Plein Air

Ash Wednesday "discrimination" is a Tempest in a Teapot

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8 hours ago, Vort said:

I agree, there is no excuse. But let's keep things in perspective. It's not like she beat the kid or humiliated him in front of his peers. People think that "everyone" knows about Ash Wednesday. "Everyone" does not know, especially in a state where Catholics are a small minority.

Making him wash it off with a wipe in front of his classmates seems like humiliation to me.

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Hypothetical question-if a Catholic teacher said to an LDS student "Could you please not read during class?"  and the student was reading the BOM, how would we feel towards that teacher? Some of us would want her to be forgiven and some of us would want her to parade downtown through SLC so we could throw tomatoes at her. We (generic!) would throw down the persecution card and play the victim too, in fairness. 

Using humor to make a point. 

Edited by MormonGator

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1 hour ago, pam said:

Making him wash it off with a wipe in front of his classmates seems like humiliation to me.

Actually, yeah, I can see that. Stupidity on the teacher's part, that's for sure. But I'm still inclined to believe it was honest ignorance, based on the report of a contrite and sincere apology. (At least that's how I interpreted it.)

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1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

Hypothetical question-if a Catholic teacher said to an LDS student "Could you please not read during class?"  and the student was reading the BOM, how would we feel towards that teacher? Some of us would want her to be forgiven and some of us would want her to parade downtown through SLC so we could throw tomatoes at her. We (generic!) would throw down the persecution card and play the victim too, in fairness. 

Using humor to make a point. 

That's not funny.  :P    But seriously though.  If the teacher told the students that during reading time they could read ANY book they wanted I might be a bit upset if the teacher made a deal about it.  Unless the book was pornographic or something of that nature.  But if they are to be reading something that is part of the curriculum and they aren't..then the teacher has the right.

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I actually had a moment where my 10th grade Honors English teacher was lecturing on Shakespeare, happened to note my LDS-edition Bible in my open backpack, interrupted the lecture to asked me what translation it was, and launched into a tangent about the beauties of the King James Version and her sadness about newer, “dumbed down” versions.  It turned out well, but for a second or two things were mighty uncomfortable.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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3 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Nothing should have happened to her. Sadly, we live in a very thin skinned culture where all of us-from LDS to atheist love playing the persecuted victim card. When we see a whipping boy or whipping girl-pitchforks come out. We should drop it and move on. 

First, I do hope the teacher learned an important lesson, @Maureen. Sometimes people get defensive, and do make excuses, and insist that they are the victim. As for what should happen, teachers are well-protected, and I imagine she will get nothing more than some counsel. I hope the child is publicly apologized to.

On the other hand, this is a religious liberty issue, and students of faith do sometimes need to advocate for themselves. I remember a story from a few years back in which a couple of LDS students were told they could not read the BoM during silent reading time. They pressed the issue and won. Good on them! Personally, when a lapse of judgment reaches this level, I wish the teacher's leave had been UNPAID. Sorry to be vindictive, but religious liberty is foundational to our national values, and teachers should not need OJT on the issue, years after beginning.

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3 hours ago, Vort said:

No, it's possible to be a Constitutionalist who's not so anally puckered that you can't sit down. Had this been something other than the honest mistake it seems clearly to be, I might feel differently. But the teacher made an ignorant mistake, harmless in the long run, no permanent damage done, sincere apology given, lesson learned. MG is right. We should drop it and move on.

Why should we drop it?  It’s a good point of discussion.  But sure, if you don’t want to make it a topic on the public arena, fine.  But to say she shouldn’t have to bear consequences for her mistake, honest or not, is flying in the face of American Law.  And to say, law should be ignored because no permanent harm done... that’s a crock.  Try giving that excuse to any judge.

She made a Constitutional mistake.  Honest or not, doesn’t matter.  Legal mistakes carry legal consequences.  Administrative leave was the mercy consequence.

Edited by anatess2

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3 hours ago, Vort said:

No, it's possible to be a Constitutionalist who's not so anally puckered that you can't sit down. Had this been something other than the honest mistake it seems clearly to be, I might feel differently. But the teacher made an ignorant mistake, harmless in the long run, no permanent damage done, sincere apology given, lesson learned. MG is right. We should drop it and move on.

AND...this is where it gets divisive. I can guarantee that if a school teacher in our area (yours too, I believe) ordered a female Muslim student to remove her hijab, because no scarves are allowed in school, there would be no discussions about innocent mistakes and just moving on. Telling a child to wash off religiously administered ashes feels anti-Catholic. The feelings running through a young child -- just, wow. Again, I'm not suggesting firing. However, just moving on would not be right either. As the schools love to say, this needs to be a time to discuss bigotry--a "teaching opportunity."

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2 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Hypothetical question-if a Catholic teacher said to an LDS student "Could you please not read during class?"  and the student was reading the BOM, how would we feel towards that teacher? Some of us would want her to be forgiven and some of us would want her to parade downtown through SLC so we could throw tomatoes at her. We (generic!) would throw down the persecution card and play the victim too, in fairness. 

Using humor to make a point. 

This happened--during silent reading--in Utah. I remember discussing it on a string here. The students advocated for themselves and ultimately won. Setting was a high school, though.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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3 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I suppose I have to defer to our resident ex-Catholics as to how “harmful” the decision was or wasn’t.  

But in balance, I suspect some snot-nosed grade-schooler saying “it’s my religion—honest!” to excuse all manner of tomfoolery is not an uncommon scenario for a teacher; and a teacher might be easily become jaded.

Sure, you can bring that to the defense.  It was not mentioned by the teacher, the school, nor the article so we couldn’t say.

A Catholic who is devout enough to observe Ash Wednesday as a Holy Day of Obligation AND observes the obligation as the primary focus of the day (as is the proper way of observing Holy Days) would be in the same league as the LDS son of Temple Worthy parents prevented from... say... taking the sacrament by his teacher infront of his peers (how ever that can become possible).

 

Edited by anatess2

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3 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Why should we drop it?  It’s a good point of discussion.  But sure, if you don’t want to make it a topic on the public arena, fine.  But to say she shouldn’t have to bear consequences for her mistake, honest or not, is flying in the face of American Law.  And to say, law should be ignored because no permanent harm done... that’s a crock.  Try giving that excuse to any judge.

She made a Constitutional mistake.  Honest or not, doesn’t matter.  Legal mistakes carry legal consequences.  Administrative leave was the mercy consequence.

Have to agree that ignorance of the law isn't much of a defense. She's on leave now though so she can use the time to do a brief study in the various faiths of her students and maybe seek the advice of a respected elder of the profession and pick up a couple of pointers on how to communicate more effectively with her students. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 10:56 AM, Plein Air said:

Unless you grew up around Catholics or are one, the odds are you didn't know about it either.

Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Lutherans, at least.  It's not exactly uncommon, though as mentioned, most faiths do it at late afternoon or evening meetings.  Methodists around here use it as an excuse for a pancake supper, usually, so it's rarely seen outside the church unless (as usual) a bunch of them hit the cafe to finish filling up after the pancakes run out.  Judging from the sign at the Lutheran church, (and a few people I didn't recognize at Taco Bell later with ashes on their foreheads) it appears they do pretty much the same.

On 3/8/2019 at 1:35 PM, unixknight said:

How would you feel if you were told to go remove your garment over some arbitrary dress code?  (No, I'm not saying they're equivalent.  Just making a point.)  

Depending on his specific faith's beliefs, (and that may come down to a particular congregation, at least among Methodists and Lutherans) it may very much be equivalent.  Some remove it at will, holding the act of receiving it to be the operative ritual of penance, others leave it for the duration of a group service or personal prayer, while others hold that the wearing of the ashes for the remainder of the day is necessary to fulfill a requirement of public penance.  (A benefit of doing it in the evening, since you don't have to refrain from washing your face all day.  In a hot climate, that can be uncomfortable, even this early in the year.)  Either way, it is viewed as something requested or commanded by God or by those ordained to authority by Him, so absolutely on par with the wearing of garments for LDS, the Orthodox Jew's kippah, or any of the Sikh's constant symbols.  One might say even more so since it's something to be maintained only for part of one day a year, rather than a daily imposition for the rest of one's life.  

19 hours ago, Maureen said:

You don't think the teacher learned a valuable lesson?

I doubt it.  One is more likely to be unaware of the existence of religion in general than the fact that there have been numerous lawsuits won against schools resulting from teachers overstepping their bounds regarding religious observances, Scripture reading or voluntary group prayer during free time, etc. and yet they keep happening because teachers refuse to learn from them.  I really can't imagine that any teacher certification classes and/or new hire orientation in the last couple of decades haven't included some strongly worded reminders to tread very lightly where religion is involved, and yet they keep stepping right into the middle of messes like these.

At the very least, this teacher should have contacted the office to clarify the rule as soon as the student voiced a religious objection.

Edited by NightSG

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1 hour ago, NightSG said:

I doubt it. [That the teacher will have learned her lesson.] One is more likely to be unaware of the existence of religion in general than the fact that there have been numerous lawsuits won against schools resulting from teachers overstepping their bounds regarding religious observances, Scripture reading or voluntary group prayer during free time, etc. and yet they keep happening because teachers refuse to learn from them.  I really can't imagine that any teacher certification classes and/or new hire orientation in the last couple of decades haven't included some strongly worded reminders to tread very lightly where religion is involved, and yet they keep stepping right into the middle of messes like these.

At the very least, this teacher should have contacted the office to clarify the rule as soon as the student voiced a religious objection.

In defense of the teaching profession, my teacher-wife reacted to this story with amazement. She found this teacher guilty of stupidity in the extreme. Further, she suspects the teacher will indeed learn her lesson. Now, had the issue been a student wearing a MAGA cap (despite our Constitutional free speech protections) ... yeah, no lesson would be learned on that front...not in the Pacific NW.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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1 hour ago, NightSG said:

Depending on his specific faith's beliefs, (and that may come down to a particular congregation, at least among Methodists and Lutherans) it may very much be equivalent.  Some remove it at will, holding the act of receiving it to be the operative ritual of penance, others leave it for the duration of a group service or personal prayer, while others hold that the wearing of the ashes for the remainder of the day is necessary to fulfill a requirement of public penance.  (A benefit of doing it in the evening, since you don't have to refrain from washing your face all day.  In a hot climate, that can be uncomfortable, even this early in the year.)  Either way, it is viewed as something requested or commanded by God or by those ordained to authority by Him, so absolutely on par with the wearing of garments for LDS, the Orthodox Jew's kippah, or any of the Sikh's constant symbols.  One might say even more so since it's something to be maintained only for part of one day a year, rather than a daily imposition for the rest of one's life. 

You're certainly correct.  I just tacked on the disclaimer because if I didn't you know somebody would have scoffed at the comparison.   :cool:

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20 hours ago, dahlia said:

I swear, I need to stop being shocked at what members do in Utah. Y'all some small minded people sometimes.

 

I dunno...I've met some pretty small minded Midwestern members in my life.  

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On 3/9/2019 at 5:25 PM, mirkwood said:

I dunno...I've met some pretty small minded Midwestern members in my life.  

You'll find that everywhere.  Last time I was in Kentucky some of the Baptists I met had this idea that all Mormons had multiple wives.  Seems fairly small minded, huh?  It happens everywhere.

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1 hour ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

Now we find out that the kid and especially his grandmother conflated the issue. The teacher had him clean it off before the kid told her what it was. She did nothing wrong, but as is usual the media and so called victims ignored the truth and blew it out of proportion.

1. How do you know this? Do you have something to back this up?

2. How does this make it any better?

M.

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9 minutes ago, Emmanuel Goldstein said:

Local news finally did some actual journalism.

It's probably too much to hope that this breaking news actually originated from the SL Tribulation.

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IIRC, both the kid and the teacher said she gave him a wipe and told him to wipe it off before knowing what it was.  The kid says he then tried to explain multiple times but that the teacher wouldn’t listen.  I haven’t seen a full written accounting from the teacher—I know she spoke at a news conference several days ago but I frankly don’t care enough to go dig up and watch the video. 

Question: assuming the teacher contradicts the child and says he never tried to explain what it was, do we believe the kid’s version:

a) because he’s a Catholic, 

b) because he got to the media first, or 

c) because (we presume) the teacher is a nasty, nasty Mormon? 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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