/ November 24, 2004 12:25 PM
Ahh, you have to love the Anti-God people. The ACLU hates the Boy Scouts
and now we have lawyers filing lawsuits against school districts for using the Declaration Of Independence and George Washington's Diaries. You'll never guess where this lawsuit occurred.
... a California case is taking the "separation of church and state" one step further – dealing with whether it's unconstitutional to read the Declaration of Independence in public school.
Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit Monday against the Cupertino Union School District for prohibiting a teacher from providing supplemental handouts to students about American history because the historical documents contain some references to God and religion.
Patricia Vidmar, principal of the Stevens Creek School, reportedly ordered the teacher, Stephen Williams, to submit his lesson plans and supplemental handouts to her for advance approval. Aside from Williams, a Christian, no other teachers were subject to the advance-screening requirement, says the ADF.
Just what documents did Williams submit that were deemed unfit for the school's students?
"Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the diaries of George Washington and John Adams, the writings of William Penn, and various state constitutions," said the public-interest law firm representing Willliams.
I'm no Christian, preach from the mountaintop individual, but I'm fed up with people changing history and censoring portions of it because they think it infringes on some church-state seperationism. Next they'll be telling us people came to America originally to get into som serious Atheism.
You can't change the facts whether you agree with them or not. Next thing you'll be having lawsuits against teachers who talk about the Crusades or the Holy Roman Empire or Greek Mythology because it shows a polytheism religion and we can't have that.
Tipped by: Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Update (Nov. 27 2:09PM PST)
Ramblings' Journal has pointed me to a link at The Smoking Gun of the lawsuit brought against the school disrict by the teacher Steven Williams to be able to use the documents in class.
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Posted by Digger on November 24, 2004 12:25 PM (Permalink)
Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention. I've checked the school's website, they are closed for thanksgiving, but I got some phone numbers. As soon as the school is open, I am going to do some follow-up on this one.
Posted by: EdWonk on November 24, 2004 12:57 PM
OK, maybe all the lawyers have forgotten that religion was a major part of life back then. People were branded devil-worshipers and shunned from society if they were not considered devout. If they keep this up, we might have to do away with teaching history in schools. The trouble with most intellectuals is that they are inherently stupid.
Posted by: Catherine on November 24, 2004 01:17 PM
So wait, other teachers are able to give out the Declaration of Independence, but only this guy isn't allowed to? I imagine there is more to this story that just a knee jerk reaction to "G-d" being in the Declaration. Too bad the right and conservative Christians will overhype this into something it's not.
Posted by: Anon on November 24, 2004 08:42 PM
Just a caution:
The title, "Lawyers Want Declaration Of Independence Censored Due To Inclusion Of God References" is, at this point inaccurate. The only lawyers mentioned in the story want just the opposite. That I am aware of, there are no lawyers who want the DOI censored for any reason.
At this point, it has been alledged that the Principal has submitted the lesson plans and supplemental handouts of one Teacher to inspection and approval, and has exercized editorial control over some instances. In my opinion, if the facts are as alledged, this is unfair.
Having said that, what we have here is only one side of the story, namely that of the Teacher, as framed by a lawyer for the Teacher. We have heard nothing from the Principal. We know very little yet. We do not know whether the complaint is legitimate. If it is, we do not know why the Principal has done what is alledged. There may, in fact, be legitimate concerns, not about the material censored but about the Teacher's intended use of the material. There is no evidence that what I am about to suggest is, in fact, true; it is merely a hypothetical explanation.
It is possible that the Christian Teacher has used such material, in the past, as a text, or pretext, for promoting Christianity, a behavior which is clearly inappropriate in a public school.
As we don't have anything like all the facts, I suggest that such post titles and many of the comments made here are inappropriate.
Posted by: Craig R. Harmon on November 27, 2004 05:27 PM
Excellent points. All of the "Christian" blogs I've seen that have been harping on this one case have, as far as I can tell, not gotten the full story before going off half-cocked.
If these Christians would use the brains that their God gave them, perhaps they'd get the facts before screeching.
Posted by: dejah thoris on November 27, 2004 05:30 PM
As the person who posted the contact info of the school, I'd like to point out some things. Is this teacher a complete victim, probably not. But censoring the religious parts of the Declaration? That's just a stupid policy. The founders said many things, including things religious, to wipe those out of the classroom under the pretense that it is being used to evangelize is stupid.
Posted by: John Bambenek on November 29, 2004 01:07 PM
Well, yeh, if it's a "pretense" that it is being used to evangelize. If the teacher is actually using it to evangelize, in my opinion, he should be fired. You just can't do that in a Public School.
Like I say, we just don't know. We should neither vilify the Principal nor defend the Teacher, without a very clear disclaimer that the state of our knowledge at this point is extremely limited.
To do otherwise is just irresponsible.
Posted by: Craig R. Harmon on November 29, 2004 11:47 PM
In fact, the teacher was not forbidden from handing out the Declaration of Independence to his students.
He was apparently pushing Christianity in the classroom, using various handouts. Some of them included QUOTES from the Declaration of the Independence.
Most of the media coverage has relied on info provided by the conservative Christian group that filed the lawsuit, which is pushing the idea that public school teachers should be allowed to preach to their students.
The truth is that teachers are free to teach the Declaration of Independence to their students, and to discuss religion in a neutral (non-proselytizing) way. This guy crossed the line into preaching. His principal then asked to review his lesson plans.
His response was to file a lawsuit against the school district. Isn't this one of those "frivolous lawsuits" that conservatives are always complaining about?
Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Matt Drudge, Fox News, and the usual right-wing media suspects instantly pounced on this and turned it into an attack on "liberals". Interesting that the lawsuit was filed (and the press releases went out) right before the long Thanksgiving weekend -- ensuring plenty of dinner-table conversation across the country, but no opportunity for school officials to offer their side of the story until today.
The lesson: check facts before falling for spin.
More info here:
Posted by: Maximus on December 6, 2004 08:20 AM
It is funny how the liberal anon post near that top of this message is even afraid to type the whold word GOD in his message. As far as I am concerned, this message can't be overhypped enough. The actions of the liberal left would be a total slap in the face to fore fathers of this nation. Its funny how the left don't like censorship, until its is agains the right. Funny how they are turning the word God into a cursed word. You can say almost anything today on TV or Radio, but don't dare use the word God in a public school. What is worse, is that most of us complain but keep letting it happen.
Posted by: Michael Richard on December 9, 2004 07:10 AM