Maryland Goes Full Gaia

A religion is established in Maryland public schools.

The Baltimore Sun brings startling news:

Maryland public school students will need to know their green to graduate under a new policy adopted today by the state board of education.

State officials and environmental activists called the vote "historic" and said Maryland has become the first state in the nation to require environmental literacy to graduate from high school. Under the rule, public schools will be required to work lessons about conservation, smart growth and the health of our natural world into their core subjects like science and social studies.

The requirement applies to students entering high school this fall.  Local school systems will be able to shape those lessons to be relevant to their communities, but all will have to meet standards set by the state.

We could take this opportunity to rant, yet again, about how the notorious fraud of global warming is promoted using your tax dollars.  We could review how electric cars are worse for the environment than modern oil-burning ones, or talk about how even environmentalists are admitting that, in many cases, recycling is unhelpful.

Maryland's new high school diploma.

We all know this would accomplish nothing whatsoever.  The government, and no few voters, in Maryland will choose to believe in this environmental extremism regardless of the evidence placed before them.  The question is outside of the realm of science; it's barely within the realm of normal politics.

It is, in fact, a question of religion - and Maryland's public schools have just established one.

Civic Religion: An American Tradition

This sounds shocking, but public support of religion has a long and solid tradition in America.  The very first publicly-funded American schools, established in the Massachusetts Bay Colony long before there even was a United States, were for the express purpose of furthering the cause of religion:

It being one chief project of that old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures... It is therefore ordered that every township in this jurisdiction, after the Lord hath increased them to fifty households shall forthwith appoint one within their town to teach all such children as shall resort to him to write and read, whose wages shall be paid either by the parents or masters of such children, or by the inhabitants in general.  [emphasis added]

Taxpayer-funded compulsory schools go back a long way.  For many years, the Bible itself was the primary textbook of the public schools both in Massachusetts and elsewhere.  As recently as the turn of the last century, public school teachers were expected to be leading exemplars of Christian character and good morals.

So the states were establishing a religion?  Not exactly.  Yes, they promoted what might be called "lowest-common-denominator Protestantism," but beyond the most basic Sunday-school stuff, they didn't get into the sort of theological differences that distinguish Presbyterians from Baptists from Congregationalists from Pentecostals.

Americans considered the Bible to be the Word of God, more or less, and considered Jesus Christ to be the Son of God; that was good enough for common ground.  Jews didn't buy into that, but there weren't enough of them to be too much of an issue and reasonable accommodations were generally made.

That didn't cut it for increasing numbers of Catholics, however, who didn't appreciate having the Pope's authority questioned.  Rather than fight the school board, cities with a large Catholic population founded their own private parish schools which were funded by the parents instead of being funded out of general revenue, many of which survive to this day and provide some of the best education found anywhere.

In short: the Protestant majority ran the public schools to their taste.  Anyone who believed otherwise strongly enough to pay for a school was free to teach their kids in some other way more suitable to their religious tastes.

With the decline of Christianity and rise of ACLU-style secular humanism from the 1960s on, religion as such has been mostly purged from American public schools - or so we are told.  In actual fact, the generic Protestantism of the past has been replaced with a different belief structure that's every bit as dogmatic and impervious to rational argument - leftist liberalism.

Though devoid of the usual trappings and rituals of religion unless you count voting Democrat as a religious ritual, liberalism is a religion every bit as much as Christianity or Islam, in that its core beliefs are entirely outside the realm of rational argument, and anyone who questions them is a blasphemer to be burned at the stake.

Democracy in Action!

What Maryland has done may be wrong factually and morally, but remember, Maryland is almost as blue a state as Washington DC.  A fervent belief in the most destructive aspects of environmentalism is exactly what most parents there want their children inculcated in; it's what they themselves believe.

Of course, since the economy of Maryland is dominated by employment in Federal bureaucracies, very few of the parents will pay the price inflicted by their chosen anti-growth, anti-development, anti-freedom, anti-modern-technology policies.  The government of Maryland is merely reflecting local voter preferences, which is what you'd expect in a democracy.

It would be interesting for a lover of liberty to sue the Maryland Department of Education for unconstitutional establishment of religion.  However, it may be hard to find out: like the Catholics of a century ago, they've probably long since removed their own kids to a private or home school, where Edison's light bulb still burns over the heads of diligent scholars.

Given that public schools can't teach real literacy, environmental "literacy" may be the best they can hope to accomplish.  We can't wait to see the fatuous nonsense promulgated as "environmental literacy" by the Maryland Board of Ed.  Perhaps they'll hire His Greenness Al Gore as a consultant?

Kermit Frosch is a guest writer for  Read other articles by Kermit Frosch or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments

What an educational disaster. "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is made up" will be the header on the graduating seniors and they will continue to act like fools for the rest of their pathetic lives.

July 13, 2011 11:03 AM

Glad you pointed out the federal employment of MD. That is one of the reasons MD has not shed citizens as it otherwise would have.

July 13, 2011 11:10 AM

"..liberalism is a religion every bit as much as Christianity or Islam, in that its core beliefs are entirely outside the realm of rational argument..."~Frosch

But of course we are thus led to believe that "conservatism" is nothing at all like religion that "liberalism" is...Lol

These two belief systems, Conservatism and Liberalism, are exact dialectical mirrors of one another. And hipocrisy is alive and well on both sides of the fence.

No doubt the corporatists are promoting Agenda 21, Global Warming yahoodie, etc. But in your "Conservative" backlash--do not be so dead stupid as to believe humanity's footprint on this planet is deep and filthy.

Of course, after accepting a lifetime of brainwashing without questio, I doubt if there is anything that can be said at this late date to wake up a lollipop kid.

July 13, 2011 1:03 PM

Lol...commenting before my first cup of java wasn't the best of ideas...

July 13, 2011 1:53 PM

Comparing Maryland's obnoxious law to religion is a long reach.
However, to look on the bright side, the graduates will be literate in something.
They can't do arithmetic well enough to balance a checkbook and many will need remedial reading to get accepted into a college. They certainly are not literate in government - most think that their rights come from the government. And umm, well, like, you know, well, umm, like string words together in a complete like, you know a, well a like a sentence..what's a sentence/ I didn't get a sentence, I didn't even get caught.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

July 13, 2011 10:02 PM

"The dietary and clothing restrictions that environmentalists impose upon themselves [and others]; the secular mass performed every day over the recycling bins with cans, bottles, newsprint, and compost each carefully placed within its own holy container and left by the curb to await resurrection -- what else is this but religion?"

From *How We Got Here: The 70s* by David Frum (I know, I know, but it was a great read nevertheless)

All the elements that we usually cite to define a religion are present: a deity (Gaia, Mother Earth, whatever), a series of rituals or proscriptions, and a strong element of faith. I have faith that Jesus Christ was the son of God; the environmentalist has faith that we are all destroying the planet and wishes to see all our freedoms curtailed to stop it.

The Green movement is simply where all the old Reds wound up.

July 13, 2011 11:28 PM

Well Bro John,

As I tried to point out this morning before coffee...ahem...

The gloss, the hype, the Studibaker stupid of Greenyak is one thing, but any who do not see with their own eyes what a cesspool humanity is making of the planet is a fool.

Does Jesus talk to you?
What does he tell you?

Not asking in fun. What is this certainty you have on this account?
I am not a religionist of any kind--but that doesn't mean I am not fact I am more sincerely spiritual than most religionists I know, who drop it as soon as they walk out of church.

I have studied comparative religion for a long time. I see true believers as dogmatic fanatics, and in the main theologically violent and xenophobic.

I understand the fabricated blunderbus of the UN Agenda 21 scam coming at us. But that shouldn't mean turning away from real the ecological desaster in front of us. the thing that snarls my snout is that it is the Malthusian crackpots and their corporatism that led to this ruin. Anow they want to X all the little people out that had a sustainable thing going for themselves when they were "discovered" by these maniacs from Europe and the British Isles.

The problem may be spun for corporatist interests, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a problem and that it isn't profound.


July 14, 2011 12:29 AM

Willy, what the natives had before technology arrived was sustainable, but at the cost of back-breaking toil. Lives were nasty, brutish, and short. Once we started using energy resources, civilization ceased to be sustainable, of course, but became much more comfortable.

I found this cheat sheet on the Internet. What do you think of this one-page guide to comparative religions? It's not mine, so fire away.

Comparative Religion Made Simple

There are 5 fundamental questions about religion: TC or ID? IF or CG? B or Q? C or L? and GBI? What we believe determines what we do. The critical question behind all questions about religion is, do we do as we like or take God’s views into account? What we believe about God determines what we do. Is it our plan or His plan?

1) TC or ID? Total Chance or Intelligent Design. How did the universe come to be? Was it made through Total Chance or by an Intelligent Designer? If you believe in randomness, in Total Chance, there’s little more to say. You study physics to find out how the universe chanced to be, but you don’t think about God.

Evolutionists prefer Total Chance because it lets them believe that there is no God. If there is a God, you better get with His program if He has one, but without God, doing as you like makes no difference.

2) IF or CG? If the universe and the world came about through Intelligent Design, that is, there was some sort of God involved, was the designer an Impersonal Force (Star wars, Buddhists, Hindus, maybe 20% of world population) who made the universe but doesn’t care much what happens to it, or a Caring God with personality and desire to communicate?

The IF God is sometimes called the “watchmaker God” in that He wound the universe like a clock and let it go. Christians are supposed to believe that God so loved the world, that is, He cared about His creation, that He gave His son’s life to save it, so He’s a Caring God.

If God is an Impersonal Force, if He doesn’t care about you, you can do as you like except that you ought to think about getting in line with His plan, may the Force be with you. If a Caring God loves you as an individual, what you do matters to Him and you really need to know what He wants for your life.

3) B or Q? Assuming a Caring God, did God reveal Himself in the Bible or in the Quran? Christians and Muslims are 54% of the world’s population. This makes a huge difference; the Bible and the Quran describe totally different Gods with totally different plans that cannot be reconciled.

4) C or L? Assuming that God revealed Himself in something written, are you a theological Conservative or Liberal? Do you think that your scripture gives rules to live today or is it a collection of general principles from long ago which are probably no longer relevant? Is your Bible accurate and relevant or mythical and historical? If it’s mythical, you don’t have to take it seriously, you can do as you like. If it’s literal, you’d better read it closely and do as it says if you want to get with God’s program. Litaralist Muslims obey Allah's commands to kill non-Muslims, for example.

5) GBI? The last question: is God Good for you, Bad for you, or Indifferent to you? If God is Good for you, if God loves you, if God wants the best for you, then what the Bible says works for your benefit.
If you think God cares about you as an individual; if you think He gave the Bible for your benefit, if God wants what’s best for you, you’ll read the Bible looking for keys to happiness and obey it for your good. If you think God is Bad for you, if He wrote rules to keep you from having fun, you’ll read the Bible for loopholes. You’ll find excuses for ignoring what the Bible says so you can do as you like without worrying about God’s view of what you do, “It doesn’t say anything about TV!” If God’s Indifferent to you, you’ll ignore the Bible because God “understands.” That’s another way to convince yourself you can do as you like.

July 14, 2011 5:59 PM

"Lives were nasty, brutish, and short"~Wat

This is not universally true. This assertion is in itself a biased concept. It of course depends on the environs of particualar settlements and such as to whatever amount of truth is in this statement.
There are things that are lost and things that are gained by technological advances. The 'final score' the toss-up, is still in the air. All is in flux nothing is determined.
This may be a esoteric concept for Scragged but I will continue.

The Chart of Comparative Religions is as a rather trivial explanation, fair to middling.

To critique it in depth would be quite a long post.

Before approaching the meat of the matter as the equations are posited, let me address the foundational assumption they are based in:

"What we believe determines what we do."
This is not an axiom that stands without some serious alteration.
There are many motivators beyond "beliefs" that will determine our actions.
To go into that properly is an entire treatise in itself.

I might say as well that there are shades and blurrings unaccounted for in the equations in your offering.
One might study say, Physics, and be a 'believer' in one of the 'Books', not seeking the answer "why" but the answer to "how"--because the two questions are 'apples and oranges'.
If you grasp what I have written so far, I will consider the questions raised more deeply.

July 14, 2011 8:06 PM

@ Willy:

I have, by definition, no need for evidence for my belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God. That's what faith is.

(Faith and religion are not the same thing, so to toss 'religionism' into the mix is irrelevant, as well as the mention of 'dogmatic fanatic' - since I am also a libertarian who believes that free will was created by God. I have had personal experiences that have brought me to faith, and I also suspect that science will bear out my faith, given enough time. If Jesus talks to me, I don't know what to listen for. Either way, these tangents don't matter for the purposes of the discussion of faith.)

Similarly, the belief in anthropogenic global warming/global cooling/climate change/whatever is also a belief that comes only through faith, since there isn't the slightest shred of evidence that human activity causes any such thing. In the late 1960s, it was said there'd be famine; in the 70s, the planet was getting too cold; in the late 80s, it was getting too hot. In the last 10 years, it's just 'climate change' - a convenient catch-all since it's clear that nobody has the slightest idea what the hell is really going on. But, just as I credit God with certain works and am confident in doing so through faith, the environmentalist is just as confident in his faith by assigning blame for this nebulous concept of 'climate change' on the United States.

July 15, 2011 12:02 AM

...for he does so without any evidence.

July 15, 2011 12:03 AM

Well Bro John,

I too have full confidence of the existance of the Source, by personal experience as well. We need not try to explain to one another.

However the fact of loss of habitat and vast environmental damage especially to the waterways is hardly something that can be denied.
If you do, you are not paying attention.

As I said, the political opportunism is one thing. The reality of the heavy pollution of vast tracks of earth and sea is another.
It is only denial to handwave this.

But...this is obviously empass. Believe what you will.

July 15, 2011 12:51 AM

@ Willy:

We are only at an impasse - I think that's the word you're looking for - only because we again are addressing two different concepts. You mention pollution; in the west, it's not half the problem it was in the 1960s, and the early environmental movement deserves much credit for this. Elsewhere around the world, there is a different story.

But never mind all that. My topic was not pollution but man-caused global climate change, which is a complete nonsense. And given that there is no evidence for it, belief in it is entirely a matter of faith. And, as such, the state of Maryland now imposes a religious belief requirement for graduation.

Likewise, debate stupidly rages on the question of evolution/intelligent design and what ought to be taught to students. The simple answer is that neither should be, and that no science class ought to address the question at all, since no hard evidence exists to support either view. The ancient fossil record can be used to support the idea of a common ancestor or a common technique used by a creator. You may wish to believe you were descended from apes and other lower life forms; I prefer to think I was made in the image and likeness of God. They are both religions. The only solution to this problem - one of religion x over religion y in schools - is to get rid of them both entirely. School is not the place for such things unless a parent voluntarily places their kid somewhere to have such views expressed.

And that, I believe, was the point of this essay.

July 15, 2011 7:41 AM

"The ancient fossil record can be used to support the idea of a common ancestor or a common technique used by a creator. You may wish to believe you were descended from apes and other lower life forms..."~Bro John

Well, it may surprize you that I agree with you entirely on that point.
It is probably only in out conceptualization of such a creater that would come to disagreement between us.

I also see the "Global Warming" issue as misframed and manipulated by the "powers that be," I am not entirely convinced however that the weather is not entering a phase of extreme change. Neither am I convinced that human activities have no exacerbated what may be natural cyclical processes of a greater or lesser degree.

I think anyone claiming any certainty on this topic either way is going beyond what it is possible to know in this human existance in this space/time contominium.

On that conceptualization, I would say it is better to act on the situation in such a way as to seriously attempt to lesson the weight of humanities footprint and make an attempt to heal that which has be seriously wounded.

July 16, 2011 2:00 PM

You'd be right, Willy, about taking action just in case if the government were able to do anything right. But it isn't. The bureaucracies are so selfish and so slow-moving, and so expensive, that we can't afford anything they'd come up with. And if they came up with it, it wouldn't work. We used to be able to get things done, but no more.

So why spend the money? Won't work anyway.

July 16, 2011 2:33 PM

I agree with you as well Fred...even beyond your point; I would assert there is no such thing as 'government', as least in the legitimate sense of the term.
I would say that it is that organizatonal framework that has been abscounded by inhuman interests that poses as 'government.It is after
all the commercial/corporatist furrow that all wealth flows into, that all waste and excess floats upon.
What was wrong with the glass bottle, beyond being a barrier to greater profits in mass manufacturing?

This is why blindly following technical innovation linked to bottom line profitism is plainly a dangerous path. Unthinking lust for efficiency is the highway to hell.

July 16, 2011 6:47 PM

Deluded by myths of progress and suffering from the psychosis of technomania complicated by addiction to depleting oil reserves, industrial society leaves a crescendo of atrocities in its wake.

A very partial list would include the Bhopal chemical disaster, numerous oil spills, the illegal depleted uranium-spewing occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, mountaintop removal, the nuclear meltdown of Fukushima, the permanent removal of 95 percent of the large fish from the oceans (not to mention full-on systemic collapse of those oceans), indigenous communities replacement by oil wells, the mining of coltan for cell phones and Playstations along the Democratic Republic of the Congo/Rwanda border – resulting in tribal warfare and the near-extinction of the Eastern Lowland gorilla.
200 species are going extinct each day...

Although I realize most here are allergic to the term 'climate change', I cannot see what else to call what I am witnessing myself. Not that it is getting 'colder' or 'warmer' with any certainty--but haveing been around the sun 64 times now, I can assure you weather is weirder than anything I have ever experienced. I am not going to agrue this point--I am simply going to say point blank--it you don't see this you are delusional--you are kidding yourself. It is as if you are on amnesiatics, forgetting one day to next, one year to next--acclimating to the new as if it has always been.

If humanity is really that psychotic, it isn't long before it will be one of the species gone extinct.

July 16, 2011 7:09 PM

And here we see the same old abusive behavior: the narratives are not only created around the perceptions of the perpetrators, i.e. those in power, but are forced upon us by them as well, so we come to believe the narratives and accept them as a given. And, essentially, to take industrial capitalism as a given when it comes to solutions to global warming is absolutely absurd and insane. It’s out of touch with physical reality. Yet it has disastrous effects on the real physical world. If you force a planet to conform to ideology you get what you get.

“A while back I had a conversation with an anarchist who was complaining that I was ‘too ideological,’ and that my ideology was ‘the health of the earth.’ Well, actually, the earth is not and cannot ever be an ideology. The earth is physical. It is real. And it is primary. Without soil, you don’t have a healthy land base and without a healthy land base you don’t eat, you die. Without drinkable clean water you die.”
~Derrick Jensen

July 16, 2011 7:42 PM
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