Re: Fwd: A article

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Wed May 05 2004 - 09:05:28 EDT

Historically, the *political* issue that Bryan focused on was this:

(1) public education should be religiously neutral; neither Xty nor any
other religion should be endorsed

(2) evolution is inherently anti-Christian (again, hear his complaints
about social Darwinism, and throw in his complaints coming from biblical

(3) evolution is just not true, it hasn't been proved and is just "guesses
strung together"

ERGO, evolution should not be taught in publicly funded schools--including
publicly funded universities

For many conservative religious families, this argument still works; all of
its parts are still true. I agree to some extent that (1) is violated; it
depends on the school district. If we think about sexuality, for example,
it is hard to argue that distributing condoms and teaching that all
"families" are equivalent to the traditional family are religiously neutral
activities. And if one believes that evolution is anti-Christian, then (1)
is obviously violated all over the place.

This is one reason (of many) why I do not believe in public education, as
presently defined. That is, I believe that taxpayers should have the right
to spend their own tax dollars at schools that conform more closely to their
deeply held religious and philosophical convictions. I realize this idea
comes with numerous serious and genuine problems; but the current system
also has numerous serious and genuine problems, as I suspect we all realize.
 I do believe, in any case, that it is a form of tyranny for the state (who
is supposed to be "us" in a republic) to tell families that (1) they *must*
educate their children to a certain age; (2) they must pay for this with
their taxes; and (3) they cannot spend those tax dollars outside of the
school system that teaches only what the state allows. This, ladies and
gentlemen, is IMO both indoctrination and tyranny. It is also profoundly
offensive to those families, whose views on evolution I do not share.

The root cause, IMO, is an incorrect interpretation of the first amendment.
 The constitution mandates "disestablishment," not "separation" of church
and state. The difference may appear subtle but the effects are not. With
disestablishment, we might for example have Canadian-style public
universities, in which sectarian religious colleges get public funds to
teach those citizen-students who choose to attend them; and those
public/religious colleges are affiliated with the major reseach
universities. This IMO is genuine disestablishment: the state favors no one
sect over any other, it allows students and families to make religious
choices with public funds.

So I am in deep sympathy with the Southern Baptists on this one.
Unfortunately, unless we get one or two more strongly conservative justices
appointed to the Supreme Court, justices who will be willing to overturn
post-war rulings about "separation", then we will not have a good solution
to the evolution wars in our public schools. This problem is not going away
in my lifetime.

Received on Wed May 5 09:07:16 2004

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