I know, that’s like figuring out which day Mike Tyson was the biggest jerk on. But I think it might be true. This story tries to tie every bad guy in their universe together in one single narrative – Bill Clinton, the ACLU, Muslim terrorists and separation of church and state. Here’s their claim:
A man arrested as a terror suspect for allegedly trying to transport $340,000 from a group tied to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and who reputedly had connections to Osama bin Laden, helped write the “Religious Expression in Public Schools” guidelines issued by President Clinton during his tenure in office.
And that could explain why students at a California school were told as part of their required classes they would become Muslims and pray to Allah – and a federal judge approved that, and why an Oregon school this year is delivering similar lessons to its students, as WND has reported.
Well maybe, but only to someone who is a congenital moron. Now let’s drop a little reality into the conversation, shall we? The document they refer to is available online. It was developed at the request of Clinton’s Department of Education and sent to every public school in the nation when it was completed. But here’s the part they always leave out of this story (this is actually a resurrection of a story from almost 3 years ago, see here and here): the guidelines were developed by a large number of groups with different agendas, including religious right legal groups.
So while they’re trying to tie the ACLU to terrorists because one guy involved with one of those groups appears to have ties to them, why are they not tying the Christian Legal Society to them? Or the Baptist Joint Committee? Or the National Association of Evangelicals? I think the answer to that is obvious. The document was subtitled “a joint statement of current law”, and all of the 30-odd groups who signed on to it agreed on what current law said at the time even if they disagreed with what it ought to say.
One of those groups was the American Muslim Council, and one person involved with that group is now up on charges of aiding terrorists. Only in the mind of fevered demagogues would that discredit either the content of the document or the other groups involved in drawing it up. And only a baldfaced liar or first-rate idiot would claim that it discredits some of the groups involved – the ones they disagree with, naturally, not the ones they agree with. This really is about as dumb an argument as one could possibly find.
Look how far the Worldnutdaily is willing to go to create the false impression of impropriety:
When Clinton issued the guidelines, he announced that they had been developed by “35 religious groups” but didn’t disclose that many of those were civil rights organizations such as the ACLU, and committed whole-heartedly to the separation of church and state.
How exactly are they suggesting such “disclosure” be done? The document was signed by all 35 organizations and listed at the end of the document. And if it’s a sign of impropriety that he didn’t specifically mention that some of the organizations were committed to separation, why isn’t it a sign of impropriety that he also didn’t specifically mention that some of the organizations are religious right groups committed to accomodationism? Because, of course, that would get in the way of the false impression they’re trying to give. This is what liars do. And it gets worse:
But under those guidelines, California, and now Oregon students, are allowed to be told as part of their public schooling: “You are beginning a simulation of the history and culture of Islam. It is important to study the origins of this religion and how it has affected mankind. … It is impossible to study Islam without understanding the relationship between the teaching of Prophet Muhammad and the entire Mid-Eastern culture….
But that’s nonsense. If any of these waterheads bothered to actually read the document, they’d see that it says nothing whatsoever on the subject. The word “islam” doesn’t even appear in the document. Indeed, here is the entire section of the document dealing with teaching about religion in public schools:
Students may be taught about religion, but public schools may not teach religion. As the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly said, “[i]t might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion, or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.” It would be difficult to teach art, music, literature and most social studies without considering religious influences.
The history of religion, comparative religion, the Bible (or other scripture)-as-literature (either as a separate course or within some other existing course), are all permissible public school subjects. It is both permissible and desirable to teach objectively about the role of religion in the history of the United States and other countries. One can teach that the Pilgrims came to this country with a particular religious vision, that Catholics and others have been subject to persecution or that many of those participating in the abolitionist, women’s suffrage and civil rights movements had religious motivations.
Boy, one can certainly see why that would lead to teaching Islam in one California school district, eh? The bottom line, schools can teach about religion, but can’t endorse any religion. And these guidelines were sent to the schools for information purposes, they played no part whatsoever in the court case being objected to. They were intended simply to give schools guidance on what is and isn’t legal, and there is absolutely nothing in the document that suggests that the above is legal.
Whether the curriculum in California dealing with Islam crosses that line, I simply don’t know. I’ve not seen any of the court documents in the case or what was actually testified too. Virtually every report I’ve seen on it has come from religious right sources and I frankly assume, based on vast experience, that they are probably exaggerated. But perhaps not. Perhaps they are accurate, in which case the ruling is wrong. But to blame that on this document, which says nothing at all about it and which, if the reports are true, actually argues for the opposite result – well that’s just stupid, stupid, stupid.
Naturally, then, STACLU picked right up on it and pasted it all over their page. “Jailed Terror Suspect Helped ACLU Draft School Religion Rules”, screams Jay’s headline. Now Jay, I know you read this blog. Please come here and explain why it doesn’t say, “Jailed Terror Suspect Helped Christian Legal Society Draft School Religion Rules.” Because the CLS was just as involved with drafting that document as the ACLU. You even go so far as to claim that the ACLU “wrote the religion in school rules with a little help from a terror supporting friend.” But that’s a lie, Jay. The ACLU was one of 35 organizations, including several you would no doubt support, and all of them collectively wrote the document and agreed to its contents. So why aren’t you talking about the National Association of Evangelicals writing those rules “with a little help from a terror supporting friend”?
Perhaps more importantly, why don’t you ever mention the actual content of those guidelines? Because in your fevered little mind you think the ACLU is behind them, you think you have to object to them and demonize them, but in fact I doubt there’s anything in them you’d disagree with. Those guidelines point out, for example, a wide range of situations in which students can express their religious views. They endorse the legality of events like See You At The Pole, the right of student bible clubs and prayer groups to use school facilities and the right of outside religious groups to use school facilities as well. Are those guidelines now “tainted” because one person in one of the 35 ogranizations that endorsed them is a bad guy? Seriously, this is really stupid, Jay. You have to know that.
The 9th circuit court ruling may well be wrong. The Supreme Court may well have been wrong to deny cert in the case. I don’t know because I haven’t seen the actual material used in the curriculum or the court documents. And yes, the ACLU may well be wrong for not complaining as hard about that as they do about similar things involving Christianity in public schools (again, it depends on the actual facts in the case). But none of that has anything at all to do with either the document linked to above or to the fact that one person in one of the 35 organizations that developed it turned out to be a bad guy.