Judgment Of Beliefs A Tragedy


With the possible exception of the military and agriculture, the largest single profession in the world is represented by a group called teachers.

Statistical probability would indicate that among this group we would find some “healthy” people. Each of us, no doubt, can recall teachers that we admired and loved and teachers that we hated. It is probably also the case that in retrospect we find more teachers that left us cold than teachers who we perceived as understanding and significant.

As there is more than one American, there is more than one teacher. The beauty and uniqueness of America lies, according to our history and our national cultural heritage, in the fact that we are an open and pluralistic society.

As a people, we deny that we reject or hate on the basis of color, race, ethnicity or class. Certainly, we know that each of us has our own particular value systems; that each of us may be apprehensive about those who are not quite like us.


At the same time, there is an underlying hope and belief that despite these value differences and private apprehensions, we are a people that believes that what you do is more important than what you think, feel and say.

It is for this reason that I find the Joseph Acanfora case so distasteful. To sit in judgment of another man’s beliefs, no matter how outrageous his beliefs might strike us, is really tragic. To sit in judgment of another individual’s values regardless of his skill, ability and commitment to his profession, really violates our American heritage.


If we take the posture that we can determine who shall and who shall not have the right to work on the basis of expressed values and ideologies, then none of us can live with any degree of security.

If Joseph Acanfora is denied the right to his license for work on the basis of his personal, even though expressed, views, then we will have taken a step toward creating a situation where each of us becomes subject to judgment by our attitudes and not our abilities.


Each of us then will have contributed to the spoiling of a concept that represents the very uniqueness and beauty of this nation.



State College