Monday, November 13, 2006

Deadset Legend of the week: Matthew LaClair

Here in Australia we regularly endure Rightwing culture warriors screaming at the top of their lungs about the Left's "long march" through educational institutions, bedazzling us with tales of how our children are strapped into their chairs Clockwork Orange-style and force-fed ideas that come "straight from Chairman Mao."

Well, Jim Lippard's blog (Via Pharyngula) really gives them something to whinge about:

A history teacher at the local public high school here may have bitten off more than he cares to chew this fall. Self-described conservative Baptist David Paszkiewicz used his history class to proselytize biblical fundamentalism over the course of several days at the beginning of this school year.

Among his remarks in open class were statements that a being must have created the universe, that the Christian Bible is the word of God, and that dinosaurs were aboard Noah's ark. If you do not accept Jesus, he flatly proclaimed to his class, "you belong in hell." Referring to a Muslim student who had been mentioned by name, he lamented what he saw as her inevitable fate should she not convert. In an attempt to promote biblical creationism, he also dismissed evolution and the Big Bang as non-scientific, arguing by contrast that the Bible is supported by what he calls confirmed biblical prophecies.
One of his hell-bound students, Matthew LaClair, took issue with Paszkiewicz's ramblings and requested a meeting with the teacher and the principal. The teacher lied (for Jesus) through his teeth, denying he had uttered the offending statements; upon which instance LaClair revealed that he had recorded the remarks, presenting two CDs to the principal.
The teacher then declined to comment further without his union representative. However, he fired one last shot at the student, saying, "You got the big fish … you got the big Christian guy who is a teacher…!"
Matthew LaClair, you are a Deadset Legend, and an inspiration to us all.

UPDATE: At Dispatches from the Culture Wars, a Deadset Legend from the past.

UPDATE II: Audio and a transcript of part of the recordings, via Jim Lippard.

UPDATE III: I respond to Kearney students here.