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'Free Exercise of Ignorance'

November 22, 1986

George F. Will hits the nail on the head in his column (Editorial Pages, Nov. 10), "Free Exercise of Ignorance Is No 'Right.' " He condemns the Tennessee fundamentalists as a religious order ill prepared and consequently unwilling to let alternative viewpoints be voiced concerning religious and secular ideas. He speaks of the subsequent ignorance that children are forced to live with, because of their parents' insecurities in defending their religion.

Do these kids plan on going to college? Obviously not. Even religiously oriented schools such as Notre Dame and Brigham Young have science programs, secular and blasphemous according to the fundamentalists. I, however, will not dwell on their argument for their children's well-being; it is self-defeating. Instead I'd like to comment on some of the most scary beliefs I think I've heard since I studied the rise of Hitler and Nazism.

According to Will, the fundamentalists object to "The Diary of Anne Frank," because in it, "Anne said that having some religion was more important than having a particular religion." The fundamentalists obviously wish to think of themselves as the superior religious force. In what manner do they associate with "non-believers," or do they associate with the outside world at all? The impression that they give is that they think they are religiously superior to everyone else, and, as religion is the most important force in their lives, they are therefore simply superior. Does this fanaticism ring any bells? The 1930s in Germany, or the 1690s in Salem, Mass, immediately springs to mind.

"The Wizard of Oz" is objected to because "it contains a good witch." Do these people believe in witches, but only bad ones? Apparently so! However, what I find hardest to believe is that we are living in the most advanced society on the globe, and the fundamentalists are winning a court case over the honest portrayal of witches, whilst in most other civilized countries, these activists would be committed.

Our judicial system shouldn't offer the fundamentalists support, but instead help the children of these fanatics escape from a culture that is based on ignorance and escapism. Clearly, these children are the real losers. Should they venture out into the unguarded, real world, they will be looked upon as ignorant and bigoted. It is the job of our courts to protect these children's rights, and not to sit idly by, and in 15 years, wonder why these children are socially and intellectually deficient.




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