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TOXIC THOUGHT SYNDROME

"Maybe letting some teacher say "God bless you" in school isn't the same thing as organizing a Hitler Youth Movement, but it's the sort of thing that can lead to that. Religion is a difference, and we focus on those enough in our schools. How about on just one freaking issue we let kids stop comparing and contrasting and start just accepting that they're kids."

by Jim Martin

COPYRIGHT © 2002, 3 A.M. MAGAZINE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Most of these columns wind up coming from the things I've been thinking and arguing about over the last little while, and today is no exception. The seed for today's Toxic Thought Syndrome comes fittingly enough from our own darling political editor, Charles Shaw.

There are those who want to see us teach about Jesus in school. You've had the email, right? "Maybe if we had said Jesus in school more, the whole terrorist attack thing wouldn't have happened." Interesting logic. Take the impossible to prove and use it to rap our knuckles after a major catastrophe. In truth, the only way we could have avoided the thing would have been to deal fairly with the rest of the world, but as that is unrealistic we can move ahead.

Jesus in the schools is a bad idea. But you know what? Even though I believe that statement I also manage to believe in the basic tenets of Christianity, with a few subtle changes for my own personal happiness. If you ask me, I'll describe myself as a Christian. Perhaps I'm not as devout or blind as others, but that's the way I see things.

So how can a Christian not believe that God in schools is a good thing? It doesn't have to be Christian dogma that we fire into the hearts and minds of the children, we could instead focus on an ethereal God figure coinciding with Allah, Sheba, the Christian God, Zues, Shirley MacLaine, or whoever.

Well, that's just dandy. I understand where they are coming from, but schools are having a tough enough time focussing on the two and a half R's (reading, arithmatic, and composing web pages) to bother bogging them down with additional topics. As well, grown-ups have the right to believe or disbelieve, and it isn't fair to ask an aetheist teacher to promote a Christian policy that he does not believe in. God doesn't like lip service.

Can you get sent to the principal's office for disbelief? Is questioning the morality of Soloman as he pouts his way into the history books worthy of a detention? or the strap?

We keep religion out of state because religion is a freedom. I have the right to believe in God. I have a right to believe in Buddha. I have a right to believe in nothing at all. That's great. But those are personal decisions, and schools, offices, community centers, and malls need to stay the hell out of them.

Religion in the hands of the masses is dangerous. Yeah, I'm an asshole. But it's true, it's damn true. People take that stuff way to seriously, and they do sickening things in the name of it, from millions of dead Jews to millions of dead Serbs to millions of dead anything.

Maybe letting some teacher say "God bless you" in school isn't the same thing as organizing a Hitler Youth Movement, but it's the sort of thing that can lead to that. Religion is a difference, and we focus on those enough in our schools. How about on just one freaking issue we let kids stop comparing and contrasting and start just accepting that they're kids.

To all you Christians out there, stop lambasting the rest of the world with emails about poor little Timmy O'Toole who fell down into the well and the hand of God was there to keep him warm against all blah blah blah. Even other Christians hate that shit.

To all the politicians in the world, it's true that you can score points with the voters by using words like God and heaven, but that doesn't make it right. You're for a return to family values? Who's family? George Bush's? Let's play a little game. Who's dad slaughtered thousands of people in the Persian Gulf?

Wasn't my daddy... Wasn't your daddy... Right, it was George Bush Senior. Who's dad did so only after he was being described by the press and the public as a weak, wussy leader. I remember a political cartoon that I think was from a Mad Magazine that had Bush on a baseball card and pointed out that he has no balls and two strikes. The next thing you know, war time.

You want family values, how about acceptance. If I went home tonight and told my parents that I believed in very different things than they do, and I do, they would still love me. If I told them that I hated how every family dinner they were on about their religion, they would do their best to stop for me. And I would do my best to understand and tolerate them. Why the hell can't we seem to do that when it comes to the rest of the world?

Right. It's because I'm living in a world where religion isn't about freedom, it's about control. If your religion says that it's a living thing, I can't abort it. If your religion says that they're the enemy, I have to fight them. If your religion says I'm wrong, I must be. Not cool, folks. Not cool.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Martin is one of those people who can start a sentence with "The problem with democracy is that jerks like you get to vote" and end it with your wanting to be his friend. He hosts a website and has been published by Mob Hit Productions, Images Inscript, House of Pain, Scapegrace, and here at 3am. Toxic Thought Syndrome is a weekly column of his, and diametrically opposed to his other regular column, Mr. Lousy Advice Guy for SinglesFAQ.com.






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