The August 7th service was on the subject of Education.
Featured was a presentation on the Texas State Board of Education and how it and many other elected bodies came under the influence of Christian political extremists after Pat Robertson’s run for the GOP nomination for US President in 1988. Robertson used leftover campaign cash to begin the Christian Coalition which sought to have a political influence across the nation. When the IRS refused to grant it a tax exemption the Texas Christian Coalition, which had been granted such an exemption by Texas (which then qualified it with an IRS exemption as well), began operating as the national organization. A compromise was eventually reached to where the group enjoyed tax-exempt status but contributions could not be written off by donors/members.
Meanwhile the Texas State Board of Education became dominated by extremists who made no secrets about their opposition to the teaching of evolution, sex education, and even social studies and history books that they felt did not portray their beliefs in the best light. In their minds, Jesus and Moses contributed to the founding of the United States and slaves were referred to as “workers.” Things became so bad that the Texas legislature acted to limit the power of the Board by, for example, allowing school districts to use texts not approved by the Board.
We watched three videos related to this which are available on youtube here:
We also briefly considered some obstacles to education including the very curious one of “acting white” which even President Obama has identified and addressed as long ago as his 2004 address at the Democratic National Convention.
Included in the service was a Moment of (philosophy of) Science in which we considered that all of our experiences and knowledge come from perception and that our understanding and knowledge of the objective “real” world depends on perceptions that are observer-indifferent or observer-independent or inter-subjective. Claims about objective reality that are based on revelation or personal/subjective feelings – what many take to be religious claims – are therefore a category mistake.
Postings about each monthly service includes topics discussed and an open forum to further discuss those topics.
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