It's a confusing day to be a teacher or an atheist, let alone both.

The Education Secretary says the teacher's union is a terrorist organization. I've never been a school teacher, but I have been a test preparation teacher -- that is, I taught high school students how to do better on the SAT because their regular teachers didn't teach them enough. What does that make me? A member of rival terrorist faction? A counter-insurgent? A terrorist sympathizer? A terrorist wannabe? I'm so confused. I just can't keep up with the Bush administration's constant redefintions of what good and bad Americans are.

Anyway... The program I usually watch on Monday nights was pre-empted by a hockey game, so I had the TV on MSNBC while I worked on a Perl script. Deborah Norville was discussing the merchandising associated with Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ. In addition to the obviously creepy stuff like souvenir crucifixion nails, she mentioned "The Passion book". What? If fundamentalists want to read about the Crucifixion, shouldn't they be reading... the Bible?

Which lead to my one semi-coherant observation of the day, and it's about those fake crucifixion nails: As a born atheist, I can only look at Christianity from the outside, but I've long noticed there are two distinct ways of looking at the Crucifixion: some people choose to dwell on the ressurection and salvation part of the story, while others (usually Fundamentalists of some stripe) choose to dwell on the suffering and misery. Apparently the latter set of Christians has decided they need a less-friendly symbol of the Crucifixion than the Cross itself, so they're going to start carrying nails around. Weird.

The peace-and-love contingent of Christianity doesn't seem enthused by the fixation on crucifixion. A Unitarian minister on the MSNBC show called the nail fixation "blasphemous." You know, when the Unitarians are calling you a blasphemer, you really should think twice about what you're doing....

Posted at 11:48:27 PM EST on 23 February 2004 from Trenton, MI