Friday, December 10, 2004

Dear Principal Stephenson:

I read a story on the net about how you are using some unusual and controversial source material in the 623-student Cary Christian School you run in North Carolina. The 43-page booklet in question is called "Southern Slavery as it Was," and is a startling revisionist polemic for the proposition that slavery was no more offensive than a ride on "Pirates of the Caribbean" at Disneyland.

Here are some excerpts from the booklet:

* "Slavery as it existed in the South was not an adversarial relationship with pervasive racial animosity. Because of its dominantly patriarchal character, it was a relationship based upon mutual affection and confidence." (page 24)

* "There has never been a multi-racial society which has existed with such mutual intimacy and harmony in the history of the world." (page 24)

* "Slave life was to them a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care." (page 25)

* "But many Southern blacks supported the South because of long established bonds of affection and trust that had been forged over generations with their white masters and friends." (page 27)

* "Nearly every slave in the South enjoyed a higher standard of living than the poor whites of the South -- and had a much easier existence." (page 30)

I certainly applaud your efforts to get your students to think for themselves, and to present more than one side to an issue. Christian schools have a bad rap for that sort of thing, you know. And I think it is fine to dare your students to be outraged and to refute what they are taught -- essential even.

You were quoted as saying that "A student may be assigned an opinion they may not agree with, so they will understand both sides." I couldn't agree more, sir. The way to create intellectually curious citizens who have the tools to challenge simplistic pabulum from their teachers, their church or their government is to expose them to a wide range of opinions and ideas, including those we may disagree with.

So I assume that when you teach your elementary school kids about families, you assign them "Heather Has Two Mommies;" that when you teach them the Genesis story that you also have them read "Darwin and Evolution for Kids;" that when you preach abstinence to your junior high and high schoolers that you also give them a copy of Ruth Westheimer's "Sex for Dummies;" that when you teach them how the west was won, you also have them read "Trail of Tears;" and perhaps most importantly, that when you present the Bible as literal truth, you have them read "Atheist Universe: Why God Didn't Have A Thing To Do With It."

Mr. Stephenson, if you do these things, and truly teach your charges to think for themselves, you have my highest admiration, and I thank you for not fitting the stereotype I would have blindly applied to you.

If, on the other hand, you would fire on the spot any teacher who dared to bring such blasphemy into your school, then it is hard to escape the conclusion that you are indeed the kind of hypocritcal, white sheet-wearing racist fuck I would have guessed you are, and I am sad there isn't really a hell for you to rot in.

Very truly yours,

The Left Revererend Bluememe


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