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Unbelievers 'Belong in Hell,' Students Told


Society & Culture  (tags: religion, politics, christianists, fundamentalists, ethics, education, freedom, constitution, government, politics, propaganda, students, teachers, teens activists bush, christians )

Blue
- 2710 days ago - rawstory.com
After student raises ire over teacher telling class disbelievers 'going to hell,' he faces death threats



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Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:24 pm
A New Jersey student enmeshed in a classroom dispute over religion is attracting allies in his defense, The New York Times reports.

Matthew LaClair, a 16-year-old junior at Kearny High School, "drew some legal heavyweights into his battle with school officials over a teacher's proselytizing in class," writes Patrick McGeehan for the Times.

Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way Foundation, along with a Manhattan law firm partner, stood with LaClair "as he and his family threatened to sue the Kearny Board of Education if their complaints are not resolved," McGeehan says.

LaClair taped a teacher of his saying to students in a history class "that if they do not believe that Jesus died for their sins, they 'belong in hell,'" writes McGeehan.

On the same recordings, the article continues, the teacher is heard telling the students "that there were dinosaurs aboard Noah's ark and that there is no scientific basis for evolution or the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe."

LaClair has reportedly been "the target of harassment and a death threat from fellow students and 'retaliation' by school officials who have treated him, not the teacher, as the problem," McGeehan says.

Excerpts from the Times article, available in full here, follow...

#
Matthew and his parents, Paul and Debra LaClair, are demanding an apology to Matthew and public correction of some of Mr. Paszkiewicz's statements in class.

...

Richard Mancino, a partner with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which is representing the family, said he did not understand why school officials would not “stand up for this student, who had the guts to raise this constitutional issue.” Instead, Mr. Mancino said, they appear “to have adopted a shoot-the-messenger policy.”

Angelo J. Genova, a lawyer in Livingston, N.J., who is representing the school board, said Kearny school officials had addressed Matthew’s complaints and had reaffirmed their commitment to the separation of church and state in the classroom.

...

The district would not disclose what action it had taken against Mr. Paszkiewicz, who is teaching the same course to a different group of students. He has taught in the district for 14 years.

#
 

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:25 pm
Christianists on the March . . . Chris Hedges warns that the Christian Right is the most dangerous mass movement in American history.
 

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:26 pm
Right-Wing Radio Host, Neal Boortz: Teachers Unions Are ‘Much More Dangerous’ Than Al Qaeda . . . “Look, Al Qaeda, they could bring in a nuke into this country and kill 100,000 people with a well-placed nuke somewhere. Ok. We would recover from that. It would be a terrible tragedy, but the teachers unions in this country can destroy a generation.”
 

AniTa H. (142)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:39 pm
Yes these "Christians" (warmongers) are dngerous indeed...
 

PrimaSICK B. (1278)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:44 pm
Dangerous and definitely "Cult Like". This is terrible and saddening for these kids to have to go through besides the bumps of growing up. This cannot be allowed. My gosh if this was done in any of my schools the teachers would be fired. A start but still not good enough.

Thanks Patt for posting this educational and newsworthy article.....
Prima/Kym
 

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:47 pm
From the NYTimes website:

February 20, 2007
Student, 16, Finds Allies in His Fight Over Religion
By PATRICK McGEEHAN
NEWARK, Feb. 19 — A Kearny High School junior on Monday drew some legal heavyweights into his battle with school officials over a teacher’s proselytizing in class.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the People for the American Way Foundation and a partner from a large Manhattan law firm stood beside the student, Matthew LaClair, as he and his family threatened to sue the Kearny Board of Education if their complaints are not resolved. Last fall, Matthew, 16, taped the teacher, David Paszkiewicz, telling students in a history class that if they do not believe that Jesus died for their sins, they “belong in hell.”

On the recordings, which Matthew made surreptitiously starting in September, Mr. Paszkiewicz is heard telling the class that there were dinosaurs aboard Noah’s ark and that there is no scientific basis for evolution or the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.

Since Matthew turned over the tapes to school officials, his family and supporters said, he has been the target of harassment and a death threat from fellow students and “retaliation” by school officials who have treated him, not the teacher, as the problem. The retaliation, they say, includes the district’s policy banning students from recording what is said in class without a teacher’s permission and officials’ refusal to punish students who have harassed Matthew.

Matthew and his parents, Paul and Debra LaClair, are demanding an apology to Matthew and public correction of some of Mr. Paszkiewicz’s statements in class.

The LaClairs filed a torts claim notice on Feb. 13 against the school board, Mr. Paszkiewicz and other school officials. Such a claim is required before a lawsuit can be filed in New Jersey. “The school created a climate in which the students in the school community held resentment for Matthew,” said Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the A.C.L.U. in New Jersey. She said Kearny High School had “violated the spirit and the letter of freedom of religion and the First Amendment.”

Ms. Jacobs added that the A.C.L.U. would support the LaClairs if they sue the school board and might join the action.

Richard Mancino, a partner with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which is representing the family, said he did not understand why school officials would not “stand up for this student, who had the guts to raise this constitutional issue.” Instead, Mr. Mancino said, they appear “to have adopted a shoot-the-messenger policy.”

Angelo J. Genova, a lawyer in Livingston, N.J., who is representing the school board, said Kearny school officials had addressed Matthew’s complaints and had reaffirmed their commitment to the separation of church and state in the classroom.

Bernadette McDonald, president of the school board, said in a statement: “We took his concerns very seriously. The result was that we have received no further complaints about such religious proselytization in our schools.”

Mr. Genova said the school board had hired Edwin H. Stier, who was director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice from 1977 to 1982, to independently investigate Matthew’s harassment allegations.

For his part, Matthew said he recognized that “there are going to be a lot of consequences” at school from the Monday news conference. He said he had already felt hostility from students after the school switched his history class from Mr. Paszkiewicz to another teacher.

The district would not disclose what action it had taken against Mr. Paszkiewicz, who is teaching the same course to a different group of students. He has taught in the district for 14 years.

 

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 9:53 pm
I hope that many people ar eold enough to remember Senator Joe McCarthy ...

 

Eco M. (197)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 10:03 pm
Thanks for posting this disurbing article Pat. The teacher should be be fired.
 

PrimaSICK B. (1278)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 10:06 pm
Bryan,You are correct. The teacher needs to be fired but it seems there are more involved .
That scares me. It needs to be investigated thoroughly and the teacher needs to go now....
 

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 10:14 pm
Bryan and Prima ... it seems as if the teacher is being "protected" and the student is being harrassed and threatened ... what should happen is that the school board should have a meeting and call the principal as well as the teacher on the carpet!
 

Victoria B. (15)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 10:25 pm
If this teacher wants to spew "my gods better than your god" venom he should go teach in a Christian school,not in a public school. People need to start reading some pre-WWII history books to see what this country is becoming...or maybe go back to the Crusades?
 

Blue Bunting (855)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 10:29 pm
So many college professors want to avoid anything like "The McCarthy Hearings" when so many people got branded "REDS/Communists" by those who just wanted to SMEAR other people who didn't agree with them ... are we revisiting that point in history but this time being branded by right wingnut Chri$tian Fundamentalists who demonize anyone who isn't just like them?
 

Lauren Stone (586)
Tuesday February 20, 2007, 10:47 pm
Perfect example of radical Christianity. They preach it, but practice something else. This is SUPPOSED to be a country that honors FREEDOM OF SPEACH, supports seperation of church and state and freedom of religion.
The teacher SHOULD be fired. And the administrators disciplined in some way. This young man and EVERY AMERICAN should be SAFE to speak their mind or offer their opinions without being harrassed and threatened. This is shameful and those 'Christians' who are mistreating this boy should talk to 'GOD' about their own behavior!
 

Holly Troubetzkoy (167)
Wednesday February 21, 2007, 3:15 am
Than you Patt for this letter. When I went to public school I had a teacehr who wanted to know about church going practices and she did not only not count non christians but she did not count certain kinds of christians such as Roman Catholics. She did like the first psalm but did not see that it also applied to her. "Blessed is the man thqat walketh not in the council of the ungodly nor standeth in the way of sinners nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful...."
The scorn that is spewn up against others is not appropriate for any of the major religions and it is a nasty trait. Many people can make hell on eath for others,
Here in the Netherlands my son was asked in what he believes and when he told what he personally does and does not accept he went from passing well to failing. As a parent that does make one rather sick in the stomach. Still, his teacher does teach about all sorts of beliefs and cultures and has not offered anyone a hall pass to Hell. Holly T
 

Marianne S. (32)
Wednesday February 21, 2007, 4:48 am
I think it's a darn shame to what extent someone will go through to set up a Christian in a way that is then used to JUDGE other Christians. It's most unfortunate when one falls for those tactics' even more so when they elaborate in such a foolish way.
 

Thomas Panto (364)
Wednesday February 21, 2007, 7:52 am
God salutes no flags nor worships any medeval religions.
God does not teach innocent children to curse all of God's Creation for refusing to salute their flag or worship their stone gods.
Only Evil would mistreat Living Things in this way.
.
 

pete O. (242)
Wednesday February 21, 2007, 8:31 am
There is no Hell- it is not in the bible it come from our nordic past Hella the godess of the underword people who use this term are missled. there is only peace either concious or otherwise - Sheol the grave. Read your book mister pazwhatever
cheers Patti
 

Patricia I. (2)
Wednesday February 21, 2007, 2:27 pm
If this goes on in public schools, you can only imagine what is being taught these open little minds in home-schooling situations. We, in the US, are such an amalogmation of different cultures. The only way it can work is that everyone get an education about the ideals that can unite us as a country and make us one people. If we are taught to hate others religion or lack thereof it will eventually bring down our democracy. I believe that, not the teachers, but the leaders of some of these great so called Christian movements are just nazis disguised as Christians. They could not get control of the country through their racist ideology, so they are recruiting fellow travellers with a clean public record to get involved in Christian groups. Their members are just puppets who think they are doing good. This is why they got their people to vote for Bush and this is why Bush has really pushed to get rid of our civil liberties. When he said he would rather be a dictator, he really meant it.
 

Ethel Welker (0)
Wednesday February 21, 2007, 4:12 pm
just belive yn the man above that is all
 

margie l. (45)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 1:18 am
I agree with patricia j.,only worse than the home schooling ,where they don't have alot of children, is these so called christian schools.GODS COMANDANT" LOVE ONE ANOTHER" It don'tsay you have to like them,but love them as GOD loves us. We're free to make our own decisions,and don't need anyone pushing their pagan beliefs on our young, Talk about the Iraqic terrorist teaching of some of there children.Until we all get it , gods comandant ,there will be no peace, and all countries contribute to this.
 

Cheryl Benson (390)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 2:26 am
alll religons are cults, look it up in the dictionary
 

margie l. (45)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 2:33 am
Hey Sunshine ,I believe cults are where you have no choice or mind of your own .I do believe in a spiritual path' I do believe ,God,or spirit ,or whatever you want to call it ,is a part of ,and every living thing.
 

Cheryl Benson (390)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 3:00 am
agree with u on ur last sentance, get out ur dictionary.Websters, CULT: to form or collect a group, worship, a religion, it goes on and on can't type it all out.
 

Cheryl Benson (390)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 3:02 am
humm,. u commenting but not noting Margie. Hi Holly & Prima, hugs Patt
 

C G. (63)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 3:22 am
Gee Patt, I'm not sure why they are picking on this poor teacher. Why would the teacher be fired for stating the obvious. After all, everybody know that Noah had dinosaurs on his ark don' t they. What's next, are we going to condemn teachers for warning students about the Martians who hide in their television sets?
 

John Yarborough (3)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 4:33 am
i agree if you are an unbeliever you will go to hell.. say what you want. that will not change what will happen to you that are unbelievers. john y.
 

C G. (63)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 4:39 am
Hell isn't sounding as bad as it used to. After all, at least there will be no fundamentalist Christians there.
 

Lisa L. (102)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 4:55 am
the kind of thinking by anyone who "claims" to be a Xtian and says non-believers will go to hell is the same as the Taliban's vastly inaccurate "interpretation' of Muslim law to oppress women and ruin cultures. Intolerance of people's own decisions to believe what they wish - whether it accords to everyone's own "holy book" or not - is what we witnessed on 9-11. I am a teacher, and I would never dream of imposing my views on my students - xtian, jewish, muslim, buddhist, athiest, wicca, democrat, republican, pro-life, pro-choice, pro-oil, pro-environment, etc. Teaching is about dialogue, and about offering students the opportunity to learn the various sides of an issue - ANY issue. There is no one god, there is no one law, there is no one message to teach. I am there to educate my students - not to judge them..
 

C G. (63)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 5:03 am
Shouldn't Buddhist be more appropriately called Xhists? I'm offended that Buddha's name is being used and jammed down my throat.
 

Robin Kay L. (3)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 5:23 am
lol, i've heard this all before.. from my own family! i'm told i need to find jesus and repent for my sins because jesus will be back in my lifetime. all i can say is fanatic christians are deranged and crazy. i judge no one for their beliefs, and i would appreciate it if others did the same thing and kept their lunatic comments to themselves.
 

Klaire U. (5)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 7:56 am
Where's freedom? Mah...
 

Sandra Barringer (119)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 11:58 am
Lauren wrote: "This is shameful and those 'Christians' who are mistreating this boy should talk to 'GOD' about their own behavior!"

Lauren and all,
These people are first to know that their "God" isn't paying any attention, that's why they are able to get away with this stuff. Since they discovered that there really isn't any "Divine Retribution" in the real world, they decided to take advantage of the naive (and 95% of the population who are born followers) and take the whole country and the world! why not? They've seen that no one seems to want to stop them. Don't you think it's time to start stopping them? Where there's a will there's a way. There has simply got to be some way to stop these folks.
I have a neighbor next door who is one of these right-wing nut-cases, and he has the attitude that, because he's a Christian male, that he has a right to go next door to neighbors (us) who are both women (one who claims to be Christian) and run things! He has a superior attitude, simply because he's male, and thinks that we should "obey". Guess how far that went with me. He was pulling this overseer crap on my Mother until I got home from New Mexico, and then he ran into a wall, called Sandy. When I saw how he was manipulating my Mother, I told him to go home and stay there. He didn't at first. He thought that I didn't have any authority since my Mother had tacitly given him the okay to do as he damn pleases, and go where-ever he wanted on our property and in our house. He found out real soon that he was wrong. He was making the assumption that a disabled lady couldn't put him in his place. He was wrong. I ran his ass off, and told him to stay gone. Oh, he, and his whole family, got offended. (How I could offend such sweeties who only mean well? Yeah, right!) Like I care. He then proceeded to try to run over the top of me, again. That resulted in my almost physically throwing him off the property. I then hung "No Trespassing" signs and told him, "Don't come back, or I will have you prosecuted!" My Mother was horrified and said "I want to get along with the neighbors." But, she has since, in subsequent months, discovered that I had his number right. (She's now one of us. -- An active protester against the right-wing nut-cases. She simply did not know what this guy was about. They come across and gently little souls who are harmless, but are really predators.)
This is just an example of how they have an attitude that they can run over the top of people and have their way. They're taught that in their little congregations (I've heard it personally.) And, this movement does need to be feared. It's going to require some harmful force to stop them. (Not necessarily violent.)
 

margie l. (45)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 1:28 pm
a
 

Past Member (0)
Thursday February 22, 2007, 9:10 pm
That man doesn't sound like teacher material at all! I wonder what his students learn from him concerning history. His remarks were so out of place, it's scary. The bit about hell was actually a threat, nothing less.
 

Orlin Larsen (80)
Saturday February 24, 2007, 4:44 am
I hope he loses his whole teaching career. Forever. And there needs to be afew other careers lost, for who ever gave him permission to keep right repeating his demented teachings. I cant believe he still holds credentials.!!!
 

Dorian S. (10)
Saturday February 24, 2007, 6:07 pm
I can't wait to go to hell. If it's full of the people i think it is, it'll be much more fun than heaven.
 

Veronique P. (99)
Sunday July 22, 2007, 12:15 pm
Quizz: Which founder said this: "America is not a Christian nation nor is it a Jjewish or Mohemadian nation" (My quote is not perfect).
McCarthy indeed. Fanatics!!
 

Veronique P. (99)
Sunday July 22, 2007, 12:18 pm
I didn't mean to say McCarthy is the founder of course.
 

Patricia I. (2)
Sunday July 22, 2007, 4:53 pm
I am sure that there must be some very nice Christians, and Moslems, but unfortunately the media shows us images of mostly the nutjobs, so it would be very easy to believe that they are ALL crazies.

You can understand, when the Chinese government tells their people that religion is all a bunch of hokum, and turns people insane, and then shows them some of the trouble religious nuts are causing in various countries, how the people would prefer atheism.
 
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