Food for thought

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’ve been reading a great book, Liars for Jesus, about the twisting of historical facts (and just plain lying) to support the notion that the USA was intended to be a Christian Nation. I found the following reference especially interesting, so I’m sharing it with you. First there is a quotation from a constitution (which one, I will reveal later), and an explanation by an author. The subjects are religion and public education. SEC. 4. All persons have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences. No person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship against his consent, and no preference shall be given by-law to any religious society, nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted. No religious test shall be required as a qualification for office, nor shall any person be incompetent to be a witness on account of his religious belief; but nothing herein shall be construed to dispense with oaths and affirmations. Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the legislature to pass suitable laws to protect ...

Iowa justices wield impeccable logic, reiterate church-state separation 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — The decision by the Iowa Supreme Court to clear the way for same-sex marriage in that state is big news, but the masterfully clear logic of the court’s ruling is even more impressive. It is worth reading the 69-page ruling, even if you are not a student of the law, just to see how keen minds operate. In addition, the court clearly restated the premise of the separation of church and state enshrined in both the Iowa and U.S. Constitutions. Christian Dominionists are bound to be unhappy about that part of the opinion, since they insist the USA is a “Christian nation” founded on Christian principles. Interestingly, the decision was unanimous. Of the seven justices, two are Republican appointees and the rest are Democratic appointees. Had the decision been split 5-2, critics could cry “liberal bias” and “activist judges.” A unanimous ruling speaks volumes for the power of the law. The issue of course was whether the civil marriage statute in Iowa’s books discriminated against same-sex couples who wish to marry. The Court carefully examined whether same-sex couples were “similar situated” as opposite-sex couples, that is, are their circumstances the same? And does the law as worded ...

Intelligent Design pops up (briefly) in Bloomfield, Ky.

Bloomfield Middle School officials had to tell a seventh grade science teacher that she could not teach Intelligent Design (ID) after they received a warning from the Kentucky chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU letter advised them that the teaching of ID was contrary to “the substantial legal authority establishing the illegality of teaching a religious doctrine within a science curriculum.” The Panda’s Thumb reprinted part of that letter yesterday. The teacher in question, Adonna Florence, confirmed the gist of the report to me today. I am awaiting details from her, the BMS principal and the ACLU. Technically, Florence’s introduction of ID into her science classes is not contrary to Kentucky state law. At one point in history, Kentucky law expressly permitted, but did not require, the teaching of the Biblical creation of Earth and the organisms on it. As part of the Kentucky Education Reform Act, that statute, KRS 158.177, was effectively repealed in 1990 and re-enacted with substantially the same language as before: SECTION 403. KRS 158.177 IS REPEALED AND REENACTED TO READ AS FOLLOWS: (1) In any public school instruction concerning the theories of the creation of man and the earth, and which ...

Texas HS school pulls teen mother feature from yearbook

This is old news, because I was asleep at the switch, but it’s a timeless topic, pitting well-meaning students against stuffy administrators. The editors of the Burleson (TX) High School yearbook, The Elk, planned a two-page photo feature on two teen mothers at the school, to show how they overcame the difficulties keeping their children created. The deadline for the book was Saturday. When the editors presented the book proofs to the principal, he vetoed the pregnancy spread, saying it “glamorized” teenage sex and contradicted the district’s abstinence-only sex-education curriculum. The editors took the matter up the chain of command, but heard the same response: no features on teen mothers. According to the Dallas Star-Telegram, yearbook editor Megan Estes wanted the yearbook to reflect the experiences of the entire student body, not just the jocks and brainiacs. Seniors Brittani Shipman and Robin Robertson agreed to appear in the teen mother feature. “It really hurts [the girls] when they hear people talking about them … These are people with real lives — not just something you gossip about in high school,” Estes said, according to the Student Press Law Center. The yearbook adviser, a former professional newspaper woman, and the staff ...
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