Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Knee-Jerk Anti-Religionism

UPDATED 11/26/04

This one's getting a lot of play, but I have to add my dime's worth:
Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School
Wed Nov 24, 2004 04:12 PM ET

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

"It's a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful," said Williams' attorney, Terry Thompson.

"Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country," he said. "There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence."...

Williams asserts in the lawsuit that since May he has been required to submit all of his lesson plans and supplemental handouts to Vidmar for approval, and that the principal will not permit him to use any that contain references to God or Christianity.

Among the materials she has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington's journal, John Adams' diary, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists" and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania."

"He hands out a lot of material and perhaps 5 to 10 percent refers to God and Christianity because that's what the founders wrote," said Thompson, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which advocates for religious freedom. "The principal seems to be systematically censoring material that refers to Christianity and it is pure discrimination."...
Is Vidmar trying, Soviet-style, to write Christianity out of American history? Perhaps. More likely she has an axe to grind with Williams or a twisted view of the meaning of separation of church and state. Whatever her motivation, Vidmar is a living advertisement for the corrupt state of public "education".

P.S. I am not a religious person. I am simply appalled by the know-nothings who find religion so threatening that they strive to expunge it from history and daily life.

Now comes this, from Fox News:

Young students across the state read stories about the Pilgrims and Native Americans, simulate Mayflower voyages, hold mock feasts and learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups.

But what teachers don't mention when they describe the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but repeatedly thanked God.

"We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective, not from a religious perspective," said Charles Ridgell, St. Mary's County Public Schools curriculum and instruction director....

How is it a "historical perspective" to teach about Thanksgiving without reference to God? What are these people afraid of, that they'll offend someone by referring to God, or that they'll instantaneously convert non-believers to believers by mentioning God? This urge to deny a simple historical fact suggests downright animosity to religion (or at least to the form of religion practiced by the Pilgrims). That hardly seems consistent with leftism's vaunted tolerance for differing views. (Oh, I forgot, in the lexicon of the left, differing views can only be non-Judeo-Christian and non-Western.)