from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Good insight 

Entitled "If I were a Blogger, here's what I would write today" offered by our guest blogger, Schner, a-k-a the Love of My life:

In his Second Inaugural Address, President Bush said, "From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights and dignity and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth." Think about that for a moment. People have rights, the president said, because they bear the image of God.

What's wrong with this statement? Well, to begin with, and all too typically for George W. Bush and those who write his words for him, it substitutes theology for history. It has nothing to do with the Constitution, of course, so presumably Bush and his speechwriters were thinking of the Declaration of Independence when they spoke of "the day of our founding." Leaving aside such quibbles as whether any of those who crafted the Declaration were thinking of women at all, it's crystal
clear that the Declaration proclaims the basis of human rights to be, not the fact that human beings are in the image of God (the Biblical concept Bush alludes to), but the fact that "they are endowed by their Creator" with these rights.

In other words, Thomas Jefferson (the original author of the passage in question) grounds human rights on the divine origin of the rights themselves. Bush grounds them in the mankind's own divinely analogous nature. Jefferson says we have rightsbecause God gave them to us. Bush says we have rights because we are like God. It's a very, very
big difference, and deftly substitutes a specifically Christian, and Jewish, theology for the natural-rights philosophy that for 228 years has been the moral underpinning of American government.

"From the day of our founding," then, we have proclaimed no such thingas the president claims. But George W. Bush just did, and made it a new American foundational doctrine, rooted in one particular tradition of religious faith.

Did anyone notice?

FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME OFFLINE at kber@earthlink.net Comments, suggestions and even rude remarks are welcomed! Preface any messages with "teacherken" so I know they are not spam.
I'm interested in your take on Margaret Spellings and the 'highly qualified teacher' clause of NCLB, especially seeing that Bush supports vouchers.
responding to the foregoing comment --I have little hope that Spellings will be ought but bad for public education. Paige was a figurehead, nothing more than a useful idiot. Spellings was, along with Sandy Kress, the one most responsible for the atrocity that is NCLB. Therefore do not expect to see any waivers out of DoE while she's in charge -- she will insist on full implementation of every feature of NCLB, or aas much as she can get away with before Republicans in Congress start to scream.
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