Re: A article

From: William Hamilton <>
Date: Wed May 05 2004 - 19:40:55 EDT

On Wednesday, May 5, 2004, at 09:05 AM, Ted Davis wrote:

> 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

This sounds good, but I am convinced that in their efforts to be
religiously neutral the government schools are teaching that religion
is irrelevant in the public square.
> (2) evolution is inherently anti-Christian (again, hear his complaints
> about social Darwinism, and throw in his complaints coming from
> biblical
> literalism)
> (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.
I have argued for years that seminaries should be connected with major
research universities, and the faculties should attend one another's
seminars. This sort of an arrangement might encourage that kind of

> 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.

You are probably correct.
Bill Hamilton Rochester, MI 248 652 4148
Received on Wed May 5 19:41:34 2004

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