“It scares me. I’m a Christian,” [shop teacher Dale Halferty] said. “This witchcraft stuff – it’s terrible for our kids. It takes kids away from what they know, and leads them to a dark and violent life. We spend millions of tax dollars trying to save kids from that.”
Peacefully respecting the Earth and our fellow creatures is a “dark and violent” path, at least in Outer Right Wingnuttia. Simply put, fundies hold that any path that is not the right type of “Christian” is automatically dark, Satanic and hell-bound, and many fundies firmly believe that the Bible trumps any secular law. Also, I don’t get the “away from what they know” stuff. Is that supposed to mean that it takes them away from what (fundies think) they *should* know?
According to the article, 70 of the school’s 185 students signed a petition saying they didn’t want witchcraft practiced at their school. I worry for this kid, and the crap he will most likely face from his peers. I hope they understand that the student has a fundamental right to practice his religion as he sees fit, without government interference, as do Christians of all stripes.
According to the story, Halferty also admits telling a Christian that he or she could not build a cross in shop class, completely misunderstanding the first amendment rights of the students.
Halferty uses his “belief” in church/state separation to play the martyrdom card well:
His viewpoint: “We as Christians don’t get to have our say during school time, so why should he?”
School officials say Christians actually do get to express themselves in the same way.
I think some education on Earth-centered religions and first amendment rights is in order.
UPDATE March 3rd: Halferty got an unpaid suspension. He still doesn’t get it:
Hafferty said Wednesday he still doesn’t understand why school officials are forcing him to act against his own beliefs as a Christian and allow the student to disrupt his class with a project based on a religion he believes is wrong and bad for youth.
“Personally, I think it’s offensive to worship rocks and trees,” Halferty said of Wicca, a religion based on ancient beliefs and a reverence for the Earth. “I am just trying to be moral. I don’t know how we can profess to be Christians and let this go on.”
I can see the fundies running with this one.