Does Separation of Church and State Prohibit Teaching Creation Science in Public Schools?
By Jack Wellman |
Posted 7:08 am on August 07, 2010
Where do you find the separation of church and state? In the U.S. Constitution? In the Articles of Confederation? In the amendments? How about in the Declaration of Independence? You will not find it in any legal document in the Unites States. This phrase, penned by Thomas Jefferson was for a wall of separation between church and state, because in England, the state was the church. It was a church-state. This is what inspired Jefferson in his memoirs, that simply a division of labor be established. That’s all he meant. The government shouldn’t fund religion or impose it at the state level as compulsory. Nor could the state impose it’s ideology upon the churches.
Suppose that a flat Earth religion became very popular and books appeared defending the flat Earth hypothesis. Flat Earth parents, of course, would be very unhappy to find that the public schools were teaching a round Earth. Some of them would move their children into private schools that taught flat- arth theory. Others would campaign against the "brainwashing" of their children in the public schools. They might demand equal time for their flat Earth views. How would you handle that potato? It would be irresponsible, of course, for you to allow the flat Earth view into the geography curriculum. Time spent on the evidences for a flat Earth is time robbed from serious learning.
The Supreme Court has already been made it crystal clear that the teaching of creation science cannot be legally prohibited from being taught in the classroom, if the local school district opts for it. Incidentally, this is what the Supreme Court calls it: Creation science. Former Chief Justice William Riehquist and current Justice Antonin Scalla, "We have no basis on the record to conclude that creation science need be anything other than a collection of scientific data supporting the theory that life abruptly appeared on the Earth." Edwards vs. Aguillard, Dissent (1987).
The meaning of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution should be disbarred. This Amendment clearly says, "Congress cannot pass any law concerning a religion or establishing a religion; and cannot pass any law that prevents the free exercise of religion." To do otherwise is clearly a violation of the Constitution and discrimination and hate crime against believers. The U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning separation of church and state is clearly a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
Louisiana's "Creationism Act" - the Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court decision - forbid the teaching of the theory of evolution in public elementary and secondary schools unless accompanied by instruction in the theory of creation science. Appellees, who included Louisiana parents, teachers, and religious leaders, challenged the act's constitutionality in U.S. District Court, seeking an injunction and declaratory relief. The district court granted summary judgment to the appellees, holding that the act violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Court of Appeals affirmed (http://www.nwcreation.net/trials.html).
The U.S. Constitution guarantees that nondiscriminatory teaching of creation science and intelligent design theory and freedom of speech cannot be denied to schools. The power to legislate - - pass laws is specifically allocated in the U.S. Constitution to Congress; not the U.S. Supreme Court justices. What laws Congress cannot make are also stated in the Constitution. The Supreme Court is the judicial branch of our government, conceived as a counterbalance to the legislative branch. In this capacity it has the ability not to make laws, but to judge whether or not a law is being broken. The courts have been making laws, and this is not their job. That falls to Congress and even then, and then to two thirds majority of the states.
The legal challenges to intelligent design center around the notion that if a superior being created the universe and that superior being is God – then such a theory violates the separation of church and state and cannot be taught in public schools. But consider what the Supreme Court has said about this issue. In 1987, in Edwards v. Aguillard, the high court concluded that “teaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to school children might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.” The court also said that teaching these theories would pose no constitutional problems provided they are not taught to the exclusion of evolution. If the classroom is indeed, as the Supreme Court has said, “the marketplace of ideas,” why not teach multiple theories regarding the origins of mankind – including Intelligent Design?
Parents and their children ought to have the right to question current theories and be able to consider alternative explanations, especially when a theory is regarded as fact and has yet to be conclusively proven. Let the children make up their own minds. What do evolutionists have to fear? Evolution has become like a state ideology and instead of people worrying about the separation of church and state, it has turned to an effort to become a separation of church from state. This was most certainly not the founding fathers intent.
And intent is everything.
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