I’m a pretty liberal guy. I believe in gay marriage, immigration reform and socialized medicine. I vote democrat. I try to respect different points of view and cherish the beauty in different kinds of people. However, there are times where I have to draw my tolerance line in the sand. One of those times was when this video popped up in my Facebook feed. Creationism=instant rage.
Don’t get me wrong. I fully support a creationist’s right to believe their scientifically incorrect bastardization of the Christian Bible. Just like I support the KKK holding white supremacy rallies–I absolutely hate what they believe and will do everything in my power to stand against what they preach. But I agree they have the freedom to believe it as long as they aren’t breaking any laws.
However it is people like this, so inflexibly attached to their way of thinking, who fly jetliners into tall buildings. Parents who brainwash their children into creationist beliefs are child abusers, just as much as a racist brainwashes their children into hating people of color. It’s how all fundamentalist systems are perpetuated; through rejection of debate and critical thought in lieu of a creed which has no other backing than “because I told you so.”
My wife and I were volunteer educators for the Clark County Wetlands Park when we lived in Nevada. It was our job to take groups out into the wetlands and desert and talk about the flora, fauna, ecosystems and geology of the area. My favorite part was seeing the look on children’s faces when we would come across coyote tracks or find an owl pellet to dissect. I helped make science and the natural world fun and amazing! Every group was great…
Except for one. My wife and I were signed up to lead a small group one morning of a few parents and their kids. I didn’t think anything was amiss until one of the adults pulled us aside before we began and told us that the children were home schooled and if we could please just leave out any mention of geology and evolution. For a moment, I had no idea what this guy was talking about. Heather had to explain it to me, and even then I couldn’t believe it.
This guy didn’t ask me to lie to the kids (the parents did that themselves). But they did ask me to withhold the truth (which I shamefully did). Heather and I tried to sneak in bits and pieces of science into trip. Unfortunately, instead of an experience of exploration, this time our tour was more like visiting the zoo. “Oh look, a bird. Isn’t it pretty?” and “This is a tree. Isn’t that wonderful?” I felt sorry for the kids and pissed off at their parents for the lies and misinformation they fed into their minds.
That was the day I drew my line in the sand. I went from merely tolerating creationism to opposing it. There is a reason I work at a nonprofit that fights against injustice, poverty and slavery. I believe these things are wrong and that I can do something about them. I see creationism as an injustice just as bad as homophobia and racism. It makes our society and culture worse. I’m a peaceful guy; I really just want to live and let live. But sometimes you just have to say “No! This is wrong!”
And this is wrong.