The image above has recently been making the rounds on all the social sites. I first saw it last week and it was good for a facepalm or two but I was a little suspicious, as we all should be when this sort of thing pops up in the social media nowadays. After appearing in my feed a few times it faded away and I thought nothing more of it.
Today, it was in my Snopes report email so I clicked on the link to find out if my suspicions had been correct. I was surprised to find that the image was real. And there was another page to the test. So, it became legitimate news and here we are.
The test was purported to be a 4th grade quiz from a private school in South Carolina. After some digging by Snopes and others, and a confirmation from Answers In Genesis president Ken Ham, we now know that the school is the Blue Ridge Christian Academy in the Greenville area. Our own Filthy Liberal, Justin Rosario wrote about the initial reactions to the picture and the story behind it.
But even before that information was revealed, the reactions to the test had flown furiously around the web, setting off the patented “Christian victimization reaction.” Mr. Ham wrote an alternately whiny and outraged column on his website, complaining that the school, its administrators and teachers were being ruthlessly attacked by those horrible atheists!
“The school administrator informed us she knew that the school would be involved in a spiritual battle after the quiz went public, but she was not expecting such ferocity. She told us she was shocked at the level of hate that the atheists poured down upon her, the teacher, and the school in general.”
Relying on the usual rhetoric – and completely oblivious to the glaringly obvious projection he is practicing – Ham writes:
It seems that since the last presidential election, atheists have grown more confident about having something of a license to go after Christians. These secularists want to impose their anti-God religion on the culture. They are simply not content using legislatures and courts to protect the dogmatic teaching of their atheistic religion of evolution and millions of years in public schools. There is something else on their agenda: they are increasingly going after Christians and Christian institutions that teach God’s Word beginning in Genesis.
Unless there are mobs of atheists waving torches and pitchforks outside the school, I fail to see how criticizing the test is “going after” anyone. It is interesting that Ham cannot relate to any other philosophy save through a religious lens: he calls secularism a religion and refers to evolution as a religious teaching. I think he might be happier in a theocracy… but since he doesn’t live in one, he’s doing his best to change that.
Despite Mr. Ham’s self-righteous whining about being attacked, it is true that the DVD he sells, Answers In Genesis, was the basis for the test. Freedom of religion and speech are absolutely protected and Blue Ridge Academy can teach anything they wish. But they must also be prepared to take responsibility for exercising those options and accept criticism when it is warranted. As for those “vicious” emails, most are from people who are aghast that such nonsense would be taught in a science class. As Hemant Mehat of The Friendly Atheist wrote:
Obviously, no one is condoning hate against the school’s administrators or teachers. But criticism against a perversion of science? Absolutely. Keep it coming. And that’s what I saw across the Internet — jaws dropping everywhere over the fact that this is what passed for science in an American school (albeit a private Christian one), that kids were being brainwashed by Christian educators who have no respect for evidence or the scientific method, that this student was being led to believe she’s a good science student when in fact she’s probably learning very little about it.
So, that is the tale of the horrible science quiz. It never ceases to amaze me how people can deliberately lie to their children to make them follow their faith. If their religion is so wonderful, why don’t they teach the facts (or at least let them into their bubble) and let the children decide for themselves? I feel so bad for those children (and I know a few who were raised that way and rebelled in a big way once they hit the age of 18) but I feel bad for their parents, too. How horrible it must be to feel it necessary to lie to children because of your own insecurity. What a sad way to go through life, needing to have everyone you know – and often those you don’t – believe exactly the same as you. I pity them but I do hope their kids manage to break free and make their own choices.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…