Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Teacher Who Criticized Creationism

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

We have previously discussed the case of Dr. James Corbett, a history teacher at Capistrano Valley high school, who was sued over comments he made when he referred to creationism as “superstitious nonsense.” A three-judge panel for The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled that the district court’s judgement on the constitutionality of Corbett’s statements be vacated. The appeals court affirmed the district court’s finding that Corbett was entitled to qualified immunity.

The appeals court’s opinion noted that, from Epperson v. Arkansas, the Supreme Court has made clear that:

the First Amendment does not permit the State to require that teaching and learning must be tailored to the principles or prohibitions of any religious sect or dogma.

In the appeals court opinion, Judge Fisher wrote:

Even statements exhibiting some hostility to religion do not violate the Establishment Clause if the government conduct at issue has a secular purpose, does not have as its principal or primary effect inhibiting religion and does not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.

A secular purpose can be found in the encouragement of students to develop critical thinking skills. Are religious views to be granted a pass on criticism? Are points of view, that differ from religious points of view, unconstitutional? Only those with undefendable points of view need the courts to protect them from having to think. It is a false worldview that requires governmental intrusion to sustain it.

Recall that the First Amendment grants the right of free exercise of religion. If criticism of religious views causes an individual to decide not express their religious views, then the individual, not the criticizer, is responsible.

In evaluating the grant of qualified immunity, the appeals court observed that the law has not been clearly established, “there has never been any reported case holding that a teacher violated the Establishment Clause by making statements in the classroom that were allegedly hostile to religion.”

H/T: LGF, Christian Science Monitor.

24 thoughts on “Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Rules In Favor Of Teacher Who Criticized Creationism

  1. “there has never been any reported case holding that a teacher violated the Establishment Clause by making statements in the classroom that were allegedly hostile to religion.”

    Yeah because some just meander to a new career path….and do not have the money or inclination to fight something like this…

  2. Great story David.
    AY, you are correct that most people would not have been able or willing to fight this blatant abuse of this teacher’s First Amendment rights.

  3. Wow, you’re faith and supreme being is kinda’ fragile if it can’t handle a little historical perspective. :-)

    This is a course for college level credit that was being taken by a high school kid. He, Chad, nor his parents IMO showed much intellectual maturity in their response to some of the material. Here is the set-up from the Decision (link to PDF follows) and one of the objectionable statements:
    ********************

    ” In fall 2007, Chad Farnan was a 15-year-old sophomore
    enrolled in Dr. James Corbett’s Advanced Placement European
    History (AP Euro) class at Capistrano Valley High
    School. ….

    AP Euro is a college-level course for which students can
    receive college credit if they pass the AP exam administered
    by the College Board. The AP Euro standards are equivalent
    to a University of California course. The College Board dictates
    that AP Euro cover a number of topics touching on religion,
    including: “[c]hanges in religious thought and
    institutions,” “[s]ecularization of learning and culture,”
    “[s]cientific and technological developments and their consequences,”
    and “[c]hanges in elite and popular culture, such as
    new attitudes toward religion, the family, work, and ritual.”
    The College Board’s course description explains that these
    “cultural, economic, political, and social developments . . .
    played a fundamental role in shaping the world in which [we]
    live,” and accordingly provide “context for understanding the
    development of contemporary institutions, the role of continuity
    and change in present-day society and politics, and the
    evolution of current forms of artistic expression and intellectual
    discourse.”

    In summer 2007, Corbett sent home a letter to incoming
    students who had signed up for his AP Euro class, including
    Farnan. In the letter, Corbett explained how the class would
    operate: “Most days we will spend a few minutes (sometimes
    more) at the beginning of class discussing current events . . . .

    Discussion will be quite provocative and focus on the ‘lessons’
    of history. My goal is to have you go home with something
    that will provoke discussion with your parents.” Corbett
    assured students that they “may offer any perspective without
    concern that anything they say will impact either my attitude
    toward them or their grades. I encourage a full range of
    views.” Farnan received and read the letter.

    …. [Corbett’s] “pedagogy is intentionally provocative in
    order to elicit responses from his students and to help them
    develop critical thinking skills.” He encourages students to
    “question and try to come up with a[n] analysis of what is true
    [and] is not true, from [a] historical perspective.” Corbett told
    his AP Euro students that, “it is completely safe, in here anyway,
    to disagree with me, make a comment, whatever you
    want to say. I don’t care. The only thing you’ll get from me
    in response is, ‘On what basis . . . have you come up with this
    particular perspective?’ . . . I mean, there’s almost always
    more than one point of view on stuff.” ”
    **********************

    One of the objectionable statements:

    ***********************
    ” [H]ere is Joseph II. He’s trying, for example, to end
    serfdom. Serfdom in which the peasants, the Ser[f]
    class, on these estates [were], literally, property.
    They had no rights to speak of at all. He doesn’t just
    go that far. I mean, he tries to get them land. He . . .
    really has the interest of this class of people at heart,
    and the — the reforms that he makes really are going
    to make the lives of these peasants massively better.
    So why do the peasants oppose him? . . . Because he
    also tried to reform religion, and the peasants love
    their church.

    It’s the same thing here. You know, you go down to
    Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, all these states that
    are as red as they could possibly be, as right-wing
    Republican as you could possibly be. [But] [w]hen
    you first present these people with the economic policies
    of the Democratic party, they are all Democrats.
    Virtually all the social programs they like. . . .
    How do you get the peasants to oppose something
    that is in their best interest? Religion. You have to
    have something that is irrational to counter that rational
    approach. No problem. . . . [W]hen you put on
    your Jesus glasses, you can’t see the truth. Um,
    Joseph made these reforms with no consultation,
    with no consent. (Inaudible) in the state. ”
    ********************

    I think the President got in trouble for a greatly condensed but similar version of this remark, ‘hard times,, people cling to their guns and religion’

    The Decision in PDF format, worth a read.
    http://files.onset.freedom.com/ocregister/news/2011/08/Corbett_Appeal_Ruling.pdf

  4. A sound decision by the court and helpful information from lottakatz. The preparation from the prof that included that the course would cover the “secularization of learning” should have prepared a mature student for what was to come.

    1. Intelligent design of the universe is supernatural by definition.
    2. Thinking it nonsense is a requirement of placing your faith in science.

    Hearing Creationism called “supernatural nonsense” in a public classroom is hostile, but should not come as a suprise and it reasonable for a court to rule that it should be protected.

    We all place our faith in something and one day we will all know the truth.

  5. So we have a teacher that is harassing a student because of his beliefs. At the same time, this teacher clings to the belief that a pineapple and a porcupine share a common ancestor. Sounds like a pot-kettle-black scenario to me. But here we see a abuse of power because the student could not make fun of the teachers beliefs that I’m guessing thinks we came from monkeys or apes, or we’re related to field mice. He can’t call that an adult fairytale or superstition because he would be given poor grades.

    The student believes by faith and observation that God created. The teacher believes based on faith that things just came about over a billion years – give or take a couple of billion. However the teachers’ faith based opinion wins out and has exclusive rights in the schools while anything – ANYTHING that competes or challenges the adult fairytale known as evolutionism can not see the light of day.

    We also see a double standard because the liberal left wing nuts scream in horror if something about the Bible is mentioned in a classroom. They have to twist the laws so they can shut them up. But on the other hand, if you are a teacher, you can bring up something regarding religion as long as you are making fun of them or it is used in a negative way.

  6. “this teacher clings to the belief that a pineapple and a porcupine share a common ancestor”

    “He can’t call that an adult fairytale or superstition because he would be given poor grades.”

    Fruit Flies Like Pears,

    Here’s the difference. Evolution has overwhelming evidence that gives scientists grounds to believe in its validity. The belief in “Creationism” has no evidence, other than faith, that the Earth was only created thousands of years ago. The teaching of science must be based on evidence and not faith. The student can believe whatever crap his parents or his religious leaders teach him/her. However, that crap is not for the classroom.

    What you purportedly religious people fail to see, blinded by your faith, is that Genesis was and is an allegory. it is also internally illogical and contradictory. If believing in it though gives you and others comfort, than more power to you. Just don’t force your beliefs on others and if you don’t like what’s being taught in public schools, home school your kids and/or send them to religious based schools, at your own expense of course.

  7. “Evolution has overwhelming evidence that gives scientists grounds to believe in its validity”

    Everybody says there are “mountains of evidence” or overwhelming evidence. The problem is, we can’t get ONE SINGLE example that proves evolution to be true. What is a ‘fact’ of evolution.

    “The belief in “Creationism” has no evidence, other than faith, that the Earth was only created thousands of years ago.”

    Creation pays particular attention to what we can OBSERVE in nature – i.e. design elements that can’t be explained away, nor can be demonstrated to have just came about or happened over a billion or so years.

    Evolutionism, on the other hand, can’t be observed. Those who believe in it, have to believe based on faith that a pineapple and a porcupine, over some ridiculous time span, are somehow related. You can’t observe that. You can’t test that. All you can do is speculate or make it a ‘just-so’ story that it just happened. And don’t dare question it. That ‘crap’ is not science, that is nonscience.

    Science simply means, knowledge gained by OBSERVATION. We can OBSERVE intricate details and design elements in living things, we can OBSERVE DNA which contains information that can’t didn’t come about on its own over billions of years.

    The problem is, this ‘crap’ as you say, is politically sheltered from scrutiny in the classroom. There’s even laws in some states that regulate accuracy in the textbooks. The laws aren’t enforced. For example, some textbooks today STILL use Haeckel’s gill slits on human embryos as an illustration, even though the documents were proven fraudulent over 100 years ago. But that’s still taught as ‘science’.

    A lot of people don’t like what’s being taught in the schools. Because it isn’t factual. It’s just plain false. But that garbage is still taught as if it is a ‘fact’. But no one can give us one ‘fact’ of evolutionism.

    At the very least, the students should be ALLOWED to discuss all of the mountains of problems with the evolutionism theory without being ridiculed. The peddlers of this stupid theory know that under close scrutiny, evolution will fail.

    The Bible contains a lot of examples of allegory, parables, etc.. that helps us understand and learn. However those ‘contradictions’ as you say end up being an operator error. If something isn’t readily understood, the knee-jerk reaction is to believe something is wrong with the text, instead of examining the scripture and other passages that shed more light on the subject. The Bible has an account of creation, while our modern day ‘scientists’ are too busy entertaining stupid adult fairytales like evolutionism instead of plain old testable, provable “measured, weighed, and counted” science, as it used to be.

  8. “The problem is, we can’t get ONE SINGLE example that proves evolution to be true. What is a ‘fact’ of evolution.”

    FFLP,

    A bold statement but incorrect. We have skeletal remains ranging from millions of years that show evolutionary changes as just one instance. There have been fruit fly experiments that show evolutionary changes over generations. We know the rate of radioactive decay in materials and thus can arrive at the ages of structures that far predate “biblical creation.”

    “Creation pays particular attention to what we can OBSERVE in nature – i.e. design elements that can’t be explained away, nor can be demonstrated to have just came about or happened over a billion or so years.”

    That is merely a tautological exercise of relating dogma to give scientific patina, to basically articles of faith. It starts with the conception that the simplest explanation for the world around us is that it was created by an all powerful entity and then by rejecting better explanations seeks to dismiss them.

    “Evolutionism, on the other hand, can’t be observed.”

    It results can be observed and measured, whereas creationism can only be discerned by reading from the dicta of a much edited and in some cases mistranslated book. The dichotomy of meanings between the original authors of Genesis and the Christian appropriators of it are huge, in and of themselves. Jews do not believe in original sin for instance.

    “Science simply means, knowledge gained by OBSERVATION. We can OBSERVE intricate details and design elements in living things, we can OBSERVE DNA which contains information that can’t didn’t come about on its own over billions of years.”

    Science is knowledge gained by observation AND experimentation. There is experimentation that does indicate validity of evolutionary theory. You attempt to limit science to mere observation because it allows you to make your argument appear to have validity. By the way how do you know that “DNA contains information that “can’t didn’t” [?] come about over billions of years”? What proof of this have you.

    “The Bible contains a lot of examples of allegory, parables, etc.. that helps us understand and learn. However those ‘contradictions’ as you say end up being an operator error. If something isn’t readily understood, the knee-jerk reaction is to believe something is wrong with the text, instead of examining the scripture and other passages that shed more light on the subject. The Bible has an account of creation, while our modern day ‘scientists’ are too busy entertaining stupid adult fairytales like evolutionism instead of plain old testable, provable “measured, weighed, and counted” science, as it used to be.”

    The problem lies in the interpretation of those allegories and parables. I can assure you that the Jews who wrote the Torah had in no way any belief that their God could have a “son”, or that the Messiah would not be fully human.The God of the Jews is One, not a twosome, or a trinity. Nor did those writers and subsequent scholars see any prediction of a Messiah in the Christian meaning of the term. They would and do consider such a concept blasphemous. When it comes to any texts, however, it is of course open to different interpretations. With Christianity those interpretations are significantly varied as to devolve upon which sect believes which important doctrine.

    What I find interesting about subjects such as this is that as I’ve stated many times on this blog, I do have a belief that there is a creative power operating in our Universe. However, as the Torah states I am in awe of this power. Being in awe means to me that i am humble enough in the
    belief in it to readily admit that no human, much less myself can possibly understand it and its purposes. I see religious people who claim to understand the Creator’s purposes, based on texts edited and re-edited,
    interpreted and re-interpreted, to be blasphemers and/or con men.

    That is not to say that I don’t believe that people can derive great comfort and personal meaning for their lives via using these texts. They of course can and do. What I object to is their hubris in believing that their particular beliefs should be imposed on others, or that it in any way equates to the work done by science. I sincerely hope that your belief system gives you and yours great comfort, but keep it to yourself and keep it out of the public arena.

    If you want to believe evolution is invalid that is your right. However, it is the current theory overwhelming accepted by scientists and their understanding is based on evidence and experimentation. Your belief on the other hand is merely based on a varied interpretations of what you believe as Holy Scripture and should not be seen as equivalent to science in any secular educational setting.

    I am a Jew by birth, as was Jesus. People of your religious persuasion have persecuted my forbears for two millenia because we have refused to accept the Christian interpretation of our Torah. In truth Christians have appropriated our Holy Book for their purposes and have persecuted Jews because we don’t accede to the usurpation. Many Christians have been trying in recent years to impose their particular belief system upon this country and I reject this encroachment. I am as much an American as you are, but history has shown me that when a society adopts a State religion, that is when oppression begins. Given my ethnicity and its historical context I would hope you would appreciate my sensitivity in this. I would always defend your right to your belief, but I would completely oppose your imposition of your beliefs on others who don’t share them.

  9. “…skeletal remains ranging from millions of years that show evolutionary changes as just one instance.”

    No, we don’t. In fact, that’s one problem that Darwin said he had with the theory. In fact, it was the biggest problem. To this day we have not found anything substantial that proves evolution to have happened. The fossils we find consist of virtually 99% invertebrates. Incredibly complex, fully formed invertebrates. The remaining 1% is used to concoct these ‘transitionals’ with lots of imagination and plaster of paris. The fossils we find is actually a good indicator that things didn’t ‘evolve’ into other things over time.

    “There have been fruit fly experiments that show evolutionary changes over generations.”

    A scientist subjected larvae to radiation and it caused them to have wrinkled wings or no wings at all. That isn’t an ‘evolutionary change’. First, it’s still a fruit fly. Second, making something a mutation by subjecting it to radiation isn’t demonstrative of something that happens in nature, nor did it produce something beneficial. It was damage – contrary to evolutionism. Physical laws, as well as what we observe in nature show things contrary to evolutionism.

    “We know the rate of radioactive decay in materials and thus can arrive at the ages of structures that far predate “biblical creation.””

    After a few thousand years, the accuracy of dating falls off. Our method of dating things assumes a constant rate of carbon decay. Without even mentioning it, anything dated to be millions or billions of years old is simply a just-so story. We have no way of dating something to be that old. Scientists have dated living things to be thousands of years old. One end of a mammoth was a few thousand years older than the other end of the same mammoth. If we look back in time a couple of decades, the alleged age of the earth has changed exponentially. That basically means we don’t know how old the earth is. The alleged age of the earth today is wrong because it will change 10 years from now.

    Also be aware that the earth was void and without form for many years before creation. We learn about such in the Bible. Also it is interesting to note that the dates of things found actually points to a much younger earth than the ‘scientists’ would have you believe. Things tend to match the Biblical account rather than assumptions. We know something catastrophic happened a few thousand years ago. ‘Scientists’ think a big asteroid hit the earth but evidence suggests a worldwide flood.

    “…tautological exercise of relating to dogma…created by an all powerful entity and then by rejecting better explanations seeks to dismiss them.”

    We have a record of creation written in God’s word. That’s not tautology. “There are mountains of evidence for evolution” and “all scientists believe evolution” and “nothing disputes evolution” are good examples of tautology. Also known as ‘just-so’ stories. Contrast this with what we observe in creation. We can see design elements in living things. Even the simplest forms of life. I still look in amazement at the simple flagella motor, or the protein ‘walking’ video. Everything follows instructions laid out in DNA. This isn’t tautology, this is what we can observe. We can see repeating mathematical patterns such as the fibonacci sequence, binary sequence, phi in nature – divine proportion. This isn’t random happenings, or coincidence. It clearly points to a Designer. Not something that ‘evolved’ over time.

    “It [sic] (evolution) results can be observed and measured,”

    Such as….??

    “…creationism can only be discerned by reading from the dicta of a much edited and in some cases mistranslated book. The dichotomy of meanings between the original authors of Genesis and the Christian appropriators of it are huge, in and of themselves. Jews do not believe in original sin for instance.”

    Many have tried to discredit the Scriptures but to this day have not been able to provide anything to discredit it. To the contrary, archaeologists stumble upon ancient cities that were unknown but validate scripture. There are things written that predate modern ‘scientific’ discovery such as freshwater springs in the ocean, the sun having a ‘circuit’ in space, etc… At time the brightest scientific minds once thought the earth rode on the back of a turtle, while it was demonstrated in Isaiah, and Matthew that the world was round. Jews also believe Jesus isn’t the Messiah. But in Revelation we understand the Jews will believe the false Christ that appears will be the Messiah. This isn’t mistranslation or editing problems. This falls in the area of someone excepting scripture or not.

    “Science is knowledge gained by observation AND experimentation. There is experimentation that does indicate validity of evolutionary theory.”

    The basic definition of science is knowledge gained by observation. You can experiment with what you observe. No problem there. There is no way to experiment with evolutionism. Sure, you can see minute changes within a kind – such as bacteria building up resistance, or different breeds of dogs, varieties of corn, etc… You can experiment with such, and you still remain in science. However, once you point to these minute changes within a kind, and then come up with a theory that the changes somehow ‘pile up’ to big changes – such as one kind finally becoming another, you step outside of the realm of science and go into a belief. You can believe that a pineapple and a porcupine share a common ancestor, but that doesn’t mean it really happened. One has no way of experimenting with such a belief, or proving such a thing to be true.

    This one of the biggest problems with the evolutionism theory. It’s a bait and switch – use examples of microevolution and use this to leverage a belief in macroevolution. One doesn’t violate science, but the other does. That is the heart of the problem with evolutionism, and the nail in the coffin.

    “By the way how do you know that “DNA contains information that “can’t didn’t” [?] come about over billions of years”? What proof of this have you.”

    Primarily because we have nothing that would even remotely imply as such. Even if you take such a problem to a mathematician. The odds of something like DNA coming about on its own, over billions of years, is so staggering that it isn’t even remotely possible. It’s been said that evolutionism is impossible because there simply hasn’t been enough time. In addition, what we understand about DNA is that it contains basically instructions on how to form cells, what they do, etc… We even know that there is a built in correction mechanism in DNA. What evidence do we have that all this evolved over some astronomical amount of time? Based on the preponderance of the evidence, and what we observe, we can safely say that DNA didn’t come about on its own, it had to come from somewhere. Aliens depositing it on the earth? God Creating? Seems to point to a Designer.

    “The problem lies in the interpretation of those allegories and parables. I can assure you that the Jews who wrote the Torah had in no way any belief that their God could have a “son”, or that the Messiah would not be fully human. The God of the Jews is One, not a twosome, or a trinity.
    Nor did those writers and subsequent scholars see any prediction of a Messiah in the Christian meaning of the term. They would and do consider such a concept blasphemous….”

    The New Testament validates what we read in the Old Testament. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. That in one sentence explains the existence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Old Testament scripture points to a coming Messiah. New Testament contains the account of the Messiah coming to earth and filling EVERY single prophecy regarding the Messiah. Granted because it is written in the Holy Scriptures doesn’t mean that someone has to believe it.

    “If you want to believe evolution is invalid that is your right. However, it is the current theory overwhelming accepted by scientists and their understanding is based on evidence and experimentation.”

    You used the word tautology earlier. This is a gleaming example of tautology. There isn’t any evidence that backs up evolution and therefore, we can’t experiment on it. All we can do is speculate and BELIEVE that it happened. I for one, don’t believe it happened. I believe that, based on what we observe, everything points to a Designer of some sort.

    “Your belief on the other hand is merely based on a varied interpretations of what you believe as Holy Scripture and should not be seen as equivalent to science in any secular educational setting.”

    The problem is, Creation exists in perfect harmony with what can be observed in nature. Evolution doesn’t. Creation does not violate science. God created science in the first place. God isn’t at odds with science. within a correct mindset, we can use science to discover and study Creation. Not come up with really oddball theories and contorted stories to try and put science in some other plane of existence.

    Science has become shipwrecked because of something like evolutionism. Imagine how further along we would be if someone long ago, maybe shortly after Darwin, said – wait a minute. Let’s examine this theory first, before we run with it. Fast forward to the present – if one starts to explore all the problems with evolutionism, they lose grant money. They also are in danger of getting fired, ridiculed, etc… So for the modern scientist, it’s best to just go along with the crowd, and don’t make any waves. Believe evolution is true, because so many others believe it is true. Never mind this is an ad populum logical fallacy.

    “I am as much an American as you are, but history has shown me that when a society adopts a State religion, that is when oppression begins. Given my ethnicity and its historical context I would hope you would appreciate my sensitivity in this.”

    The problem we have now is the whole ‘separation between church and state’ issue is upside down. Originally, this was meant to keep the government out of church issues. Now twisted people invert the principle and use it to extract freedom of religion from the public. A teacher can make fun of a students religious beliefs but can’t talk about religious issues in the positive. Secularism is using an upside down view of church and state in order to impose its belief among the public. And the public unwittingly goes along because most think they aren’t upside down in their understanding of the meaning of separation of church and state.

    Also understand that people throughout history have done things contrary to scripture. One of the messages in the Bible is we are given free will. A Christian would have to violate Biblical principles to ‘impose their particular belief system’ on someone else. You simply share the gospel, plant the seed, and move on. All we can do is plant the seed, and God will give the increase. Anything outside of this simple principle goes outside of the boundaries of scripture.

    I am not imposing what I believe on anyone. My whole argument is that people need to examine what we are being told about evolution and don’t simply believe it because some other group believes in it. The observation of Creation is thrown out because it has something to do with the Bible, or God. When you really boil it down, however, you can discount the theories of evolutionism and realize the evidence of intelligent design without even cracking open a Bible.

  10. “The New Testament validates what we read in the Old Testament. In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. That in one sentence explains the existence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Old Testament scripture points to a coming Messiah. New Testament contains the account of the Messiah coming to earth and filling EVERY single prophecy regarding the Messiah.”

    FFLP,

    It’s peculiar that no Rabbinical Scholar would interpret that first sentence as explaining a trinity. Then of course they are only Jews, who wrote it and debated it for five hundred years before Jesus and two thousand years since. Christians are entitled to interpret the “Pauline” explanations any way they want. That is of course religious freedom. As far as your statements on science you to can also believe anything you want but most scientists in the fields related to evolution accept it.

    “Creation does not violate science. God created science in the first place. God isn’t at odds with science. within a correct mindset, we can use science to discover and study Creation.”

    A good example of the tautology I was referring to.

    “The problem we have now is the whole ‘separation between church and state’ issue is upside down. Originally, this was meant to keep the government out of church issues. Now twisted people invert the principle and use it to extract freedom of religion from the public. A teacher can make fun of a students religious beliefs but can’t talk about religious issues in the positive.”

    I grew up Jewish in the 50’s. Anti-Jewish laws, actions and feelings were only just beginning to become ameliorated in the US. There were still hotels and businesses that wouldn’t admit Jews and some towns had signs saying Jews and dogs weren’t welcome, but general anti-Jewish feelings had simmered down as the public was entertained by a host of Jewish superstars and sympathy for the Shoah was widespread. Obviously though, for many years Jews weren’t allowed the same religious freedom as Christians.

    In the time I grew up there were also things called “Blue Laws” that decreed that many businesses couldn’t open on Sunday. The Jewish Sabbath is Saturday. Businesses owned by Jews and services needed by Jews were not available to them due to laws enforcing a Christian Sabbath. Was this “separation of Church and State”?

    In my elementary school, made up of 50% of Jewish students, yet with an Administration and Teachers primarily Christian, we Jewish children were forced to trim class Christmas Trees, partake in Secret Santa, sing Carols in the auditorium and participate/sit through Christmas plays. Easter time too had like celebrations and no as a Jewish kid I wasn’t into dying Easter Eggs. By the way Hanukkah, Passover and the Jewish High holy days were never mentioned.

    I have no doubt that this is to you are excellent examples of “separation of Church and State” for in the end the reasoning of many Christians, defines religion as Christianity and this country as a Christian Country. It was through the legal actions of Jews, the ADL and the ACLU that these practices, which I assume you mourn, were taken out of American practices precisely because of separation of Church and State.

    If you sense a certain tinge of anger in my detailing the experiences of my childhood you are correct. I grew up in a home where my parents never monitored my reading. By the age of ten i had read the Gospels and other books of the christian Canon. I was curious about Christianity, not in the sense of being beckoned by its siren call (I wasn’t), but in trying to understand where Christians were coming from religiously. They
    did not move me at all, but that’s me and I have no doubt that many Christians find great meaning and comfort from them.

    My anger stems from the fact that Christianity has for most of two thousand years persecuted my ancestors and that my own parents grew up in an America of legalized prejudice against Jews, even though it supposedly guarantees freedom of religion. My anger stems from the fact that if you and your co-religionists are again allowed to impose your definition of separation of church and state, I will have to worry over the fates of my progeny.

  11. Mike, when that level of ignorance of science is expressed, I usually do not bother responding. It is compounded by a stunning ignorance of theology as well.

    Dr. Laurence J. Peter once wrote, “Against logic there is no armor like ignorance.”

  12. “Mike, when that level of ignorance of science is expressed, I usually do not bother responding. It is compounded by a stunning ignorance of theology as well.”

    OS,

    I agree. that’s why I won’t continue to debate the “scientific” presentation that FFLP has made. In truth I’m not into denigrating anyone’s deeply held beliefs as long as they don’t impinge on society and or myself. I fear that this impingement began anew with the anti-abortion movement and has been gaining steam through the years. I think like me, you remember the 50’s and their oppressive conformity in many areas of freedom of thought. i do not relish a return to the mindset of those times.

  13. @Otteray Scribe

    “Mike, when that level of ignorance of science is expressed, I usually do not bother responding. It is compounded by a stunning ignorance of theology as well.”

    Ad hominem logical fallacy. Anyone who doesn’t bow to the sacred cow of evolutionism is stupid and nobody should bother cluing them in. (read – there really isn’t any evidence and I can’t provide any, so I’ll sling mud and run)

    We’re not asking for much – just simply ONE ‘fact’ of evolutionism. Stunning ignorancy of theology – Example? The Bible isn’t subject to any private interpretation. Rightly discerning the Word of Truth, one must level one scripture with several others and find harmony.

    Ignorance of science? I’m not the one who thinks man is related to field mice. I’m standing by the ‘old school’ science where it deals with things measured, weighed, or counted – testable, provable. Since evolutionism doesn’t belong in that realm, it falls flat. You might want to open your mind just a tad and at least look at the problems with evolutionary theory, rather than blindly accept it as truth, just because others do.

  14. @Mike

    “My anger stems from the fact that if you and your co-religionists are again allowed to impose your definition of separation of church and state, I will have to worry over the fates of my progeny.”

    Google the phrase separation of church and state, and the letter to Thomas Jefferson. This is where the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ first appeared. You will notice that this isn’t my definition I’m imposing. You are not aware that the definition today is 180 degrees out of phase from what it originally meant. When the Constitution was being radified, several states already had a state religion. They did not want the state coming in and running the church, or telling the church what they can and can’t do. Congress is not allowed to make any laws regarding an established religion, nor hindering the free exercise of religion.

    But today, Congress uses this to silence churches, and make it illegal for the free exercise of religion. The ACLU has consistently ruled against the rights of individuals who believe we have a freedom of religion. Roger Baldwin and Crystal Eastman founded the ACLU in 1920. They were socialists/communists. Today the ACLU inverts the law to suit current anti-American sentiment.

  15. If the teacher had called the atomic theory of matter just “superstitious nonsense” clearly this lawsuit would not have happened. To me this suggests the principle that even widely held ideas can be ridiculed in a class room. And why not? The question may then be “but where is the limit”. There is one, but we are not near it yet. [Could a teacher state that negroes or women are inferior? Eek…yes. Or whites, or men? Closer to the truth.]

  16. Mr Fruit Flies, you say “But today, Congress uses [the First Amendment] to silence churches, and make it illegal for the free exercise of religion.”

    Any examples, aside from child sacrifice?

  17. Fruit – here is the definition of tautology:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tautology

    You say, mistakenly,
    “There are mountains of evidence for evolution” and “all scientists believe evolution” and “nothing disputes evolution” are good examples of tautology.”

    Nope.

    Spencer’s phrase, “Survival of the fittest” is (I think) a tautology.
    Q: How do you know they are the most fit?
    A: They survived.

  18. Religions are a futile attempt at explaining quantum mechanics. They are manifested by the addiction to someone’s glimpse into multidimensional space. Scientists have defined 11 dimensions (maybe 13 now) mathematically yet we can only realize 3 and conceptualize 4. We must be wary of religions. They provide a ripe platform for power and control. They have no place within the State. We are currently fighting numerous wars based on this premise.

    A wise person once told me, “Embrace those who are searching for the truth and shun those who have found it”.

  19. “The Bible isn’t subject to any private interpretation. Rightly discerning the Word of Truth, one must level one scripture with several others and find harmony.’

    FFLP,

    You really beg the question. Private interpretation is the rule rather than the exception. This is proven by the wide variety of Christian Sects. each believing their interpretations and performing its own exegesis.

  20. “…he referred to creationism as “superstitious nonsense.”

    So let me understand what he’s trying to say. Those who believe God CREATED everything is considered “superstitious nonsense” but those who think a pineapple and a porcupine share a common ancestor and everything living that we know and yet to have discovered just poofed into existence and mutated and congealed and transformed into everything over x-billion years. And that is NOT superstitious nonsense???

    Pot. Kettle. Black.

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