Scopes Monkey Trial, Dover PA

December 19, 2004: A group of Pennsylvania parents has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Dover Area School District’s decision to include “intelligent design” (higher power; creationism) in ninth grade science classes. One parent said, “This is a small group of people trying to push a particular religion on everybody.”

“It doesn’t belong in science class, just the same as evolution doesn’t belong in comparative religion class.”

Consider a fictional reverse case:

Introduction to Bible Study Guide, 1st Divinity Church of Wakefield

  • Material presented in this class may be just an opinion.
  • Some people think Creationism is superstitious mumbo-jumbo.
  • This class presents sectarian viewpoints not shared in most of the rest of the world.
  • You wouldn’t even be attending this class in Jakarta, Beijing or Tokyo.
  • Bible Study is an interesting viewpoint. Take it with a grain of salt.
  • Preposterous? Not if the Dover Area School Board has its way. Separation of church and state is a two-way street, not just an abstract legal principle. Even if you agree with the bullet points above, it defies fairness and common sense to propose forcing a Sunday School class to adopt such a self-defeating curriculum. The same applies to forcing a school district to roll back the calendar to 1925, the year of the infamous Tennessee vs. Scopes “Monkey Trial”.

    The current political climate tilts the playing field in favor of hardball religious sectarianism in the educational system. Whether or not you as a parent or concerned citizen regard yourself as religious, religion and science need to be taught apart. Individual freedom of expression and thought are easily surrendered, but won back only at great cost.

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