08 July 2008

A Christian Branding Iron?

Perhaps in the interest of equal time, MSNBC today reports a story about an Ohio middle school teacher who's been fired for allegedly espousing Christian dogma, displaying a Bible in his classroom and, most bizarrely, branding a cross on the arms of several students. The teacher, John Freshwater, and his friends, say this last bit, which formed the headline on the MSN homepage, was only part of a science experiment. It's unclear from the first accounts I've read whether this experiment left a permanent impression on the students, but one family complained about it and the purported proselytizing. The story has been simmering a while, and is a growing cause celebre among critics of a secular-biased news media, which they claim has misrepresented the case. The bias of these media critics is just as obvious, if not more so, than the bias they discern in mainstream reports of the Freshwater affair, so their accounts of the story should be read with at least as much skepticism as the news accounts. I present it here to acknowledge that somebody wants it to get more attention, and to remind readers exercised by the Chaudhry Rashid case that not just Muslims are capable of alarming conduct. There's no "moral equivalence," of course, between an alleged proselytizer and an alleged murderer, but anyone who thinks there's a Muslim problem but not a Christian one should read the news more carefully.

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