A coalition of sinister Christian fundamentalist groups has attempted to challenge the Kansas Board of Education over its new science standards which they claim would “create a hostile learning environment for those of faith.”
One group, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), which styles itself as a defender of civil liberties, claims that the new standards:
“[P]romote religious beliefs that are inconsistent with the theistic religious beliefs of plaintiffs, thereby depriving them of the right to be free from government that favors one religious view over another.”
A second group, Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE, Inc), claims that the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the children in Kansas are in danger of being violated because the new standards “will have the effect of causing Kansas public schools to establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview.”
One of the first casualties of the religious mind is any sense of irony. Never has this been more apparent than in Kansas. These groups are crying that the rights of children are being infringed on because the Board of Education in Kansas is doing exactly what it is supposed to do in respect to the First and Fourteenth Amendments: applying rigorous standards to the teaching of science in schools, and ensuring that pseudo-scientific and (baseless) religious claims are the preserve of the church and private home, just as the Founding Fathers intended.
As always, the courts will side against those who seek to pollute the minds of children. However, we must never be complacent when it comes to educating our children. At a time when America’s role in the world is increasingly being challenged by countries like Brazil, India and China, it is irresponsible and dangerous to teach the next generation creationist nonsense that was written at a time when the authors knew less about the origin of our species and our planet than the average ten-year old does today.
When the Anabaptists of Danbury, Connecticut wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson complaining of persecution at the hands of the Congregationalists of Danbury (see how these Christians love one another!), Mr. Jefferson wrote back to them promising that the federal government would never take the side of one religion over another, and spoke of the great “wall of separation” that would always exist between the state and faith.
As the late Christopher Hitchens said: “Mr. Jefferson: BUILD UP THIS WALL!”