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Author Topic: If You Like to Talk to Tomatoes...
Space Opera
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We live in a small town. A town so small that it's obvious that *everyone* is Christian, as evidenced by the fact that our public school has a *Christmas* program (complete with a written "God Bless" from the music teacher on the program) instead of a *Holiday* program.

The other day Operaetta came home and told me they'd watched a Veggie Tales movie that day in school about lying. Ok, nice message, but included along with it is a tomato who quotes bible verse and a cucumber who reminds children that "God loves you."

I will probably choose to remain silent on the issue, since it is a small town and I've got two more kiddos to get through the school, but it still irks me. When is sensitive too sensitive?

space opera

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TheTick
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Did they see the part with the Bible verse? It's usually only brought up after the cartoon is over. Seems like they could watch the whole thing and turn it off for their own discussion when Qwerty is about to dish out the Bible verse.
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aspectre
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"When is sensitive too sensitive?"

When ya let a talking tomato or a talking cucumber get to you. I mean have ya watched ShaolinShowdown or JackieChan or ScoobieDoo or...

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Bob_Scopatz
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I think you're doing the right thing by not making a huge deal of it, but that doesn't mean you have to be silent, either. A friendly chat with the Principal, or School Superintendant about the overall issue of Christian education in the public schoolroom would not be out of bounds at all, especially if you are already an "involved parent." But even if this is the first time you'll be meeting these folks, it's worth at least a chat. I wouldn't make demands, of course, but you could point out that there are alternatives to getting that message out without using religious programming, or that if the message is going to include selections from the Bible, that other sources (religious and secular) might be brought into the discussion as well.

By the way, VeggieTales are hilarious and have great songs. It's all part of an insidious plot to convert everyone!

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T_Smith
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"When ya let a talking tomato or a talking cucumber get to you."

The pot roast in the fridge calls my name, usually around 11:30 when Jamie has gone to bed. It tells me that vegetarians are going to burn in hell.

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Shigosei
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Much of VeggieTales isn't overtly religious if you skip the last part. Heck, I showed the Spanish Silly Song in Spanish class once. It went over reasonably well. There's no religious aspect to a cucumber singing about how great he is at singing and dancing.

But yeah, if they included the religious parts, it can't hurt to talk to someone about it. I personally wouldn't make a big deal out of it (else you'll be seen as the bad guy, who wants to spoil everyone else's fun because there are Bible verses in it), but I think you're right to ask if perhaps they'd remember that not all the kids are Christian.

Maybe they'd like to give equal time to other beliefs. SpaghettiTales, anyone? [Evil]

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Space Opera
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Tick, hmm...hadn't thought to ask Operaetta if they actually saw the bible verses or not. Now I'll have to ask her.

But yeah, I probably won't say anything. The ladies of the PTO were downright shocked to find out I was a vegetarian, so I can just imagine how our religious beliefs would go over.

*sigh*

space opera

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Olivet
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Shigosei, you made me blow coffee up my nose. [Big Grin]

My kids watch veggietales at home, even though we are heathens. The other night, William (he has begun to insist that he be called "William" and consistently writes it on his school papers, too, even though it is much longer than his nickname *sigh*) asked to watch the one about being scared. There's a song called "God is bigger than the boogeyman", and they talk about how God made everything.

Robert was watching it, too, and said, "God didn't make everything. There was a Big Bang."

Ron and I exchanged looks and smiled. Then Robert added, "Though maybe what we call "God" is what made the Big Bang happen." He said it in such a thoughtful voice, like he was considering the idea.

I told him I thought he was very wise to look at all those possibilities.

So, Space Opera, some exposure to such things can be managed, I think. I sympathize, though. I have kept my family's religious beliefs well out of the school's notice because of other issues. I'm just not up for that particular battle, myself.

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Shigosei
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If other people aren't aware of your beliefs, and you're not ready to make it clear to them that you are not a Christian, then perhaps it might be best just to discuss this with your kids at home. I'm sorry that your community is such that you don't feel free to be overtly different from them. That must be hard.
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dawnmaria
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Shigosei, You made me smile too! My Hubby wants to get a FSM emblem to put on back of his car to counter everyone else's fishies!
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Glenn Arnold
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My son bought me an IPU wind chime for my birthday. I was quite proud, but I didn't explain it to my wife.
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JonnyNotSoBravo
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So I just googled IPU and the only hit that seems to make sense in Glenn's post is the Invisible Pink Unicorn...O_o

==============

Veggie Tales also has the story of Jonah and the Whale, which is definitely religious throughout though it might not be considered exclusively Christian...

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Glenn Arnold
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Well, I had to think for a minute about what FSM meant. The IPU (PBUHH) has been around a lot longer.
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dkw
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Some of the VeggieTales segments are religious all the way through, others are direct re-tellings of Bible stories, and some segments have no mention of God or faith at all and then stick a prolouge Bible verse at the end.

I've got some theological disagrements with several of them, but I'm sure we'll let the munchkin watch them anyway. We'll just have to debrief as it becomes appropriate.

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Jenny Gardener
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That's the thing about parenting, always having to tell your children what your family believes. One way you could bring up the Veggie Tales issue is by asking what educational goals were being met by watching the video...
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TomDavidson
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I feel compelled to point out that while both the FSM and the IPU are inexplicably more popular, my own "Floating Purple Panda" predates them both by at least five years. [Wink]
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Belle
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I don't think there's any harm in asking for a conference with the teacher and just explaining that you'd appreciate nothing overtly Christian was used as a teaching tool in the classroom. If you're polite and understanding, I'm sure the teacher will be accomodating. They probably just assumed everyone in the class attended church. I know that's the way it is at my local public school - we also had a Christian Christmas pageant, but they did send home a permission slip explaining the play and letting parents know their children did not have to participate, though no one opted out to my knowledge.
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The Pixiest
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I just want to say to all you IPU heritics to give up your false beliefs and be Touched By His Noodly Appendage.

A Mighty Pasta Is Our God!

FSM Forever.

Pix

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King of Men
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To be fair, Tom, Sagan's "Invisible Heatless Dragon Whose Abode Is My Garage" goes way back to the seventies.

About the school, it seems to me that the only possible solution is to hack its intranet and make all the computers spew IPU images and Darwin Fish every five minutes or so. I have regretfully reached the conclusion that a sniper rifle is just a minim extreme for a first offense; keep it in reserve.

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opiejudy
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quote:
Originally posted by Olivet:
Ron and I exchanged looks and smiled. Then Robert added, "Though maybe what we call "God" is what made the Big Bang happen." He said it in such a thoughtful voice, like he was considering the idea.

I told him I thought he was very wise to look at all those possibilities.

I recently ahd this conversation with my daughter and I think I just confused her. She is at a point where she is doubting her faith (whether it be from some inner turmoil or my lack of a faith I dont know) So she is asking all these questions and one was about where we came from and so there was this long discussion, and we abndied about being created, big bang, big bang because of God..etc... I applaud you for being able to explain to your children

back on topic, you need to tell them about your feelings regarding the Veggietales in school thing. It can't be ignored. Seperation of church and state is imperative in order to ensure freedom of religion. I try to explain to my very religious mother-in-law all the time when we have the church/state discussion that my view is for her protection not mine. If we set legal religious precendent then we have opened a can worms allowing religion to be regulated, which won't affect me being a non-believer, as I could care less what god the government would make me pray to, but for her as believer the consequences would be astounding. But she still says I'm wrong. oh well.

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Tresopax
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quote:
When is sensitive too sensitive?
When you are making more of a problem than you are fixing.
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Historian
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'tis sad that the schools must teach morality because some parents don't do it themselves...
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Dan_raven
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You may want to bring it up, not as "I don't want my child to be forced into Christian beliefs" which is not the case here. You may want to bring it up as, "I don't want my tax dollars going to some pointless law suit when some greedy lawyer finds out what we've done and sues."
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Uprooted
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quote:
One way you could bring up the Veggie Tales issue is by asking what educational goals were being met by watching the video...
It was a Ministry-approved educational technique, perhaps?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Historian:
'tis sad that the schools must teach morality because some parents don't do it themselves...

'Tis worse when schools decide that if parents aren't teaching a particular religious doctrine that they aren't teaching morality.
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dkw
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I hope that "don't lie" is not a particular religious doctrine. I also think think it's a perfectly appropriate thing for a school to teach.
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kmbboots
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I think that you are absolutely right. And since, "don't lie" is not a particular religious doctrine, I have a hard time understanding why they couldn't find a creative way of teaching it without using a religious video.
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jeniwren
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The Larry Boy Fib from Outer Space video is not religious (that I remember) other than at the very end where they ask Qwerty to give them a verse. The video does a really good, fun, entertaining job of illustrating what often happens when we lie. The gist of the story is that Junior breaks a plate and blames it on his friend. This creates a little space alien that continues to grow and grow as Junior has to tell more lies to cover up his first one, until the alien is threatening to take over Bumblyburg. Larry Boy can't defeat it, despite his keen cucumber superpowers. When Junior tells the truth at last, the fib shrinks into nothingness. It's a very cute story and I don't recall that there are any lines from any of the characters about how God doesn't want us to lie. That we shouldn't lie is really self evident from the story itself.

I can see not showing the VeggieTales Easter or Christmas videos, but see nothing wrong with showing the Fib from Outer Space in public school classrooms, especially if the video is stopped before it gets to the very end. But I don't especially have a problem with kids seeing a video that quotes the Bible. Just as I would not have objection to a video quoting the Koran, or Buddha, or any other religious text that is espousing a universally agreed truth.

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kmbboots
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I think that in this case, it was probably fine. I think that it could lead into some dangerous areas, and I am a little suspicious of the motivation.
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opiejudy
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quote:
Originally posted by jeniwren:
But I don't especially have a problem with kids seeing a video that quotes the Bible. Just as I would not have objection to a video quoting the Koran, or Buddha, or any other religious text that is espousing a universally agreed truth.

The Bible is a universally agreed truth?
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jeniwren
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Opie, please reread what you quoted. It's very clear I didn't say that the Bible is a universally agreed truth.
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Dr Strangelove
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I see nothing wrong with this whole thing, as long as it wasn't prosteletizing (I know I got that spelling wrong). Just quoting a few lines from the Bible shouldn't be any different than quoting a few lines from any other book. As long as there isn't any "READ THIS BOOK OR GO TO HELL!" involved (which I know there isn't in most Veggie Tales, including that one), I wouldn't make a big deal out of it.
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kmbboots
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Would you honestly feel that way if, for example, your 6 year-olds teacher started each day with a reading from the Koran?

I am not saying that this example is that extreme. I am saying that deciding where those lines are drawn can be pretty difficult.

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Dr Strangelove
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If it were each day, that would smack of prostylization (try a new spelling now). If it were occaisonal, and the readings weren't an attempt to get my child to convert, but to teach him/her a life lesson, I wouldn't object.
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kmbboots
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Couple of "ifs" in there.

Do you think that there might be better ways to teach that life lesson? Ways that wouldn't raise so many "ifs"? If so, why would you pick that way?

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by jeniwren:
Opie, please reread what you quoted. It's very clear I didn't say that the Bible is a universally agreed truth.

I disagree. I had to read it three times before I understood what you meant to say. I suggest you read your post again.
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Dr Strangelove
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Oh I'm not saying that there aren't any better ways. I'm quite sure there are ways which would not cause a bit of a stink. But there would also be ways which would cause much much more of a stink than Veggie Tales. I just really don't see it as that big of a deal.
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kmbboots
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Neither do I. But I do see that is has the potential to become one. Are "Veggie Tales" going to become a habit? Was the teacher just assuming that everyone in her class was a Christian of the type that watches "Veggie Tales"? Was she just using something that was easy because she was familiar with it? Any of these could become a problem for parents who, for whatever reasons, don't want their kids to be "churched" at school.
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Dr Strangelove
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I agree with that. I was actually going to put something in my previous post about Veggie Tales being a cop out, but it didn't really fit. If it becomes a regular occurence (an 'if' there), then yes, I would definately say it was a problem.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Space Opera:


I will probably choose to remain silent on the issue, since it is a small town and I've got two more kiddos to get through the school, but it still irks me. When is sensitive too sensitive?

space opera

Space- I remember in my elementary school music thing, we sang "christmas songs," and they won't even do those anymore. (I was there in the early 90s). Some things are cultural and should be taken as part of being American, like basic santa claus stuff and the easter bunny. I actually think singing all kinds of religious carols is totally fine, since nowhere does it say you have to be a believe to participate in a song.

But when they start delving into their particular agenda, like "spreading the word," and applying bible verses to everyday ethics lessons, I would draw the line there.

Although some "biblical" things are part of our every day ethical culture: ie, "the Golden Rule, do unto others;" yet what this situation sounds like to me is a more specific applied interpretation of the Bible. It shouldn't be necessary, nay I believe it is in fact illegal for them to teach using the Bible as a direct guide to learning life-skills and ethics. It would be one thing to be talking about rules of behavior, and discuss what the bible or other religious texts say, but to offer scripture as "the rules," seems wrong to me.

You would be quite right to complain.

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by opiejudy:


back on topic, you need to tell them about your feelings regarding the Veggietales in school thing. It can't be ignored. Seperation of church and state is imperative in order to ensure freedom of religion. I try to explain to my very religious mother-in-law all the time when we have the church/state discussion that my view is for her protection not mine. If we set legal religious precendent then we have opened a can worms allowing religion to be regulated, which won't affect me being a non-believer, as I could care less what god the government would make me pray to, but for her as believer the consequences would be astounding. But she still says I'm wrong. oh well.

I think its fine for you to use this argument to convince your mother in law. It is at least, half true. But I hope you do keep in mind that that particular lever swings both ways, and if we started setting legal precedent according to a religion, that religion or the institution that governs it could easily leverage unfair control over our legal processes and our lives.

The Pope for much of European history was a formidable force in politics. Since he controlled the interpretation of religious law, he also had the power to reinterpret the justness of the rule of any King in a Catholic country. This is the source of the split between the Anglicans and Catholics in England in the 15th century; though it was ostensibly about Henry VIII getting divorced, it was reall about the rights of Kings to fully rule over their kingdoms.

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Slim Shady
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quote:
yet what this situation sounds like to me is a more specific applied interpretation of the Bible. It shouldn't be necessary, nay I believe it is in fact illegal for them to teach using the Bible as a direct guide to learning life-skills and ethics.
when did this go from cartoon veggies with a message tacked onto the end to using the Bible as a direct guide?
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jeniwren
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quote:
Originally posted by King of Men:
quote:
Originally posted by jeniwren:
Opie, please reread what you quoted. It's very clear I didn't say that the Bible is a universally agreed truth.

I disagree. I had to read it three times before I understood what you meant to say. I suggest you read your post again.
I reread it half a dozen times after getting her reply. Out loud, even. I can't see how it's unclear. But whatever.

If a teacher wanted to use a religious text to illustrate further how we culturally observe a universally agreed truth, I wouldn't have a problem with it. Even if it was the Koran, Buddha or the Bible, because these texts have influence over cultures, which is obviously fair game for education. It starts crossing the line when a teacher says "The Koran/Bible is true and this part here where it says not to lie proves it."

But maybe I'm just pissy today. It happens. I'll apologize tomorrow and feel wretched about being snippy.

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Pelegius
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Veggie Tales are pretty harmless, even to this secularist. The school may be within its legel rights if, and only if, the teacher adds materiel explaining that the school does not endorse christianity per se, but acknowladges the influence of Judeo-Christian morality on western society (rather unlikely in an elementary school.)
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Olivet
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opie, we didn't teach him that, really. He just kind of considered it and came up with the possibility himself. Which was why we were so happy about it. I want him to find his own way as much as possible, with our guidance. I mean, I don't want to shove the idea that "whether there exists a personnified deity is essentially irrelevant" down his throat.

I think jeniwren was saying that "It's bad to lie" or something like that may be a "unniversally agreed upon truth" that the "any religious text" may espouse.

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