Even praying after hours in a Florida classroom is not without hazards and controversy.
In Florida, Christian staff members of a public school did just that - prayed for students facing assessment tests. But leaving behind a residue of anointing oil on desks has caused an uproar.
"We thought it was vandalism. It was greasy. It was oily," Chris Becker, a fourth-grade teacher who was resigning his position at Brooksville, Fla., Elementary to take another position, told the St. Petersburg Times.
"One of my colleagues said she was told by one of the secretaries it was prayer oil," he told the newspaper. "I was very offended by that because I'm not a Christian."
Of course this was much more than just "praying." Assuming that these people believe that the oil carries divine power and influence where it's applied, this was an imposition of religion on children. In an earlier story, these same types of people were complaining about states mandating the HPV vaccine on kids and yet they seem to think it's okay to smear God-bait, if you will, on the desks of these same kids. Where's the consistency?
In the interests of full disclosure, I am a Christian, saved at an old-fashioned revival meeting back in 1970. I was a fire-breathing fundie for a few years but then my own beliefs matured beyond the capacity of the denomination I was in. They seemed to think that an endless sequence of getting saved, backsliding, being terrorized with images of a fiery afterlife and getting saved again was acceptable doctrine. As a result, I became a Catholic and, while I recognize that it's not perfect, at least there is a solid history of sound theology behind their beliefs instead of empty but loud emotions.
And the ultimate vacuousness of the fundamentalist beliefs leads to stuff like sneaking around smearing oil on little kids' desks. They're told they must win over the world for Christ, but when they aren't given rational arguments to do so, they must turn to mumbo-jumbo like this, which is really not very different than voodoo.
I continue to hope that all the world's religions will return to rationality. Seems like for now, the radicals are running the show in Islam across Asia and the mideast and certainly the hardcore Christians are driving the agenda here in the United States. What would Jesus do?
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!