© Glendon Mellow, The Flying Trilobite

i’d like to buy another consonant

Went with Delaney to the “Dads ‘n’ Donuts” event at her school the other day. A fine selection. We finished eating and socializing in the gym a bit early, so we sauntered back to her kindergarten classroom. A couple of dads were already there, being toured by the hand around the classroom by their progeny. Laney grabbed my hand and we joined the conga line.

“This is where alllll of the books are,” Laney said. “And that’s the whiteboard. Here’s the globe, and the puppets…and this,” she gestured proudly, “is my desk!”

I barely heard the last two, since I was still riveted on the whiteboard — which, oh-by-the-way, had THIS on it — scroll ye down:




I am neither making this up nor exaggerating its appearance. Much. The actual medium was dry-erase markers, not tie-dye, but that is amazingly close to the actual appearance of the glorious crux splendidior on the whiteboard in my daughter’s public school classroom.

And what a cross it was! Every color of the rainbow! I’d have burst into a chorus of Crown Him with Many Crowns if not for eleven or twelve things.

Déjà vu. I flashed back to the near-encounter with FAITH at Curriculum Night. But this one was in full view. If anyone else had me in view, they’d have surely assumed I’d suffered a small but effective stroke. I was completely frozen and trying to stay that way.

I knew that if I came to, I’d leap onto a chair and point and squeal “CROSS! CRAWWWWWWSSSSS!!” I’d have no choice: the point-and-shriek is mandated for all encounters with crosses in the by-laws of the Atheist-Vampire Accords of 1294.

A little girl entered my periphery, guiding her father by the hand. “And this,” she said, pointing to the cross, “is what we’re learning about this week!”

She paused for dramatic effect, then announced, with pedantic precision, “Lower-case t!”

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This was written on Monday, 24. September 2007 at 07:49 and was filed under Atlanta, My kids, schools. You can keep up with the comments to this article by using the RSS-Feed.

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  1. LOL – Dale, I think we have the same disease.

    I posted this on another board and forgot to mention it here, little story:

    Ds was asking me about God the other day (thanks to 10 months in a Christian pre-school when he was 3, he’s now 6) and we had a good discussion about what I believe vs. what some other people believe.
    Zack: So, you don’t believe in God?
    Me: No I don’t. Daddy does though.
    Zack: Does Skyler? (his 4 year old sister)
    Me: I’m not sure, you’ll have to ask her. (I can’t remember talking much about God to Skyler, the subject just doesn’t interest her).
    Zack: Sky, do you know about God?
    Skyler: Nope. Never heard of him.

    LOL – I was laughing so hard in the front seat of the car. She was so matter of fact. I think she was antagonizing her brother but I thought it was funny. I’m hoping as she gains some more interest she’ll continue to be this matter of fact about the subject. I’m working on Zack.

    Comment: Amanda – 24. September 2007 @ 11:25 am

  2. Thank you for making me laugh this morning.

    Comment: kathryn – 24. September 2007 @ 1:30 pm

  3. Very funny!
    “…the point-and-shriek is mandated…”
    that is called “a state of grace”…when you don’t say what’s on your mind at exactly the right moment.
    I just love this.

    Comment: leslie – 24. September 2007 @ 1:40 pm

  4. HA! That is too freakin funny…. (“Crawwwwwwwwwwwwwwws!”… )
    : )

    You are relgiousophobic…
    ; )

    I can’t see my kids public school doing anything religious… They are very polotically correct from what I can tell…

    I can’t help but wonder what you would do, if it really was a corss? say with a “God Bless America” slogan jotted underneath?

    Comment: samanthamj – 24. September 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  5. I’m actually exaggerating my religiophobia for comic effect. I do notice these things, but I am far more likely to let things slide than many secularists I know.

    As for your hypothetical — a cross with GOD BLESS AMERICA under it — that’s pretty overt. I’d definitely voice my concern to the teacher, in person, in as gentle and non-threatening a way as possible. I’d offer alternative suggestions for professing patriotism and let him know that it isn’t about protecting me from offense — it’s about protecting religious freedom for all families.

    Comment: Dale – 24. September 2007 @ 4:29 pm

  6. Dale –
    I know you were exaggerating, and I truly enjoy your humor. Good answer regarding my hyptheotcal question. I like the part about protecting freedom for all… and not so much yourself being offended.
    Thanks. 🙂

    Comment: samanthamj – 24. September 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  7. Now that is seriously funny.

    Comment: Jody – 24. September 2007 @ 11:19 pm

  8. […] never believe what Dale McGowan saw at his daughter’s school the other […]

    Pingback: Friendly Atheist » Can You Believe What They’re Teaching in Public School Nowadays? – 24. September 2007 @ 11:19 pm

  9. […] Read the whole story at the Meming of Life. […]

    Pingback: Pax Nortona - A Blog by Joel Sax » Seen in a Public School Classroom – 25. September 2007 @ 2:03 am

  10. Absolutely hilarious. I was totally appalled. Living in Atlanta, I hear these sorts of horror stories all the time and rushed straight from curiosity to outrage…then I reached the punchline and burst out laughing. That will teach me to assume!

    I recently ordered your book and I can’t wait to receive it!

    Comment: Not the Mama – 25. September 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  11. That was hilarious. Thanks for the laugh today.

    As for religion in schools, late last year, then Ohio governor Bob Taft (R) signed legislation that requires PUBLIC schools to display the state and national mottos if the local Kiwanis club provides the plaques.
    The national motto (cmon you know it): In God We Trust
    Ohio’s motto: With God All Things Are Possible

    I had the (mis)fortune to be a presenter (for work) at a local Kiwanis meeting soon after they had provided plaques to several local schools. A high ranking school official made the following comment (parapharase): “I was so proud to be involved in this project. We need to get god back in the schools where he belongs.”


    Comment: Wildflower – 26. September 2007 @ 11:48 am


    I’m okay.

    The root problem, of course, is that both of those are ravingly unconstitutional as official mottos. Even more frustrating is knowing that so many of my Christian friends would have to struggle to understand why. To be fair, several would immediately get it. But the rest would say, “It’s just God, not a particular God.”

    Orthodox Jews would disagree, for example, since they do not spell out the name of God, preferring the blasphemy-dodging and quite funny “G_d.” Can’t they send their kids to public schools without being protestantized?

    The only way I’ve found to explain it to such friends is to substitute “Allah” for God, or (for Protestants) to ask whether a majority Catholic state should have “Hail Mary, Queen of Heaven, and Bless Your Protector, the Holy Father in Rome” as a state motto.

    Now see, you got me all riled up. I did not know about that Ohio thing.

    Comment: Dale – 26. September 2007 @ 11:58 am

  13. Isn’t God smart enough already not to have to go back to school ?…

    Comment: leslie – 26. September 2007 @ 4:04 pm

  14. Isn’t God smart enough already not to have to go back to school?

    You’ve never seen a platypus, I take it.

    Comment: Dale – 26. September 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  15. Southern Ohio is a beautful place – we still have lots of god references. I am pretty open about my non-belief. And I’m very active volunteering for my son’s high school marching band. Many of the parents cannot put Atheist and Volunteer and Nice together. At my birthday party (at a local bar) last week, several band parents gave me a very nice basket with candy and alcohol and homemade soap. The comment that came with the soap (made of goats milk and shaped like a goat’s head) – We knew you’d like this because you’re a PAGAN. I said no, I’m not a pagan, I’m a heathen!
    My son had to attend an assembly at school last year. He came home and told me that in order to find jesus you had to do drugs. That’s what he learned at the assembly. The assembly was supposed to be a drug prevention/awareness deal, but it was run by a Christian group of recovering addicts. Now, I’m all for people getting off drugs, but I was slightly disturbed by the overwhelming christian “theme,” as was my son. I wonder if he was carrying around his copy of The God Delusion that day?

    Comment: Wildflower – 27. September 2007 @ 10:46 am

  16. […] occurred to me casually — I’ve come ever so far – that the name of the Creator was about to be invoked. Sure enough, Erin looked […]

    Pingback: The Meming of Life » In the Name of the Big Guy Parenting Beyond Belief on secular parenting and other natural wonders – 10. December 2009 @ 9:01 am

  17. […] must have come back to life. Concrete proof. Obviously.Reminds me of the time Dale McGowan saw an image like this in his daughter’s classroom:Anyway, don’t you love how some Christians will praise […]

    Pingback: I Guess Science Proves Christianity… | Friendly Atheist – 22. January 2012 @ 12:01 pm

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