Secretary of Education pick Betsy DeVos caught on tape, talking about defunding public education in order to “advance God’s kingdom”

With the Senate confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education, set to begin tomorrow, the folks at Politico just released a 2001 recording in which the Amway billionaire explains that her work to defund public education has been done in order to “advance God’s kingdom.” Her comments, according to Politico, were made during an annual conference for wealthy Christians called “The Gathering.” During the session, DeVos and her husband Dick talk about why they invested so heavily in the unsuccessful 2000 ballot initiative which would have allowed public dollars to fund private and religious schools by way of a voucher system.

This tape, says Michigan Democratic candidate for Governor Gretchen Whitmer, “gets to the heart of why Betsy DeVos wants to dismantle our public schools.” Here, for those of you who might not trust Whitmer’s interpretation, is a clip from the recording in which DeVos’s husband Dick laments the fact that public schools have “displaced” the Church as the center of our communities, suggesting that, if we could just find a way to close them, we’d not only bring America back to God, but also decrease the number of godless public school teachers in our communities.

Is this tape likely to generate the same kind of outrage that the new audio of Warren Mayor Jim Fouts comparing black people to “chimps” and calling old women “dried-up cunts” is getting? Maybe not. But one hopes that maybe there are enough people out there who care passionately about the separation of church and state to make sure that this becomes a central part of tomorrow’s hearing, right along with those 41 questions of Elizabeth Warren’s, and the news that broke a few days ago about how DeVos had neglected to mention a $125,000 anti-union donation in the disclosure forms she filed with the Office of Government Ethics.

As I’ve said before, there are a lot of truly terrible nominees that are being considered right now, but this one is on us, Michigan. DeVos is someone who we know, and it’s incumbent on us to make sure the rest of the nation knows what she did to Michigan, and what she’s likely to do to public education across the United States if given the opportunity. So, if you haven’t already, please read my last post about DeVos, share it with everyone you know, and ask them to call their Senators, especially if they happen to sit on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and ask them to vote against DeVos. It’s strong public education that made this country great, and, if anything, we should be redoubling our efforts right now, in the face of so many global challenges, not retrenching. We should be building public schools, not putting programs in place to weaken them, especially when the evidence shows that those programs have failed so miserably in states like Michigan. If anything, we need smarter, more engaged young people right now, and unaccountable, privately-owened charter schools just aren’t giving us that. Yes, they may drive more people to religion out of desperation, as they wonder how they’ll keep their families fed, but is that what we want for our next generation?

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65 Comments

  1. Alias
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Her kids never attended public school and she’s never worked in education. Her qualification is that she’s wealthy.

  2. site admin
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    If you would like to watch live, the DeVos hearing begins at 5:00 EST this afternoon, and will be broadcast live from the Dirksen Senate Office Building by both C-SPAN and PBS. Here’s the link to the PBS stream.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnn3T0GKtD8

  3. Rick Snyder by Proxy
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    From the Detroit News.

    “Gov. Snyder: Betsy DeVos puts kids first”

    In selecting Betsy DeVos to be the next secretary of education, President-elect Trump has bestowed a great honor to the state of Michigan. DeVos would be the first Michiganian to serve in a presidential Cabinet since Spencer Abraham served as energy secretary during George W. Bush’s first term.

    While much has been written about DeVos’ philosophy, not enough attention has been given to her character. She and her husband, Dick DeVos, are remarkably civic-minded people who give back generously to our state in a multitude of ways. Incredibly, the DeVos family has been attacked in recent weeks for using their personal resources to advocate for an education policy agenda that they feel passionate about and believe to be in the best interests of school children.

    To the naysayers, I ask what do you think the motivations of DeVos are? The answer is simply that she and her husband want children no matter their race, income, or ZIP code to have access to great schools and great teachers that prepare them for success in the workforce. DeVos cares deeply about the well-being of children, especially low-income children who are often trapped in dangerous and woefully underperforming schools. She is also a leader in the movement to recruit mentors to help place at-risk children on the right path to successful lives and she has personally mentored children.

    DeVos has a big heart and she believes strongly that parental control of education through school choice is integral to improving the performance of our K-12 system. Contrary to the misleading picture the teachers unions are trying to paint, she shares her support for school choice with several fair-minded and prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama’s two education secretaries, John King and Arne Duncan.

    In fact, Mr. King headed up a charter school himself and has helped drive a significant increase in charter school enrollment nationwide during the Obama presidency.

    Those of us in Michigan who know DeVos the best are thrilled that President-elect Trump has selected her to drive his education agenda. As a governor, I am optimistic that the Trump Administration will follow through on its promise to dramatically reduce the power of Washington and shift more decision making back to the states.

    It is time for our elected leaders in Washington to pay more respect to the 10th Amendment. Shrinking the bureaucracy inside the Department of Education would be a great place to start. Since its inception in 1980, the Education Department has engaged in mission creep, as its budget has grown almost sixfold from $12 billion to more than $70 billion today. With this growth in spending has come an avalanche of top-down rules and regulations that tie the hands of state and local governments and soak up dollars that should be directed to the classroom.

    DeVos will be a forceful advocate for local and parental control of education. She believes in giving parents a far larger voice in how and where their children are educated, and freeing up the hands of governors and local leaders to innovate with bold education reforms to hold our schools accountable for better results for those families.

    The stakes for our nation are high. We need to get education reform right. Today, over 40 percent of American employers report having difficulties finding talented workers to fill job openings, according to Manpower’s annual Talent Shortage Survey. This report corresponds with an equally discouraging fact that only 40 percent of recent high school graduates are deemed to be college or workforce ready. If we are to remain an economic power, we must raise the bar on education and close the skills gap in our nation.

    I believe that Betsy DeVos is a strong leader who will focus on this challenge each and every day as our next secretary of education. She is a remarkable person who has already made Michigan proud. I know she has a lot more to contribute and she can continue to make a big difference in the lives of school children in Michigan and across the nation.

  4. Eel
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    How much did DeVos pay Snyder for that? And how much did she pay Trump for the cabinet post?

  5. Steven C. Camron
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Today’s 5pm hearing in the Senate for Trump nominee to head the Department of Education Betsy DeVos includes several Senators to whom she has made substantial political donations – they should recuse themselves from the hearing! She is a religious zealot and ideological dogmatic for school choice that has undermined the public schools in Michigan for decades.

  6. Kit
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Any truth to the story I’m hearing that teachers are wearing red today to protest DeVos?

  7. Catherine
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, Kit: Wear Red for Ed today. Check AFT-MI website.

  8. Alex Hamlin
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    This is why I keep telling everyone I know how bad devos is as a nominee. It may not be as headline grabbing as the head of the EPA being a climate change denier but she is just as bad or worse.

  9. Jim Pyke
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    I would be interested to see data on what subset of the group “anyone” actually cares about so-called separation of church and state.

    See, I think the statements made in this sound clip are entirely in keeping with what people who call themselves “Christian conservatives” genuinely (and with no self-perceived malice in their hearts) believe in regard to the supposed breakdown of “community values” in the United States, and that a great many people would respond to this clip simply by saying, “That all sounds great to me.”

  10. M
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    For sure. What they say on the tape, I’m sure, will resonate with a lot of folks who think that America has lost its moral center. Ironically, however, many of these people just voted for a man who calls women fat pigs, says you need to treat them poorly, and confessed on at least one occasion to grabbing them by their pussies without consent. Not exactly WWJD. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

  11. Jcp2
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    People are irrational creatures of ego and emotion, and behave rationally with respect to material items only occasionally. It would be irrational, rather than rational, to think otherwise. That’s why pointing out congnitive dissonance has the opposite effect desired. To effect change, you must appeal to the id more than the status quo does.

  12. SAL
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Did anyone mention that only 25% of Michigan Charter schools do better than Public schools (Grade-wise). Or another way to look at it: 75% of ALL Michigan Charter Schools Are Falling or Worse than Public schools. DeVos won’t tell you that. though.

  13. Susan Satterfield
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    DeVos has bought and paid for his wife’s appointment. The GOP IS STILL IN THE DeVos family pockets. They refuse to go by the constitution and insist we all become Calvinist. Exactly what they did to England just before they were m kicked out of the country. Control is there goal. I will not become a reformist for their church. We have freedom here. My children are my responsibility, nor theirs.and their religion.

  14. KBH
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    The scariest thing is that people out there support her thinking she is for “better” education. What she really is for is Christian-centered education. This is a major component of a move to a Christian-centered society. She and her type are “Christianists. ” And just like the “Islamists” taking over countries in the Middle East, they seek to make one religion the basis for all law and policy. This is against out constitution and against the best interests of Americans.

  15. Meta
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Betsy’s brother also has Trump’s ear.

    The Intercept: “NOTORIOUS MERCENARY ERIK PRINCE IS ADVISING TRUMP FROM THE SHADOWS”

    Erik Prince, America’s most notorious mercenary, is lurking in the shadows of the incoming Trump administration. A former senior U.S. official who has advised the Trump transition told The Intercept that Prince has been advising the team on matters related to intelligence and defense, including weighing in on candidates for the defense and state departments. The official asked not to be identified because of a transition policy prohibiting discussion of confidential deliberations.

    On election night, Prince’s latest wife, Stacy DeLuke, posted pictures from inside Trump’s campaign headquarters as Donald Trump and Mike Pence watched the returns come in, including a close shot of Pence and Trump with their families. “We know some people who worked closely with [Trump] on his campaign,” DeLuke wrote. “Waiting for the numbers to come in last night. It was well worth the wait!!!! #PresidentTrump2016.” Prince’s sister, billionaire Betsy DeVos, is Trump’s nominee for education secretary and Prince (and his mother) gave large sums of money to a Trump Super PAC.

    In July, Prince told Trump’s senior advisor and white supremacist Steve Bannon, at the time head of Breitbart News, that the Trump administration should recreate a version of the Phoenix Program, the CIA assassination ring that operated during the Vietnam War, to fight ISIS. Such a program, Prince said, could kill or capture “the funders of Islamic terror and that would even be the wealthy radical Islamist billionaires funding it from the Middle East, and any of the other illicit activities they’re in.”

    Prince also said that Trump would be the best force to confront “Islamic fascism.” “As for the world looking to the United States for leadership, unfortunately, I think they’re going to have to wait till January and hope Mr. Trump is elected because, clearly, our generals don’t have a stomach for a fight,” Prince said. “Our President doesn’t have a stomach for a fight and the terrorists, the fascists, are winning.”

    Prince founded the notorious private security firm Blackwater, which rose to infamy in September 2007 after its operatives gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians, including a nine-year-old boy in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. Whistleblowers also alleged that Prince encouraged an environment in which Iraqis were killed for sport. At the height of the Blackwater scandals in 2007, another prominent Trump backer, Representative Dana Rohrabacher, praised Prince, who once worked in his congressional office. “Prince,’’ Rohrabacher said, “is on his way to being an American hero just like Ollie North was.’’

    Read more:
    https://theintercept.com/2017/01/17/notorious-mercenary-erik-prince-is-advising-trump-from-the-shadows/

  16. rabbit
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    Bernie Sanders was blunt in his questioning: “Do you think that if your family had not made hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to the Republican Party that you would be sitting here today?”

    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/1/17/14304606/bernie-sanders-betsy-devos

  17. EOS
    Posted January 17, 2017 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    I can see how some consider that allowing vouchers to be used at religious based schools would be against their worldview. But I can also see how Christian parents are opposed to schools that teach their children beliefs that are opposed to their own worldviews. Since no one woud be forced to attend religious based instruction, why can’t we tolerate individual choice? Why must we force children to be indoctrinated with an atheistic viewpoint? Why is the default position that those who prefer the discipline, the moral instruction, and the higher academic standards of a Christian based school must first pay for schools that teach children values which they oppose? Why must Christian parents pay more than double while secular parents reap the benefits of subsidy? Why can’t everyone use their tax dollars to receive the education they prefer? Some may choose schools that emphasize science and technology, some may choose art, some may choose multicultural, and some may choose a religious based curriculum. Why are so many opposed to exploring options to better educate? It’s not as if the public school system today is doing an adequate job.

  18. Posted January 17, 2017 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    And, just like Jesus surely would have done, DeVos said today that she’d support Trump if he changed the laws to allow guns in schools. When asked to defend her position, she said guns might, for instance, be necessary to ward off grizzly bears attacks.

  19. Posted January 17, 2017 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    To her credit, though, she did say that what Trump has confessed to having done to women qualifies as sexual assault.

  20. wobblie
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    EOS, not up to your normal self today eh. “why can’t we tolerate individual choice” and “Why must we force children to be indoctrinated with an atheistic viewpoint” are two of the stupidest things you have said in quit a while.
    Of course we had that great Democrat and VP candidate Joe Liberman introduce DeVoss to the committee. With people like him in the Democratic party is it any wonder that more and more folks have given up on it.

  21. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    People seem genuinely (and stupidly) shocked that there are people in the US who would actively push back against the incoming executive.

  22. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    Don’t call it stupid without explaining to us why you think it is stupid. I thought most readers here endorsed tolerance and choice. Atheism and Human Secularism are both religious ideologies and should not be promoted by the state either.

  23. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Does it violate the Constitution for the government to endorse atheism? In fact, a number of cases have indeed found that for First Amendment purposes, atheism is a religion.

    In School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized that “the State may not establish a religion of secularism in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.”1 Government advancement of nontheistic or atheistic religious viewpoints would thus presumably be subject to the same limitations of the Establishment Clause as the prohibition against endorsing traditional theistic religious viewpoints. Indeed, the Supreme Court has held that non-theistic viewpoints can qualify as religious when they “occupy the same place in [a person’s] life as the belief in a traditional deity holds,”2 “occupy . . . ‘a place parallel to that filled by God’ in traditional religious persons,”3 or comprise “an aspect of human thought and action which profoundly relates the life of man to the world in which he lives.”4 In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court specifically listed “Secular Humanism” as a religious viewpoint.5

    Importantly, the widely used Lemon test requires that “principal or primary effect” of a government policy “must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion.”6 In other words, if the government starts endorsing atheists who are bashing religion, then that could violate the Establishment Clause.

    In 2005, the Supreme Court reiterated its view that religion should not be defined narrowly,7 and the Seventh Circuit likewise observed that “the Court has adopted a broad definition of ‘religion’ that includes non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as theistic ones.”8 The Seventh Circuit went on to note that “[t]he Supreme Court has recognized atheism as equivalent to a ‘religion’ for purposes of the First Amendment on numerous occasions[.] . . .”9 Earlier, the Seventh Circuit had observed that “[i]f we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.”10 Thus, atheism can be a religion for the purpose of constitutional analyses.

    (1) Sch. Dist. of Abington Twp. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 225 (1963) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted) (explaining that a secular education is not per se unconstitutional) (emphasis added).

    (2) United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163, 187 (1965).

    (3) Welsh v. United States, 398 U.S. 333, 340 (1970).

    (4) McGowan v. Maryland, 366 U.S. 420, 461 (1961).

    (5) Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488, 495 n.11 (1961).

    (6) Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612 (1971) (emphasis added). See also Smith v.
    Bd. of Sch. Comm’rs of Mobile County, 827 F.2d 684, 690, 692 (11th Cir. 1987) (equating
    “inhibiting religion” with exhibiting “an attitude antagonistic to theistic belief” or attempting
    to “discredit it”).

    (7) See McCreary County, Ky. v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844 (2005). The majority wrote that “[t]he dissent says that the deity the Framers had in mind was the God of monotheism, with the consequence that government may espouse a tenet of traditional monotheism. This is truly a remarkable view.” Id. at 879.

    (8) Kaufman v. McCaughtry, 419 F.3d 678, 682 (7th Cir. 2005).

    (9) Id.

    (10) Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. 2003).

  24. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    It’s stupid to be shocked, because resistance is human nature. When Obama was elected Trump (via twitter) called for a protest march on D.C. Now he hats his own.

    EOS, clearly this issue matter a great deal to you as it does to many of us. Even though we disagree. The need for separation of church and state exists to protect freedom of religion. There’s endless case law to support that. We do not have a government that supports atheism (who I agree is a belief system); we have a government that is secular, and always has been, so that the citizens can be as religious (or not) as the desire in the way they desire. We don’t have a state religion for all the reasons you fear.

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Sorry for bad grammar/typos. I should drink my coffee before and wear my glasses when posting.

  26. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    It is stupid to be shocked. Just because a particular party wins seats doesn’t mean that people should shit quietly until the next election.

    It is stupid to think that people would sit quietly.

    I fail to see where the US Government endorses atheism. As an atheist, this confuses me as it often appears the US Government spends an inordinate amount of time attempting to shove Christianity down our collective throats.

  27. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    We have never had a secular government. France has a secular government. We have a government that recognizes God and prohibits government from endorsing any particular denomination and from interfering with the free exercise of religious practice. I don’t fear these things. Allowing public schools that embrace atheism while at the same time allowing other public schools to embrace Biblical truth is not an endorsement of either, but an acknowledgement of diversity.

  28. Jean Henry
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    France has a complicated relationship to organized religion. They both pay catholic school teachers and restrict public expression of religion. But the US is it’s own form of a secular state, and has been so from inception, even in origin. (polytheists have also always been allowed to practice their religions here. See Native Americans): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_state

  29. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    The Declaration of Independence was published at the inception of our country.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

    Most of the men who signed it were ordained Christian ministers. Our rights come from God and are merely secured by government. Not at all secular. They used to hold Sunday services in the Capitol building. They distributed Bibles to be used in the first public schools.

    There’s been too much revisionist history taught. That’s why you shouldn’t rely on Wikipedia as an authority.

  30. Bitchy FGRHS alum
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    ” Since no one woud be forced to attend religious based instruction, why can’t we tolerate individual choice? ”

    To use republican logic from the past 8 years, if my tax dollars are going to something I don’t believe in, you’re violating my religious freedom by forcing me to support something that goes against my sincerely held beliefs. And in this case that would mean supporting in any capacity public funding of Christian or any kind of religious educational facilities.

    Don’t want me “killing babies”? Well, I don’t want you brainwashing them either.

  31. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    And you see no difference in choosing between two educational options and choosing to kill another human? SMH The tax dollars in question are going to education regardless.

  32. Lynne
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    I anticipate a lot of hypocrisy on the right on the issue of funding religious schools. But who knows, maybe they will be OK with funding Muslim Madrasa or Satanist schools or even secular schools where they teach girls not to listen to those who would tell them that abortion is morally wrong. We need more of those kinds of schools.

  33. Lida Giachetti
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    As a retired teacher, I resent the falsehood being repeated here that public schools teach atheism. That just isn’t the case. We do not teach any religious doctrine, nor do we teach against any. It is the responsibility and democratic right of families to study and practice any religion they want at home or in their place of worship. It is not their right to use public funds which are actually the tax dollars of all Americans with many different or no religious beliefs. Teachers have a responsibility to teach rational thought and specific areas of expertise. We don’t have the expertise or time to teach the many religious doctrines practiced in our nation. Then, there is the matter of who has the right to decide which doctrine to teach. Be grateful to live in a country where we have both the right to worship as we wish and free public education where all students, regardless of religious affiliation, are treated equally and have equal opportunity to succeed. Our diversity stimulates intellect and fosters empathy that isn’t possible in a narrowly focused religiously affiliated private school. I celebrate that diversity.

  34. Kevin
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    They are called “parochial” for a reason. That usage actually dates back to the mid 19th century, so they had it figured out for a while.

    There is no need to teach atheism, it is self-evident.

  35. EOS
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    We fund education on a per capita basis. Parents should be able to use those designated funds at any school of their choosing, whether it be Muslim, or Satanist, or homeschool. All DeVos advocates for, and she has spent millions of her own money doing it, is to have a voucher system that accommodates more options. Education of children is the primary responsibility of their parents. The government should be endorsing education, not any particular worldview. The fact that public schools do teach that abortion is a moral good is just one of many concepts derived from an atheistic view.

    There is nothing self-evident about atheism. It is a worldview based on a lack of belief in the self-evident regardless of the overwhelming evidence.

  36. grandma
    Posted January 18, 2017 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Mark, doesn’t this guy look like Uncle Thom, cleaned up and in a suit??

  37. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    EOS reminds me every day how utterly stupid religion is.

  38. stupid hick
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    It’s too late for me to personally benefit from school choice vouchers, so instead, if I don’t like the public golf courses, can I please get my “share” of parks and recreation tax dollars back in the form of a voucher I can use to offset my dues at a private country club? The public courses don’t have caddies, because liberals would rather have strapping young bucks dependant on welfare, than let them have a good job carrying my clubs and shining my shoes. Trump knows what I’m talking about.

  39. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    I dislike police as they often kick the shit out of black people with impunity.

    I would like a voucher so that I can hire my own private security detail to protect me at all times.

  40. kjc
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    “The fact that public schools do teach that abortion is a moral good is just one of many concepts derived from an atheistic view.”

    lol. lies really don’t help your argument.

  41. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Lida,

    Neither does the church want public schools to teach religion. Maybe you didn’t teach atheistic concepts, but the public schools I attended certainly did. And your animus against religion is quite evident in the short paragraph you posted. Teachers in religiously affiliated schools also teach rational thought and have specific areas of expertise in standard subject matters. And religiously affiliated private schools are by no means narrowly focused. They teach an expanded curriculum, focus on all world cultures, accept students of any ethnicity, and typically are a year or more advanced than their public school counterparts.

    Americans have the right to practice their religion and live by their beliefs at any place and at any time. That includes the public square and the public schools. Until their children reach their teens, parents are the only persons responsible for determining the religious doctrine that they are taught. Too many public school teachers feel it is their responsibility to undermine parental authority in these matters.

  42. Bitchy FGRHS alum
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    “And you see no difference in choosing between two educational options and choosing to kill another human? SMH The tax dollars in question are going to education regardless.”

    Nope! Cause fetal tissue (sans my and other women’s v helpful uteri) does not a human make, and my right to retain my bodily autonomy is _also_ conveniently, a part of my deeply, sincerely held beliefs.

    I also deeply believe that it’s worse to miseducate an actually existent human being- it’s akin to abuse, really. A brain spoiled, or at least, a brain kept from being able to meet the potential it could have had it not been exposed to lies and restrictive ideologies. I resent the abuse/time wasting I had to endure in middle and high school, but at least I had the privelege to attend Ann Arbor Open Schools in elementary to help keep me from being totally brainwashed by misogynistic, racist, and philosophically infantile ideologies.

    Thanks for playing the “I can believe whatever the fuck I want to” game! Better luck next time.

  43. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Bitchy,

    If it were actually a part of her body then a woman would abort herself. But whose heart is it that stops beating? She actually aborts a different individual with unique DNA which is even a different sex 51% of the time. Size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency is irrelevant to the fact that the fetus is human. An individual with distinct characteristics which differ from their mothers.

    The pro-life position, on the other hand is an inclusive view. It says no human being – regardless of size, skin color, level of development, race, gender, or place of residence – should be excluded from the community of human persons. This view of humanity is inclusive and wide open to all, especially to those who are small, vulnerable, and defenseless.

  44. Lynne
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Unless you support laws where dying people can compel others to donate organs or blood or whatever, you are a hypocrite for insisting that women donate their wombs to other humans. That is if you consider a fetus a human with the same rights as the born. I actually don’t think the unborn should have many legal rights at all, especially if they are not formed enough to be viable outside of the womb.

  45. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Organ donation is not a valid comparison. Apples and oranges. I’ve never understood why anyone thinks this argument is valid. Calling someone a name (hypocrite) doesn’t typically change their views. Next comes the capital punishment argument. Same answer. The criminal is punished for what they did. The fetus is innocent.

    Viability independent of the mother is an arbitrary condition that is irrelevant to whether the living growing human organism has any rights. A three year old can’t live without the help of an adult. Just because they are smaller, still growing, and dependent on their parents doesn’t give their parents a right to kill them nor should society consider it to be morally acceptable. Our laws should protect the small, vulnerable and defenseless.

  46. Hagopian Handmaid
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Both sides should be happy?
    http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2017/january/america-abortion-rate-hits-all-time-low-guttmacher.html

  47. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    What a moron.

  48. kjc
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    “Size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency is irrelevant to the fact that the fetus is human. An individual with distinct characteristics which differ from their mothers…Viability independent of the mother is an arbitrary condition that is irrelevant to whether the living growing human organism has any rights. A three year old can’t live without the help of an adult.”

    unlike others, i’ve never gotten the impression you are a woman.

  49. Lynne
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Organ/blood donation is absolutely a valid comparison. You want to compel women to use their bodies and take on a health risk in order to prevent someone from dying but do not want to compel someone to donate a kidney or even blood to achieve the same outcome. Why would a woman have a greater obligation to a fetus than to a stranger? If you want to make the claim that it is the parental relationship, we still don’t compel parents to even so much as donate blood if doing so would save their child. It is hypocrisy. And also a mental exercise designed to force you into admitting that you think abortion should be illegal because you want to punish women for having sex. Let’s be honest. That is part of why you think women should have a greater obligation to a fetus than you do to some poor slob who needs a blood or organ donation. That is why you aren’t on board with providing birth control to women which so far is the best method we have found to prevent abortions. Isn’t it?

    I mean, I know this is about more than just saving lives. If saving lives were your goal, you would be out there promoting birth control since that is the one thing we know reduces abortions. Heck, if you really thought that even fertilized eggs deserved the same rights as born humans, you would be arresting people for having sex without using barrier methods of birth control such as condoms since a full 1/3 of such fertilized eggs fail to attach to the uterus and are expelled with normal menstruation. It is a blood bath! All those deaths. All those good Christian married couples trying to have babies but causing deaths in the process. If a fertilized egg is to have the same rights as a born human, wouldn’t that be negligent homicide? *rolls eyes* this is why it is absurd to even think that fertilized eggs should have the same rights and protections as the born.

    Capital punishment is different for the reason you mention, i.e. criminal guilty, fetus innocent. However, fwiw, there are a lot of pro-life people who don’t make that distinction and believe all life is sacred. Personally, I just find the death penalty to be cruel (although in many cases less cruel than life imprisonment) and am glad that I don’t have to worry about it too much here in Michigan. For me the distinction is that I don’t believe a fetus is the same as an adult human and I think it is wrong to kill people after they are born and especially wrong for the state to have that power.

    I don’t see fetuses as fully formed people with rights but even if I did, I wouldn’t consider their life to be more valuable than the health and life of the mother. Since all pregnancies are a health risk, one much greater than donating blood. Oddly you would not compel anyone to do even that. Even if I thought a fetus was a person deserving the same rights as the born, I still would think that forcing a woman to keep it alive is worse and more invasive than strapping you down and sucking your blood in order to save someone.

    That reminds me though. I just got a postcard from the Red Cross about a blood shortage so I need to make an appointment.

  50. EOS
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Lynne,

    You were doing good until you lost it in the last post. If they develop an artificial placenta that can sustain a pregnancy with the same chance of a live birth as the mother carrying to full term, then your transplant/blood donation analogy might have some legs. But there are a multitude of others who could donate blood or an organ so the life of the other person isn’t totally dependent on a single person.

    I definitely support birth control, especially when the partners aren’t prepared economically or emotionally to make a lifelong commitment to their offspring. But it is important that the type of birth control chosen prevents fertilization so that a zygote is not formed and starts to grow and divide. When infertile couples use in vitro fertilization to create multiple embryos they assume the responsibility to carry those embryos to term or let them be adopted as “snowflake” babies. Giving them to a laboratory to be used as mere reagents in some research experiment shows an utter disregard for human life.

    When a fertilized egg doesn’t implant and a pregnancy fails to be established through no willful act of the parents, there is no blame or homicide. You can call it an act of God. But if a person takes a type of birth control that prevents implantation, then they own the guilt.

    If scientists discovered a growing embryo/zygote/fetus on another planet, all the news would report that they discovered life. But pro-abortionists attempt to tell us it is merely a blob of tissue and its a lie. If a person destroys a bald eagle egg, they will be charged and fined heavily, possibly even be jailed. That’s because our current culture values the life in the fertilized egg of a bald eagle much more than human life.

    It’s a good thing that you donate blood. I do too. Everybody who can should do so.

  51. Morbid Larson
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    This thread makes me want to commit suicide more than I usually want to.

  52. jean henry
    Posted January 19, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    fuck arguing with Christian Conservatives aka the white working class, you know the ones with an average wage of 70 grand a year… Being right will not win us elections. We need to be smarter than to argue against ideologues with circular logic. Why argue when it’s so easy to show they are completely full of shit:
    “Tiny Hands” Women’s March Chant (featuring Fiona Apple) by Michael Whalen (official) https://soundcloud.com/michael-whalen-997591802/little-hands-womens-march-chant-featuring-fiona-apple on #SoundCloud

  53. EOS
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    Well Jean,
    If it were so easy then you would have attempted a logical refute.

  54. jean henry
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Nope. Not going to indulge you. Every one knows their positions. If ‘logic’ answered such divisive questions, we could come to agreement.
    Trump’s a con man and a bully and, by far, the least moral person to hold the presidency ever– which I admit is a tall order. While I understand you don’t support him, you EOS support his supporters. And they are nice people I’m sure but fools.
    I give this conservative revolution 4-6 years max. Even with the electoral college and redistricting being rigged.
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/19/us/politics/trump-russia-associates-investigation.html?_r=0&referer=http://
    This is the end of you assholes. Enjoy your inauguration. It’s going to be incredibly pathetic. My daughter and I watched some previews last night. Wow. Lawrence Welk show without the talent.

  55. jean henry
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    You can’t keep us down, you self-righteous, moralistic pains in the ass:
    https://mic.com/articles/165926/watch-protesters-have-a-queer-dance-party-outside-of-mike-pence-s-home-in-dc

  56. Frosted Flakes
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    (b)ring (y)our (o)wn (b)read-and-circus

  57. Hagopian Handmaid
    Posted January 20, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    4 to 6 years? How old is the notorious RBG?

  58. Jean Henry
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    83 I think.

  59. Maria Huffman
    Posted January 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    This is a tough thread…

  60. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    So, I am watching CNN on my TV last evening and I see rope nooses on the screen while I watch the news about trump…they flash on screen about 4 or 5 times, and I am like, Jeez…is this someone at DirectV who did this or was it someone(s) from CNN?

  61. ohiodale
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Devos’ statements are not as the liberals are making them out to be. First of all there is nothing in our constitution that says separation of church and state. Liberals love to make up facts and most people are too lazy to verify them. People tend to believe what they want to believe in our society and liberals are counting on this ignorance. Republicans do the same but not to the same extent. Devos is not saying to completely defund public schools. She is saying to divert some of the funding to vouchers. I agree with this. She has never been a teacher but since when is a teacher’s degree qualification to lead a department? Teaching degrees are do not require that much intelligence. Liberals hire non teachers all over the country as university presidents whose only qualifications are things like, believing in diversity, supporting gay rights, and the list goes on and on. Let’s at least stop this rhetoric. Devos is not saying to bring God back into public schools. She is saying give poor families the choice to send their kids to Christian private schools. I agree with this. I would never send my kids to the crappy public schools in the inter cities of the US. Why would a Christian want to send their kids to schools that preach against Christianity.

  62. Jean Henry
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Ohiodale: What makes you say the public schools preach against Christianity? What makes you say public schools preach?

    As for DeVos, we in Michigan have rich experience with her influence and what it means for our public schools. We speak from experience, not some liberal talking points bubble. Our public schools have been de-funded, with per pupil expenditures cut each year, and so, class sizes rising each year while educational requirements increase. It took me years to buy into the idea that the right were intentionally destroying the public school system. But after watching entire school systems turned over to for profit charter operations… and failing, I can;t deny any more that that is their intention. They may in fact believe that what they are doing is for the greater good. I feel certain most do, but the results of their experiment with increasing competition in k-12 schools has been a total disaster here. And DeVos has refused to answer to that. It’s there in the numbers. Our children and our future as a state able to produce a competitive workforce have been hobbled. And, the marginalized have been more marginalized. The playing field in education is less equal than ever before. Privatization (pirate-ization…) of our schools has created a waste of human potential. If you don’t care about the human costs, the economic costs of an inadequately educated population are obvious. Don’t get me started on the school to prison pipeline…

    Do what you want for your kids, but paying full cost to insulate them from the realities other children face because of people like DeVos seems like the least you could do.

  63. Jean Henry
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Some balance:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/upshot/why-donald-trumps-education-pick-would-face-barriers-for-vouchers.html

  64. Masi McCoy
    Posted February 9, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Ohiodale: Since DeVos’ general statements $ ideas have been disrupting Michigan Public Schools for over a decade, this is no longer a tidly liberal/ conservative divide. DeVos is a far right conservative with Christian supremacist ideology. There are moderate Republicans who oppose DeVos.

    If there is no ” separation of church & state” implied in the First Amendment , and its okay for the church to be in the state, than it seems like the state being in the church is a natural consequence.

    The exact words church and state are not used, but there is clearly reference to not having an established government religioj
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/establishment_clause

    Using public monies to fund a religious education means people who are not adherents of your religion are being taxed to financially support your religion. Public schools are a public/ community good, and a community asset. People without children pay taxes to fund schools. The word is PUBLIC for a reason– schools.

    Public schools do not preach against Christianity. I have not heard of one instance where that accusation in Michigan has been substantiated. However, Patrick Colbeck , a Devos sponsored senator & many of the people who voted for him make claims to that effect all the tim.,For the love of Pete, this is a Christian majority state. If there were truly a curriculum that ” taught” against a religion we would have heard about it.

    There are voters and politicuans who push rhetoric that the US constitution gives preferred status to Christians and their religion. Aside from the fact that there are over 4,000 different sects of Christianity, attenpts to pass amendments to make Christianity the federa religion were attempted atleast 3 different times in the 1800s, and each time it failed to pass. Why? Because its unconstitutional.

    I think Christians with imperialistic, entitled attitudes can have a skewed view of what religious freedom means. Yes, there are more Americans who are unaffiliated with a religion.
    That trend is not oppression or persecution, and I think the frequent use of the term religious persecution is disrespectful to Christians , and other people of faith, are actually being persecuted in other countries.

    There are atleast 150 million Christians in the US, and most of my friends and family are Christians or were raised in it. Why are so many Christians able to practice their faith without needing to impose it on others, while some demonstrate such fear about what other Americans believe or don’t believe?

    No, Ohiodale, I think you are way off on accusung liberals on this page of of being lazy & not checking facts. How well acquainted with evidence to support your views?

  65. Little John Hodges
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    EOS,
    Shut the fuck up you faggot-ass moron.

3 Trackbacks

  1. […] on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and ask them to vote against DeVos, a far right religious zealot with a long track record of pushing initiatives that weaken public education and deliver poor […]

  2. […] relevant experience. They voted for her knowing that she and her husband had said in the past that their motivation in pushing voucher programs and for-profit charters was to reorient society away fr…. They voted for her in spite of the fact that several of her responses to them appear to have been […]

  3. […] […]

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