For all those Christians upset about the limitation to their “Freedom of Speech” as portrayed in Expelled the Movie or how scientists who hold to creationism are treated by their evolutionary associates:
Friends Defend Ousted TeacherArticle
Grand Rapids -- Filmmaker and anthropologist Graham Townsley could not believe it when he heard his friend, Kent Dobson, lost his job after hosting a historical documentary about Jesus.
"We bent over backward to be really careful and not make crazy assertions," Townsley said of the Discovery Channel program he made with Dobson last summer in Egypt and Israel. "We were so careful to be respectful."
Dobson, the 31-year-old son of retired Calvary Church pastor Ed Dobson, resigned his post as Bible teacher at NorthPointe Christian High School last week after the school board questioned his role in the March 16 special, "Jesus: The Missing History."
On the hourlong program, Dobson questioned biblical scholars on possible contradictions between the Gospels and the historical evidence of Jesus' life. The questions included:
Was Bethlehem Jesus' birthplace?
Was Jesus a carpenter or a stone mason?
Was Jesus' eviction of money changers from the temple a political or religious move?
Is there any truth in the Gnostic gospels?
In the program, which is not scheduled for rebroadcast, Dobson does not definitively answer the questions or take a position. He interviews biblical scholars who present evidence that contradicts the Bible.
"You see, when I was a kid, we were told the four Gospels of the New Testament told you everything you needed to know about Jesus," Dobson says early in the program. "But as I studied the ancient history of my faith, I started coming up with real questions."
Those questions were what led to Dobson's resignation, his father, Ed Dobson, said last week.
Ed Dobson said the board left his son with no choice but to resign.
Kent Dobson, NorthPointe school board President Kevin Belk and other board members have refused to comment on the specifics of Dobson's departure from the private school on the city's Northeast Side. Superintendent Tom Hofman said only that Dobson resigned because it was apparent to all parties involved that statements made on the program were "outside of the school's Statement of Faith."
Carlos Hidalgo, Dobson's friend and former chairman of the NorthPointe school board, said the teacher's desire to delve deep into Scripture is what appealed to his students.
"This is what Kent is all about. You don't hide from the tough questions or turn them aside," Hidalgo said. "Young people look for truth, not just glib answers like, 'We've always done it this way.' He challenges the status quo in a soft, nonbelligerent kind of way," Hidalgo said.
But, once you start asking questions, "all the dominos start falling," said NorthPointe parent and Calvin College professor Don Hettinga. "The unfortunate thing about these events is that they suggest that thinking deeply and asking questions is wrong," he said.
Dobson was recruited nearly two years ago to teach Bible classes to juniors at NorthPointe, formerly Grand Rapids Baptist Schools. He also traveled to Israel with his students and lived there with his family from 2002-05.
NorthPointe has a "Christian world and life view taught from a conservative viewpoint," according to the school's Web site. That's in contrast to Dobson's style of asking questions and digging deep for the truth, friends said.
So…do you really hold Freedom of Speech in such high regard—or only the Freedom of your particular brand of speech?
(H/T to KVO for this story here)