WorldNetDaily Supports John Freshwater

Buffoon Award

When a publication like WorldNetDaily (WND) takes up a controversial cause, the rational observer knows pretty much all he needs to know in order to reach a proper judgment. WND is the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. WND was an early winner of our Buffoon Award, thus that jolly logo displayed above this post.

Today we are witnessing what we now realize was an inevitable convergence — WND is supporting John Freshwater. We last wrote about that creationist Ohio school teacher a few months ago: John Freshwater Case: Probably Finished. We thought we had come to the end of a multi-year saga involving an administrative hearing and litigation about whether Freshwater should be fired as an 8th-grade science teacher in Ohio. He had been accused of burning a cross on a student with a Tesla coil, teaching religion in his science class, and failing to follow the school district’s orders. Freshwater claimed that the district wanted to fire him only because he refused to remove a bible from his desk.

We haven’t been writing much about this matter because it’s been so well covered by Richard B. Hoppe at Panda’s Thumb. His reporting about this story is far better than anyone else’s. Richard’s most recent posting is Freshwater: Rutherford Institute joins the case. We were content to leave the topic to Richard.

But when your Curmudgeon saw that WND was promoting the cause of Freshwater, we had to step in. This is our kind of story. Freshwater now joins that illustrious roster of other creationists featured glowingly in the pages of WND, including Kent Hovind and Ray Comfort. Therefore, dear reader, we direct your attention to Fight escalates over teacher fired for Bible on desk. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The Rutherford Institute is joining the case of an Ohio teacher who was fired for keeping a Bible on his desk and suggesting that students “think critically about the school’s science curriculum, particularly as it relates to evolution theories.”

Here’s some information on the Rutherford Institute. We’ve seen some accusations about their motives and their sources of funding, but it’s sufficient for us to judge them by their willingness to support Freshwater. Let’s read on in the WND article, as they quote John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford organization:

“The right of public school teachers to academic freedom is the bedrock of American education,” Whitehead said. “What we need today are more teachers and school administrators who understand that young people don’t need to be indoctrinated. Rather, they need to be taught how to think for themselves.”

[We feel your pain, so we pause briefly. Go ahead, dear reader — run to the bathroom and heave up your last meal.] Okay, everyone ready to resume? Then let’s continue:

Cited as reasons for his 2008 suspension and official termination in January 2011 were his actions of allegedly “improperly” injecting religion into the class by giving students “reason to doubt the accuracy and or veracity of scientists, science testbooks [sic] and/or science in general.”

[…]

But when the school board ordered him to remove “all religious items” from his classroom, including his personal Bible, which he kept on his desk, he agreed to remove the objects except for the Bible.

We’ve been writing about creationists for a long time now, but working on this post is a really horrible experience. It’s like reliving the whole, hideously prolonged mess all over again — from Freshwater’s point of view. We’ll give you one more excerpt, and then you’re on your own:

He’s now appealing the termination in state court, alleging violations of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and religious discrimination.

What’s happening to this country? A hard-core, full-blown creationist science teacher who disregards school board policy just can’t get any respect any more.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “WorldNetDaily Supports John Freshwater

  1. Academic freedom? Really? REALLY? Is there a public school system in existence that allows teaching anything different than the approved material from the approved sources? Public school teachers aren’t professors.

  2. I want to know how he got away with applying a Tesla coil to a student. I’ve taught high school from time to time, and I was never allowed to use such methods. (Walks away cursing. . .)

  3. comradebillyboy

    I retired from teaching science, mostly physics, last year and I don’t think the concept of academic freedom exists in public schools in the way it exists in universities. We did not have the freedom to do as we pleased, we were required to meet the requirements of the curriculum and to accommodate standards based testing. Freshwater is in deep doo-doo for burning crosses on his students and ignoring the curriculum established by his state department of education. Personally, I felt that I had plenty of latitude to teach my subject material and even engage in discussions of the philosophy of science. But I never told the students what they should think; I did try with varying success to help them learn how to think.

    But my students often asked interesting questions with strong religious implications like “hey Mr Comradebillyboy, do you really believe in the big bang?” To which I would tell them that what I personally believed was irrelevant and what mattered were the logical inferences and conclusions that could be drawn from evidence. In science the only thing I have faith in is the scientific method.

  4. comradebillyboy says:

    In science the only thing I have faith in is the scientific method.

    I know what you mean, but the way you said it is open to misunderstanding — deliberate or otherwise. My preference is that the word “faith” not be used in the context of science, because it means belief without evidence or logical demonstration. I would say that I have “confidence” in the scientific method.

  5. True (r.e. “faith”). Most people can’t tell the difference between “faith” and “trust” or “confidence”.

  6. “Science is the religion that works.”

  7. Freshwater isn’t as innocent as he’s made out to be “merely” trying to encourage “critical thinking.”

    The horse’s ass handed out creationist material, then collected it so it wouldn’t get out of his classroom. He knew he was wrong and he tried to hide his malfeasance. Just another lying, sneaky creationist who thinks the rules are for other people.

    In a letter of willful insubordination Freshwater wrote to the superintendent (or principal, I don’t recall exactly) that he would comply with all directives except regarding his Bible, and if that was insubordination then he was insubordinate. It was Freshwater who drew the line in the sand and dared the district to cross it.

    You realize, however, that Freshwater has no life outside of this litigation. Without this chain of suits and appeals he’s nothing but fired and forgotten.

  8. SC wrote:

    run to the bathroom and heave up your last meal.

    No need. I was a firefighter/EMT for 8 years. Take a lot more than that to make me lose lunch, or dinner for that matter.

  9. It’s funny I recalled your post when I read that the editor of the WorldNetDaily, Joe Farah in a Salon article was quoted as saying, “Admittedly, we publish some misinformation by columnists, as does your publication and every other journal that contains opinion.”

    Really, can you imagine a Creationist-Birther mouthpiece actually spreading misinformation? The horror!