You wouldn’t think it would come from The Simpsons but Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson, is a Scientologist. Not only that, she is lobbying this Wednesday, May 11th, to include a curriculum called “Good Choices” in the public school system for Illinois. “Good Choices” is a code of conduct created by Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “…the Good Choices program would satisfy the state school code that states ‘every public school teacher shall teach … respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, trustworthiness, and citizenship, in order to raise pupils’ honesty, kindness, justice, discipline, respect for others and moral courage for the purpose of lessening crime and raising the standard of good character.'”
What a nice way for a cult to gain entry to the public school system. Of course, Scientology can offer some ethical guidelines for kids, so can many other religions–but it doesn’t mean we allow them to insert it into the public school system. For all those Christians who think the Bible should be taught in public school, here’s the reason why. Teach Biblical ethics in class and you have to allow for Scientology to teach its version too. It’s only fair.
We certainly need codes of conduct for kids and I would even say classes on ethics and morals, but from a modern secular viewpoint as a public school cannot embrace any one religion. Using a cult’s moral outline, no matter how harmless it seems, is a bad idea. Kids can bring their moral upbringing to the table in class discussions, that is perfectly acceptable, but a public school teacher cannot endorse religious instruction coming from any one religion or cult–even if the instruction is disguised as secular, which Scientology has most assuredly done.
The sponsor of the resolution to allow for “Good Choices” as a teaching option is State Representative Dan Burke. If the resolution passes, because of the controversy, he plans to strip any references to Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard off of the curriculum. Burke is quoted as saying, “It’s totally innocuous, basic, good citizenship stuff,” but he’s missing the point. “Thou Shalt Not Kill” is basic, good citizenship stuff too but we know where that comes from and what the whole package involves. If we’re going to have separation of church and state then we can’t accept curriculum from the Church of Scientology period. Are we so devoid of curriculum that “Good Choices” is the only choice? Nancy Cartwright and other famous Scientologists would love the curriculum to be approved even without reference to the church because it legitimizes their cult–they are donating to the public good with plans to rid us of space alien spirits.
SIDENOTE: I watch The Simpsons sporadically these days and I know the creator Matt Groening is an atheist. Have The Simpsons ever parodied Scientology? I have a good guess why they haven’t unless a Simpsons’ fan can point out an episode where they did?