= This file was downloaded from a Christian occult = = BBS, and should be regarde

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=========================================================== = This file was downloaded from a Christian occult = = BBS, and should be regarded as suspect in areas of = = factuality. The Christian cult has seldom displayed = = any aversion to lying to achive their agendas. drice = =========================================================== - By "Doug LeBlance," in Denver, for "World" Christians are liars and extremists: That was a frequent message from some participants at an early-May education conference in Denver sponsored by I D E A, the Institute for Development and Educational Activides Inc. More than 200 public-school teachers and administrators, along with officials from People for the American Way, the National Education Association, and other organizations, compared war stories about-and planned defenses against-Christians who seek an increased voice in education policy. The conference was titled "Responding Democratically to Religious Agendas: Right-Wing Pressure Groups and School Reform. "But the other party to the democratic dialogue, conservative Christendom, was notably absent - although organizer Steve Thompson says the group hopes to invite Focus on the Family next time. This year's debate primarily was in-house. Plenary speakers were equally divided between the amicable and the caustic. Many of the educators spoke of "win-win solutions"; others seemed interested only in winning. Frosty Troy, editor of the liberal alternative newspaper _The Oklahoma Observer_, received the only standing ovation of the conference. Troy, who portrayed himself as a faithful if irreverent presence at Catholic churches, attacked John J. Cardinal O'Connor of New York and evangelicals who operate Christian schools ("Someday God'll get 'em for using his son's name that way") . Troy vehemendy opposed sehool-voucher proposals, arguing that even cult leader David Koresh might have obtained taxpayer funds "if he had wanted to run 'a little school."' Troy spoke of public schools in sacrosanct tones. "One of the things that really gets my Irish up is when the religious right criticizes public schools as teaching godless humanism[sic]," he said. "If you've ever read the Sermon on the Mount, you know that the typical school teacher is a living sermon" by dispensing hugs and self-esteem to students. Conservative Christians, by contrast, have a sinister agenda, Troy said. "You know what a lot of them want? They've nursed it since the day we desegregated schools," he said to applause. "You're talking about resegregation, not just along race lines, but along class lines. "They have a political agenda, and they're using a religious rationale to push it. But what's new about that? Look at what Hitler and Goebbels did in Germany. " "That's a sick statement," Amy Stephens of Focus on the Family told _World_. Other evangelical ministries contacted for responses to the conference offered similar assessments. Other conference speakers were more measured. Fritz Detwiler, associate professor of philosophy and religion at Adrian (Mich.) ) College, discussed the theological foundation of conservative evangelicals. Detwiler, unlike most of the sneakers, recognized that conservative Christian activists operate from a worldview. He classified the movement as "theo-political," and warned against underestimating the religious component ofconservative activism. "Given the assumptions of the critics their worldview is just as coherent [as yours], ' Detwiler told the educators. Deiwiler asked how many in the audience had read Children at Risk by James Dobson and Gary Bauer. One person had. Detwiler assured the others they could obtain copies through their local libraries, so they needn't contribute any money to Dobson's cause. The Christian right is waging "a self-declared civil war," Detwiler said. "The civil war is not about getting their position heard. Nor is it about creating an atmosphere of diversity. 'The civil war is about power." Detwiler urged educators to "push them [Christian activists] to the point where their religious agenda is revealed," which he believes will alienate most centrists. Robert Marzano, deputy director of training and development at the Midcontinent Regional Educational Library in Aurora, Colo., acknowledged that humanist[sic] and secularist vorldviews, or paradigms, are indeed present in public-school curricula. He mentioned that influential educator John Dewey was a self-described secularist who believed religious beliefcould be eradicated through proper education. "There is, in fact," Marzano said, "a worldview that educators have inherited, through our study." Marzano said he had concluded that neither the humanist[sic] nor the Christian paradigm could be proven true, but that both represent a way of understanding the world. "Coming to that conclusion, I can't tell you how profoundly it has affected me. It was a tremendous 'aha' experience," Marzano said. "I was very distressed with this. But the more I think about it, the more excited I get. The free marketplace of ideas is the safest place to live." Marzano and an official from the National Educa'on Association had a testy exchange on whether a hypothetical school should force hypothetical children to say the Lord's Prayer. Some educators asked if they had to give classroom time to the Ku Klux Klan or to neo-Nazis, since conservative Christians seemed self-evidently racist and sexist. One participant criticized what he called Marzano's ultimate relativism. Al Meloy, superintendent of the Adrian ( Mich.) City School District recommended identifying critics and listening to them with courtesy and respect. He said administrators should avoid name-calling, should recognize real emotions like panic or fear, and should respond cooperatively to Freedom of Information Act requests and petitions. Charles Haynes, executive director of the First Liberty Institute, noted that "the First Amendment separates church from state, but not religion from public life." Haynes criticized _Tentacles ofthe Religious Right_, a list distributed in conference packets by journalist Troy, as "an example of how not to do this." He called on the educators to be honest brokers of knowledge about rights, responsibilities, and respect. Haynes met with a mixture of indifference and hostility from many teachers - his question-and-answer sessions were among the most sparsely attended. One educator left the room in disgist when Haynes said he did not consider Focus on the Family extremist. - Doug LeBlanc, in Denver, writing for World

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