Jump to content

A message of support for Matthew LaClair


Guest S

Recommended Posts

As a teacher, lawyer, & Jew, I applaud your actions. You should remind your "teacher" that the Protestants drove the Catholics out of the public schools in the 1800's by the same type of activity; that students of minority religions have no choice but to sit there because of the manditory attendance laws and that he should put himself in their shoes.

I hope that your father follows through with a law suit in federal coirt. The teacher and the school district need to be reminded that freedom of religion is not freedom to express your ideas about religion when the audience is compeled to sit there. In that case, freedom of religion is being free of religion - anyone's.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 627
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I too would like to thank Matthew for speaking up. I'm sure this isn't easy for him and his family and I appreciate the courage and fortitude it takes to proceed on this.

Thanks

all those kids in school who are hating on you are just being cowards and sticking with the herd mentality. kudos to you for standing up against the current.. i wish i had balls like that when I was in High School!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Rev. P______

Way to go Matthew! Stick to your ideals and stand up for one simple distinction: church matters are discussed in church, and school is not church. This is not Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia - we have no state religion, and it is very wrong for a state-based, tax-supported government institution to do anything that promotes one religion over another. If your school district continues to employ that teacher, and he continues this behavior, then your school is guilty of a crime at both state and federal levels.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest New Yorker

Hi Matt,

I would like to add my voice to those supporting you for taking a stand on this issue. Preaching does not belong in the classroom of a public school.

I can see from some of the comments that there are some very hateful people out there. Hang in there. You did the right thing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Matt,

Good work, you would make a fantastic politician or journalist in the future. Defend your rights; America is in desperate need of someone like you, who can help and change the image other countries have of the place.

The country of The Netherlands is supporting you!!

Anouk

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Godless Heathen

Matthew, you are shining example of what humanism is all about, and it trumps wacko Christian fundamentalism any day of the week. Don't let these people cow you into blind obedience and silence. My understanding from reading the NYT article is that you were also being sensitive to the fact that a fellow student (a Muslim) was effectively being told she was "less than" for not subscribing to this dolt's narrow-minded beliefs. Instead of being applauded for that, you received an outpouring of "Christian Love" in the form of death threats and ostracism from the equally narrow-minded idiots in your community. These people are the perfect example of why organized religion is a big joke: mob mentality. They are incapable of thinking for themselves and have a knee-jerk reaction to anyone or anything that is different. They are intolerant and completey lacking in empathy for their fellow human beings.

I just wanted you to know that a large number of people outside of your community support you. You did the right thing, and we are proud of you for taking the risk to report this appalling behavior.

People of any religious cloth should not be able to proselytize a captive audience of students in a public school. Students in public schools should be free to receive an education without being told they are doomed because they haven't converted to Christianity or Islam or {insert religion here}. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to remove their kids from public school and enroll them in a parochial school of their choosing. Furthermore, if this teacher is so passionate about his faith, then perhaps he needs to consider a full-time job at his church instead of trying to convert unwitting students in his classroom!

As for the "Christians" who are reading this and treating Matthew poorly, ask yourself this question:

"What would I do if my child brought home a recording of a teacher telling students they were all doomed if they didn't follow the teachings of the Koran?"

My guess: the "Christians" in that community would be demanding that teacher's head on a platter. They would be horribly offended if someone of a different faith was using the classroom as his pulpit. Yet they cannot put themselves in other people's shoes for even one second and admit that this teacher was wrong simply because he's one of them and singing their tune.

Pathetic. <_<

Link to post
Share on other sites

matt,

i'm not sure if you've considered this but, thanks to the NYT article, every college admissions committee (at least every college that matters) will, at v least, sympathize w/you. i mean they staff these things w/the most progressive affirmative action poster children they can find. seriously, you're golden.

your detractors, meanwhile, will prob go to community college or "get stuck in iraq" or some stupid bullshit, and 5 yrs from now, when you are an analyst or a law student or something else respectable, they will be...god,the imagery escapes me. something about nascar is probably appropriate. but honestly, i'm just not too familiar w/redstate retard poor-ppl culture.

...even though i am from nj (a fact of whichthis article made me deeply ashamed)

but here's to you, matt. i do kind of hope you sue. i'm sure plenty of lawyers would be willing to assist you pro bono.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Don Barry

Dear Matt,

As someone who grew up in Georgia (which is, incredible as it may seem, even more backwards and religiously bigoted now than then), I too became known in elementary and high school as the guy who would not say the pledge. At the time our abuses in Vietnam were still a quite fresh memory, and I could not stomach the invocation of a god of which my scientific and materialist philosophy saw no supporting evidence. On the whole, though, I enjoyed the fortune of teachers who never criticized my atheism, and a select network of friends (with whom it is still my honor to know almost three decades later) who supported and valued those who were principled. As religiosity fades, the desperation of religion is manifest in increasing organization and thuggery. But take heart -- it _is_ fading, at least among the educated. Ignorance is really the only stronghold religion has left. Already belief in a personal god is well under 10% among physical scientists.

I admire you deeply for your resolve and courage. If you need a letter of recommendation for college when you submit applications, I'd be honored to provide one.

Don Barry, Ph.D.

Astronomer, Cornell University

Ithaca, New York

don@astro.cornell.edu

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anna Stern

Another message of support for Matthew - and a question about something else in the Times article. It said that this teacher told a Muslim girl she would go to hell. Is this the same Muslim girl who was the subject of the NPR piece this weekend about being Muslim in America, where a teacher's "Christian" comments caused a Muslim family to fall apart? How would anyone justify that type of damage to a child?

In addition to all my intellectual reasons for supporting Matthew, there is a deeply personal one. I am a non-practicing Jew who is infuriated by all the "Christians" who tell me that I am going to burn in hell. I have it screamed at me on the subway. I have it screamed at me on the street. "Saviors" used to ring my door bell. I can't imagine how I would react if I was a bright teenager forced to listen to this is a classroom.

You hang on Matthew - the world needs more people like you!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel Matthew did the right thing. I feel bad for him that so many people in his hometown are ostracizing for this. He did the right thing here, whether or not they see it. If you want to learn about religion, then goto church, that's fine. The problem starts when you bring it to school. Kids don't goto school by choice, they HAVE to go, and to sit there and make them listen to this and ONLY this is absurd. Is christianity right? I don't know, no one does for certain. I do know, however, that kids are pretty impressionable and they don't need an authority figure to sit there and tell them that some religion is right, that everything else is wrong, and that they will burn in hell if they don't belive.

Now, I do not feel the teacher should be fired, but a strong action should be taken. If he does it again then I think firing should definetly be considered.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest anonymous-evolutionist
Hi Matt,

I would like to add my voice to those supporting you for taking a stand on this issue. Preaching does not belong in the classroom of a public school.

I can see from some of the comments that there are some very hateful people out there. Hang in there. You did the right thing.

Matt, Keep up the good work. Anyone who stands up for what the constitution of this country stands for gets my vote. Perhaps a run for the board of education is in your future? As a fellow resident of NJ, I am appalled that anyone who has graduated college (I presume the teachers are required to have done so) has the gall and ignorance to preach their religion to a class. In New Jersey of all places, *we the people* are truly a diverse, educated, and fantastic bunch of community oriented citizens.

I think you've just received your A+++ grade for civics class. Your critics should read their history books and in particular, both the constitution and the bill of rights.

I make sure it's on my yearly reading list, as it is important NOT to not know EXACTLY what both documents say, and why our founding fathers so eloquently laid forth such pragmatic and sensible rules for our government.

Good work young man. When you need a reference for college, I'm sure there are lots of folks who will do so willingly.

I salute you fine young american!

andy

Link to post
Share on other sites
judging from the NYT article, there seems to be a lot of ad hominem attacks on Matt, which only justifies how weak his critics' arguments are. don't let 'em get to you--keep up the fight.

Nate

Tenafly, NJ

Not just ad hominems - blatant misunderstandings of the US Constitution, too. Hell, I'm British and I live in Britain and I know that the First Amendment may give every citizen the freedom of religion, but it does not give teachers the right to preach their beliefs at their students. Why is this beyond so many Americans?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Patrick Y

It is shameful that many townsfolk and students sided with the teacher. To preach supernatural hocus pocus in class and threaten young minds with an everlasting afterlife of pain and torutre in Hell if they didn't buy into the supernatural hocus pocus .... well that is just immoral, insane and simply outrageous.

Bravo Matt!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Matt,

If you only knew how truly inspiring your actions were in defending your constitutional rights. I don't know where your academic interests lie, although teaching high school history in your hometown might be something to consider. I know of one possible upcoming vacant position. You rate high on my list of kids I'd love to know. College, and I do hope you're planning on it, should be an exciting adventure. Kudos to your dad as well for raising a thinking son.

Gary

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Melissa in Rochester, NY

Matt, don't let anyone suggest you did anything misleading by recording the class and asking questions during the discussion. You were simply participating in class! (Doesn't everyone know participation counts toward grades?) And if you had not recorded, you are right that it would have been your word against his.

You are entirely noble in your actions and many of the people who currently speak against you will grow up, move on, and realize you set a great example. Some poor kid who feels completely stiffled and oppressed by the fundamentalist church they are made to attend will see what you have done and have the courage to find their own way into a more loving and accepting community.

Oh, and I loved your questioning about hell. Duh! Too bad logic is not the m.o. with your 'teacher'.

An aside to all the mean fundies: I believe religion is very powerful, valid, and positive when it is about good works and love. I am personally not a Christian, but I have respect for Christians who respect and love others, regardless of whether religious beliefs are shared.

As aside to all the mean atheists: Be careful not to get too high on your horse. The message from all major religions is really love and compassion, and it does a lot of good, just in a quiet way. Religion is not the same as fundamentalism and should not be subject to blanket condemnation. Hating just makes them more energized!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Josh from Calgary, AB

Quite a few people above me have said it just perfectly. You are doing the right thing and should be commended for your action. I am posting this now to show my support for your cause.

(I grew up in a Christian home, I know what it's like to have to deal with these people)

- Josh

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...