Sedalia, MI makes Christians look bad

[T-Shirt Image]

You've probably seen this if you follow the science blogosphere at all. The Smith-Cotton High School in Sedalia, MI has done a forced recall on T-shirts made for their band. Why? Because the T-shirt riffed on the classic "primate turning into human" motif used as a symbol for evolution.

Parents got all upset about this— the shirt didn't even promote evolution, it just referred to it. I can't help but wonder if parents in similarly backward and ignorant communities might object to iconography of Greek mythology on shirts related to sports teams named appropriately? Or, are they smart enough there to recognize that just because somebody used a very recognizable image, it doesn't mean that it's true? Asserting that the Greek gods are real is, of course, anathema to a strict interpretation of Fundamentalist Christianity, just like evolution.

And, of course, there's also the fact that evolution is real. That there was such an uproar that the school had to repossess the shirts really just makes Christians in America look backward, ignorant, and in denial of reality. It gives fuel to the fire of those who would argue that being religious is inconsistent with accepting modern science— for, assuredly, religion is the reason why many Americans refuse to accept modern science. Those who are small-minded and knee-jerk in their reactions to things that challenge their interpretation of their religion go nuts when a school "associates itself" with Evolution. And, in so doing, it makes it harder for those of us who are trying to remind the world that religion doesn't necessarily lead to bad science. It's just extreme wingnut religion that does.

The principal of the school repossessed the shirts claiming that the law required the school to remain neutral on the subject of religion. This is, of course, complete bullshit, because the shirt didn't say anything about religion at all. There is a difference between saying anything about religion, and doing something that might offend some religious sensibilities. This argument he makes is essentially the "politically correct" argument. Yes, usually one associates "politically correct oversensitivity" with political forces on the left, but the truth is that this behavior can come from either side of the political spectrum; it's just a matter of which sensibilities they are oversensitive to.

Rejection of Evolution is just as obsolete a religious concept as is the geocentric Solar System. That something like half of the USA doesn't agree with this doesn't make it any less true. If we're going to object to iconography associated with Evolution, we really ought also to reject to any iconography that suggests the planets orbit the Sun.

3 responses so far

  • David Williamson says:

    I'm horribly offended by the shirt. Does anyone really think a monkey could march and play a trumpet at the same time?

    More seriously, it is broadly the case that public education in this country is essentially subtraction stew. Administrators try so hard to be politically correct and to not offend anyone that the result is pretty bland. This sort of thing also leads to zero-tolerance policies that lead to stories of otherwise normal kids getting expelled because their mother packed a plastic knife with their lunch.

    Little policies based on not offending anyone have the fortunate (for administrators) attribute of removing the need to think.

  • vallor says:

    “I was disappointed with the image on the shirt.” Melby said. “I don’t think evolution should be associated with our school.”

    Can we build a Great Wall of America to separate rational people from "Wacko Jesusland"?

    Ignorance marches on. Ugh.

  • TomJoe says:

    It's funny because the NEA has no problem stepping into the middle of hotly contested issues like abortion, and do so all the time. Not only that but they consistently strong-arm their constituents for additional contributions even if they disagree with the NEA's political wranglings (and woe be to any teacher who refuses). Yet, despite all the hot-button topics they insert themselves into, they turn yellow over a t-shirt.

    It's farcical, idiotic, and hypocritical.