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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Well this sounds like a fiasco in the making.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever seen involving religion in a public school? Okay, have you thought of something? Great, because this probably beats it:

Two teachers accused of sprinkling holy water onto an avowed atheist colleague have been removed from the classroom, and may be fired.

The teacher who was allegedly sprinkled filed a complaint with the Broward County school district, which is investigating the incident as an act of bullying.

At the center of the investigation are Blanche Ely High School reading teachers Leslie Rainer and Djuna Robinson, who profess that they are Christians. They are accused of sprinkling holy water onto fellow teacher Schandra Tompkinsel Rodriguez.

On March 11, Rodriguez was in her classroom discussing her disbelief in God and the Bible with students when the alleged incident took place.

Okay, so, what now? They allegedly sprinkled holy water on a colleague in class? Did they think she would melt or something? As long as we're on the subject, though, why the hell was Rodriguez talking about her disbelief in the classroom?

According to sources close to the investigation who requested anonymity, the alleged incident involving the holy water at Blanche Ely arose from a boisterous discussion Rodriguez was having with her students about the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.


In response to one student’s remark that the disaster in Haiti happened because of God’s wrath on the island nation over a pact its leaders made with Satan more than 200 years ago, Rodriguez reportedly began refuting Christianity.

The alleged Satanic pact in question reportedly occurred at Bois-Caïman, near Cap-Haïtien, on August 14, 1791, during a voodoo ceremony held by enslaved Africans. The reported pact came before the slave rebellion and start of the Haitian Independence War, in which rebel leaders offered the reported agreement in exchange for a victory against the French Army.

In response to the lively discussion, Rainer and Robinson entered the room.

“Sounds like somebody needs some holy water,” a student remarked before Robinson retrieved and displayed a small bottle of liquid from the doorway.

So, quite aside from everything else, I have to admit that this may be the only time in my life that I have ever seen a paragraph in a news article start with the phrase, "The alleged Satanic pact." Right, as opposed to all of those other Satanic pacts that have been registered with notaries public? Moving on, however, I see the educational goal Rodriguez may have had in mind, but "refuting Christianity" was most certainly not the way to go with it. This is going to turn into something both because accounts differ as to whether the sprinkling of holy water* occurred at all, and because the local clergy have gotten their teeth into it:

Local clergy have called an emergency meeting on Monday over two teachers who were removed from their classrooms after allegedly sprinkling holy water onto an atheist colleague.

“We need to know why one teacher is allowed to teach our children there is no God and nothing is done,” said the Rev. Willie J. Rainer, husband of one of the accused teachers and an associate pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church in Pompano Beach. “But the Christian teachers have been removed from the classroom even though nothing has been proven.”


“We were contacted, and we agreed to hold the meeting at our church,” said the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center. “We have to make sure this is not an attack on Christianity. It is totally unfair to remove the two teachers, and allow the other teacher to remain. We need answers and for them to be returned to the classroom.”

So, just to recap: a teacher may or may not have been "refuting Christianity," may or may not have been trying to challenge the notion that Haiti deserved to be obliterated by an earthquake, and may or may not have been sprinkled with holy water by two other teachers. And despite the degree of uncertainty involved, and the probability that absolutely nobody in the entire story is entirely in the right, we have a gigantic load of outrage flying around.

Great. I think my current plan is to ignore this one from here on in and hope it all goes away.

* I should note that the article describes holy water as, "...sterile water or oil that Christians use in prayer rituals." This isn't necessarily true both because oil, holy or not, is not water, and because holy whatever isn't necessarily sterile. Don't we remember the recent warning that holy water could act as a vector for swine flu? I mean, hell, the production of holy water has fewer standards than even homeopathy, and that's saying something.

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Anonymous Michael said...

Sarcasm on.

Maybe we should try for some homeopathic holy water...? That might be some hot stuff!

Sarcasm off.

Thursday, May 27, 2010 4:38:00 AM  
Blogger Drek said...

That's brilliant! We take one vial of holy water, mix it with a thouand gallon tank of distilled water, shake the crap out of it, and repeat the process ten or twenty times! We could make a fortune!

Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:35:00 AM  

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