If you were still looking for a way to spend your summer vacation, I've got good news.
The Roger Sherman Institute (RSI), an online university for the anti-government "Patriot" movement, will be holding summer classes – guaranteed to be "nationalist, patriotic, biblical, and constitutional." In addition to standard academic fare like "Fundamentals of the Economy," the school offers computer classes like "Intro to Corel WordPerfect," along with a course on "the sociotheosphere, where you can learn about historical battles between dominant religions and government." Stick around until the fall for "Conspiracy in Contemporary Politics," which promises to explain why theories about President Obama's foreign birth are "true," and why global warming is a hoax.
In case you were wondering, the "Patriot" movement is made up of about 1,300 groups spread nationwide whose members view the federal government as their enemy, trade in various conspriracy theories, and in some cases form armed militias. It has exploded in recent years – basically since Barack Obama became president – in reaction to "our country's changing racial demographics, the increased pace of globalization, and our economic woes," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, whose 'Hate Watch' blog first reported on RSI.
Each course will set you back around 250 bucks a pop, though some instructors prefer you pay in pre-1965 American Silver dollars or troy ounces of silver, in keeping with the preferences of Roger Sherman, a U.S. senator in the 1790s who signed the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and, according to the school's website, had "an absolute hatred of paper money."
RSI founder Aaron Bolinger touts the school as an oasis of "academic freedom and integrity" where "political correctness" isn't allowed to "get in the way of learning." He has more to say in the video below.
Bolinger wouldn't give his personal take on the veracity of global warming ("I'm not a meteorologist") or the president's real place of birth ("How can I say? I wasn't around"). And anyway, he added, the "birther" issue is beside the point. "The presidency is far less important on the national level than the Vice President. What does the President do? He signs bills. What does the Vice President do? He controls what bills move. The Vice President has as much, if not more, power than the President."
In addition to his roots in the Patriot movement, Bolinger once worked as a legislative researcher and lobbyist for the now-defunct Liberty Lobby, which the Anti-Defamation League describes as "one of the most historically influential and active anti-Semitic organizations in the United States."
Bolinger said he's "absolutely not" an anti-Semite, adding that "every organization is a sum of its parts. If there's people in any organization that hold one view or another, you can't guilt by association everybody that's connected with it to that perspective."
He continued: "You know, I study theology and consider myself an Israelite, so if I'm anti-Semitic then I'd be against myself. That's just ridiculous."