Tuesday, March 21, 2006

(un)American Theocrats.

Via Matt Young at the Panda's Thumb, it seems that a Colorado teacher has been suspended for exposing her students to that horrible satanist activity known as opera. The Rocky Mountain News has the story:

A music teacher placed on leave last month after some parents objected to the showing of a video of the opera Faust to elementary school students says she's been called a devil worshipper and a lesbian in this small town 35 miles east of Denver. [...]

Tresa Waggoner, 33, was placed on paid administrative leave Jan. 30 and will remain on leave until further notice. [...]

She defended her decision to show the video to her elementary classes. She said the opera is "a great part of our civilization and Western culture. It was for the children to enjoy and be exposed to opera."

The controversy began after Waggoner, a former opera singer and a mother of two, invited Opera Colorado singers to perform Island of Tulipatan at Bennett Elementary School on Jan. 31.

She said she wanted to prepare her students for the performance, and decided to show portions of Faust, which was on a Who's Afraid of Opera? video she found on a shelf in her music room at the elementary school.

You just have to read it to believe it. Now if she had read excerpts of Harry Potter, or possibly shown them an episode of the occultish Scooby Doo, I might understand. But this goes too far.

On a completely unrelated subject, Kevin Phillips, former Republican strategist, has a new book out titled American Theocracy which is reviewed by the NYT here and here. The first review contains the following description:
In analyzing the fates of Rome, Hapsburg Spain, the Dutch Republic, Britain and the United States, he comes up with five symptoms of "a power already at its peak and starting to decline": 1) "widespread public concern over cultural and economic decay," along with social polarization and a widening gap between rich and poor; 2) "growing religious fervor" manifested in a close state-church relationship and escalating missionary zeal; 3) "a rising commitment to faith as opposed to reason and a corollary downplaying of science"; 4) "considerable popular anticipation of a millennial time frame" and 5) "hubris-driven national strategic and military overreach" in pursuit of "abstract international missions that the nation can no longer afford, economically or politically."
So according to Phillips, growing religious ferver, increasing ties between church and state, and attacks on science are all symptoms of a great power in decline. Good thing we don't see that here.