NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

May 20, 2013

Mention God in school? You'd better not

As I See It
Tim Fowler

---- — I’ve had many spirited conversations over this highly controversial topic with people who are on both sides of the fence, education vs. creationism.

I’ve read Bill Chatigny’s article in this newspaper entitled “Violence, evolution, science and religion” (April 25). He makes a few references that I find plausible, but the one I cannot concur with is his statement that “knowledge of science has increased 10-fold while religion has immature beliefs that are stuck in the Dark Ages.” This is simply not true, at least regarding religion.

Most of the world marks time as either “B.C. or Anno Domini,” before or after the birth of Jesus Christ, so something spectacular had to have happened back then to invoke such a world-wide revelation. So I would not exactly call religion immature or stuck in the Dark Ages. I’m here to report that it is alive and well today.

I will tell you that I was raised in a creationist environment, having a father and mother who met while playing in the Salvation Army band many years ago and raised nine sibling musicians that also either sang or played in various bands as well, so I am no stranger to music ministry.

My dad was an accomplished, self-taught organist, while mastering many brass and stringed instruments. He passed down some of his interests to me, so I bought a home organ when I was in my 20s and, like him, taught myself to play.

I’ve always grown up hearing the phrase that God works in mysterious ways, so when the organist, Sybil Knowland, retired after more than 50 years of service at the Baptist Church, I gave it my best to fill those small, but enormously talented, shoes as the resident organist.

These days I find myself still very involved with music ministry at Hope Community Church of Newburyport by singing in the choir as well as playing the keyboards for their praise band.

Now that you are privy to my religious roots, I will try to explain my apprehension with today’s education system vs. religion.

First, I have no squabble with the Constitution by separating “church from state,” as our legislators should not have any jurisdiction over one’s religion or lack of. Did we not leave the “mother country” on a quest for such freedoms?

The problem that I have with our leaders and the education system these days is the fact that they are only allowed to teach the scientific side of evolution. They can talk for hours on end about Charles Darwin, but let them even once mention “Genesis” or “Noah’s Ark” and bells and whistles start to blow, teachers’ heads will fall and schools will be reprimanded.

I cite my proofing case in point with a recent article on the Web that caught my eye, which involves a Phillipsburg, N.J., substitute teacher named Walt Tutka.

There was a student that had inquired about words that Walt had spoken. It seems the student was the last one in a line and Walt simply said to him, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.”

Well, the student became curious as to where the quotation originated and that’s when Walt explained it was from the Bible, and handed the student his pocket-sized edition to prove his source. Needless to say, Walt has since lost his position at the school and is now engaged in a legal battle to be reinstated in good standing among educators.

Webster’s Dictionary describes an educator as “one skilled in teaching.” I believe Walt exemplified the definition and parameters as such. The student asked and Walt answered! Nothing more and nothing less!

Educators have had their hands tied for some years now by political correctness, federal restraints and the old double standard. It’s OK to teach the “Big Bang” theory in every school across America from start to finish because its atheist views hide behind the education shield as science, but never, EVER challenge science with a reference to God as an alternative means.

So, if approximately 94 percent of the world we live in believes that there is, indeed, a higher deity who is responsible for “all that is,” please explain to me why the remaining 6 percent have such powers of sustaining the education mainstream to expel any and all theories of creationism and condemn it to being talked about, even as a theory, in the classroom?

It seems to me that with the recent events in our own backyard of Boston, as well as extreme global conflicts, there is not a more evident time to get on your knees in prayer and ask for peace and understanding in the midst of a world that exudes such chaos, hate and evil.

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Tim Fowler lives in Newbury.