Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What a train wreck...

"They can’t mess with our religion," Mr. Johnson told The Boston Globe. "They owe us a small lump sum for this."

This statement encapsulates the current brouhaha in Taunton. In sum:

[A student's] father, Charles Johnson, stirred up controversy when he told reporters of various newspapers this week that his son was suspended for drawing a picture of the crucifixion as part of a class project to draw a picture about the holidays.

... District officials say the boy told his teacher that it was himself on the cross, not Jesus. The drawing was not part of a school project. The boy was not suspended from school, but rather given a psychological evaluation out of concern that the picture was a cry for help. The picture circulated by the media is not the same one that prompted teachers to report the boy.

The town’s mayor called for [the superintendent] to apologize to the boy and his family. But he has since decided to back the school’s decisions.

The Christian Science Monitor, there. Area columnists such as this dingbat, this fool, and that moron are trying to feel outraged, not even mentioning the lack of factual clarity in this situation. It's reminiscent of the Gates Arrest affair, where we had a he-said/he-said disagreement about basic facts that occluded any chance of seeing what really happened. Some people remain determined not to learn their lesson, but would rather implicate one side based on no real knowledge whatsoever. Thus the media stampedes to finger-pointing, oblivious of their own obliviousness.

I find it suspicious that a teacher could, or would, single-handedly order a psychological evaluation of a child. I find it odd that the aggrieved party starts demanding monetary compensation from Minute One. I find it curious that the mayor changed positions quickly, even at the cost of opening himself up. I find it disturbing that some people just love the idea of being persecuted. I wouldn't be the faintest bit surprised to learn that this father has what the media likes to call a "colorful history". You don't convert that fast from victimization to extortion without lots of practice.

Now, the school did make a mistake in presuming that this young child knew the true nature of a cross. Apparently, he had recently visited a large, religious seasonal lighting display, where I'm sure Jesus on the cross was visible. However, a young mind may not realize that the cross was an instrument of torture, pain, and execution...he may well think that's just "where Jesus is", just as Santa is in a sleigh. The connection adults create between a cross and pain is not necessarily in the mind of a child, where the cross is mainly a symbol of some ideas he is told to believe. Without clarifying that issue (which the school apparently failed to do), there resulted a rush to judgment. As usual the purported victim, the child, is quickly becoming rather ignored.

The same sort of rush to judgment that is happening now in the media. In their eagerness to drive the bandwagon, they haven't checked for its integrity. I would suggest cooling down, waiting for the facts or even reconciling oneself to the idea that the facts may never be known, instead of a starting a new Christmas Persecution.

Not that that's going to happen.

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