Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PBS to Teachers: Episcopal Good; Baptist Bad

Well, they did not actually say "Baptist Bad," but it seems pretty clear from the subtext. The Evo News blog points out a PBS Briefing Packet for Educators (related to the NOVA show "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design") that seems to follow the Eugenie Scott strategy guide pretty closely. I discussed this in my previous post: "Eugenie Scott's Strategy: To Convert Baptist Kids into Episcopalians in Science Class?" Perhaps it would be more accurate to summarize the message as: "Episcopal Good; Baptists Don't Exist."

Although not as explicit as Scott's strategy guide, the message is still pretty clear. Teachers should cite with approval the carefully selected denomination statements that support and praise evolutionary theory. They should ignore other denomination statements or philosophical positions that encourage critical analysis of evolutionary theory, or take a more subtle and sophisticated approach to the relationship between evolutionary theory and related metaphysical ideas.

The question is: Does this violate the Establishment Clause? According to the Supreme Court,

Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice. It may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against the militant opposite. The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.


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