Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

Once again Texans are getting a lesson in how the religious right uses lies and distortions to promote fear and bigotry. The newest lesson revolves around the Mansfield school district’s decision to accept a five-year, $1.3 million federal grant that largely funds elective classes teaching Arabic (alongside current classes in the district that teach Spanish, German, French, Russian, Latin and Chinese). Right-wing groups have been screaming that the classes will lead to pro-Islamic indoctrination in classrooms. Some have also used the program to make the equally absurd claim that an overbearing federal government is “forcing” students at the local level to learn how to speak Arabic.

One of the loudest screechers has been Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Institute, the Texas affiliate of Focus on the Family. Last week Shackelford, who is a major supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, spoke on an Internet radio show about the Mansfield program, offering one distortion after another. The show’s host transcribed some of Shackelford’s comments here. Shackelford’s fear-mongering echoed bizarre complaints by other extremists on the right that Mansfield’s classes would lead to students learning about Islam:

“When you have requirements that not only teach the Arabic language, but the culture, the history, the traditions, the words that they use, you can’t help but teach Islam. Now you are going to be in a serious situation of how balanced or biased this is going to be.”

Does Shackelford not know that the social studies curriculum standards in Texas already require students to learn about the world’s major religions? Of course he does. But he’s interested in promoting baseless paranoia, not facts.

Shackelford also suggested in his interview that the federal government is forcing the program on local schools. That nonsense is part of the right’s paranoid anti-government agenda. Shackelford:

“We don’t need the Federal government to tell us how to do local education. Look in the Constitution, there is no enumerated power that gives the federal government any authority or right to control or impact education around the country.”

As usual, the facts don’t match up with Shackelford’s paranoid rhetoric. The federal grant program is voluntary. It’s part of a larger program designed to help more students learn languages — such as Arabic, Russian and Chinese — that are important to global business and security today. Isn’t that the kind of thing we want our schools to do — identify the skills students need to prepare for the jobs of today and the future? In fact, Mansfield is one of just five districts across the country getting the grant funding for teaching Arabic. Because of a shortage of Arabic speakers in this country, Mansfield students who choose to take Arabic classes could actually have an advantage in competing for jobs (as interpreters, translators, investors, overseas businesspeople and more) down the road.

But don’t tell Shackelford all that. He’s too busy promoting anti-Muslim hysteria. And that Internet radio program he was on? Its host is a contributing editor for Family Security Matters, a virulently anti-Muslim Website. In fact, a 2007 Family Security Matters publication called on the United States and Israel to engage in “genocide” by obliterating Muslim countries: “The simple truth [is] that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide.” The same article even argued that President Bush should have simply used nuclear weapons “to slaughter Iraqis” rather than invade the country in 2003.

Shackelford should be ashamed of himself for throwing in his lot with the rabid anti-Muslim haters in this country. The hysteria he is helping promote with lies and distortions is just vile. But it’s hardly surprising. During the debate over new social studies curriculum standards in Texas, Shackelford’s group accused teachers and other curriculum writers of engaging in a “war on Christmas” because they suggested Easter instead of Christmas as an example of a Christian holiday in a course on world cultures. Apparently, cynically branding teachers as anti-Christian zealots was a promising fund-raising gimmick  — and Liberty Institute used it over and over. Now they likely see promoting anti-Muslim paranoia as the next ticket on the fund-raising gravy train.

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20 Comments

  1. Michael
    Posted February 18, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Refreshing reading all this. Presently battling a frustrating anti-Muslim paranoic (sp) friend here in Australia. I needed a laugh. Thanks.

  2. David
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    Most of of us real native Texans speak Spanglish, anyway.

  3. Posted February 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Jesus spoke Aramaic, not Arabic. Both are Semitic languages. Armaic precedes Arabic as a language of governance. religion and art. Arabic comes into it’s own with Islam, a few centuries after Christ.

  4. Robert Bohmfalk
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Arabic is the language that Jesus Christ and all of the disciples spoke, including Paul. Those of the Religious Right believe that Jesus spoke like the King James Version of the Bible. They believe that “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, then it is good for them”.

  5. Coragyps
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Why oh why doesn’t the South Pacific harbor a large desert island to which we could ship all these loons…

    I believe there is one! Antarctica!

  6. David
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    The only alternative to speaking American is to “speak in ‘tongues’ “.

  7. Hartmut
    Posted February 15, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I recently learned that in 1923 a case reached SCOTUS about whether teaching any foreign languages in US public schools was unconstitutional and anti-American. But obviously the court had already been taken over by leftist activicts so the case got rejected. Looks like someone is rising the old banner again.
    Well, Arabic, Chinese and Russian are useful economically but that means that it should be teached by expensive private teachers to the offspring of the business elite not to the commoners in public schools which would only diminish the advantage of the deserving.

  8. CT (ASCP)
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    So, am I to understand that if we Americans would just remain famously monolingual we’ll be in a far better position? I guess the moral of the story is that U.S. Intelligence and national security would be so much better off if only there weren’t any Arabic-speakers, Farsi-speakers, Urdu-speakers, or Pashto-speakers on staff. We will all sleep more soundly if only there were just good ole English-only speakers around.

    I figure there were probably Americans who spoke Vietnamese who may have played a part in that war because of their language skills. Of course, if they spoke Vietnamese they were probably Commies and should be shot.

    And let’s forget the Navaho code-talkers who were allegedly instrumental in U.S. victories in the Pacific in WWII, as were the Choctaw code-talkers in WWI. Allied forces would have been so much better off had they not been burdened by those darned furrin’ Indians speaking that God-forsaken HEATHEN gibberish!!! We all know GOD’S language is ENGLISH!

    Funny, but I studied German in college and have no recollection of coming out of it a Nazi. I studied Spanish in high school and college, and I somehow I did not become Roman Catholic or a Franco Fascist either. But hey, that’s just me. Foreign languages corrupt everyone else. They’re just so…. well,….. furrin!

    I wonder where that places artificial languages, such as Esperanto? Well, as long as it’s not English, it simply just won’t DO!

    Actually, there may be some truth in what Shackelford says in that learning Arabic might also involve learning Islam. One can learn a great deal about Judaism by learning Hebrew. And Hebrew and Arabic are related! OH MY GOD! That makes Hebrew also a God-cursed language, doesn’t it! Judaism AIN’T Christian! That can only mean one thing: Judaism HAS to be SATANIC!

    And neither is Islam! We don’t want anyone to know anything about that now, do we? Much better to remain ignorant of what the Koran says (in the original) and how Muslims think and what makes them tick. After all, education = indoctrination. Ignorance is bliss.

    Saucily with tongue-in-cheek,
    CT(ASCP)

  9. David
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    They ain’t touchin’ my paranoids.

    Gordon, I’m talking specifically about the religious hooey mentioned in the post regarding paranoia over Muslim culture, and the reference to catastrophe is vague because it’s so profoundly manifest at every level of government in Texas, from school board on up, that I didn’t feel like reciting examples.
    However, your points are well taken.

  10. Charles
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Paranoids? Many people have them removed at the same time as their tonsils.

  11. Posted February 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    I see no connection between “religious hooey”. and/or Bullsh*t and some rather vague allegations of “catastrophic mismanagement” of an unspecified nature. “Religious hooey” or hooey of a non-religious predate catastropic mismanagment, and is traditionally used to induce compliance with management regardless of the quality of said management.

    Early societies relied on three pillars of governance, the tribal council, the war chief, and the medicine man. War chiefs as a lot, don’t spend time puzzling over the mysteries of creation, nature, and population. That job is left to the medicine man.

    Once a society reaches the stage of “ancient civilization” which is defined most often as the presence of permanent buildings like palaces, fortresses, ware houses, etc. Thus the oldest profession, professions being different from tribal roles of war chief, or medicine man, is the general contractor who builds temples for the priesthood, palaces for the wealthy, fortresses for the war chief/

    Since general contractors make money by obtaining land use without paying for it, over charging the client for the work, and cutting the costs of construction by shoddy workmanship and inferior materials. In Rome, the general contractors used the technique of covering flaws in the stone work with wax, hence the word “sincere” means without wax. The oldest code of laws is the Code of Hammurabi which is largely a building code.

    In order to make sure that the client, being the state and/or religion, gets qualifty construction, the position of building inspector was created. Moses was not only a general contractor for the Pharoah, he was in charge of inspecting the qualfity of construction. This of course is a dangerous profession given the connections the general contractor has. Clearly Moses caused some discomfort to the construction industries which is why he was demoted to working stiff.

    Consider the plight of the Hebrews who were forced to make brick without straw. One should wonder why making infrerior bricks for the Pharoah’s construction jobs. The reason should be obvious, the contractors ordering the inferior bricks wasn’t punishing the Hebrews, he was screwing the Pharoah. No wonder Moses had to leave town.

    Normally difficult building inspectors are dealt with by graft and corruption which is where the hooker comes into play. She is the third oldest profession after general contractor and building inspector. As a matter of practical politics, local politics is mostly about the use of the land, and the bulk of organized corruption is found today in the construction industries, and the entertainment industries.

    Thus when looking for catastrophic mismanagement, one looks at who gets what contracts for what construction. Since thre is a natural affinity between entainment and construction, one looks at drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and smuggling as the foundations of corruption.

    Religious hooey of all types and times has been largely focused likewise on construction of temples, cathedral, and religious places plus the usual attack on entertainment follies. Given the need to know when to plant or reap, or move the herd to pastures, the role of time keeper has been included in the governance of those who work for a living. Consequently the first really big religious sites were constructed as large computers to calculate time and date.

    Stonghenge is a giant clock, Ancient Mayan temples are clocks. The presence of ancient buildings in North America are aligned with the solstices so that agricultural industry can move when moving is needed, and planting/reaping is to be sone. The Pyramids in Egypt are also aligned to the stars with a purpose of telling what time it is.

    The methods of measuring time required study, and the knowledge of how to do it had to be guarded less the working stiff works it out. The advent of the sundial obviously upset the balance of power, but once one gets into the businesss of explaining the inexplicable, was not upset as there were and are a lot of inevzplicable tjiings around to require the Priesthood.

    In the last few centuries, the scientist has superceded the priesthood as the fount of all knowldge, something that has been challenged by various priesthoods including the Galileo gambit. The Ark Park is a current example of the displacement of the priesthood by scientists. Marxism and the Nazi credo also tried to replace the priest hood with racial scientific theory and of the “scientific principles of Marxism”.

    Thus you have the fundamentals of Bullsh*t and corruption as evidenced by at least the last five thousand years of history.

  12. Kristin C.
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    David, you are so on the money – literally!! Anything the Perry minions can do to deflect what is really going on – continuing his lies from the campaign trail, “I have balanced the budget…..” They hope most will be so focused on things like this, when they make the actual cuts to the schools, the state jobs and other state sponsored programs, the public will not notice because there is a bigger threat out there.
    I fail to see how Perry and Shackleford and the rest claim to be so religious and yet so paranoid, intolerant and ignorant at the same time.

  13. David
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    While we’re discussing the religious hooey aspect of this crapola, let’s remind ourselves of the underlying causes:

    The religious right, the GOP and Rick Perry are bringing up all this bullsh*t in an effort to distract people from the catastrophic effects of their mismanagement of the government at all levels.
    For Perry and the GOP are especially interested in distracting from the $27 Billion budget deficit and the tragically inept response they’re making regarding it.

  14. David
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Gordon. That rapture index of 175 is in Arabic numerals. Coincidence?
    ….I don’t think so.

  15. Keanus
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Anonymous is spot on. Shackleford hasn’t attacked algebra yet, because he doesn’t realize it’s an arabic word for a math discipline invented by Arabs that they used to subvert good Christians. Therefore the NASA and the space program are part of the early wave of the Arabs to take over the Christian nations and dominate the world.

    Why oh why doesn’t the South Pacific harbor a large desert island to which we could ship all these loons so the rest of America can get on with being the best we can be for everyone, including Arabs.

  16. Anonymous
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    For that matter, I’d like them to try to teach math without Arabic numerals.

  17. Posted February 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    It’s a matter of PR. They should have billed these classes as a way “to train Christian warriors in the ways of the deceitful musselman” so that we may have a better way to destroy Islamofascinazitapoismists.

  18. Posted February 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Being paranod doesn’t mean that the paranoids aren’t out to get you.

    Given the disastrous course of events since Texas children have been learing Chinese which has lead to the downfall of American industry and a trade imbalance, French which has led to the trade imbalance betweeen Texas and France in the Wine Wars, Spanish which has led to tolerance of a [illegals] invasion of Southern Texas, Russian which has led to disarming US nuclear weaponry. and Latin which has led directly to the erosion of the Pretestant Ethic and inroads from the Papist influence of Catholic global imperialism. And replacing the King James Bible with the Catholic Bible.

    Learning Arabic would breed tolerance for those who are clearly Anti-Christian, and so near to the Rapture. This current Rapture Index in 175 which is very high.

    http://www.raptureready.com/rap2.html

    This is all a great globalist plot in which the minions of Gozer have infiltrated the US military which is seeking to teaching the Afghan people to actually read … which means they can read their terrorist instructions without a mullah.

    Any day now.

  19. Coragyps
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    When you have requirements that not only teach the Arabic language……..the words that they use,

    I’d like to see Shackelford, or even Phyllis Schafley, teach a language without “the words that they use.”
    What a maroon….

  20. Edra Bogle
    Posted February 14, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    How little faith such people as Shackleford must have in Christianity if they believe that mere exposure to a language–or even careful study of Islam–will cause the student to convert!

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