Friday, July 11, 2008

Teaching Religion in Public Schools

There are many commonly held beliefs out there that are just wrong, most of which are easily refutable but vindication takes a while. For example, Copernicus told us in 1514 that the earth is not the center of the universe. Let's not forget that in 1633, Galileo was declared a heretic for “following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of the Holy Scripture.” And it was also in 1633, that the first Baptist in America, Roger Williams, was kicked out of Boston for declaring there should be separation of church & state --- 22 years after the first Baptist in the world, Thomas Helwys, wrote a book that said the same thing. Helwys wasn't ashamed of it either: he signed his name to it, mailed it to the king & for his efforts he was thrown in prison only to die a few years later: a prisoner in chains but a conscience that was free in Christ.

The Catholic Church finally admitted in 1992 that Galileo was right, something that any grade schooler knew for the last 200 years. Helwys & Williams & the rest of the Baptists were vindicated with the passage of the 1st Amendment that included the principle of separation of church & state, though many still don't understand their own history.

So let's state the obvious: religion takes a while to admit its interpretation is wrong, despite the clear facts of science.

Charles Darwin published "Origin of the Species" 149 years ago but some folks still hold to a religious interpretation of the Bible that the science says is simply not so. Science has never said the Bible is wrong. In fact, science doesn't involve itself in religion at all. The problem is that some religious =interpretations= don't like what science has to say.

In the meantime, some folks are trying to put their religious interpretations in the science books. Instead of of calling it "Creationism" it is given a more hip title: "Intelligent Design." Same tactic; same interpretation of faith; just different name.

The state of LA has now decided that teachers should be allowed to bring “supplemental materials” into the classroom when discussing evolution & other "controversial" topics. That's right, folks. The LA legislature has decided that since their religious idea contradicts the science, then it must be "controversial," never mind that there is =no= legitimate debate among the overwhelming scientific community about evolution. None. There are questions, sure, but no debate whatsoever that Evolutionary Theory is spot on.

And such goofball legislation makes us look bad. The New Scientist is a weekly international publication & points out that LA is simply trying to get religious ideas taught alongside the science.

The National Review is quick to point out that the Discover Institute, a religious group trying to disprove the science of evolution, has been behind all this in LA & says:

Some local school board will take the Act as a permit to bring religious instruction into their science classes. That will irk some parents. Those parents will sue. There will be a noisy and expensive federal lawsuit, possibly followed by further noisy and expensive appeals. The school board will inevitably lose. The property owners of that school district will take the financial hit.

Where will the Discovery Institute be when these legal expenses come due? Just where they were in the Dover case — nowhere! What, you were thinking that those bold warriors for truth at the Discovery Institute will help to fund the defense in these no-hope lawsuits? Ha ha ha ha ha!

Schools should be about education, not debating religious ideas. If parents want the kids to get a religious education, then let the religious institutions handle that; they are much better at it than the local Board of Education. Science is about fact, not faith. Attempting to back door religious doctrine into a classroom only serves to subvert a child's education.

Let's hope it doesn't take another 150 years for Darwin to get vindication in LA.

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