“Friendly Atheist” Desperately Tries to Defend Firing of Christian School Worker

Atheist activist Hemant Mehta has some points to make about the firing of school worker, Kristie Higgs.  So let’s have a look.

Mehta writes:

She’s obviously delusional and hyperbolic. No one cares what she believes,

That’s a lie.  What she believes is what the firing was all about.  Does anyone think she would have been fired if she had posted beliefs promoting the LGBTQ position?  Of course not.  And if that is not good enough for you, consider the last sentence of Mehta’s posting.  He writes:

She doesn’t deserve to be paid to work with public school children when she believes…….

There it is.  That’s what it is about.  She doesn’t deserve to have the job “when she believes” X.   So quit with the lies about “no one cares what she believes.” 

nor is anyone preventing her from expressing those beliefs at home or in church.

Straw man.  No one ever claimed she could not express her beliefs at home or in church.  Is Mehta implying these are the only places she, as a school worker, should be allowed to express her beliefs.  That is, she must self-censor on the internet, for example?  How would Mehta like it if he was allowed to speak his anti-Christian views only at home or atheist conventions?

A public school curriculum shouldn’t be guided by what Christian bigots think about LGBTQ people. We can’t let education get derailed by people who have hate baked into their faith.

And here, activist Mehta poisons the well with personal attacks.  Higgs agreed with the position that a traditional marriage is not the same as same sex marriage and also didn’t agree that gender is a matter of choice instead of biology.  Mehta turns disagreement into bigotry and hate.  If you dare to disagree with his ideology and political agenda, it must because of bigotry and hate.  It must be!  This simplistic, black and white approach is common among social justice propagandists, but those who appreciate a more nuanced approach rooted in critical thinking will recognize the unwarranted leaps of logic. 

So far, to make his case, Mehta has had to lie, invoke a straw man, and resort to ad hominem attacks.  Does it get worse?  Of course.

But Higgs posted this on her private Facebook page. She’s allowed to do that, right? Not necessarily.

Ah yes, the inner authoritarian comes out.  Social justice atheists want to police the thinking of others.  So eager to nab a thought crime that they start hallucinating one into existence:

 The problem is that someone who harbors such animosity against LGBTQ people could create a hostile environment in the classroom.

Having convinced himself with his own rhetoric that Higgs has “animosity,” he then embraces an imaginary world where Higgs COULD “create a hostile environment.”  Could.  Not did.  Could.

Why is this?  Because neither Mehta, not the school, nor the tribunal, could find one single piece of evidence that Higgs’ FB post actually did cause a hostile work environment.  Unable to support their position with evidence, the activists and bureaucrats display contempt for the need for evidence and replace it with their subjective fears rooted in their own ideologies and stereotypes.

Imagine your child’s teacher using racial slurs online; you might not want your child around such a teacher.

Mehta’s obviously delusional and hyperbolic, for a truly rational person would recognize this as a false analogy.  Higgs never made anything analogous to a racial slur.  She did not use the “f” word, for example.   But I guess when you have no evidence to back up the need to fire Higgs, you need to demonize her the best you can.   The only thing missing thus far is a Nazi analogy.

Then again, using Mehta’s logic, imagine your child’s teacher using anti-religious slurs.  Hmmm. Might have to explore that in the next posting.

It was a battle between her religious right to be a bigot and the school’s right to provide a safe learning atmosphere for the students.

Ah yes, the simple-minded, black and white approach of the atheist activist.  The “right to be a bigot” (Evil) vs. safety for the children (Good).   The problem for Mehta is that he has failed to establish that Higgs is a bigot (unless he wants to argue in circles) and there isn’t a shred of evidence that Higgs’ private FB posting created an “unsafe” environment. 

Those who value reason and know how to process evidence will recognize that the rhetoric about an unsafe learning environment is rooted in a delusional and hyperbolic approach.

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8 Responses to “Friendly Atheist” Desperately Tries to Defend Firing of Christian School Worker

  1. Dhay says:

    > Then again, using Mehta’s logic, imagine your child’s teacher using anti-religious slurs. Hmmm. Might have to explore that in the next posting.

    At risk of stealing Michael’s thunder, Hemant Mehta taught high school math for a number of years before switching to full-time blogging. Each of these quotes can be re-written to apply to Mehta himself when both a teacher and online anti-theist.

    She doesn’t deserve to be paid to work with public school children when she believes…….
    Mehta didn’t deserve to be paid to work with public school children when he believes…

    A public school curriculum shouldn’t be guided by what Christian bigots think about LGBTQ people. We can’t let education get derailed by people who have hate baked into their faith. **
    A public school curriculum shouldn’t be guided by what New Atheist bigots think about religious people. We can’t let education get derailed by people who have hate baked into their atheism.

    The problem is that someone who harbors such animosity against LGBTQ people could create a hostile environment in the classroom…
    The problem is that someone who harbors such animosity against religious people could create a hostile environment in the classroom…

    Imagine your child’s teacher using racial slurs online; you might not want your child around such a teacher…
    Imagine your child’s teacher using anti-religious slurs online; you might not want your child around such a teacher as Mehta…

    ( ** Actually, that was the point of the government’s consultation on the then proposed legislation on Relationship and Sexual Education curriculum. The Education Minister invited the views of the British public, and the petition provided evidence of large numbers of people urging moderating some of the original proposals. I repeat: the Minister’s taking into consideration the views of different sections of the public to inform what should and should not be changed was the point of the consultation.)

    *

    Then there’s Peter Boghossian at Portland University: all of the above can be re-worded as strong criticism of the guy who publicly declares online and elsewhere that religious people have a mental illness, a mental illness that should be in the DSM diagnostic manual (but isn’t.)

  2. apollyon911 says:

    Next step: Re-Education Camps and Gulags. It’s for a better society.

  3. Dhay says:

    I chopped my last paragraph short for lack of time: the message is, that Peter Boghossian has a high public profile online as someone who is utterly and vociferously hostile to Christians and to religious people in general.

    By the same argument made for preventing Kristie Higgs for having contact with schoolchildren (ie for sacking her) — by that same ‘creates a hostile environment’ argument Boghossian should be prevented from contact with undergraduates (and sacked.)

    *

    I see that in his post Hemant Mehta claimed of Higgs:

    She claimed the entire lesson was anti-Christian.

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2020/10/08/christian-teacher-fired-for-expressing-beliefs/

    “Entire”? No she didn’t claim that: that’s a Mehta fantasy; that’s a ‘Friendly Atheist alternative fact’.

    Another Mehta fantasy / alternative fact is that the RSE curriculum is going to be one single lesson.

    Or to slightly amend what he says of her a little further on, “She’s He’s obviously delusional and hyperbolic.”

    *

    On a different note, I see that while the government guidance on delivering the RSE curriculum allows it to be delivered in whole or part by external agencies (subject to careful supervision), someone from the The Satanic Temple would not be considered suitable:

    Schools should not under any circumstances work with external agencies that take or promote extreme positions or use materials produced by such agencies. Examples of extreme positions include, but are not limited to:


    teaching that requirements of English civil or criminal law may be disregarded whether for political or religious reasons or otherwise

    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/plan-your-relationships-sex-and-health-curriculum

    Why not? It’s because a Fundamental Tenet (#2) strongly believed by and promoted by TST Satanists — it’s Fundamental, so if you don’t strongly believe it you ain’t a TST Satanist — is:

    The struggle for justice is an ongoing and necessary pursuit that should prevail over laws and institutions.

    https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/about-us

    I rather doubt that UK TST Satanists have a dispensation from the obligatory strong religious belief in Tenet #2.

    Note also the UK government’s opinion that the TST’s “teaching that requirements of English civil or criminal law may be disregarded whether for political or religious reasons or otherwise” is the taking and promoting of “an extreme position”.

  4. Dhay says:

    Hemant Mehta > She claimed the entire lesson was anti-Christian.

    As I wrote above, no she didn’t claim that, nor can the RSE curriculum be one lesson, not even with the very simplified curriculum judged appropriate at Primary School level (the upper age limit, 11/12.) The Primary level curriculum is linked below, and I note there’s not so much as a mention of “LGBT” or equivalents (except that the children should become aware that some children have ‘LGBT parents’); nor any mention whatsoever of “gender” or “trans”.

    (That tells me that in that consultation on the proposed curricula Kristie Higgs and her fellow petitioners succeeded in getting heard and heeded by the Education Minister.)

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education/relationships-education-primary

    The Secondary School RSE curriculum (for ages 12+) starts with this summary introduction:

    The aim of RSE is to give young people the information they need to help them develop healthy, nurturing relationships of all kinds, not just intimate relationships. It should enable them to know what a healthy relationship looks like and what makes a good friend, a good colleague and a successful marriage or other type of committed relationship. It should also cover contraception, developing intimate relationships and resisting pressure to have sex (and not applying pressure). It should teach what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in relationships.

    There’s many following paragraphs like this one:

    As in primary, secondary Relationships Education can be underpinned by a wider, deliberate cultivation and practice of resilience and character in the individual. These should include character traits such as belief in achieving goals and persevering with tasks, as well as personal attributes such as honesty, integrity, courage, humility, kindness, generosity, trustworthiness and a sense of justice, underpinned by an understanding of the importance of self-respect and self-worth. There are many ways in which secondary schools should support the development of these attributes, for example by providing planned opportunities for young people to undertake social action, active citizenship ‎and voluntary service to others locally or more widely.</blockquote)

    And there's one — that's one — paragraph relating to ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’:

    Pupils should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way. All pupils should feel that the content is relevant to them and their developing sexuality. Sexual orientation and gender identity should be explored at a timely point and in a clear, sensitive and respectful manner. When teaching about these topics, it must be recognised that young people may be discovering or understanding their sexual orientation or gender identity. There should be an equal opportunity to explore the features of stable and healthy same-sex relationships. This should be integrated appropriately into the RSE programme, rather than addressed separately or in only one lesson.

    Again, it’s definitely not just Mehta’s fanciful one lesson. And it’s about education, it’s not about advocating LGBT+ advocacy. (Again, it looks like Higgs & petitioners were heard and heeded.)

    The strong views of some religious people cannot be taught as part of the RSE curriculum, but:

    Schools may choose to explore faith, or other perspectives, on some of these issues in other subjects such as Religious Education.

    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/relationships-education-relationships-and-sex-education-rse-and-health-education/relationships-and-sex-education-rse-secondary

    *

    As an experienced former teacher Mehta surely cannot seriously believe his “one lesson” message for what’s obviously — obviously even without reading the guidance — a large set of subjects. Perhaps his usual readers need things simplified to their level.

  5. Dhay says:

    Two above, I commented: By the same argument made for preventing Kristie Higgs for having contact with schoolchildren (ie for sacking her) — by that same ‘creates a hostile environment’ argument Boghossian should be prevented from contact with undergraduates (and sacked.)

    Boghossian hasn’t been sacked (though I — and I strongly suspect he, too — thought disciplinary measures were on the cards, during this last year or so), but he has been relegated to the fringes of academia at PSU. This is what his Twitter account currently heads with:

    Peter Boghossian @peterboghossian
    Non-tenure track assistant professor of philosophy at Portland State University who was recently denied promotion to associate professor.

    http://www.twitter.com/peterboghossian

    It’s good to see he is fully appreciated.

  6. Dhay says:

    In her 01 January 2021 Friendly Atheist blog post entitled “In Symbolic Proclamation, Trump Says “a Nation Without Faith Cannot Endure”” the serially clueless Beth Stoneburner confidently declares (of Christian martyr Thomas Becket‘s murder):

    Needless to say, the circumstances in 12th-century England — where one’s life could be at stake depending on which type of Christianity he professed — …

    https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2021/01/01/in-symbolic-proclamation-trump-says-a-nation-without-faith-cannot-endure/

    Granted, it wasn’t good to be an Albigensian in Southern France at roughly that time, but solidly Roman Catholic England?!

    As a professed good Episcopalian Church member, perhaps Stoneburner should be rather more aware of the origins of her denomination in the Anglican Church established centuries later as the Reformation spread to Tudor England. It’s not until the Tudor period that, in England, “one’s life could be at stake depending on which type of Christianity he professed”.

    (No, she’s not making reference to the Spanish Inquisition, which was a) Spanish and b) also multiple centuries later — not that I’d put it past her to make that blunder.)

  7. pennywit says:

    Dhay: Clearly you do not recognize that the King of England must have the right to get a divorce.

  8. Dhay says:

    All of Henry VIII’s (legitimate) male children died. As they say, ‘heir today, gone tomorrow.’

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