Politics and Education

  • Two items about Jim Jordan;
  • Two items about education.

A couple more items about Jim Jordan (currently still trying to get elected to Speaker of the House).

Salon, Amanda Marcotte, 19 Oct 2023: Jim Jordan’s curious rise: A tale of how Christian nationalism consumed the GOP, subtitled “It’s not really about Jesus, so much as a belief that only members of their lily white tribe are ‘real’ Americans”

How is this subtitle justified? Here’s the opening of the article.

To most ordinary people, the sneering visage of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, brings many words to mind: “Jackass.” “Bully.” “Sexual abuse apologist.” “Clownshow.”

But when it comes to those who have backed his run for Speaker of the House, the MAGA mind seizes upon their alleged Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

“If Jim Jordan can’t get through, Jesus can’t,” Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont. told Fox News on Tuesday. Zinke loves comparing the former assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State to the Prince of Peace. He used the same line with Newsmax.

Similarly, Rep. Mark Alford, R-Mo., told reporters last week, “You could put Jesus Christ up for speaker of the House and he still wouldn’t get 217.” Inevitably, this mentality led prayer chatter to fuse with the unintentionally campy cheerleading from Jordan supporters.

Jesus is an odd figure to invoke when talking about Jim Jordan, who looks at all times like he’s ready to give someone a wedgie. But it makes a dark sense within the topsy-turvy world of MAGA politics, and not just because of the hope they can revive Jordan’s speakership from the dead. As former Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois keeps patiently explaining to the press, Jordan is a full-blown “Christian nationalist’ who imagines “he is truly fighting the dark forces.”

I happened to see this over on Facebook:


It seems the Jordan hold-outs are getting death threats. This is how Republicans work, apparently.

Politico, 19 Oct 2023: Multiple members are detailing death threats and other intimidation they’ve faced for opposing Jim Jordan’s speakership bid.


Then two items about education.

Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, 19 Oct 2023: Judge rules (again) that teaching Islam in school doesn’t violate the Constitution, subtitled “It’s not religious indoctrination to teach kids about other faiths”

The case involved a required “World Cultures and Geography” course at Chatham Middle School in New Jersey. One unit covered the Middle East and North Africa, and it included a section introducing kids to the basic beliefs of Islam, which makes sense since it’s the dominant religion in the region and underlies so much of the area’s culture and politics.

In 2017, during a school board meeting, parent Nancy Gayer complained that her son wasn’t allowed to share Jesus with his classmates during a school presentation… and the district was complicit in hypocrisy by saying no to him but allowing the basics of Islam to be taught to students. (There’s a clear difference between what the kid was doing and what the teachers were doing, but that seemed lost on Gayer.)

The case bounced around through the courts, two of the mothers appeared on Tucker Carlson, and somehow death threats, again, were involved, this time against school board members. A final ruling this week established that “the Board did not violate the Establishment Clauses.” Mehta:

No kidding. The teachers knew that. The district knew that. The only people who refused to accept reality were Hilsenrath and her agenda-driven lawyers, who act like any exposure to non-Christian religions amounts to indoctrination.

I say: teach kids the basics of all religions!


Washington Post, Greg Sargent, 19 Oct 2023: Opinion | How the ‘sex act’ has become a potent weapon for book banners in Iowa

Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s Republican governor, signed a law in May that, among other provisions, requires schools to remove books that depict a “sex act.” That statutory phrase has now helped unleash a frenzy of book-banning across the state, one that illustrates a core truth about these types of censorship directives.

When GOP-controlled state legislatures escalated the passage of laws in 2022 and 2023 restricting school materials addressing sex, gender and race, critics warned that their hazy drafting would prod educators to err on the side of censorship. Uncertain whether books or classroom discussions might run afoul of their state’s law, education officials might decide nixing them would be the “safer” option.

What’s happening in Iowa right now thoroughly vindicates those fears. This week, the Iowa City Community School District released a list of 68 books that it removed from schools to comply with the law. Among the titles: “Ulysses” by James Joyce, “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult, “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood and “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison.

It’s been my observation that conservatives, in general, do not trust other people to make decisions about their own lives, or even their own children’s lives. It’s up to conservatives to tell them what to do, and pass laws to enforce those rules. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

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