In God We Teach
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In God We Teach

2011, Religion  -   941 Comments
Ratings: 8.63/10 from 82 users.

In God We Teach is the story of Matthew LaClair, a student at Kearny (NJ) public high school who secretly recorded his history teacher (David Paszkiewicz) in class, and accused him of proselytizing for Jesus.

After approaching the local school board for redress and receiving none LaClair took his secret recordings to the media. When these recordings were made public, the story exploded, engulfing not just Kearny, but rippling across America as well.

The teacher, in danger of losing his job strenuously denied it. The specifics of the controversy lead directly to the church and state arguments that are in the news this election year. With Stephen Colbert, Alan Dershowitz, Neil deGrasse Tyson and others.

Directed by: Vic Losick

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Sara Jasper
10 years ago

I think that he was definitely doing the right thing until he decided he had a problem with the club. Personally, I was glad that the teacher had found an appropriate setting for his "science", and I think he kid just took it a step too far when he went after a religious club that you choose to be in (no one who had different beliefs was being forced to listen to it, like they were in history) after he didn't even attend the school anymore.

10 years ago

this teacher is piously arrogant -- yes, he has demonstrated that there is such a thing. i am aggrieved that he has indoctrinated his own children and is encouraging the irrational thoughts of the students in that religious "club" and most especially by the fact that he is STILL teaching -- excuse me, i meant proselytizing. he is living proof of what Sam Harris has shown to be the logical end of an illogical belief system; this teacher would indeed fly a plane into a building for his god. i only regret that Matthew wasn't a better defender of his viewpoint -- for excellent argument/discussion, see QualiaSoup and ThereminTrees on youtube or here in topdocumentaries. quod erat demonstrandum.

10 years ago

I love the ending......"It's on youtube......that's how the gospel spreads."


10 years ago

Wow, "I don't believe that my religious beliefs trump the Constitution, but I do believe that the word of God does."

Let me clear it up for ya....I don't believe that my belief in the word of God trumps the Constitution, but I believe the word of God does.


10 years ago

From his explanation of the Big Bang Theory, thank "God" he isn't a science teacher.

10 years ago

This man should never be allowed to TEACH, ever again.

Maybe Sunday school, but that's it.

10 years ago

no such thing as god. keep your voodoo out of school.

10 years ago

You know the teacher intentionally told those students that if they are not Christians that they belong in Hell because he wanted to inflict fear into their minds. It is how the religion works.

“If he believes that Noah co-existed with dinosaurs, then he is ignorant and scientifically illiterate and such people should not be welcomed among the ranks of teachers.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson.

10 years ago

Ooohhhhh man crazy Christians at it again. Every time that teacher opens his mouth I just wanna kick him in the head.

10 years ago These people are so brainwashed its funny. Every time I hear people taking religion so seriously I cant help but think their completely insane. Dont even get me started on teaching your kids religion when their f--king 6 years old.....thats so f--ked

10 years ago

That teacher is a damn id**t. He shouldn't be teaching ANYONE.

Rant Rave
10 years ago

Very commendable, Mr LaClair.

For me this demonstrates the hypocrisy of a nation that claims to want to keep 'church' and 'state' separate, but has the words 'In God We Trust' on it's banknotes.

10 years ago

W O W - who are these people? Just chill out and practice religion in your own time fella....

10 years ago

The christian republic of America, USA uses religion in state as much as Iran, they go to war in the name of god and they bless the ppl in the name of god after every public speech

10 years ago

It's a shame that this fiasco didn't occur between a teacher and a student who were less smack-able.

10 years ago

Dear teacher, you only have the cure for cancer if it demonstrably cures cancer.

11 years ago

Good job kid! School is a place for facts...not fairy tales!! Keep that Jesus $hit in your temple of brainwashing.

11 years ago

Even simpler is the fact that most Americans have joined the antichrist movement. But folks, freedom of speech is among us in the form of Islamics who teach "Allah," and Buddhists who teach "Budda." I wonder if we could get this guy to teach us more about those two gods and then he would probably get approved of by all the complainers!=^)

11 years ago

Plain and simple if you want your child to learn religion in school, send them to a private religious institution. It's that easy.

11 years ago

Block-head thought he was doing good by throwing in a little evangelism here and there, but he forgot the laws of the land. The kid SHOULD just leave it alone, though

James H. Johnson, M.D.
11 years ago

This makes Christians look like closed-minded idiots. The response was to ban recordings? Really? I think every class should be recoded and streamed for every parent to be able to check on at any time. There would be more accountability for some of these dogmatic and lazy teachers.

11 years ago

i am against all forms of proselytizing

11 years ago

If that kid asked the teacher about his beliefs then he has a right to tell people what he believes, as long as he doesn't push his religion on people. I'm a Zoroastrian not a Christian. if people ask me about my religion I tell them there is no god but Ahura Mazda and Zoroaster is his prophet.

11 years ago

was it a history or science class? he's a history teacher and everyone keeps saying 'in a science class'...

11 years ago

Although I agree with a lot of Matthew's views, I think that at times it was a bit too much. But I do applaud him for trying to make a difference; hopefully there will be more situations like this brought to light so that there can be a movement to further separate church from state. Although church and state are separate, there is a grey area, and there should be no grey area when the government is involved.

11 years ago

Professionalism is reviewed prior to hiring and yearly required in all public school districts. Clearly boards of education and government 'funders' need to insure that a working knowledge of the constitution as it applies to religious separation from publicly funded education, and limits of academic licence, as well as a basic knowledge of the sciences must be demonstrated during those reviews. There is 'no' excuse that this is not being done except intentional ignorance...
Stamp it out! everywhere!
Private schools paid for privately have rights to add specific community or group optional classes - however, national diplomas can not be achieved at 'any' school unless the secular national curriculum is taught without bias. (These schools however, should not be eligible for special tax exemptions or for government funding)
In all cases an 'inclusive' education means all classes will be taught based on the approved national curriculum- which is peer reviewed to present the 'best' sources available... when that leads to a religious studies class for example, 'all' major religions and their known histories must needs be taught as well.
Educators who claim they can not separate their religious bias from their teaching-need to find another job.(period)

11 years ago

Stopped watching video after kid said he didn't stand for flag salute....

11 years ago

not everyone is so deeply embedded in their beliefs, but this man thinking features among some of my friends haha

11 years ago

ACLU, Anti.defammation League are organizations to promote Jewish secular interests and atheism!

11 years ago

im so sorry for children who are forced to listen to religious stuff in schools... really sorry :(

11 years ago

lol, I laughed so hard at this teacher, just utterly amazed.

11 years ago

boy what a whinner that teacher a man...quit complaining about being harrased or your rights violated...this isn't heaven ok? live with word....Jesus lived in the midst of a ultra corrupt Rome..

11 years ago

how bout those Jewish people in Poland and Germany who were "patriotic"? You don't have to be Christian to be patriotic. Sorry you don't. God said pray for the government/any government. Just like the Republican Party thinks they own the Church and Christians....right...plenty of Democrats are Christians too.

11 years ago

He's a free thinker and free the kid has guts. He'll make a million and I'm sure he will.

11 years ago

The be an evangelist and not a teacher. Ok? Don't bring up cancer...that's not a comparison...he talks in circles. Just keep it and hope and walk the talk.

11 years ago

WWJD? Well, he would have waited till class was over....that's for sure. And he wouldn't have belittled or name called that's another thing. Harrass and bully not apart of my Lord. And you call yourselves Christians? Hardly...Gandhi was closer to Christ than a lot of you.

11 years ago

that minister was just like a politician..."twisting this kids' rights and freedoms into the wind"...and yes Jesus wouldn't be booing but probably crying...

11 years ago

you can't justify what he have an obligation to teach first...go ahead and live your faith...walk the talk...

11 years ago

The kid's right, a history teacher shouldn't be mixing history lessons with religion. Religion belongs in churches, mosks, temples, not in the classroom.

11 years ago

I'm an atheist but.... I can't help but feel like the kid is a kind of a little ****. I think he was fishing for trouble. It would be one thing if he asked the teacher to not talk about religion first, but I think he was intentionally trying to get the teacher talking about it specifically to get it on tape.

11 years ago

My question is, what were the goals that were wanted to be achieved, and how close is the result to those goals?
The Teacher hasn't seemed to have changed his ways. The school hasn't stopped the same thing happening to other students. So if the goal was to stand up for true patriotic principles/the Constitution to make things better for those that follow, it wasn't reached it seems.

Can a Minor, in a case such as this one, initiate legal action in the USA? Or is it the legal responsibility of the Parents to ensure the rights of their child aren't being infringed (if the school isn't doing it's job)? I think a better way to handle it, if attention for Mathew wasn't sought after, would have been at the point where it was clear it wasn't going to be resolved sensibly, the parents should have taken over and started legal proceedings. If the school won't recognize the law, force them to. That would have taken some of the heat and attention off of Matt and put it on his parents, which it may actually have been up to legally anyway? And achieved in a stronger way then the media has the message of the stated goal of keeping the separation of church and state. (probably getting that lying Teacher sacked, and put all schools and teachers on notice countrywide. The media probably would've jumped on the band wagon if it went to court, it'd be a 2 for 1 deal, but a lot stronger message.)
Take the money from the win, give it back to the taxpayers of Kearny. Or use it to promote awareness of the constitution. Keep some for Matt's education, give the rest back in a useful way. Use it to right some of the wrongs done by that Teacher. (anyone that had a problem with the legal fee's should ask the school about that, they're the one's breaking the law)
I think Mathew was right, the Teacher was very wrong. The way all parties handled it could have been done much better.
I'm sorry, but I don't consider dancing around to (Mum's?) enjoyment aged 8 a sign of a patriot in the making necessarily. And I think the issue of not standing for the Pledge is being combined with the issue of a teacher physically abusing a student. The reaction/assault was the problem, the 'seated Pledge' was the catalyst. Sitting as well, could be interpreted as a provocation rather then a protest, as the assault was the real issue.
To me, it's the little inconsistencies like that and others such as why just record the teacher straight up, (it was prudent in hindsight, but it does suggest an expectation/preparation for a conflict such as what developed, was there any leading beforehand or did the first day Matt think of recording it the teacher go on another Preach-a-thon unassisted,) why go to the media instead of court. These HINT at more motive then just standing up for 'true patriotism'. That, plus the way things have ended up. (teacher continuing on, interviews with Neil de Grasse Tyson, it seems to me the outcome doesn't really match up 100% with the stated aim, although the legal ability was there to achieve it)

Good luck to Mathew, I hope he does well. I personally don't believe there was absolutely no element of attention seeking, whether initially or developing later. Do I blame him, NO. I don't blame his family for loving and defending him either, or helping to advertise/promote his rewards for his efforts. It means they're decent people/family.
It seems many things get absorbed under the banner of patriotism. The definition between people seems to change, depending on which end of the 'stick' they're getting. A friend of mine is a returned Veteran. He came over and read some of these posts, I can't repeat on here most of what he said. Suffice it to say his definition of patriotism is quite different to many here. His idea of 'skirmishing for liberty on the front lines' and emotional ties to some symbols is very different, I guess a lot of it just comes down to our own personal experiences and perspective.

John Briody
11 years ago

Did he just bless a barbecue, **** man you guys need to see the real ****,hey my dad died in korea,strange thats were my flag was made.

11 years ago

Thank you, Azilda. Watching Matthew's courage and integrity unfold firsthand was the realization of my highest dreams. As for the teacher, he's still there and I'm told he's still doing the same thing. In fact, he has said so publicly.

11 years ago

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Catcher in the Rye
To Kill a Mockingbird
Bridge to Terabithia
The Lord of the Flies
Of Mice and Men
The Color Purple
Harry Potter Series
Slaughterhouse Five
The Bluest Eye
According to a site supported by the New York Times these popular books have been the most banned in American Schools for reason such as: racial issues, profanity, disrespect children show to adults, excessive violence, sexuality, use of drugs, use of witchcraft and the fear that fantasy and reality could become confused for children.
The bible contains all these subjects, therefore it should be banned from primary, middle and high school. If parents want their kids to access the bible, they can do that at home or in church. If students want to study the bible they can do that in college or on their own without the influence, a public teacher supported by public school, could provide.

If on the other hand the bible is allowed and or spread to all public schools, then they should also make sure that all sacred texts from ALL religion from east and west are also provided in order to allow all students a full range of comparative possibilities.

11 years ago

Sixes, if we take bibles out of school libraries will we also have to take out The Odyssey etc? What about books on folklaw and fairy tails? Or Strewwelpeter? Think of all the art and literature that wouldn't make sense without some knowledge of the bible. What would we have in its place, books about the bible by people that don't like it? Should we also erase any religiously influenced history? You don't have to take it as gospel truth, but you must see it has a place. Removing it altogether is censorship and I don't like that much. Apart from that, do you actually think any kid is going to check out the good book instead of Captain Underpants? All you have to do is teach kids how to think, not what to think. They can do the rest themselves, or not. It's their choice, let them make it themselves ;)

11 years ago

If the teacher were Muslim preaching his religion this whole situation would have played out different.

11 years ago

This douche should not be teaching

11 years ago

Stroppy? (Are you throwing down the glove?) No way! Every post was submitted with a cheshire cat grin.
Just between us, I was indeed probing the Good Old Boys Club (mum's the word).
But we must not frighten the hens too much, else they stop laying.
I think you, though at times hard to understand, are a force for the good on this blogg.
As is Az, for instance, and others like her.
It takes an enormous amount of courage to continue to express one's opinion in the face of insult and ridicule.
It takes no courage whatsoever to dispense insult and ridicule.

Edit: this is @AntiTheist666

11 years ago

I would like to post this hear where it might see the light of day? As opposed to the barely trodden wilderness of the philosophy dept. I think here is ok in the religious and educational sense. Though the post is mostly philosophical there are relevant issues, like why isn’t good philosophy taught in schools? When religious non-sense is? And what is so important about truth? Why not Untruth? I can think of nothing better for young minds to get into? It’s up to you of course; if you disagree I’ll post in The Dark Dungeon where people see by Lanterns, even in the Mourning.

Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future.

By Friedrich Nietzsche 1886

As if Philosophy isn’t a monstrously large subject already, with Nietzsche we add a Giant just to make it even more Massively Complex. Thank Dog N. Shook it all up and sorted out most of it for us.

Refuting, Religion, Rationality and Reason is no small task. Dear Friedrich achieves it and lays it all bare before us! Definitely a Philosophy of the Future. Sadly it seems this Future is still a long way off. Before going any further, I must say that all that follows is just my considered opinion. Nietzscheans are noted for their differing interpretations of N. Unsurprisingly everybody else thinks they know more or love him more blah blah. And it will shock no Nietzschefiles when I say MY WAY is the ONLY WAY to get to know this most MISUNDERSTOOD GENIUS!

Thus, on we go, BEYOND good and Evil.

First, watch this Fab doc. Second, Read/Listen to the book. The Helen Zimmern translation (1906) is available free; I find it a little dry and lacklustre maybe it’s showing its age? Both of the other 2 that I know are worth paying for but my preference goes to Hollingdale (1973) over Kaufman (1966) and you can see him in this Doc. I love this guy too, watch, and try and tell me you don’t.

If you like to see Grand Posturing Philosophers get a Right Kick up the A$$ then Chapter One is Showtime! And what a Hilarious Show it is! As every Gross Pontificate is shown up as an Autobiographical Clown peddling his wares in a Circus! We Free Spirits need no Farcical Falseness, we need clean, clear, cold – Hyperborean air to breathe!

Books not your thing? Try it as an audiobook? Again free, some of it is well read and some of it is dire. Again I think paying for a good quality version would be well worth the money. Some of the issues are easy to get to grips with and some are tricky, but because Nietzsche writes mainly in aphorism you can always move on and come back to it.
Third, read/listen to “The Twilight of the Idols” (His best work, though not his easiest to grasp) the Ludovici translation trumps all here!
Fourth, read all the rest of his works, by now you will not be able to resist anyway.
Fifth, Read all his letters.
Sixth, Read the latest medical evidence relating to why he went insane.
Seventh,and only now, read some critique of Dear Friedrich, not surprisingly there is fair bit of it!
Six Hundred and Sixty Sixth, come and tell me why you Love him more than I?

Some Harry Potter fans might like these closing words, use them like charms!

“De Omnibus Dubitandum” = Doubt Everything!

And if anyone you don’t care for says it to protect themselves,

You can spear them with “Sapere Aude” = Dare to Know!”

This you might say is the tension between the Apollonian and the Dionysian?

The Crucified One

11 years ago

"To make Matthew a hero in all of this, at MY EXPENSE..."

"Pride goeth before the fall..."