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Galveston BHS allows Anti-Christian Book as Part of Schools Curriculum.

By Nikita Chirkov
December 11

It is in fact difficult to believe that out of all the possible sources of information which I come across on the daily bases, the most outrageous and perhaps the most dumbfounding event would confront me under the roof of my own Galveston Ball High School. Walking into my second period Economics one fine day I have discovered that my class was given a book assignment. Fair enough, I thought to myself, after all you would expect an economics class to explore a number of economic intricacies which may only be found through the works of Adam Smith, Hamilton (regarding an institution of a central bank), or other well known economic philosophers. However, to my disappointment the book we were assigned, the only book assigned in the entire course may I add, was a politically biased Anti-Christian manifesto by the name of “Nickel and Dimed”.

Nickel and Dimed takes a look at poverty in America through the eyes of Barbara Ehrenreich (an open Marxist and an honorary co-chair at the Democratic Socialists of America) who plays a role of an undercover journalist trying to find a sustainable job in the “lower class” of an American society. But it is not the fact that that the author is a Marxist, nor the fact that she is a non Christian atheist, and not even a fact that she has had a strong political opinion before conducting this “neutral” experiment which serves as a bothersome basis for my concerns. It is the books purely biased opinion in politics and religion which in my humble view (and the view of many legal experts who confronted this issue elsewhere) makes it unsuitable for a school curriculum.

The major issue with this book lies in its anti-religious message. Barbara Ehrenreich attacks Christians as a group and furthermore takes a stab at the most fundamental character in Christian faith – Jesus Christ:


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.” 


There may still be those for whom this statement is not enough to prove the authors intended attitude toward Christ. Fair enough. In one of her responses about the book controversy she stated her true intention:


“As for Jesus being a socialist, I take it back. He was actually a little to the left of that, judging from his instruction to the rich man to sell all that he had and give to the poor. If that's what it takes to be a true Christian, believe me, it's a hell of a lot easier to be a socialist: You have to dedicate yourself to working for the poor, just as a Christian should, but at least you get to keep your stuff.”


There you have it folks, Jesus was “actually a little to the left” of being a socialist. Barbara Ehrenreich seems to completely ignore (or not know?) the fact that Socialism functions around involuntary redistribution of wealth, which is stealing property from one and giving it to another. Last time I checked Jesus never preached for us to steal the property of others now did he? He stood for charity, and urged those who wanted to get even closer to God to donate their things to the poor. However that was never a requirement to be of a Christian faith. Nevertheless, Ehrenreich confidently preaches that stealing from one and giving it another is definitely something that Jesus stood for; matter of fact actually- she corrects herself- he stood for something more to the left of that.

After reading a significant part of the assignment I chose to personally speak to the teacher about the books legal status in a school curriculum. I was shocked to find out that the book was recommended to the teacher by other school officials and was even featured in the Galveston Reads program. Furthermore, my attempts to point out possible legal issues within the book we dismissed by my teacher, who told me that the book does not contain any political context. Really? Political context starts to appear as early as page 3:


“Maybe I would even be able to detect in myself the bracing the psychological effects of getting out of the house as promised by the wonks who brought us welfare reform.”


Newt Gingrich would obviously apply to the latter as he was the driving force behind the welfare reform. But the bias opinions continue throughout the book all the way until the very last paragraph:


“Someday, of course-and I make no predictions as to exactly when-they are bound to tire of getting so little in return and to demand to be paid what they’re worth. There’ll be a lot of anger when that day comes, and strikes and disruption. But the sky will not fall, and we will all be better in the end.”


The latter quote suggests nothing other then a working class revolution against Capitalism and current working conditions, a message so similar to that of Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto:


“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working Men of All Countries, Unite!”


Another issue which came across my attention, and which must undoubtedly be pointed out, is the premise of Barbara’s experiment:


“The idea was to spend a month in each setting and see whether I could find a job and earn, in that time, the money to pay the second months rent.”



This, although not an issue of the books place in a school curriculum, is nevertheless an issue of the legitimacy of this experiment. If you only spent one month working in a job and then start over again in the new town with a new job, then how can you possibly move up in the ranks of society and get out of the minimum wage salary? After all, I have not heard of any jobs where promotions come earlier then your first month on duty. With that said, it becomes very difficult to comprehend the “lesson” which the book may teach to school children. If I were, for example, to take a low wage job down here in Galveston Texas, this book would give me no advice as to how to get out of that situation and start making more money what so ever. Obviously I would require to work for at lest a year to stabilize my income and develop some sort of a reliable financial base. An equivalent analogy to Ehrenreich’s experiment would be me writing a critique of a school program with me spending exactly one week in the beginning of each course and then dropping it. This would neither provide a reliable insight into the courses structure, difficulty or intensity.


Whether you choose to agree with Nickel and Dimed or not is up to you. But the major concern regarding its place in a school curriculum remains. Despite the fact that it projects Marxist ideology, despite the fact that it does not explore the possibilities of long term success and despite the fact that it clearly shows anti-Christian rhetoric- it remains to be a part of Ball High Schools curriculum. Therefore, I urge you to petition school board and join me in an effort to remove Nickel and Dimed from our learning institutions.