In 2007, Matthew LaClair secretly recorded statements made in class by his history teacher, David Paszkiewicz, at Kearny Public High School in New Jersey. These statements asserted that if students did not embrace Christ, they deserved to go to hell. Despite these statements’ blatant violation of separation of church and state, the high school principal and Board of Education did not take action until pressured by the media. For the original article on the issue, see the Summer 2007 Dialogue.
Matthew received the New York Society’s Ethical Humanist Award in 2007 for “courageously standing up to defend the principles of religious freedom and separation of church and state in the face of extreme opposition from his peers, teachers, and principal” and an American Hero citation from the American Civil Liberties Union. David has not changed his teaching methods, even though he was required to do so in an agreement made between the LaClair family (members of the Essex Society) and the local school board.
“In God We Teach” is a full-length documentary that “explores the blurred lines between personal belief, religious dogma and civil law through the eyes of an average, blue-collar American town,” explains Director/Producer Vic Losick. The film has been warmly received in Kearny and Manhattan due to its highly professional, even-handed approach which gives both sides a voice. Visit the documentary’s website to learn more about the film and see an updated list of screenings. If your Society or an associated organization would like to hold a screening of “In God We Teach” email Vic Losick at vic[at]losick.com.
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