Father Terrified That School Might Teach His Son That Muslims Are People Too
A father in Revere, Massachusetts wants to pull his son out of history class, because the teacher has committed the unforgivable sin of actually teaching about history. Specifically, teaching about the wrong kind of history: the kind that didn’t happen to decent white, English-speaking, Christian people.
The middle-school history curriculum in Revere includes a discussion of world religions, including (gasp) Islam, which was apparently enough to put a bee in parent Anthony Giannino‘s bonnet. According to Giannino:
“No religion should be taught at school. In their paper it says Allah is their only God. That’s insulting to me as a Christian who believes in just Jesus only.”
Yes, apparently, merely stating the beliefs of another religion (the worksheet specifically outlined the Muslim call to prayer) is now offensive to people who don’t believe in that religion. Also, I guess, world history classes are only allowed to talk about the parts of world history that don’t fall tidily in with the narrative of “God created Adam and Eve, who gave birth to George Washington, who founded the greatest country on the planet, and then handed it over to his favorite son and heir Ronald Reagan, amen.” Mohammed? Saladin? Gandhi? The Buddha? Not Christian, and therefore, not worth talking about. After all, if we mention the accomplishments of people of color, or the way that their achievements and beliefs have shaped the face of the modern world, kids might realize that people of different ethnicities, religions, and countries are, well, people. And we just can’t be having with that!
I personally can’t wait for when Giannino’s child takes a course in American history, so that he can object to discussions of the beliefs that drove the Pilgrims to emigrate from England. Or so that he can pitch a fit when classroom talk turns to the religious dissent that led to the founding of colonies in Rhode Island. Or when they talk about the Biblical justifications for slavery used by the antebellum South. And yet, somehow I’m guessing when the beliefs on the table aren’t the ones held by Muslims, Giannino is going to have a cow in the opposite direction. Saying “Muslims think X” is offensive, but I bet it’s also a no-go in this guy’s book when you say “Christians believe Y” without adding “AND SO SHOULD YOU” to the end.
When I used to teach science, it drove me crazy when parents would pull their students out of the classroom during the unit on evolution. Really? How do you expect your kid to be able to argue against something they know literally nothing about? But then of course, it’s not actually about being able to refute arguments for natural selection, or for the fact that Muslims are actual human people whose beliefs are worth being even slightly informed about: it’s pure head-in-the-sand terror that the child might learn something that Mom or Dad would have trouble explaining away with a “because I SAID SO, that’s why.”
The school district superintendent has pointed out that the district is required by the state to teach actual world history and not Giannino’s whitewashed version of it, and that Giannino’s son is probably going to get an incomplete for missing every class session where the word ‘Muslim’ passes a teacher’s lips. Because really, parents: teachers are not trying to convert your children to Islam, or to the religion of The Dawkins (yuck). We just want your kids to know that dinosaur bones aren’t lies planted by Satan, that religions other than Christianity have in fact played a major role in history, and that there are people out there who believe different things than they do. And if any of that offends you, well … I think you probably deserve to be offended.