America Without BS II: The Revenge of Bullshit

Apparently the American conservative press has developed a unique new method of lying. Basically you use misleading headlines and all the distortion you can cram into the story, but at some point you put the truth in there, in spite of the fact that it easily refutes the story’s thesis. “See, I wasn’t lying because in the third paragraph I included the quote which tears the whole story apart.” I guess that’s how it works.  Anyway, the thing that prompted this was a story from something called The Daily Signal, via Fox News. Are you ready for your manufactured bullshit outrage of the week?

THE STORY SO FAR…

A heroic former Marine and Iraq war vet is banned from school property after objecting to his daughter being forced to write a three page paper on the five pillars of Islam.  

Outrageous! I’m really angry now! What a travesty! What injustice! Oh…Wait…No. Turns out that once again, the assignment on Islam is actually part of a world history curriculum, and the assignment has a far wider scope than the pillars of Islam.  Here’s a quote from school’s spokesperson.

“The particular unit in question at La Plata High School is on the formation of Middle Eastern empires in which students learned the basic concepts of the Islamic faith and how it, along with politics, culture, economics and geography, contributed to the development of the Middle East. Other religions are introduced when they influence or impact a particular historical era or geographic region.”

Hmmm…That sounds a bit different than “teaching Islam.”  Apparently American conservatives need a special guide on what constitutes “teaching Islam” and what does not.  Let me help them out a bit.

THIS IS TEACHING ISLAM

THIS IS NOT TEACHING ISLAM

When I was in high school we learned about things like the Reformation, the creation of the Anglican church, and the different Christian sects who sought freedom in the New World. Obviously there was no way to learn about these things without touching on the differences between the theological beliefs of Catholics and Protestants. None of this constitutes teaching Protestantism or Catholicism, however. I don’t understand why this is such a difficult concept for these people. Oh wait, I just remembered these people are ignorant morons. I guess I understand completely.

The article saves the worst for last, when the father’s wife tries to excuse her husband’s behavior.

“The people do not understand what he endured when he was over in Iraq,” she said. “[H]e lost friends, and he lost brothers and sisters to these people.”

“…these people.”

“…these people.”

“…these people.”

Yup, I read that correctly. Apparently this poor man lost buddies to the soldiers of the Rashidun or Umayyad caliphates. Do I need to say anything more on the topic of associating 1.5 billion people with some Iraqi insurgents? Yeah, I think I do. See there’s a lot of Dutch people who can say they lost loved ones to “those other people.” You know- Christians. After all, in all likelihood it was downed by a bunch of fanatics who can’t shut up about Orthodox Christianity, ergo they represent all Christians everywhere.

If you’re a Fox News viewer who stumbled on this article by some horrible mistake, let me make this clear to you. I’m very sorry but your children need to be educated in history. Don’t worry, our public schools and textbook publishers will try to make this as bland, boring, and uninformative as possible, but it’s still an essential part of the curriculum. Religion, indeed some religions other than yours, played an important role in history, politics, and even geography. Therefore sometimes your precious wittle snowfwakes may be required to, brace yourselves, learn about a faith other than your religion, the one true faith, i.e. non-denominational, independent, Southern four-square Baptist. I’m very sorry.  Oh wait. I’m not.

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