If You Want To Fit In This School, You’d Better ‘Change’ Your Faith (VIDEO)

Religion: Christian teacher bullies Buddhist child in LA public school.

Louisiana schools engage in religious indoctrination and ridicule religions other than Christianity. One 6th grade Buddhist felt the brunt of the bullying. Image screen captured from The Young Turks video.

A Louisiana man didn’t think much about the Christian indoctrination that went on in his local schools. Growing up, he experienced it as just a harmless part of the culture. His perceptions on religion changed dramatically when his stepson, a Buddhist with Thai origins, enrolled in the 6th grade at Negreet High in Sabine Parish, Louisiana. What subsequently unfolded at the school has resulted in a lawsuit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the parents, Scott and Sharon Lane, and their son, “C.C.”

The teacher insisted the Bible is 100% true, ridiculed the student’s religion.

By the end of C.C.’s first week at Nagreet, he was throwing up every day on the way to school. The couple’s other children reported that the boy was being harassed and humiliated for his religion, and the religious beliefs with which he grew up, by the science teacher, Rita Roark. According to the children, Roark taught that the Bible is “100 percent true,” God created the Earth 6,000 years ago, evolution is not only impossible but a “stupid theory made up by stupid people who don’t want to believe in God.” For good measure, she called the Buddhist religion “stupid” as well.

To show just how appalling this sort of indoctrination is, Scott Lane cited a question that appeared on a science test. The question was:

“ISN’T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Fill in the blank with the only correct answer, of course, which C.C. didn’t know. The answer, an obvious set-up by the teacher, is ‘THE LORD’. After being ridiculed the first time for not knowing the answer, the next time C.C. saw the same question on a test, he put ‘Lord Buddha’. Roark led the classroom in laughing at the boy.

This is not an isolated instance, is not confined to this teacher, and is not confined to this school. When the Lanes took their protest to the principal of Nagreet High, they found a school filled with Christian images, from a picture of Jesus over the main entrance, to a Bible verse on the electronic marquee, to the pictures and posters on the walls. School officials pass out religious literature and lead official prayers.

The superintendent was just as zealous in her defense of Christianity.

So the Lanes went to the superintendent, Sara Ebarb, with their complaints. There they were told that they live in the ‘Bible Belt’ and shouldn’t be upset at these activities. Ebarb’s ideas for a solution were either that C.C. stop being a Buddhist and convert to Christianity or move to a different school. Following the meeting with the parents, she sent a letter to Nagreet High congratulating the school on ‘maintaining Christian values’. The principal read Ebart’s letter over the loudspeaker.

The Lanes did move C.C. to a different school in the parish in order to protect him. There they found the same unconstitutional practices also go on, so they filed a lawsuit against the Sabine Parish School Board, with the help of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). According to the ACLU:

The lawsuit asks the court to issue an order prohibiting the school district from continuing to promote religion or disparage Plaintiffs’ faith and to require the district to reimburse the Lanes for the cost of transporting C.C. to another school.

Such appalling stories of the abridgment of Americans’ rights make it hard to believe that Louisiana is part of the U.S.A. However, it is. That’s exactly the case that the Lanes presented to superintendent Ebarb. In Scott Lane’s words:

I tried to point out that the ‘Bible Belt’ was not a separate country and that we were still entitled to religious liberty as guaranteed by the Constitution. She would have none of it, however.

The whole country is threatened by the forces of ignorance.

Much of Louisiana may be deeply stuck in the past, but that past and present are exactly the future that the religious right and the Tea Party envision for the entire country. The Lanes are still embroiled in a battle for the rights and dignity of their son, but their story is one more cautionary tale for the rest of us. Those parts of the country that still have a viable public school system are in danger of losing it to the forces of privitazation, under the guise of ‘school choice’. Those who fight for freedom of religion are threatened with a counter movement that insists that freedom of religion means the right to impose the religion of the true believer on others.

Once upon a time, it seemed like the U.S. was moving beyond narrow provincialism and the suffocation created by religious control. Isn’t that why the country was founded? Instead, those forces are trying to push the country backward. It’s not only a descent from the lofty, democratic aspirations of the founders, but also a path into the deep darkness of ignorance.

Here’s a video from The Young Turks with hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian: