Sunday, June 3, 2007

PZ's "Double standards in the public schools?"

P.Z. Myers's Pharyngula is one of the most popular blogs around, and I suspect that most of my dozen or so regular readers are fans. But just in case someone missed it, let me point the way to an interesting post this morning: "Double standards in the public schools? No, say it ain't so!" in which P.Z. describes and links to a couple of stories in the news.

In one, Shannon Spaulding used her valedictorian address at Wolfson High School (Jacksonville, FL) to try to save the souls of her classmates and their familes and friends. "I want to tell you that Jesus Christ can give you eternal life in heaven.... If we die with that sin on our souls, we will immediately be pulled down to hell to pay the eternal price for our sins ourselves."

P.Z. missed what was, for me, an important tidbit from the news story: "Spaulding told Channel 4 she was not aware of the controversy" her speech created. Here's a young woman smart enough to graduate at the top of her class, and yet she had no idea that her 20-minute sermon might be controversial?

The second story concerns a school in Albemarle County, Virginia, where Christian parents used the threat of a lawsuit to force the school to distribute a flyer advertising a local church's vacation bible school and other religious literature. The parents were then upset when other groups--a Unitarian Universalist church and a secularist summer camp--started sending their own literature home with the students.

Nope, no double standard there.