Friday, March 31, 2006

Establishment Clause Double Standard?

Casey Luskin comments on the dismissal of the lawsuit challenging the Understanding Evolution web site here.

I had previously commented on aspects of this web site with my post: Eugenie Scott's Strategy: To Convert Baptist Kids into Episcopalians in Science Class?

In another post about the same web site, I asked the question: Figuring Out Eugenie Scott: Is She Ignorant, Dishonest, Correct . . . Or None of the Above?

Regarding Phyllis Hamilton, the judge in the Caldwell case, she also decided this case, in which students were required to engage in a "simulation" of Muslim religious practices:
Requiring seventh-grade students to pretend they're Muslims, wear Islamic garb, memorize verses from the Quran, pray to Allah and even to play "jihad games" in California public schools has been legally upheld by a federal judge, who has dismissed a highly publicized lawsuit brought by several Christian students and their parents.

The article also contains this quote from the plaintiff's attorney:
"Public schools would never tolerate teaching Christianity in this way. Just imagine the ACLU’s outcry if students were told that they had to pray the Lord's Prayer, memorize the Ten Commandments, use such phrases as 'Jesus is the Messiah,' and fast during Lent."

Daniel Pipes' commentary on that case is here.

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I can hear the teacher now . . . "Class, next week we will be moving on to study early Canaanite religious practices and everyone will be required to participate in a simulation of temple prostitution. Don't forget your homework!"

* * * *

Some of my thoughts on whether there is a conflict between "evolution" and "religion" can be found here. My short answer: it depends on which definition (and/or aspects) of "evolution" you are using and, of course, which form of "religion" you are talking about. A simple "yes" or "no" answer will almost certainly be misleading and unhelpful. The US government should not be taking an official position on this issue, and it should not be supporting a web site that is promoting such a simplistic stance.


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