School district sued for censoring founding documents


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Desertdog
November 24, 2004, 12:12 PM
IMHO this is the result of the Communist being in charge of education. :banghead:

Is Declaration of Independence unconstitutional?
School district sued for censoring founding documents, state constitutions
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=41623

In a season typified by lawsuits against manger scenes, crosses and even the words "Merry Christmas," a California case is taking the "separation of church and state" one step further – dealing with whether it's unconstitutional to read the Declaration of Independence in public school.

Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit Monday against the Cupertino Union School District for prohibiting a teacher from providing supplemental handouts to students about American history because the historical documents contain some references to God and religion.

"Throwing aside all common sense, the district has chosen to censor men such as George Washington and documents like the Declaration of Independence," said ADF Senior Counsel Gary McCaleb. "The district's actions conflict with American beliefs and are completely unconstitutional."


Patricia Vidmar, principal of the Stevens Creek School, reportedly ordered the teacher, Stephen Williams, to submit his lesson plans and supplemental handouts to her for advance approval. Aside from Williams, a Christian, no other teachers were subject to the advance-screening requirement, says the ADF.

Just what documents did Williams submit that were deemed unfit for the school's students?

"Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the diaries of George Washington and John Adams, the writings of William Penn, and various state constitutions," said the public-interest law firm representing Willliams.

"Less than 5 percent of all of Mr. Williams' supplemental handouts distributed throughout the school year contain references to God and Christianity," McCaleb said. "The district is simply attempting to cleanse all references to the Christian religion from our nation's history, and they are singling out Mr. Williams for discriminatory treatment. Their actions are unacceptable under both California and federal law."

California's Education Code does allow "references to religion or references to or the use of religious literature … when such references or uses do not constitute instruction in religious principles … and when such references or uses are incidental to or illustrative of matters properly included in the course of study."

The case, Stephen J. Williams v. Cupertino Union School District, et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division

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Hawkmoon
November 24, 2004, 01:13 PM
Time out ...

The article says this teacher wanted to hand out "excerpts" from the Declaration of Independence and from the Constitution -- it doesn't say that the documents themselves were banned. Before making any judgments, I would like to know what was included in his handouts, what explanatory material he intended to attach to the "excerpts," and what parts of the founding documents he chose NOT to distribute to the kiddies.

It is entirely possible that his choice of what to include and what NOT to include would deliver a very biased view of the founding documents and the framers of the Constitution.

RobW
November 24, 2004, 01:28 PM
Wow, yeaahhh, how biased! I'd suggest to handout excerpts of Marx and Lenin with the excerpts of the Constitution. That would be totally acceptable! Even without the excerpts of the Constitution.

No problems teaching 6-graders how to use condoms, how beautiful gay-lifestyle is, communism only failed because the wrong people were the head honchos, and wet the pants when the word "God" appeares somewhere. As far as I know, not only Christians have a God, but Jews, Muslims, Bhuddists, Hinduists and all native beliefs. Only "Liberal" Americans have no God, no values, no responsibility, and no morals anymore.

Welcome, new world. It will be a rough ride. :banghead:

ReadyontheRight
November 24, 2004, 03:54 PM
:fire:

At what point will it be argued by these idiots that the Constitution is unconstitutional?

M1911Owner
November 24, 2004, 04:23 PM
WHEN in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,...
Interesting...

It hadn't occurred to me, in the midst of all the Christian-bashing that the ACLU and their ilk are doing, that the founding documents actually tie the entire foundation of our government back to rights granted to us by God.

Kindda sounds to me like this totally throws out the spurious "wall of separation between church and state" that the ACLU and fellow travelers have invented.

CannibalCrowley
November 24, 2004, 04:35 PM
Until we can see exctly what material was ruled unfit it's ludicrous to complain about the teacher getting in trouble for it. It's akin to hearing a news report say "Officer Joe shot a man today" and then you spouting off about how the cop is a murderer and the entire department is crooked.

Are any mainstream news outlets picking up this story. I News Googled it and World Net Daily was the only outlet that had it. Their obvious bias and the lack of spread makes this whole thing sound a bit fishy.

Dave R
November 24, 2004, 05:32 PM
In a season typified by lawsuits against manger scenes, crosses and even the words "Merry Christmas," a California case is taking the "separation of church and state" one step further

Grrr. This is one issue that gets my blood pressure up.

There is NOTHING in the Constitution regarding separation of church and state. Only that Congress shall make no law regarding the estabishment of religion. IOW, religion should be unregulated.

This whold 'separation of church and state' is a quote from a letter that somehow magically acquired constitutional status.

The whole thing is bogus.

Standing Wolf
November 24, 2004, 05:59 PM
At what point will it be argued by these idiots that the Constitution is unconstitutional?

They've been arguing for years it's outdated and irrelevant, so why would they even bother?

crucible
November 24, 2004, 06:06 PM
I News Googled it and World Net Daily was the only outlet that had it. Their obvious bias and the lack of spread makes this whole thing sound a bit fishy.

http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=6911883

Reuters a bit more plausible for ya?

That article says specifically that the teacher has to submit all lesson plans o the principle beforehand, and she will not allow any that contain references to Christianity or God-the Declaration of Independance is only one of the many historical documents that contain those things, and of course, the Consitution itself is another.

Unreal.

Chris

M1911Owner
November 24, 2004, 06:20 PM
Drudge has picked it up, as well.

CannibalCrowley
November 24, 2004, 07:15 PM
she will not allow any that contain references to Christianity or God-the Declaration of Independance is only one of the many historical documents that contain those things, and of course, the Consitution itself is another.Uh, neither the Constitution nor the Declaration mention a god or Christianity. Most likely he submitted a lesson that contained some inappropriate portions, so she rejected the entire lesson until it was rewritten. His "she discriminated against me just because I'm a Christian" sounds pretty fishy unless he's the only Christian teacher at the school.

bubbygator
November 24, 2004, 07:32 PM
The "religion" of many of the founders at that time is better described as Deism (simply belief in a God) rather than Christianity.... that is, rather than actively and affirmatively proclaiming the religion of Jesus, they passively agreed with the prevailing intellectual and common opinion that there was a "Creator". That is not to say that many were not Christians, only that a "religion" did not figure into their considerations as much as an egalitarian "humanism". Thomas Jefferson, for example, used a copy of the New Testament from which he had expunged parts that he felt were unacceptable - hardly a "Christian" action.

TarpleyG
November 24, 2004, 07:40 PM
I am not that religious but I do consider myself a Christian with Christian upbringing. That said, what this country needs is a generous dose of something religious/moral to get back on track. Not sure what exactly, but it wouldn't hurt. [/donning flame suit for all you atheists here]

Greg

Jonathan
November 24, 2004, 07:54 PM
It appears that you need to use a PACER account to access the paperwork regarding the case from http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/

It really does hinge on the contents of the handouts.

longeyes
November 24, 2004, 08:10 PM
A friend of mine described this as part Orwellian, part Monty Python. With that I agree, except that we can laugh at the absurdity only because we don't have a jackboot on our necks or a rifle muzzle at our temples.

There's a swath of America that wishes to un-God the nation by any means possible. Deity-cleansing is the new crusade among radical leftists. My view is that we are only a few hops and skips from ugly confrontation. The Right has been rational, quiet, and restrained by comparison with a lot of the hysteria coming from the Left. That may not always be the case.

M1911Owner
November 24, 2004, 08:41 PM
It really does hinge on the contents of the handouts.
I don't see how you can say that. If the one of the Founding Fathers said that Christianity is the way to go, that's what he said. If he said that Christianity is a complete crock, than that's what he said, too. What they said is what they said. What possible grounds could there be for censoring their writings?

CGofMP
November 24, 2004, 09:32 PM
I do not suppose any of you could use information like the following to send polite letters and phone calls to the gentle and helpful teaching establishment could ya?

Patricia Vidmar - Principal
Kathleen Garfield - School Secretary
Leann Block - School Secretary

Telephone Numbers:
Office - (408) 245-3312

Email:
block_leann@Cupertino.k12.ca.us

Fax:
(408) 245-7484

Address:
Stevens Creek Elementary School
10300 Ainsworth Drive, Cupertino, CA 95014


Their website is offline but Google's Cache (http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:Fbc3Lt7D5NIJ:www.cupertino.k12.ca.us/Stcreek.www/contact.html+&hl=en) revealed the above information.

Be polite but firm if you choose to make contact.

TimRB
November 24, 2004, 09:48 PM
"Uh, neither the Constitution nor the Declaration mention a god or Christianity."

Uh, yes they do. Well, the Declaration of Independence does, anyway.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

Tim

Hawkmoon
November 24, 2004, 10:04 PM
"Uh, neither the Constitution nor the Declaration mention a god or Christianity."

Uh, yes they do. Well, the Declaration of Independence does, anyway.

"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."
It's arguable if the paragraph you cite refers to "God" in the Christian sense, or to "Nature's God" in the Deist sense, as commented on above. Speaking as a Protestant minister who happens to be a descendent of one of the founding dudes, I'll state that my understanding is that it's the latter. Most of the Founder's were Masons, who were as much (or more) metaphysicians as they were Christians. Read up on the alchemical symbolism embodied in the Great Seal of the United States and tell me that was designed by "Christians" (in the context that most Evangelical Christians use the word "Christian").

Yes, the Founders believed in a god(s) ... the question is whether they believed in the Judeo-Christian god, Yahweh. Some did, some did not. Some were Deists. Franklin, I believe, may have been a Pantheist.

This is why the case of this teacher hinges on what "excerpts" of the founding documents he intended to use, and the context in which he intended to present them. If he was going to cut-and-paste to use the founding documents to demonstrate that the United States was founded as a "Christian" nation, then ... again, speaking as a Protestant minister -- I say that is not correct. The Founding Fathers did, indeed, see this nation as a nation under God, but their understanding of God was very wide and all-encompassing. It was not limited to the Christian Yahweh view of God.

I don't see how you can say that. If the one of the Founding Fathers said that Christianity is the way to go, that's what he said. If he said that Christianity is a complete crock, than that's what he said, too. What they said is what they said. What possible grounds could there be for censoring their writings?
They didn't say either. We don't know what this teacher intended to teach. The whole point is that if he intended to extrapolate from their general belief that there is A god to teach that they believed in the Christian (Yahweh) version of "God," it would not be "teaching" the founding documents but perverting them. My sense is that the principal wasn't censoring the documents, she was reviewing and NOT approving the lesson plan ... possibly because the teacher wasn't teaching the information accurately.

Marko Kloos
November 24, 2004, 10:21 PM
Hawkmoon is correct, but the religion of the Founding Fathers is also irrelevant.

The fact remains that the Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land, and drawing conclusions from its few ambiguous mentions of a "creator" (which matches more deistic/naturalistic beliefs than evangelical Christianity) is pretty pointless.

The law of the land is the U.S. Constitution, penned by the Founding Fathers, and completely void of any mentions of God, Jesus Christ, "creator", or Christianity.

If the Founding Fathers wanted to make this country a Christian nation, and establish biblical law as the basis for our legal system, they could have done so when they penned the Constitution. Alas, they did not, and that speaks more about the "so-called separation fo church and state" than any of the current day revisionism. They may or may not have been religious, but their work makes clear that they did not consider religion as a deciding factor when they established the basic law of the land.

I have to wonder just why people want to see state and (their) church mingled so badly. Given the thoroughness with which the goivernment screws up everything it gets its hands on, do you really want to cheapen and degrade your religion with the influence of the State?

As for the story, I think there was more going on than what the story indicates. Knee-jerk responses of "suppressing Christianity" are probably a little premature. There is revisionism committed by teachers on both sides of the Great Cultural Divide...whether it's conservative teachers suggesting that the stars on the flag of Tennessee stand for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (overheard in a public school by my wife not too long ago), or by liberal teachers telling their kids that the Second Amendment means the rights of the states to have a National Guard.

Standing Wolf
November 24, 2004, 10:58 PM
I am not that religious but I do consider myself a Christian with Christian upbringing. That said, what this country needs is a generous dose of something religious/moral to get back on track. Not sure what exactly, but it wouldn't hurt. [/donning flame suit for all you atheists here]

No flames from this lifelong atheist.

Union schools, like the national leftist extremist so-called "news" media, have a deep vested interest in undercutting moral standards. Their anti-Christian actions are designed to weaken the existing social fabric, which they mean to replace with socialist serfdom for commoners and special privilege for themselves, the leaders.

Moral consciousness stands squarely in the way of socialism.

R.H. Lee
November 24, 2004, 11:29 PM
I don't understand why whenever somebody mentions "God" the kneejerk statists on the left always assume a reference to the Christian God and make the leap to establishment of religion???? They must be "Christophobes".

griz
November 25, 2004, 12:32 AM
Just what documents did Williams submit that were deemed unfit for the school's students? "Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the diaries of George Washington and John Adams, the writings of William Penn, and various state constitutions," said the public-interest law firm representing Willliams.

It is possible to take pieces of those documents and make an argument for religion. IF that is what this teacher did, it isn't teaching the consititution,it's teaching religion. I'll wait for more info before I accuse the principle of bias.

jimpeel
November 25, 2004, 12:55 AM
The first document penned in the New world, the Mayflower compact, mentions God and Christianity specifically. There are those who would argue that the Mayflower compact is not a "Founding Document" as penned by the Founders in 1776; but it is the first document penned here and would be banned in this school.

http://www.night.net/thanksgiving/Mayflower.html
In ye name of God Amen· We whose names are vnderwriten,
the loyall subjects of our dread soueraigne Lord King James
by ye grace of God, of great Britaine, franc, & Ireland king,
defender of ye faith, &c
Haueing vndertaken, for ye glorie of God, and aduancemente
of ye christian ^faith and honour of our king & countrie, a voyage to
plant ye first colonie in ye Northerne parts of Virginia· doe
by these presents solemnly & mutualy in ye presence of God, and
one of another, couenant, & combine our selues togeather into a
ciuill body politick; for ye our better ordering, & preseruation & fur=
therance of ye ends aforesaid; and by vertue hearof, to enacte,
constitute, and frame shuch just & equall lawes, ordinances,
Acts, constitutions, & offices, from time to time, as shall be thought
most meete & conuenient for ye generall good of ye colonie: vnto
which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witnes
wherof we haue herevnder subscribed our names at Cap=
Codd ye ·11· of Nouember, in ye year of ye raigne of our soueraigne
Lord king James of England, france, & Ireland ye eighteenth
and of Scotland ye fiftie fourth. Ano: Dom ·1620·|In current English, that says:IN The Name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. In WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth and of Scotland, the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini, 1620

Marko Kloos
November 25, 2004, 07:44 AM
Yes, the Mayflower Compact contains plenty of mentions of the Christian God. It was also written by the Puritans, whose reaction to religious persecution in Merry Old England was to set up a pretty rigid and intolerant theocracy in the New World. The Puritan excesses were part of the reason why the Founding Fathers wanted to make sure everybody had freedom to practice the religion of their choice without fear of state interference.

P12
November 25, 2004, 12:22 PM
It wasn't too long ago I penned on these esteemed pages, :banghead: that the libs were after the word "God" in the founding documents.

I was berated for needing the damn government to justify my damned religion.

Looks like my fears may have been on track. And my critics were off.

Yes, the foundation of our society, the CONSTITUION is based on Christian beliefs.

I still say, that is what these people are after. The Constitution holds the government to a higher authority. That authority being a Supreme Being. Once these words are removed from the amended Constitution and replace with your definition of .gov we are screwed.

Why you may ask?

Our newly amended constitution will say that our rights are endowed by our government.


Let your imagination lead you the rest of the way.

longeyes
November 25, 2004, 01:22 PM
"If God didn't exist we would have to invent Him."

You can quibble about the details, but the point, as P12 says, is that either our rights emanate from "God" or they emanate from the State. If that's not a reason to believe in "God," in whatever form you designate your Higher Power to be, I don't know a better one.

Marko Kloos
November 25, 2004, 01:52 PM
False dilemma. It is entirely possible to believe that our rights "emanate" from neither of those two sources, but that they're inherent to us by virtue of being human. Remember, the Bill of Rights does not grant any rights, it merely recognizes them, and in that respect it is entirely irrelevant whether they "emanated" from an external source, or whether we've just had them by birthright.

jimpeel
November 26, 2004, 05:53 AM
Regardless of the excesses of the Puritans, the document they penned would be considered verboten in the schools today.

P12
November 26, 2004, 11:47 PM
There in lies the dilemma.

How does one (the government) erase the "false dilemma" they have with the rights of the people described in the Constitution. It matters not where our rights came from. Be it Devine gift, nature or birthright. The Constitution clearly states Devine gift, a birthright under God.

How can the rights of the people be taken away without eliminating the stated source?

Eliminate the source and proclaim victory over the power that grants rights, then limit them.

How much trouble has the Constitution and the Bill of Rights been for the powers to be? Has it not been an almost insurmountable obstacle? People have made careers out of ways to twist and turn to get around it.

I’m not talking about a government that recognizes a God so that I may believe. (as some on this board would state)

I’m talking about a higher authority that the laws of this land was built upon. A higher authority that the government must answer to and respect the people for the rights were bestowed upon the people they (the government) is suppose to “serve”.

(I hope that last paragraph made sense)

Eliminate the need to be held accountable to the people. The Constitution states that rights are given to the people, not the government. If the new constitution states that all rights are bestowed upon the government and then passed on to the people, we have no recourse except war.

Or to be picked off one-by-one with news stories about wackos gun nuts, shooting up the neighborhood.

M1911Owner
November 27, 2004, 02:03 AM
P12, I agree wholeheartedly with the spirit of your post, but I think I would make a few changes in the details.

Firstly, the Constitution does not, to my knowledge, tie our rights back to God; I think you are thinking of the Declaration of Independence, which states, in part,

WHEN in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I believe, however, that implicit in the Bill of Rights is the idea that the rights enumerated therein come from a higher power than the Constituion. The Declaration of Independence makes that higher power explicit.

The phrase that triggered my writing this post is, "The Constitution states that rights are given to the people, not the government." Sort of, but not exactly. The rights aren't given at all; they are intrinsic in the people. They are an inalienable endowment from God.

Implicit in that concept is the condemnation of any government that takes these rights away from the people; such a government is in violation of the laws of God. That's not a good place to be. :)

The Declaration goes on to state, "That, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Those nineteen words are probably the most profound and succinct definition of government to be found anywhere--The purpose of government is to secure the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Anything more or less is of evil.

P12
November 27, 2004, 12:06 PM
Yes, your right.

I stand corrected.

cheese_head
December 2, 2004, 02:29 PM
i always found that funny that the first public house the pilgrims built (communally shared) was a tavern. They didnt believe in drinking water and only resorted to it when they had too

as far as religon in schools
we dont want to go there its not about de religousfying the US its about not imposing religon on anyone

if your for religon in school are you for every religon in school
can we pray in school
smoke marijauna _rasta farian
take peyote --american indian church
animal sacrifice ---santa ria
remember that kid who would yell and scream religous passages in front of his school with a bible in his hand?
You are free to practice any religon you want why disrupt school. school is a place of learning.
home school and religous school is always an option i dont want my tax dollars supporting theology classes

Azrael256
December 2, 2004, 03:38 PM
i always found that funny that the first public house the pilgrims built (communally shared) was a tavern. They didnt believe in drinking water and only resorted to it when they had too Well, 17th century water was nasty. Beer is safer. I think those people were really on to something there...

We read excerpts from *gasp* The Bible in my high school english class. (Best selling book ever, btw.) We were reading Inferno, and needed to read up on a few biblical passages to fully understand it. I guess they'd have my teacher under the jail for that one.

JohnBT
December 2, 2004, 08:29 PM
1. I have an image stuck in my head of the teacher in question pounding her shoe on the desk like Nikita K. at the U.N. and yelling "AND IT SAYS GOD HERE AND IT SAYS GOD HERE AND IT SAYS GOD THERE." And it's all said with a Monty Python-style accent.

2. I agree with those who've said the original intent was not to eliminate God from public life, but to keep the church (the Church of England in this case) from having any direct political power - like the ability to collect taxes. Here's a post I made here earlier this year on the history of Mr. Jefferson's groundbreaking Virginia Bill for Religious Freedom.

________________________

Official state church isn't the half of it. The Church collected the taxes and imposed severe fines. They banned other religions.

Here's a little Virginia history leading up to Mr. Jefferson's Virginia Bill for Religious Freedom. For instance, read the entries for 1632 and 1662 - and then go ahead and read all of them. John


From www.sunnetworks.net/~ggarman/princip.html


1619--Act of the Assembly (colonial legislature). "All ministers shall duely read divine service and exercise their ministerial function according to the Ecclesiastical lawes and orders of the churche of Englande."

1624--Act of the Assembly. Anyone missing one Sunday service was fined one pound of tobacco; one month, fifty pounds. No one was allowed to sell crops until the minister had received his portion, and it had to come from the "first and best tobacco and corn."

1628--Proclamation of the Governor. Colonists were forbidden "to marry without lycence or asking in church."

1632--Act of the Assembly. All ministers were required to maintain complete uniformity to the teachings and constitution of the Church of England, and ministers were to receive from each family the twentieth calf, kid, and pig.

1642--Act of the Assembly. "All nonconformists upon notice of them shall be compelled to depart the collony with all conveniencie." "No ministers shall be admitted to officiate in this country, but such as shall produce to the governor a testimonial that he hath received his ordination from some bishop in England, and shall then subscribe, to be conformable to the orders and constitutions of the church of England, and the laws there established." The tithe tax, for ministers salaries, of ten pounds of tobacco and one bushel of corn was applied to "all youths of sixteen years of age as upwards, as also for all negro women at the age of sixteen years."

1660--Act of the Assembly. The captain of any ship bringing Quakers into the colony was fined 100 pounds, and all Quakers who did enter were to be expelled.

1661--Act of the Assembly. All parishes were required to furnish glebes, houses, and stock for ministers.

1662--Act of the Assembly. Ministers were required to prove that they were ordained by an English bishop, and all others were prohibited from teaching or preaching, publicly or privately.

Responsibility for administering church matters was given to vestrymen elected by the people of the parish. The vestries determined the amount of taxes (and tax rates) necessary for the minister's salary, other church expenses, and relief of the poor. Obviously, religion in colonial Virginia was established by law; and, because taxation was also a significant matter of law, vestrymen were usually wealthy politicians and often members of the House of Burgesses. In his 1910 book Separation of Church and State in Virginia --from which the historical information in this essay is taken, H. J. Eckenrode says: "The union of church and state put the church under a political control. ... The church was thoroughly subordinated to the state" (p. 14).

1727--Act of the Assembly. Ministerial salaries were set at 16,000 pounds of tobacco, each parish was required to provide 200 acres of land on which a parsonage was to be built, and vestrymen were authorized to levy taxes on the people of the parish to pay for the minister's house.

1754--Order of the Council. Clerymen were forbidden to hold the office of Justice of the Peace--a source of additional income.

1755 and 1758--Acts of the Assembly. Laws were passed "to enable the inhabitants of this colony to discharge their tobacco debts [to the clergy] in money" (rather than in the best of tobacco which could normally be sold for even more money). The Anglican clergy appealed to the Bishop of London whose influence prompted the King to veto the action of the Assembly. The general reaction in Virginia added to a growing resentment of both the clergy (as a tax burden) and the king (as a threat to home rule).

1763--A clergyman sued (The Parsons’ Cause) his vestry for lost income because of the Assembly's vetoed acts. Patrick Henry defended the vestrymen and argued that the king was guilty of tyranny in overturning a just law passed by English freemen. A jury composed of Virginians, including some Irish Presbyterians, awarded one penny in damages.

1771--A convention of Anglican clergymen resolved to petition the King of England for a Bishop to be appointed in Virginia. An increasingly anticlerical attitude, combined with a growing nationalism and an ever increasing number of dissenters, prompted even one Anglican to say, "I profess myself a sincere son of the established church, but I can embrace her Doctrines without approving of her Hierarchy, which I know to be a Relick of the Papal Incroachments." The state and the Anglicans were legally united in the colony, and the church was financially dependent on the state--vestrymen and legislators wanted to maintain control of both.

1776--The Declaration of Independence declared civil freedom from the laws of England and its King, and on December 9, 1776, the legislature of Virginia suspended payment of taxes for support of the Anglican clergy. This was a major first step toward total disestablishment of the Anglicans in Virginia, but the controversy was not over; many laws respecting religion continued to exist.

June 2, 1779--Thomas Jefferson's "Bill for Religious Freedom" was introduced; it objected to establishment of religion by law or by required tax support for religion: "The impious presumptions of legislators and rulers, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who being themselves but fallible and uninspired men, have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavouring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world." Petitions for and against Jefferson’s bill were drafted.

roo_ster
December 3, 2004, 08:01 AM
Back before Alan Keyes went off the deep end, he made the above statement in a debate on the role of religion in the 20th Century he had with Alan Deshowitz.

What he was getting at was that humans are corrupt and will lord it over their fellow humans, given the power & opportunity. I think he was correct. Even if you/I/whomever does not believe in G-d, it is in our best interest that the majority believes and even more important that those who go into gov't believe they will ultimately have to answer for their actions.

I think that history since the 18th century bears this out. All the atheist/utopian ideologies have lead to dystopia and state-run death-cults:

French Revolution
Socialism (Communism & Fascism)
State Cults of Personality


Thank you, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for totalitarian government.

CannibalCrowley
December 3, 2004, 04:42 PM
What he was getting at was that humans are corrupt and will lord it over their fellow humans, given the power & opportunity.They will do that regardless of their religious beliefs. There was a recent story in which a pastor was having sex with women because he convinced them that it was the only way to keep them safe from the devil.Even if you/I/whomever does not believe in G-d, it is in our best interest that the majority believes and even more important that those who go into gov't believe they will ultimately have to answer for their actions.Those in government do have to answer for their actions, to their constituents. The majority of the terrorists "believe they will ultimately have to answer for their actions." How did them believing in something do their victims any good?I think that history since the 18th century bears this out. All the atheist/utopian ideologies have lead to dystopia and state-run death-cults:Theocracies haven't done much better:

Salem
Old England
Old France
Iran
Jamestown

larryw
December 4, 2004, 01:19 AM
Been away from THR for a while, but need to weigh in on this one. Primarily because my son goes to this school.

Let me start by saying that this is absolute BS. I'm very disappointed that many on my side of the aisle trusted Reuters as the absolute truth authority. To those who jumped on the hysteria bandwagon, haven't you LEARNED ANYTHING? Did you get anything except one side of the argument? Did you ever give any thought on why this was filed to hit the media over a holiday?

As legal complaints only portray one side of an argument, reasonable people reserved judgment until they got the full story. Notable was one commentator's well considered take, "As a lawyer, however, I should note that most allegations asserted in pleadings are untrue. So news reports based on what someone has stated in a legal complaint should always be taken with a huge grain of salt."

Patty Vidmar is a fine lady presiding over an outstanding school and I'm honored to have known her for four years.

When the 9th Court banned the use of "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, Patty basically told the court to screw themselves and instructed the teachers to keep saying the Pledge in the correct form (most also sing patriotic songs afterwards, my 9 year old son knows more of these than my wife and I combined). If I didn't know better, I'd call her a conservative. The "teacher" in question is another matter entirely. The founding of this country is based on religious freedom; he is unable to accept that fact. If anyone was violating the "Separation of Church and State" as commonly understood (outside the leftist media and ACLU) and as defined by New York Trust Co. v. Eisner, 256 U.S. 345, 349 (1921) (Holmes, J.), it was Williams.

I attended a meeting with the school board and superintendent yesterday morning regarding this issue; the first real discussion allowed. I was happy to confirm that my initial instinct on the lack of merit surrounding the case, as well as my long standing respect and admiration of Patty Vidmar were well founded. Naturally, because of the legal status, there wasn't a lot that could be discussed regarding the case, but a few things did come to light.

First. There were many remedies that Mr. Williams could pursue prior to filing a Federal case. He didn't follow all of them (I got the impression he followed few if any). Possible because he knew the normal grievance methods would not lead anywhere? So he got lawyered up.

Second. There are disciplinary HR issues preceding this; insubordination and the distribution of religious materials outside school, district and state guidelines were mentioned. See above.

Third. The allegations by Mr. Williams that he has been prohibited from distributing any historical documents are "false" (I'll be less charitable and call it an out and out lie). Imagine that, what you read was WRONG!!!

Fourth. The Sheriff's department is investigating threatening emails and messages. The number 1,600 was mentioned. Pathetic. My wife is on the parent board of the school and her email and our home phone number were published on the web site mentioned on Drudge and this site. The sheer volume and vitriol in email she's been getting on this is amazing and disappointing (yeah, happy Thanksgiving to you too). At their request, I forwarded pertinent email to the sheriff, but I welcome anyone who wrote or called my wife to look me up. Please. Anytime. :fire:

I'm sad to comment that not only do we on the right have our own "Michael Moores" to contend with, too many on my side haven't learned the lessons of recent history. Some parents at the school were interested in my take as a vocal staunch conservative: I am offended to be placed in the same category as those "supporting" Williams and have nothing but absolute contempt for the hypocrisy and lack of intellectual and journalistic rigor behind this event's portrayal, and disgust for those twisting the events to their benefit.

Remember, the correct procedure is Ready, AIM, Fire. Too many still haven't figured that out. :banghead:

RevDisk
December 4, 2004, 05:41 PM
Thanks to Larryw for setting the record a little more straight. Personally, I thought the entire thing sounded a bit fishy.


Then again, my school board passed something called a "Pro-Family Resolution", that rallied against homosexuals and single parents. Mind you, this was a public school. It was put forth by a lady on the school board that unsuccessfully tried to block all education on dinosaurs, evolutionary theory, etc. She argued that because dinosaurs were not meantioned in the Bible, they never existed. No, I am not joking.

Things got ugly. Real ugly. It was my first real exposure to religious wackos, and I learned a lot from the experience. It taught me that authority combined with religion could be very dangerous. Some people decided to force their beliefs on others using violence. I was one of the few that helped provide some defense to those being targetted. Most of the physical scars are gone, but the mental ones remain.

When people, lefties or righties, try to push their religious and political ideas through schools, it never ends well. The point of education is to educate. There's nothing wrong with meantioning God, there is a lot wrong with schools trying to force whatever deity on students.

fastbolt
December 4, 2004, 06:38 PM
larryw ,

I'm sorry to hear of your circumstances ... but glad to hear your information.

I was prepared to be disappointed to eventually discover that there might be some merit to the allegations tossed about by the news media ... and I'm glad to hear they did their usual job of apparently spinning an unverified, attention-getting bit of "reality-based fiction" as news. :banghead:

Although my children are grown, I well remember many perplexing instances of having them come home from public schools with their heads filled with questions about some of the revisionist history they'd been given by an occasional teacher. Human nature, I suppose ...

My partner was recently complaining about what he'd learned from his son, who attends a prestigious university in CA ...

As he told me, one of his son's professors was lecturing and discussing WWII. When his son later explained his understanding of the world events involved in WWII, he learned that the only thing that had been mentioned about England was that it had had "some involvement" at some point during the war... but the extent of that involvement was minimized and skipped over rather quickly. When my partner was telling his son about the German bombing of England, his son was pretty shocked to learn that England had actually suffered from the war, had any significant involvement, and couldn't believe that England had actually been bombed.

I didn't ask if my partner had even thought to ask his son if he knew who Winston Churchill was ...

I suppose if there's no need to know about England's "involvement" in the war, there's hardly any need to even know who Churchill was ... nor to consider his impact on world affairs ... right? :eek:

While conservative on most issues, I dislike the thought of fanaticism being permitted in our public schools from any "venue". Neither religious proselytizing, nor advocating the "non-existence" of religious/spiritual values being involved in the foundation of our country and society, is something that should be promoted in public schools.

Facts would be nice, as would non-biased conjecture and speculation, presenting all perspectives of issues which can't be considered as "proven" ...

Education should stimulate young minds, and teach them how to properly, safely and reasonably question things in the world & universe ... not close their minds ...

Parent's have responsibilities when it comes to matters of the religious and spiritual, you know, as well as passing on and preserving cultural heritage.

I certainly have no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance ...

I'm NOT thinking of any specific school regarding this next comment, but only offer it because it's come up in the recent past in other places ...

I DO personally consider it somewhat foolish and unrealistic to sometimes dismiss the mention (let alone the celebration) of holidays connected with religious observances, such as Christmas, merely because our increasingly diverse society may contain people who are "uncomfortable" with what's been commonly accepted as a part of our American heritage.

People being told in a workplace that some people are uncomfortable with focusing attention on "Christmas", and imply that celebration of it as a religious holiday wasn't exactly encouraged, but that the celebration of Kwanza was encouraged ... well ... :scrutiny:

I didn't see why observances of different culture's practices have to be exclusionary, and it's certainly reasonable to consider attempting some rethinking of what's considered to be allowable cultural celebrations recognized and promoted in our schools, workplaces, etc.. Exposure to such cultural practices would even be something that most children might find fun, interesting and otherwise difficult to experience ... but these things can't take over the schools, obviously.

These are interesting times ...

Public schools and the adminitrators, teachers, and myriad support staff deserve our trust and support ... as long as their actions deserve it. If something goes wrong, then it should be addressed within the proper manner. Sensational-seeking legal actions which create and evoke emotional responses, and burden our court system, serves nobody's best interest.

But those are just my thoughts, and don't mean anything more than anyone else's thoughts ... nor any less, for that matter.

Once of the nice things about our country, isn't it?

Thanks again, larryw ...

Best to you & yours over the holidays ...

ACP
December 4, 2004, 09:48 PM
I just want to say this is one of the best reasoned discussions I have ever read on THR. Now, carry on!

Pharon
December 8, 2004, 12:02 PM
Larryw, thank you for the insightful post. I do want to question one of your facts, though. You mentioned that the "separation of church and state" was defined by New York Trust Co. v. Eisner. I'm pretty sure that case had nothing to do with religion -- I do know it was about taxes. Also, my understanding is that the phrase in question was coined by Thomas Jefferson in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1803. I don't think it was defined anywhere by law.

The Superme Court decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) provided some clarity as to when a law has the effect of 'establishing a religion' as prevented by the First Amendment. The Court ruled that all laws must pass what has come to be known as the "Lemon Test:"

"First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster "an excessive government entanglement with religion."

As long as all three parts are followed, the law does not violate the First Amendment establishment clause. Hope this helps.

larryw
December 8, 2004, 01:14 PM
Pharon, welcome to the High Road. Interesting you chose this thread to make your first post.

The case mentioned does indeed have to do with taxes, but if you look deeper into how it is interpreted, you will understand:

" . . . You can't understand a phrase such as "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" by syllogistic reasoning. Words take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, which is why "a page of history is worth a volume of logic." from Sherman v. Community Consol. Dist. 21, 980 F.2d 437, 445 (7th Cir. 1992)

The issue is pretty clear here. There is the permitted curriculum, which contrary to the claim, includes the founding documents. Then there are documents that are outside the curriculum and are not permitted. Porn, for example. Or those espousing a specific religion over all others. The fact that the porn may contain quotes from the Declaration of Independence doesn't make it an acceptable part of the school's curriculum. Ditto for the documents in question.

Joe Demko
December 8, 2004, 01:27 PM
Regardless of the excesses of the Puritans, the document they penned would be considered verboten in the schools today.

Hogwash. The story of the Pilgrims and why they came here is still taught in public schools all across America. What would be forbidden is for a public school teacher to teach that the Pilgrims were correct in their religious beliefs and that we today, as a nation, need to follow those beliefs. As 3 or 4 others have already noted, there is more to this story than we know. I'm inclined to think the lesson plan was spiked because the teacher was cherry-picking from the Declaration and Founders' letters in order to do a little old fashioned proselytizing.

Pharon
December 8, 2004, 02:52 PM
In response to larryw:
Pharon, welcome to the High Road. Interesting you chose this thread to make your first post.Thanks for the welcome. We were discussing this topic on another forum when one of the members there cited a link to your post on this thread -- that's how I ended up here first.

The case mentioned does indeed have to do with taxes, but if you look deeper into how it is interpreted, you will understand:

" . . . You can't understand a phrase such as "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" by syllogistic reasoning. Words take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, which is why "a page of history is worth a volume of logic." from Sherman v. Community Consol. Dist. 21, 980 F.2d 437, 445 (7th Cir. 1992)I guess I'm a little slow then, because I still don't understand the relevance, or how the opinion of this case "defined" anything, least of all the establishment clause. And even if it did, a much clearer explanation was given in Lemon v. Kurtzman, which would make this case moot on this issue. Especially since if it did happen to make specific mention, I would think it would be dictum in a tax case, anyway.

The issue is pretty clear here. There is the permitted curriculum, which contrary to the claim, includes the founding documents.I agree, but only because the founding documents in question pass the Lemon test.

Then there are documents that are outside the curriculum and are not permitted. Porn, for example.While porn may not be permitted, it's not because it's a Constitutional issue, but rather because the school in question finds it unacceptable. And it would be within it's jurisdiction to do so as protected by the Tenth Amendment.

Or those espousing a specific religion over all others. The fact that the porn may contain quotes from the Declaration of Independence doesn't make it an acceptable part of the school's curriculum. Ditto for the documents in question.Maybe I'm nitpicking here, but I see these two examples as entirely different issues. One is unconstitutional (espousing religion over others) while the other is not.

CannibalCrowley
December 8, 2004, 03:24 PM
Maybe I'm nitpicking here, but I see these two examples as entirely different issues. One is unconstitutional (espousing religion over others) while the other is not.The examples are a little different, but the differences aren't enough to matter. Neither porn nor proselytizing is allowed as teaching material in public school. Inserting pieces of historical documents doesn't make either of the two acceptable.

On a side note, has anyone else see the commercials about this that they're running on Fox News? People can't claim the liberal media is bad at this stuff if their side is doing the same thing. Fox is running ads saying that the Constitution was banned from the school along this guy saying that he was being persecuted because he's Christian. :rolleyes:

larryw
December 8, 2004, 04:35 PM
What other forum?

The "reasoning" of your argument sounds just like an exchange I had with someone over the Thanksgiving holiday. Does "distinction without a difference" ring a bell?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

As words take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, "Congress" has taken the meaning of "State". And in this context, "State" means "teacher". And every student knows the teacher's word is the law of the class.

The founding of this country is based on religious freedom. Any teacher who imposes his religious beliefs (Christian, Buddhist, Islam, atheist, whatever) on the children outside the curriculum is violating not only the Constitution, but the very basis for the founding of this country.

Do you understand that?

Pharon
December 8, 2004, 05:21 PM
What other forum?www.usconstitution.net, or specifically this thread: http://www.usconstitution.net/yabb/YaBB.cgi?board=debate;action=display;num=1102437530

The "reasoning" of your argument sounds just like an exchange I had with someone over the Thanksgiving holiday. Does "distinction without a difference" ring a bell?No.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

As words take their meaning from social as well as textual contexts, "Congress" has taken the meaning of "State". And in this context, "State" means "teacher". And every student knows the teacher's word is the law of the class.

The founding of this country is based on religious freedom. Any teacher who imposes his religious beliefs (Christian, Buddhist, Islam, atheist, whatever) on the children outside the curriculum is violating not only the Constitution, but the very basis for the founding of this country.

Do you understand that?Yes, I understand all of what you have just written. But I still fail to see how it answers any of the concerns I brought up here.

larryw
December 8, 2004, 05:49 PM
Then perhaps you should restate your concerns, as I believe they have been addressed.

It is gratifying to note that we now are properly discussing the impropriety of the teacher.

Pharon
December 9, 2004, 12:40 PM
Then perhaps you should restate your concerns, as I believe they have been addressed.It was just a minor question about how New York Trust Co. v. Eisner "defined" the constitutional issue of church and state. Even after re-reading the opinion and your response, I still don't see how they are related. I was just curious, really. And since you say you're a lawyer, I figured I might learn something that I didn't already know. After that, I was only pointing out that there is a difference between doing something because it's Constitutionally mandated (preventing espousing religion in schools) verses doing something because it's improper (keeping porn out of schools).

It is gratifying to note that we now are properly discussing the impropriety of the teacher.I'm not sure if this was meant sarcastically or not, but I certainly didn't mean to hijack this thread with such a minor issue.

On this topic, did anyone happen to catch the Hannity and Colmes special last night on Fox News? It was in Cupertino. In my opinion, Hannity made himself look like a complete jackass, and Colmes was grossly mischaracterized by both the other speakers as well as the audience. Also, I thought that Michael Newdow made some very good points and held his own pretty well against a hostile audience and an obnoxious Sean Hannity. I also got the impression that most people don't understand the fundamental concept behind what the establishment clause is (as interpreted by law) and don't know how to differentiate between public (government) vs. private expression.

larryw
December 9, 2004, 02:18 PM
I NEVER said I was a lawyer.

I misinterpreted your inquiry as something of substance, not semantics. Fine, you win, I hang my head in shame. :D

Please go back over what I wrote. It is not binary (remember, I'm not a lawyer) and requires some thought to connect the dots. Hint: the relation isn't direct, but is used to understand how language, in this case, ten simple words may be interpreted in context (Congress = teacher, law = rule in class).

I did catch H&C last night for the first time in quite a while: too much CBS-ing on that show for my taste.

I'm starting to really dislike Hannity for many reasons, a jaw-dropping lack or intellectual honesty being primary. Him turning into a right-wing version of Chris Matthews with a heaping helping of Lawrence O'Donnel being another.

I think Williams' comments more than verified my take on the issue, paraphrasing "this whole thing about the Declaration of Independence and Constitution has been blown way out of proportion, They are reprinted in full in my text books and are taught." Earth to Hannity: you were just made a fool of on your own show and you let that slide...

What was the Reuters headline, "Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School"? Hmm, I don't see a retraction/correction on the wire yet...

I also found it interesting Williams' lawyer was on the show and hijacked a couple responses. But even the lawyer said that Williams doesn't have the right to espouse one religion over all others while at school. The quote that Colmes raised (twice before he got Williams to admit that he used it in class) closed the door on that issue.

Clearly, Colmes was the only of the pair who did any real homework. Sad as I am to say it, that seems to be the norm for those two.

I saved the program on my Tivo so I can provide a transcription when I have time, hopefully tonight. I want to make sure I get the quote and attribution Colmes raised correct before I provide it here.

CannibalCrowley
December 9, 2004, 04:28 PM
larryw I caught the show as well simply because I was interested in the case and I agree with the points you made. Additionally it seems that the crowd was very biased as well. No matter what the point, one could expect cheers for Hannity and boos for Colmes.

I lost my final shred of respect for Hannity when he began pestering Newdow about his daughter instead of discussing the issue at hand.

larryw
December 9, 2004, 05:02 PM
By the way, I was just told about an editorial in our local tiny paper: A little misinformation can stir a lynch mob (http://www.cupertinocourier.com/cu-op-sandy.shtml). Contrast that with the Letters to the Editor (http://www.cupertinocourier.com/cu-letters2.shtml).

Ooooh, look there's also an article, Local school deluged with messages of anger, hate (http://www.cupertinocourier.com/cu-coverstrip.shtml).

larryw
December 9, 2004, 05:21 PM
CC: do doubt H&C packed the audience; didn't the first question from the audience come from a lady who lives in OK? Heck, I live almost across the street from the college and drive by the Flint Center's playbill every day and I didn't know about this (but I don't listen to his show any more).

But one point I want to make is this CA is a blue state issue. The audience I saw was a lot closer to what I see every day than how CA is portrayed in the media (and here). CA is not SF, LA, Hollywood or Berkley. Try driving around with a Bush/Cheney '04 bumper sticker to understand. Easily 10-1 I get people honking and waving over flipping me off. Most are closet conservatives and live a conservative lifestyle, but they're told they're in the minority and feel intimidated. I'm a vocal and proud conservative, and at 6'5", 240#, don't intimidate easily. :D

CA is a perfect example why we as a nation live in a republic.

If one looks at the county by county map of CA, you see the majority of it is Red (I think the red designation should be assigned to the left and blue to the right, but what the heck). If you look at voter initiatives, CA overwhelmingly votes conservative. But if you look at the gerrymandered districts, the left has managed to hijack how reps are elected and we wind up with this misrepresentation of legislative power. http://www.fairdistrictsnow.com

Pharon
December 10, 2004, 12:36 AM
I NEVER said I was a lawyer.This is my stupidity in not recognizing the quote marks around what you cited:As legal complaints only portray one side of an argument, reasonable people reserved judgment until they got the full story. Notable was one commentator's well considered take, "As a lawyer, however, I should note that most allegations asserted in pleadings are untrue. So news reports based on what someone has stated in a legal complaint should always be taken with a huge grain of salt."My bad.

I misinterpreted your inquiry as something of substance, not semantics. Fine, you win, I hang my head in shame.Huh? I wasn't looking to be "right" here, or to prove you "wrong" -- I was only trying to get clarification on what I was missing in the case you cited. But if there is none to be found (from a legal standpoint, anyway), we can leave it at that.

I'm starting to really dislike Hannity for many reasons, a jaw-dropping lack or intellectual honesty being primary. Him turning into a right-wing version of Chris Matthews with a heaping helping of Lawrence O'Donnel being another.Couldn't agree more. Every time I hear this guy, I find myself liking him (and respecting him) less and less.

larryw
December 10, 2004, 01:03 AM
Pharon, looking back at my responses to you, I didn't give you the respect and courtesy you deserved. Please accept my apology with the poor excuse that this episode hits too close to home for me to be thinking and acting entirely rationally.

I did manage to get my grubby little paws on the lesson that started this whole episode (a friend's child was in Williams' class last year). I have retyped it in its entirety in what I believe is an exact transcription and present it to THR for comment. I'll try to post a transcription of the H&C interview tonight (unless my better half has other plans):

Activities on Exploring Easter and Why it's Relevant in our Culture and Nation

Christianity has a huge influence on our nation and so during the Easter season it's important to know why Christians celebrate this 'Holy'-day and what impact Jesus Christ has had on our society and Nation. Pick 2 of the following activities and present them next week.

Read the Easter story in the bible. Start reading Luke, chapter 22 and continue to the end of the book of Luke. Write a response to some of the themes in the Easter story for the bible: betrayal, sacrifice, resurrection, love, home, new life. Write a response to any of the themes in the story using references from the bible and show how they apply to our culture today. Make a diorama of a scene from he story and attach your written response.

Interview a Christian family that celebrates Easter and write about what they do and why they do it, Write a summary of your interview and give an oral presentation to the class on what you found using props and anything appropriate to enhancing your presentation.

John Adams wrote, "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." He also wrote a paper called, "American Independence was Achieved Upon the Principles of Christianity." Write a one page report on why he felt so strongly that this nation should be founded on Christian principles and quote some primary sources.

Review some of the famous teachings of Jesus Christ such as: the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and parable of Good Samaritan. Write a response to this teaching and how it is applied today in our culture and examples of how it has shaped our nation. Present a short oral presentation or skit to the class which demonstrates what you learned.

You will pretend to be a newspaper reporter and you will need to interview someone who works for a church near you. Ask them, what will their church be doing to remember Jesus' death and resurrection? Why is Easter important to them? Write a one page article based on your interview.

Pick 2 of the activities to complete by next Wed. 4/14

RevDisk
December 10, 2004, 02:25 AM
Uhm, that assignment does read more like an assignment for a CCD class than for a public school. Why was this guy surprised that someone might object?

Larry, I feel for you. It's never fun to be collected to a school that is this week's scandal. Best of luck, I hope things stay calm and peaceful.

larryw
December 10, 2004, 02:59 AM
Did anyone happen to tape the live broadcast of H&C last night? I watched the 7:00PM PST showing and taped the 11:00PM showing.

What I remember watching at 7 is not what I have taped and I'd like to reconcile this discrepency.

Please PM me!

thanks,
Larry

Pharon
December 10, 2004, 04:17 PM
Pharon, looking back at my responses to you, I didn't give you the respect and courtesy you deserved. Please accept my apology with the poor excuse that this episode hits too close to home for me to be thinking and acting entirely rationally.You have absolutely nothing to apologize for, but I accept. And if I wasn't clear before, I'm pretty sure I agree with you on this issue completely anyway.

The lesson plan you posted is downright scary. I hope that the defense uses it as evidence in court. Now I am even more pissed off at Hanity than I was before. They are obviously capitalizing on the hype of this, which has absolutely no basis in reality.

M1911Owner
December 10, 2004, 04:30 PM
I don't see that lesson plan as all that scary. It's not much different than one you might see these days about how the Palestinians feel about their Israeli "occupiers", or about women's role in society before feminism, or learning about Islam.

That said, objections to that lesson plan would be a long way from "censoring founding documents."

Hawkmoon
December 11, 2004, 03:04 PM
If that's the lesson plan, it hass nothing to do with the founding documents, virtually nothing to do with American History, and belongs in Sunday school class, not a history class.

larryw
December 11, 2004, 03:31 PM
Quick update: I got a copy of H&C's 6:00 broadcast. My recollection was wrong and everything has been reconciled.

M1911Owner, I had to read that a couple times before I really "got it" :)

I have a couple problems with the lesson plan.

First, (I was once told by one I trust, but have no first-hand knowledge. Can anyone confirm?) in some religions, reading the bible, entering a Christian church or even acknowledging tenants of Christianity like the Resurrection are mortal sins. If true, this may cause problems for some students.

Second, when you look at the two non-associated writings by John Adams, one could easily imply that only Christians may participate in our Constitution and all other religions are inadequate and subservient.

But what is missing from the (current) public record is Williams' grading and comments on this coursework. I'm certain that will be corrected as the case moves forward.

Some students in SF are forced to follow a similar curriculum, the only difference being the religion (Islam). The outrage is justifiable, and the fundamental issue is the same here.

Religion is a personal and family issue. Faith is not to be dictated, molded or berated by a randomly selected teacher at a public school.

larryw
December 12, 2004, 06:05 PM
I find it stunning how many have taken a seemingly malicious view of Cupertino's Stevens Creek Elementary School, a view fostered by factually inaccurate portrayals of a recent legal case. As a result, the teachers, staff and principal of Stevens Creek Elementary are being threatened and operate under the protection of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's department. Try explaining to your child why police have suddenly surrounded the school, "No honey, you're safe."

Please allow me, as an active parent at the school, to correct some of these errors.

1. The founding documents are taught in the proper historical and religious context, published in full in textbooks and reproductions are displayed prominently at Stevens Creek Elementary School.

2. God is not banned at Stevens Creek Elementary School. Students sing patriotic songs such as "God Bless America" in class and school assemblies; and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, the correct version that includes “God,” every day.

3. Williams (the claimant) has himself contradicted the assertion that he is prohibited from teaching the founding documents in the proper historical or religious context.

When all the hype is stripped away, the case actually revolves around a principal responding to many parental complaints that a public school teacher was attempting to shape the religious beliefs of his students, contrasted with that teacher’s well intentioned desire to change school, district and state policy through federal litigation.

Larry Woodard
Cupertino, CA

Pharon
December 13, 2004, 11:55 AM
Quick update: I got a copy of H&C's 6:00 broadcast.Larry, where did you get this? I assume someplace online? Could you post the link?

Also, could you clarify what type of class Williams teaches? Is it U.S. History?

JohnBT
December 13, 2004, 12:39 PM
"in some religions, reading the bible, entering a Christian church or even acknowledging tenants of Christianity like the Resurrection are mortal sins."

I have no current knowledge, but when I was kid in Baltimore in the late '50s the Catholic boys on my block could not even join the scout troop I belonged to that met at the Methodist Church around the corner. Of course, back then the Mass was in Latin, so things have likely changed (except for the stories about some of the Priests.)

Then we moved to Montgomery County MD and the local troop in Rockville did not allow knives. Can you imagine camping and every time you need a knife you have to go ask a leader for one?

John

larryw
December 13, 2004, 02:26 PM
A neighbor taped the show. It wasn't online, and if it was, I'm sure they pulled it.

Williams to Hannity 12/8: "[T]he now famous, 'the Declaration was banned', well, my kids have read the Declaration, so that's a bit of a stretch."

I've been advised by a friend not to post the full transcript at this time, sorry.

Pharon
December 13, 2004, 02:37 PM
A neighbor taped the show. It wasn't online, and if it was, I'm sure they pulled it.Why would you say that? By the way, I found a "partial" transcript of the exchange here (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,141030,00.html), though I have no idea why they didn't just post the whole damn thing in the first place.

I've been advised by a friend not to post the full transcript at this time, sorry.Why? If it was aired to the public, it should be fair game. It's not like you're making money from it.

larryw
December 13, 2004, 02:46 PM
There are some other issues there. But the transcript is posted and its a moot point now (THANKS! I missed that).

I submit the following exchange and ask you to consider how that reconciles with the lesson plan posted above. Considering the fact that the school has a Bible study and prayer group that meets on school grounds, which Williams participates in, I didn't think he surrendered his rights simply because he is a teacher.

Lorence is William's lawyer.

COLMES: Does that mean that your client has the right to share the Gospel?

LORENCE: He does not as a school employee, no, but he does as a regular person. He doesn't surrender his rights simply because he's a schoolteacher.

Pharon
December 13, 2004, 05:16 PM
My only response to that exchange is that when he's teaching in front of a class, he is not an individual, but rather a representative of the government. And in that respect, the free exercise clause does not apply, so there is nothing to surrender. Outside the classroom is a different story. But while he's teaching, he has no right to use the government to advance his religious beliefs. No more than any other government official does.

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