A Kentucky high school teacher is under fire for writing "You can't be a democrat and go to heaven" on a class whiteboard. The statement was attributed to a student. Another student reported feeling ridiculed and bullied in a following discussion, so much so that she's refused to return to class and is now being home schooled.
She'll likely have a better chance of getting an actual education at home than in this classroom so that's the good news. The bad news is what passes for education these days. While news stories about this issue have focused on whether or not the teacher should have written a statement like this on the board, the more important point is the role of education relative to prejudice.
The statement is clearly prejudicial. It's also a great teaching moment. Imagine a discussion like this:
"So, students, let's start by asking: 'If it's true that democrats can't go to heaven, what about the millions of practicing Christians who happen to be democrats? Are they barred from heaven? What if someone used to be a democrat? How long do they need to not be a democrat before they can get into heaven? What about independents? How does God keep track of people who change political parties... or what about those who don't vote?"
One can imagine some real education happening around beliefs that exclude others based on belief - religious, political, sexual, or otherwise. Such a discussion might conclude with a sound rejection of the statement, not on the basis of an opposing opinion, but through the process of honest examination and debate. But you'd need a real educator to facilitate that and it's unlikely the teacher in question here would qualify.
True education always points to eternal truths, the timeless wisdom that belongs to everyone, regardless of political parties or religious beliefs. And that starts with a fundamental respect for everyone, for all of life.
Where are the teachers qualified to teach that?