Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Case for No Creator in Schools

Tucked away in a mountainous corner of Los Angeles county, one small school district is the most recent target of the War on God that the "tolerant" left has waged with distressing success. Even here, when a class that doesn't claim to be a science class, is given a summary-judgment execution. No deviation from evolutionary orthodoxy is to be permitted!

California school district agrees to settle intelligent-design suit

WASHINGTON (ABP) -- Just days after they were sued over it, a California school district has agreed to stop teaching a course critics said promoted creationism and intelligent design.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced Jan. 17 that the El Tejon Unified School District, located in the mountains about 65 miles north of Los Angeles, has agreed to stop teaching a course called "Philosophy of Design" at its only high school, Frazier Mountain High in the town of Lebec.

As part of the agreement, according to Americans United, the school board issued a statement declaring, "No school over which the school district has authority, including the high school, shall offer, presently or in the future, the course entitled 'Philosophy of Design' or 'Philosophy of Intelligent Design' or any other course that promotes or endorses creationism, creation science, or intelligent design."

Americans United filed suit Jan. 11 in federal court on behalf of 11 parents in the district, saying the course is not simply teaching intelligent design but teaching it from a specifically religious viewpoint.

A course description, which was given to district parents in December, said the class would "take a close look at evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid…. Physical and chemical evidence will be presented suggesting the earth is thousands of years old, not billions."

Intelligent design theory has been offered by a handful of respected biologists -- and endorsed by many conservative religious leaders -- as an alternative to naturalistic theories of evolution. It posits that some biological structures are too complex to have evolved merely by the process of natural selection; instead, they are evidence of a super-intelligent designer.

But many biologists and moderate religious leaders have condemned intelligent design as inextricably linked to creation science, which they say is more about theology than science. In December, a federal judge agreed with them, ruling that a Pennsylvania school district's practice of endorsing ID in high-school biology classes violates the Constitution's prohibition on government establishment of religion.

However, several of the practice's critics said, at the time, they had no objection to ID theory being taught in philosophy or humanities classes.

But Americans United leaders said the California case is different because the course is weighted toward a fundamentalist Christian view of the origins of life.

[Does anyone really believe that AUSCS could ever find a class they could pass on? Get real.]

The group's legal director, Ayesha Khan, issued a statement congratulating the school board. "This course was far from intelligently designed," she said. "It was an infomercial for creationism and its offshoot, intelligent design. The class would never have survived a court challenge, and the board of trustees made the right call by pulling the plug on it."

The course was conceived and taught by Sharon Lemburg, a special-education teacher who is also married to an Assembly of God minister.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lemburg felt a divine calling to teach the course. "Did God guide me to do this?" she said in an interview with a reporter from the newspaper. "I would hope so." She began teaching the course Jan. 3.


Notice the parting shot? Anyone who (1) thinks God guides them is inherently dangerous and (2) the spouse of a Pentcostal pastor is especially to be suspect.

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