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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What passes for ‘education’ on the right

ThinkProgress: Earlier this month, a Tennessee high schooler recorded an abstinence education assembly spearheaded by two right-wing leaders — and after details emerged about the topics discussed at the public school event, medical experts confirmed that they weren’t “completely accurate.” Health officials refuted some of the material, and local politicians expressed surprise that Tennessee’s public school students have been receiving false information.

As the Tennessean reports, the conservative speakers included Joi Wasill — who founded a nonprofit organization with strong religious, Republican, and anti-abortion ties — and Beth Cox, a member of a Tennessee county school board. The two women delivered an hour-long presentation for the freshmen and sophomores at Hillsboro High School. Wasill and Cox told students that all medical textbooks confirm that life begins at conception, there’s a new STD spreading around the country that’s worse than AIDS, contracting STDs will leave women infertile, and having sexual relations with eight different partners is the equivalent of drinking a whole classroom’s spit.

Cox told the young women in the room that if they became single mothers to boys, their sons wouldn’t have the necessary male role models in their lives to teach them “hunting, fishing, playing ball, all those things that teach them how to be a man.” During the second half, after Wasill took over, she asserted that “fetus” means the same thing as “baby” and adoption should always be assumed as the best option. If a girl is pregnant, send her straight to the nurse and give her prenatal vitamins, Wasill recommended. She also warned that abortion carries the risk of internal bleeding and death.
Apparently, “not completely accurate” is now identical to “completely inaccurate.” And it’s a reminder that religious conservatives are about the least trustworthy people in the world when it comes to education. These are people who believe their political opponents are literally the devil and his minions, so lying is just asymmetrical spiritual warfare. If telling you that abortion will grow you third eye will keep a kid from “killing her baby” and going to Hell, then a third eye it is. It’s not wrong to lie, it’s as right as right can possibly be and Jesus smiles down on every “not completely accurate” word with complete approval. They lie without hesitation.

These people have zero business inside a schoolhouse, since they have absolutely no interest in educating or in presenting students with the truth. Their only interest is to get students to comply with their own literally overzealous religious tenets — by hook or by crook, if need be.

“Religious fundamentalist” is a synonym for “liar,” plain and simple. Don’t trust these fanatics any farther than you can throw them.

[photo by kewl]

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