5 Shocking Ways the Christian Right Has Forced the Bible Into America's Schools
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Under the policy passed by the board, Dover students had to listen to a pro-Intelligent Design disclaimer in class, and the school library was stocked with copies of an insipid creationist tome called Of Pandas and People.
The statement read in part, “Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence.”
Dover teachers refused to read it, leaving the task to administrators.
In December 2004, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union, representing parents and taxpayers in the district, filed suit. The trial, dubbed "Scopes II" by the media, gained international attention.
One year later, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones – an appointee of President George W. Bush – didn’t just strike down the policy, he eviscerated it. Jones wrote in a 139-page opinion that ID is not science but religion and blasted the Dover school board for adopting a divisive and contentious policy that sparked a powerful backlash in town.
The board’s actions, Jones wrote, were clearly religious in nature.
“The disclaimer’s plain language, the legislative history, and the historical context in which the ID Policy arose, all inevitably lead to the conclusion that Defendants consciously chose to change Dover’s biology curriculum to advance Religion,” wrote Jones in his Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District decision. “We have been presented with a wealth of evidence which reveals that the District’s purpose was to advance creationism, an inherently religious view, both by introducing it directly under the label ID and by disparaging the scientific theory of evolution, so that creationism would gain credence by default as the only apparent alternative to evolution….”
The decision sparked some interesting fallout. Dover voters had already ejected the board members who supported ID, and the new board found itself facing legal fees exceeding $1 million over the fiasco. Meanwhile, angry TV preacher Pat Robertson informed the citizens of Dover that they just might incur the wrath of God.
“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover, if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God," Robertson told viewers of his “700 Club” program. “You just rejected him from your city. And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. And I’m not saying they will. But if they do, just remember you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, then don't ask for his help ‘cause he might not be there.”
5. Ohio: In 2007, a disturbing incident came to light in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Parents discovered that a science teacher named John Freshwater was secretly teaching creationism to middle-school students.
Freshwater, who in 2003 had publicly attacked the school district for mandating that evolution be taught, began quietly pushing intelligent design in class, including distributing materials designed to cast doubt on the validity of evolution. Interestingly, these special creationist “work sheets” were used only in class. Students were not permitted to take them home.
The matter came to school officials’ attention only after the parents of a 13-year-old boy complained when he came home with a red cross on his arm. The boy said Freshwater had made the mark with an electronic device called the Tesla coil.
Administrators at the school began looking into the matter. They soon discovered that Freshwater had put religious posters in his classroom, asked students questions about their religious beliefs and the depth of their commitment and even offered “healing” services at meetings of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.