said.

So there you go: “We’re in the majority, and we’ve always done it this way. Checkmate, civil-libertistas!”

The current plan is now to pile dickery upon dickery and have the graduation ceremony at a church. Never mind the students and parents who aren’t Christians, because Jesus loves them too. Adams again:

“A lot of the parents, the Christian parents decided to get together and do it at the church,” she said.

“We're not trying to be pushy or ugly to anybody, we just want them to know there is a God who loves them,” she said.

Because when you’re recognizing students’ achievements and ushering them into the next phase of their education, you can’t possibly do that without also proselytizing to everyone. That’s just common sense!

Wait, I think I hear a small voice from the back, some rabbi from way back when:

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

That’s cute, but clearly this guy knows nothing about Christianity.

IOKIYG

I was approached over lunch by a couple of student fundies trying to convert me to Christianity.

They started with a slow buildup about whether matter and energy are all that exist, or whether it’s possible that the supernatural exists. I asked them to define “supernatural”, since as far as I can tell, that word simply means “magic”. They said “something beyond the natural world”. I asked them to explain what that means, exactly, but they just sort of floundered around.

Here’s a hint: if you can’t explain what it is that you believe in, how can you hope to convince someone else that it exists?

They went on to say that relative morality is bad because you can’t say that genocide is bad. In order to denounce someone like Hitler, apparently you need absolute morality. I asked them for specifics, and they said that rape and theft, or telling someone to do these things, are absolutely wrong. So naturally asked whether, when (on God’s orders, presumably), or when Jesus told his disciples to steal a horse, that was immoral.

Ah, but it’s okay when God does it. So I guess absolute morality is kinda relative.

But that’s okay, because only Christianity provides a framework with which to make sense of things like morality. I asked how they thought non-Christians manage to do it. One of the fundies said that “Well, when you look at things like morality, you’re doing it within your own mental framework.” So I guess Christianity is the only system in which things make sense, aside from all the others.

I made the obvious rebuttal: that they were arguing that belief in a god is useful, not that it’s correct. To which they said that no, they also think that God exists. So I asked what method they use to determine what’s true and what isn’t. The same guy said that they believe the Bible: if it’s in the Bible, it’s true.

Leaving aside the circular reasoning of this approach (which he conceded), I asked whether this approach was reliable, i.e., if “it says so in the Bible” leads you to believe that X is true, is it a safe bet that X is, in fact, objectively true. So naturally I had to ask about cockatrices and unicorns in the Bible, and whether bats are fowl. I actually showed them this last passage, and they mumbled something about how different translations use different words (FYI, the NIV says “birds”; so does the NASB and NKJV). So evidently what the Bible says is always true, except when it’s not.

I would have gone on, but my lunch hour was up and I had to leave. Ah, well. Maybe next time.