By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A lot more than inconvenient

In what reads like a culture-war parody, the Washington Post reports that a father who’s an evangelical Christian has intimidated public-school officials into not showing Al Gore’s documentary on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

What really makes this story special is that the father, Frosty Hardison, who lives in the Seattle suburbs, actually accepts the reality of global warming — with a twist. The Post’s Blaine Harden writes, “The 43-year-old computer consultant is an evangelical Christian who says he believes that a warming planet is ‘one of the signs’ of Jesus Christ’s imminent return for Judgment Day.”

So even though Hardison refers to “An Inconvenient Truth” as “that propagandist Al Gore video,” it appears his problem isn’t with Gore’s findings (which amount to nothing more than the consensus scientific view) but, rather, that Gore thinks we should do something.

Yet Hardison won. The screening was canceled, and the teacher has been told she’ll receive a disciplinary letter for not seeking permission to show a “controversial” film.

I’m not familiar with Hardison’s community, Federal Way, Wash., but it’s probably safe to say that it has more in common with Cambridge and Ann Arbor, Mich., than it does with Lubbock, Texas, or Tupelo, Miss. It is incredible — and incredibly disturbing — that school officials would cave in to the idiosyncratic religious views of a few outspoken parents.

The public schools’ mission, after all, is to teach science. If that tiny minority of scientists who deny the existence of human-caused global warming wants to speak up, well fine. It’s possible that they’re right. But Hardison’s complaint has nothing to do with science. If he can’t handle reality-based education, let him home-school his seven kids.

By the way, I know I’m late to this. Check out Google Blogsearch for what others have been saying.

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  1. Anonymous

    My sister lives in Washington State, not far from Federal Way. She says that there is a definite conservative streak in Washington. I wouldn’t jump to a conclusion that Federal Way is more like Cambridge or Ann Arbor than Lubbock or Tupelo.

  2. Anonymous

    Actually, when have cities like Seattle and Cambridge NOT evoked a backlash from those not enamored with “progressive” politics?

  3. Anonymous

    This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read on here: It is incredible — and incredibly disturbing — that school officials would cave in to the idiosyncratic religious views of a few outspoken parents.Talk about irony. That’s what a lot of us living here in Massachusetts have to put up with all the time – minority rule based on the politically correct aims of some small special interest group. Hey Dan, welcome to our world. Sucks, huh?

  4. BobT

    Hi, I’m a former North End resident now living in Seattle. Federal Way IS more like Lubbock and Tupelo than Cambridge and Ann Arbor. Although a better comparison would be Terre Haute or Waco. As for the state in general, King County (Seattle) is pretty liberal and nicely balances out, and then some, the more conservative areas to the south and the whacked-out conservative nuts in the East. The stretch between Seattle and Tacoma is littered with what someone more elitist than me would consider white trash communities. It’s not called the Trailer Park Corridor for nothing. Federal Way, Tukwila, Des Moines, Kent … these are not towns you want to stop in when you visit the beautiful Pacific Northwest. A mere 20 or so miles from Federal Way is Enumclaw, where (as you all probably know) last year a man died whilst having sex with a horse.

  5. Citizen Charles Foster Kane

    Poor poor persecuted anon 10:50. I’d love to hear some examples of the incredible burden you’re forced to bear living here in Massachusetts. Specifically, I’d like to hear how your viewpoints have been scheduled to be presented to a group of students and then canceled because of the efforts of a single parent, because that’s what we’re talking about here, not your own martyr complex.

  6. mike_b1

    Someone should wake anon 10:50 and tell him now that the GOP no longer controls the governor’s seat, he should have nothing to complain about.

  7. Anonymous

    Slightly off topic about this. If I were a teacher in an 8th or 9th grade “earth science” class, I probably wouldn’t show the DVD in class. Not because the science isn’t correct–it has been substantiated over and over–but because it is relatively ineffeciently presented. I would integrate the material from not only the DVD, but also from a number of sources (there are a number of wonderful climatology sites available on the web) into a unified whole. That would make for a wonderful course, and not only on global climate change.That said, would I eschew showing the DVD? Not in the least, but I wouldn’t show it in class. When I was in freshman biology (1963-64), after the evilution (misspelling intentional) section, the teacher, along with a teacher from another school, arranged for a special showing of the movie Inherit The Wind one evening. By invitation only, and nobody was marked down if they didn’t attend (everyone did). That’s the way the teacher should have handled a controversial film: show it, if necessary off campus, but outside of class.BTW, the idea that the teacher was “marked down” for “not seeking permission to show a “controversial” film” is absurd. She should resign immediately. As a science teacher, she would have no problem finding employment elsewhere.–raj

  8. Anonymous

    forsty hardison is from federal way washington which is between seattle tacoma.i went to highschool with one of his daughters and just thought that i would clear seattles good name as a liberal democartic city while federal way is full of mormons evangilists and korean methodists who try and put christian beliefs into everything thank you for your time

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