Let facts and reason be our guide

To the editor:

Readers unfamiliar with Trudy Madetzke’s frequent and flawed arguments on this page can be forgiven for thinking her June 29 letter was “The Onion”-like satire.

She asks, “Who set the standard for the worth of an opinion — that it has to be based on actual facts and recognizable reason?”

Madetzke asserts that if facts and reason alone make an opinion worth having, then God and faith are eliminated. Her claim implies that belief in God is unreasonable. This is noteworthy because although she professes to be concerned about indoctrination, she questions whether unreasonable beliefs children learn from their parents should be challenged and asserts that children should obey their parents because the Bible says so.

In short, she’s hypocritically quite comfortable with indoctrination when it concerns her particular version of Christianity.

A common thread in definitions of indoctrination is that it is the process of accepting a set of beliefs uncritically. Teaching children facts and the principles of reasoning is not indoctrination. However, teaching children not to question their religious tradition as passed on to them by their parents is indoctrination.

Although Madetzke is concerned that the presence of an LGBTQ+ rainbow flag in the Marshall Middle School negatively impacts students who want to be faithful to a particular version of Christianity, in her excellent June 30 letter, Karrie Alberts explained some significant ways the Marshall Public School District actually privileges Christianity. Thus, it is not “viewpoint neutral” as an anti-flag group argues the school’s display policy should be.

While I cannot understand how a flag that affirms the existence and dignity of LGBTQ+ students presents a biased viewpoint, I find it quite easy to see how the significant privileges Christian students enjoy present a biased viewpoint.

Instead of being guided by Madetzke’s version of Christianity, the Marshall Public School District–and all critical thinkers–should be guided by facts and reason because they are the best guides for arriving at the truth. The evidence for this is that even though Madetzke absurdly tries to diminish the importance of facts and reason, she cannot argue her case against them without presupposing them herself.

Brett Gaul



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