Perhaps Fox contributor Todd Starnes never read the book The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Much like the boy in the story, Starnes seems determined to prove anti-Christian harassment and bullying is rampant across the country – but each and every time he points to an example, that example proves just the opposite (making Starnes look both inept and unaware of how to actually engage in the journalistic profession). This past week Starnes proved that scenario true once again as he wrote at TownHall about the severe injustice one student faced when forced to stop talking about her Christian beliefs and her Christmas tradition in a classroom.
“What happened inside that classroom is nothing short of un-American. I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of my tax dollars being used to pay the salaries of public school teachers who humiliate and bully Christian boys and girls,” Starnes wrote as he decried the entire school for denigrating the Christian beliefs of one maligned student. There’s only one problem: nothing that happened in Starnes story actually happened in real life.
Speaking to local press, both the teacher and principal painted a much different story of what occurred in this classroom that fateful day. A story that rings much more plausible than that of an entire school conspiring to disenfranchise Christians.
“At no time did I ever tell the student that she could not read the bottom section because it was a Bible verse nor did she ask if she could finish. I never told her to ‘Stop right there!’ or ‘Go take your seat!’ or reprimand her in front of the class for sharing from the Bible,” said Tammy Williams, the teacher involved in the alleged incident. “It just did not happen. This subject matter was never discussed. I decided to stop her at that point so the other students would get their share in before the bell rang. My students have always been free to share their ideas. What saddens me is that this story was twisted into lies and brought to the media. I have never sat down and discussed this directly with the family or the student. I am instead being used to push an agenda for the Advocates for Faith and Freedom.”
Adding to Williams’ story, Ami Paradise – the school’s principal – said, “Over the past week, I have received countless phone calls and 126 mean-spirited emails from across the country as a result of the claims that the Advocates of Faith and Freedom have made against one of my teachers, the school district, and myself. These claims are simply not true.” She continued, “When I met with the parent on December 20, 2013, she shared that she and her husband were upset that their child was unable to finish her presentation and that they thought it was because it contained a Bible verse. There were absolutely no claims of humiliation or bullying by the classroom teacher. No claims that their child was told to take her seat or that she could not talk about the Bible. These claims have been made in the midst of a media spotlight in order to sensationalize a story. The truth is, there were other students left to present before the end of the day, and there was just not enough time.”
This marks yet another incident in which Starnes automatically assumes that someone’s claim of Christian persecution is true without doing any factual verification. It’s another glaring example of Starnes’ complete failure as a legitimate journalist. The incident is a display of the caliber of professionalism and truth-in-media Fox News asks to contribute to their network on a regular basis.
The question now is, will Starnes retract his scathing, inaccurate story or hope (once again) it blows over so he doesn’t have to admit he was wrong?