I saw somebody state yesterday that "there were more Atheists in the U.S. than African-American or gay people." This person said "homosexuals," but they sincerely were comparing unbelievers to a race and/or a sexual orientation. Yes, the implication was that now that the numbers of Atheists are increasing, they too can bid to be a class eligible for protection under anti-discrimination laws.
Like this: motorcycle rider forums - 68 pages to date, mostly filled with Atheist cartoons and insults, like the up-to-date pictures of former Pres. George W. Bush and chimpanzees. Godlike Productions (new age, 2012 type message boards) more hundreds of identical messages. English language learner message boards - yet more messages. This gentleman has some spelling and grammar issues, but experienced the same phenomenon. This atheist was shocked to find the thousands of Google entries for "cowardly atheist" and tried to explain the phenomenon.
This spring's Sean McDowell/James Corbett debate shocked students, regardless of their background and beliefs, because Corbett was so woefully unprepared. I could only interpret Corbett's lack of preparation as contempt for his opponent and his position. However, I found a sophisticated atheist commenter who was able to state what Corbett should have: rational arguments to show why morality is not derived from God. Here's a whole post about why Atheists think Christians are stupid.
I just completed grading this semester's papers, and numerous students chose to write about freedom of speech in the classroom, inspired by Jim Corbett's 3-decade rant against Christ (he's the "Jesus Glasses" teacher from Capistrano Valley High). Twenty separate classroom statements against Christianity made by Corbett were put on trial in Federal District Court, and his "Jesus Glasses" statement was not the one found to have violated the Establishment clause of the First Amendment. Instead, it was a justification of Corbett's participation in a lawsuit in 1991. At least four of my students were former Corbett students, and all had stories to tell based in real classroom experiences. Despite Corbett's fairly numerous defenders, these students said he was a bad teacher, and that his combative style of teaching hindered their learning. Most telling was all, each student described separate incidents where Corbett mocked students for their pro-religion statements, and other statements, in class.
To paraphrase Corbett, when you put on your Godless Glasses, you can't see the truth. It continues to be all over the internet that Corbett was put on trial because he was opposing "Intelligent Design." That is not the case. Student Chad Farnam taped multiple anti-religious statements made by Corbett in Advanced Placement European History class. In Corbett's mind, he "won," because only one statement was found to be unconstitutional - and after reading the statement, it was merely one of the typical "bad teacher going on and on about themselves" statements.
Which brings me to Corbett's soulmate, Joseph Smigelski. Smigelski is a community college teacher and blogger for the Huffington Post and wrote "Why Tiffany Can't Write," last week. In summary, Smigelski's article stated that a community college student that he named "Tiffany" asked in response to an in-class writing prompt, "Does this need to be a 5-paragraph essay?" Smigelski took this as evidence of Tiffany's stupidity, and of the total failure of K-12 schools to teach students how to write. He supported this assertion by re-telling a Harlan Ellison story from the recent documentary film about his life.
I confronted Mr. Smigelski on his assertions, because I believe that they are false, based on my own experience, and upon our national writing associations. In response, Mr. Smigelski made one boneheaded error after another. He confronted me on my expertise, and asked if I had published any work - and, when I stated I was a friend of Harlan Ellison, he and yet another typical message board rat questioned that, too. His last error was to state that the Naomi Campbell quote he used as evidence for all college students being developmentally disabled and unable to write, was from Dreams With Sharp Teeth, the Harlan Ellison documentary, and therefore, of course my broader interpretation of the meaning of the story was untrue.
I broke down yesterday and Googled Mr. Smigelski, and all the puzzle pieces fell into place when I saw that the guy was a sniggering Atheist.
This isn't about belief or disbelief, it's about a common behavior pattern and attitude. Of course there are highly-religious people who are close-minded and who would make poor teachers. However, the number of outspoken loud-mouthed and tone-deaf Atheists seems pretty large, because Smigelski is a chip off the old Corbett tree. For the Atheists who hate Christians so much, it's quite ironic that they exhibit the same behavior patterns as seen in the Salem Witch trials or other incidents of religious persecution. And I don't think it's possible to have that fixed and rigid a thought process, one that precludes other information at all times, and be a good teacher.