Friday, April 21, 2006

Don't Know Much about Theocracy (yet)

Every semester, about 10 percent of my students want to write essays, expository or argumentative, “on abortion,” especially the “immortality” of abortion and why this “immoral” medical procedure should be illegal. I tell them to choose different topics b/c they cannot argue with religious tenets as “support” against a secular, civil law. Of that 10 percent, half capitulate and the other half refuse, filling their essays again and again with the myths of Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome, "fetal pain" and Those-Heartless-Bitches hypotheses. I warn them repeatedly that they are not creating an argument that in any way resembles what is respected/expected at the college level. And they fail the course. Of that 5 percent, many of them young women, at least 1 or 2, every semester, often the 1 or 2 who have advocated the most fundamentalist practices/concepts, confide in me near semester end that they are or suspect they are pregnant. Somehow, the stricture against premarital sex doesn’t matter but some stranger across the country getting an abortion is her business and duty to prevent. A semester later or after the summer break, they return to school noticeably flat-stomached. Like Bush and Co., they see rules as for other people, not themselves. They can screw and drink and curse and fight in the halls but if I get raped and end up pregnant, I have to carry the thing to term. They get pregnant and the pregnancy just disappears. Yeah, right.


A former student I trust and see as one of the few students I’ve had who can think (and one of the rare students who earned an A in my composition course) came to see me between classes, worried about a class and the professor teaching it. Apparently, in a world literature class (they read The Iliad, Gilgamesh, lyric poetry, The Epic of Son-Jara, The Odyssey and other stuff I read in high school), the instructor started with the Bible. Not as literature but as an article of Christian faith. There was no analysis. When my former student and a few of her friends in the class, non-Christians all, asked questions, they were criticized by fellow students, called "heathens" and eventually one of the non-Christian students, a young Muslim exchange student, was yelled at that he could NEVER understand b/c he’s Muslim and he might as well stop trying b/c it is the word of God and he doesn’t believe in God. The instructor said Hebrews invented writing to record the sacred books of the Bible. The instructor also said that the Hebrews invented the concept of the monotheistic god. Aside from that flat-out bullshit lie (or ignorance), the instructor said, when challenged that Christians throughout history had committed terrible crimes (b/c they are human, not just b/c they are Christian), that that was impossible b/c Christians weren’t like that, that Christians were good, kind and thoughtful. I was too shocked to absorb most of what my student told me so there are many more details like that that I just can’t remember. I told her to complain to the chair.

Then I complained. At first, my chair thought I was complaining that the students were saying crazed, narrow, you-can’t-question-my-faith things but when she realized it was not only the professor saying things but allowing other students to call the questioners heathens, she flipped. I was so grateful.

This instructor, in the chaos that is the post-Katrina University, despite having 3 separate email accounts (that we know of) and a computer on the desk she uses at the faculty office space, has also refused to read any emails. As a matter of policy. And this is not about computer literacy. It burns my ass that I work like 48 yoked oxen while whack jobs like this tell students, in a very un-Christ-like way, that Christians are the UberBelievers.


Blogger Professor Zero said...

Good for you for holding the line on staying at (or in some cases, getting to) the college level!!! I find poor logic outright dizzying sometimes.

Sat Apr 22, 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger Professor Zero said...

And I forgot to say, good for you also for complaining to the chair.

Sat Apr 22, 01:44:00 AM  

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