Bedford High School recently assigned a book to its students entitled Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, a book that refers to Jesus Christ as a “wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist.”
Fox News reports, “The book is a first-person account of author Barbara Ehrenreich’s attempts to make ends meet while working minimum wage jobs in Florida, Maine, and Minnesota. But in addition to taking aim at the American Dream, and arguing for a higher minimum wage, Taylor says Ehrenreich also takes aim at Christians and other groups in the book and uses foul language.”
Aimee Taylor felt obligated to remove her 16-year-old son Jordan Henderson from school after learning that such a book was assigned for reading in a personal finance class, especially since Jordan was entirely offended by the material.
“He started making some comments about the book and I said, ‘Well, just read it. You know you have to read it for school.’ But finally he came home one day and said, ‘I’m not reading this book. I’m done reading this book. I am not reading any more of this book,’ and he slammed it down and said, ‘This is junk!’”
Jordan’s angry reaction prompted his mother to take a look at the book herself. In doing so, she discovered a number of controversial excerpts and elected to read the book in its entirety. “I finished the book that night. I could not put it down because I was just mortified by the take on this book as well as the language, and the Jesus Christian bashing was unbelievable to me, and that it was in our school was just amazing to me,” Aimee explained.
One particular upsetting excerpt focused on a description of Ehrenreich’s attendance of a Christian service in Maine:
It would be nice if someone would read this sad-eyed crowd the Sermon on the Mount, accompanied by a rousing commentary on income inequality and the need for a hike in the minimum wage. But Jesus makes his appearance here only as a corpse; the living man, the wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist, is never once mentioned, nor anything he ever had to say. Christ crucified rules, and it may be that the true business of modern Christianity is to crucify him again and again so that he can never get a word out of his mouth.
In search of a second opinion, Aimee turned to her more moderate husband, Dennis, who, upon reading the book, said, “This is a piece of junk, this book is garbage and does not belong in the school. No matter what you believe politically, this book should not belong in the classroom. It’s really inappropriate for their age.”
Both parents contacted the principal to address their concerns, but to no avail.
Fox News explains, “Roughly three weeks later, a review committee assembled by the school district rules that despite its shortcomings, ‘The book provided valuable insight into the circumstances of the working poor and an opportunity for students to demonstrate the mastery of the ‘Financial Impact’ competency.’”
Perhaps to assuage the angry parents, the assistant superintendent, Chip McGee, told the union representative that the district will evaluate the personal finance class to determine if the book can be replaced with another less controversial one, and that in the meantime, the teacher should be notifying parents before assigning something so objectionable.
The Taylor parents remain unsatisfied, however. “We’ve eliminated Christmas, we’ve eliminated all these things because we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but here we’re going to hand out this book? This is anti-God, anti-religion, it’s racial. I mean it crosses a wide spectrum of very touchy and very insulting issues to most human beings and I think that even with a parental consent it’s not enough. They need to boot that book out of there,” Aimee declared.
As disappointing as the incident at Bedford High School may be, it certainly should not come as a surprise, especially upon considering the recommended reading on the National Education Association website: Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals — a book that describes the subversive steps to revolution.
According to Alinsky, the ends do justify the means.
Disinterested in disguising his values, Alinsky dedicated his Rules for Radicals to “the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history … the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom — Lucifer.”
Some schools are beginning to see a backlash against the assignment of such controversial reading materials, however, but further progress is necessary before any real change will be seen.
The brave challenge mounted by the Taylor parents ultimately resulted in a victory for the school, unfortunately, as the school is permitted to continue teaching from Nickel and Dimed, and the parents now must home-school their son. They do plan to attend a December 13 Bedford School Board meeting to reinforce their stance on removing the book from the curriculum of the personal finance class, however.
Making the case for home schooling is becoming easier and easier as stories such as this appear.