An Open Letter from an Atheist to a PTA mom
This is in response to this Open Letter from a PTA mom to Mr. Huckabee
Dear PTA Mom,
Although I share your disdain for Mr. Huckabee and I also share your sorrow regarding the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT, I find the idea that God is performing miracles in public schools quite vapid.
You suggest that if Mr. Huckabee were to visit a school he would see “God’s presence and the teachings of Jesus Christ are well represented by the works of the people in those buildings.”
The teachings of Jesus Christ? I am sure that along with Christians, there are Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and atheists working in schools. The good work that they do is not evidence of God or Jesus. It is evidence that good people exist in all faiths or lack thereof. Since these religions have conflicting theologies, it isn’t Christianity at work or any other religion. It is the inherent goodness of the individuals alone that deserve credit. Not an invisible sky daddy.
Next you claim that “His presence and teachings are instead practiced, demonstrated, and felt.” How so? Do you mean that people are being nice to each other? People being good existed prior to god and Jesus.
When did the reinvention of Jesus as bringing peace and goodwill to man begin? Jesus said, “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword.” (Matthew 10:34). What happens when a true follower of Christ brings that teaching into the classroom? We should be careful what we think belongs in a school, especially anything faith based. Any Christian could take that saying from Jesus, and with faith, justify killing anyone who is against or doesn’t accept Jesus.
You then make the claim that “Educators are God’s workers – there’s no other reason to think a person would endure so much to receive so little.” It is sad that you think so. There are many reasons to educate the youth besides God. I can think of several. I volunteer at my son’s school. I volunteer in my community and I teach martial arts for free. I know many educators that are atheists like myself. We are not “God’s gift” to education. We are just humans who care. If you think that without God there are no reasons to be educating youth, I feel sorry for you.
I don’t know if you see the shocking disconnect that your letter was generated in response to an incident involving 26 deaths, including 20 children in a school and you have the nerve to say that in schools, “God’s miracles happen every day.” I would be willing to bet that any one of the grieving parents would take the miracle of not having a psychopath kill their children over the miracle of getting an ‘A’ in math. For more on this you can read my blog on why God didn’t perform any miracles last Friday.
You curse Mr. Huckabee for wanting to bring “his brand of religion” into the classroom. Your letter offers just another brand of Christianity. Sure, you mention the pillars of Islam, but your letter clearly is speaking about Jesus and the Christian God. You believe that the Christian God’s work is being done in public schools. You can not believe that each and every god is individually doing work in schools. That concept is even more repulsive to me. The idea that Jesus, Muhammad, Jehovah, Buddha, all the Hindu gods and any other god you can create in your mind are all working together but couldn’t prevent this tragedy is just absurd.
What really bothers me is that you take credit away from the teachers, the students and the parents who are actually doing all the good work when you give God credit. You want us to believe that god is performing miracles and his work is being done but in your letter you state the following:
Education budgets have been slashed nationwide. Our students learn in over-crowded classrooms with outdated technology. Our teachers are being pushed out of the profession by unrealistic accountability systems and the profit-driven thirst to change classrooms into testing factories. Our state legislatures are bowing down to special interests seeking to privatize our education systems – turning a noble profession and public commitment into little more than a profitable pick for a hedge fund manager. Through systematic defunding, the decline of critical thinking skills to make way for rote memorization to pass the next benchmark test, and the political prostitution of public education for profit, the war on education is clear and ongoing. God’s work through these schools and educators is under attack.
How is your god so weak that he can let this happen? As absurd as it is to hear Huckabee claim that children died because God was removed from school it is as absurd, if not more, to hear you claim that the decline of public education is because man is attacking GOD’s work. Isn’t he GOD? Shouldn’t he be able to take care of this? If God is incapable of fixing the public education system on his own, what hope do we have?
We need to support public schools and the education of our children because we only have each other and it is the right thing to do not because your God wants us to.
You see, Mrs. PTA mom, people do not need to believe that the good that happens everyday in schools is because God never left. He was never there in the first place.