November 28, 2015

Poor, persecuted American Christians are always on the defensive about their faith, which is the very same faith that the MAJORITY OF AMERICANS consider themselves a member. In late October, a Katy, Texas 7th grade teacher asked the students to write an assignment on the difference between a common assertion, a fact and an opinion. Fox News entitled it's propaganda piece Texas 7th-Grader: Teacher Told Me to Admit God Is Not Real

Twelve-year-old Jordan Wooley, a student at West Memorial Junior High School, told local station KHOU-TV that she labeled the latter as either “fact” or “opinion.”

“I tried to reference things such as the Bible, and stories that I’ve read before from people who’ve died and gone to heaven,” she testified at the school district’s Board of Education meeting on Monday.

“She told me that both were just things that people were doing to get attention.”

We begin the analysis of this incident from the side of far-right, who pretends their faith is under attack. Jordan Wooley garnered the sympathy of Fox and Friends Weekend host, Clayton Morris, who concluded the interview with,

MORRIS: Jordan, you're amazing. Stay strong.

WOOLEY: Thank you.

MORRIS: Appreciate you joining us this morning. It's sad that she has to go through this right before the holidays of course as well.

Representing the more moderate perspective, here's the actual statement from the Katy School District:

“Yesterday, October 26, at the end of the school day, two West Memorial Junior High parents contacted the school’s principal to share their concern over a classroom activity that they felt questioned students’ religious beliefs. The school principal immediately responded to the parents by informing them that she would investigate and meet with the teacher the following morning. At the conclusion of the investigation today, the principal determined that the classroom activity included an item that was unnecessary for achieving the instructional standard. The activity, which was intended to encourage critical statements as fact, opinion, or common assertion was not intended to question or challenge any student’s religious beliefs as reported by some media outlets.

The teacher is distraught by this incident as some commentary has gone as far as to vilify her without knowing her, her Christian faith, or the context of the classroom activity. Still, this does not excuse the fact that this ungraded activity was ill-conceived and because of that, its intent has been misconstrued. As a result, the activity will no longer be used by the school, and appropriate personnel action will be taken. The school regrets any misconceptions that may have resulted from this teacher-developed classroom activity and assures its school community that the religious beliefs of all students and staff are welcomed and valued at Memorial Junior High.”

As far as people who are offended that religion is often jammed down their throats, we can easily see that the premise of the Fox 'News' story is completely misrepresenting the purpose of the assignment.

What if I gave you the statement “God exists”? Fact, opinion, or a commonplace assertion?

Once again, it’s a commonplace assertion. You can’t prove it either way, but a lot of people sure as hell believe it. (For what it’s worth, saying God doesn’t exist would be in the same category.)

Yet, conservatives are morphing this story from a discussion about different kinds of statements to one about a bad teacher “forcing” students to admit God isn’t real.

It’s a bullshit narrative. But try telling that to the 100,000+ people who have watched the video of Wooley speaking to the school board, many of whom support her.

The Board members said they would “look into it,” but there’s nothing to look into. The teacher was absolutely right in saying “God exists” is a commonplace assertion. The question itself was intended to provoke discussion. If students think the answer is wrong, it’s because they don’t understand the categories, not because a teacher is trying to rid them of their religious beliefs.

The outrage expressed by Jordan and her supporters is essentially directed at anyone who is trying to categorize what religious beliefs really are. If you say it's a belief and NOT A FACT, they will get very defensive and accuse you of not respecting their particular brand of what amounts to commonplace assertions. If you suggest it's a myth, even without using those words, the staunch believer will become agitated and appalled at the mere notion that everyone doesn't believe exactly as they do. So much for an assignment in the Bible Belt to discuss the differences between facts and beliefs. No wonder the GOP reigns supreme where the word 'fact' is a subjective matter.

Can you help us out?

For nearly 20 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.