California school bans The Declaration of Independence


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jsalcedo
November 25, 2004, 09:21 PM
http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=6911883


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."

Vidmar could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose and claims violations of Williams rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

Phyllis Vogel, assistant superintendent for Cupertino Unified School District, said the lawsuit had been forwarded to a staff attorney. She declined to comment further.

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."

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a California atheist who wanted the words "under God" struck from the Pledge of Allegiance as recited by school children. The appeals court in California had found that the phrase amounted to a violation of church and state separation.

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psyopspec
November 25, 2004, 09:50 PM
More and more I find myself asking "Are you kidding?!!?!?" when I read stories like this. I have to wonder if there's more to it, and I hope this guy was preaching to students and was censured for that (as opposed to being censored solely for his choice of materials, which would set a statewide precedent).

SIGarmed
November 25, 2004, 10:10 PM
The words statist idiots comes to mind.

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
PREAMBLE

We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our
freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this
Constitution.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.const/.preamble

Hawkmoon
November 25, 2004, 11:11 PM
Repost

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=112919

c_yeager
November 26, 2004, 02:02 AM
So we have gone from separation of church and state to having nationally endorsed atheism?

And for anyone that wants to say that atheism is not a religion bear in mind that the statement "There is no God" has the word "God" in it. Firm belief in the absence of something is STILL a belief.

SilentScream
November 26, 2004, 02:13 AM
This might also be setting the stage for the day when none of the founding documents will be studied in school.
Keep them in the dark from cradle to grave.
-Jesse

Zedicus
November 26, 2004, 11:27 AM
Personally I would be Pleased to see the *********** Version of US History, The Constitution & Bill of Rights banned from being taught.

Why? Go read what the ************ version is like & you will understand, it's like the ultimate ELF/PETA/VPC etc etc Edited version of US History & Constitution/Bill of Rights. :barf:

Black Snowman
November 26, 2004, 11:57 AM
As an Atheist I'm extremely offended by this action. Firm belief in the absence of something is STILL a belief. Damn straight. It's FEEDOM of worship. Denying history has NOTHING to do with freedom. It's not politically correct, it's politically manipulitive and bigotted. I hate biggots. I have the utmost respect for people of faith, EVERY faith, and this :cuss: is totally rediculous.

In Jr High School I had a Christian teacher who tought evolutionary theory. He was quite clear he didn't believe it and presented counter-evidence but he presented ALL of the evidence and let us decided for ourselves, he didn't hide the things that didn't fit with his world view. Some people were angery that he didn't teach pure evolution "theory as fact" but I respected him for representing his views and I stood up to my fellow students who would derried him for his beliefs even though I didn't agree with them.

This is an example of when people refuse to give each other due respect. They are disrespecting a good Christian for no valid reason. They are disrespecting the students as not being able to think for themselves. They are disrespecting the truth denying it to those there to learn from those entrusted with it and they're disrespecting themselves because they insult their own ability to be honest and impartial.

I hope the principle loses their position at a minimum, but I know it won't happen.

Bobarino
November 26, 2004, 12:05 PM
when are people going to learn that its freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.


Bobby

4v50 Gary
November 26, 2004, 12:25 PM
I still want Nevada to invade and liberate us. Since we're not "mature" enough to vote here in California, we won't have any say and all our laws will come from Carson City. :)

AF_INT1N0
November 26, 2004, 01:30 PM
What complete and utter BS!! :banghead:
This is going just too far. That guy seriously needs an Bootprint in his Arse! :fire: :fire:
Sorry but stuff like that gives me the RCOB (As Kim D Toit would say)

hillbilly
November 26, 2004, 01:46 PM
Here are a couple of email addresses I found useful.

First, for the board of education that oversees the district that Stevens Ceek Elementary is in.

board@cupertino.k12.ca.us


And, the superintendent's email.


bragg_bill@cupertino.k12.ca.us


I sent to both these email addresses the following:

A link to the lawsuit papers at TheSmokingGun.com.

A little note describing the coverage the story is getting on Reuters, and other media outlets.

Another little note hoping that they all continued to enjoy the benefits of having hired a "politically-correct, petty tyrant" like Patricia Vidmar and the continued national attention that their stellar principal is sure to garner for them in the future.


hillbilly

Marko Kloos
November 26, 2004, 02:54 PM
when are people going to learn that its freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.

There can't be any freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

If you are free to practice the faith of your choice, it follows necessarily that you have the right to be free from whatever religion you do not want to practice. If you are free to be a Christian, you must also be free not to be a Muslim, or Buddhist.

Or do you contest that I do not have the right to be free from Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, or Christianity, if I so choose?

Marnoot
November 26, 2004, 03:06 PM
There can't be any freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

If you are free to practice the faith of your choice, it follows necessarily that you have the right to be free from whatever religion you do not want to practice. If you are free to be a Christian, you must also be free not to be a Muslim, or Buddhist.

Or do you contest that I do not have the right to be free from Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, or Christianity, if I so choose?

Do I not have the right to be free from Atheism & Agnosticism? I am free to be Mormon, and must also be free not to be an atheist, or an agnostic. I would not be the least bit offended if my future children were required to read historical documents referencing or discussing Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu, Osiris, Jupiter, Quetzalcoatl, the Great Spirit, Atheism or any other deity, pseudo-deity, or lack-of-deity in which I do not hold a personal belief.
I encourage the teaching of various beliefs of peoples around the world. By eliminating all references to God, you are in effect endorsing atheism; which IMHO is unconstitutional. I don't see liberals up in arms over documents I was required to read in school about all of the above named deities; if it's not Christian, suddenly they're no longer "offended." More liberal bigotry, libigotry, if you will.

fastbolt
November 26, 2004, 03:45 PM
I wish I could say that I'm surprised by this ... but since I live in the South Bay Area (of which Cupertino is part) ... I'm not at all surprised.

It does make you wonder what else the children aren't being taught, though, doesn't it?

reagansquad
November 26, 2004, 06:51 PM
It turns out this is a hoax. The teacher was actually reading the bible to his class.

carebear
November 26, 2004, 06:59 PM
In what context and which part(s)? It is a historical document after all, and does provide one of the source documents for, oh, say, the last 2-3000 years of Western History and Civilization.

hillbilly
November 26, 2004, 07:42 PM
Here's The Smoking Gun link for the lawsuit papers.


http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1124041declar1.html

Atticus
November 26, 2004, 08:12 PM
Shall not establish. Three simple words that so-called intellectuals cannot fathom. There is no freedom of, nor from. The document simply states that the government Shall Not Establish religion.

mountainclmbr
November 26, 2004, 08:23 PM
Are you sure this is about religion? The founding documents mention rising up against, and casting off tyrants, personal liberty, etc. Surely this would threaten liberal California politicians more than a belief that judgement of right and wrong may find them on the wrong side of the dividing line.

Marko Kloos
November 26, 2004, 09:30 PM
Shall not establish. Three simple words that so-called intellectuals cannot fathom. There is no freedom of, nor from. The document simply states that the government Shall Not Establish religion.

Actually, that's not what the First Amendment says at all.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;...

There's a world of difference between "establishing" and "respecting an establishment" of religion.

Atticus
November 26, 2004, 10:01 PM
You're right. So where are the laws passed respecting the establishment of religion? Is displaying the Declaration of Independence, or a nativity scene, or mentioning the words Creator or God...the same as passing laws that establish religion?

And remember this part as well.

"...or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

Dbl0Kevin
November 26, 2004, 10:10 PM
There can't be any freedom of religion without freedom from religion.

If you are free to practice the faith of your choice, it follows necessarily that you have the right to be free from whatever religion you do not want to practice. If you are free to be a Christian, you must also be free not to be a Muslim, or Buddhist.

Or do you contest that I do not have the right to be free from Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, or Christianity, if I so choose?



So is it your position that simply learning about a figure from history that practiced a particular religion is akin to being forced to participate in that religion? That seems to be a bit far out to me. I don't see the problem with discussing different religions and their effect on history and historic figures or even their effect on present day people and events. Why should we have a blackout on a major part of the world today and pretend like it doesn't exist??

Mrs. Armoredman
November 26, 2004, 11:09 PM
This is so stupid and they next thing they will ban from public schools is The Constitution of the United States.

Clean97GTI
November 27, 2004, 12:04 AM
I believe a teacher who removed the Constitution from his curriculum is negligent in his teaching. Just because something mentions god in passing doesn't mean it is being taught to students.

I'm an agnostic bordering on atheist and I have problem with this. This is part of history and should be taught. Next, we would have to get rid of the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials.

What did Orwell say?

He who controls the past, controls the present. He who controls the present controls the future. (sorry if I mangled it)

*POOF* as another document goes into the incinerator.

M1911Owner
November 27, 2004, 12:21 AM
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,...
Also note that an "establishment of religion" is a state church, such as the Church of England. Translated into more modern terms, Congress is prohibited from passing any laws that establish a national church.

Posting the Ten Commandments in public buildings, or singing Christmas carols, or having a cross to commemorate those who have died defending this country, or having a cross on the City of Los Angles' official seal that recognizes the heritage of the Spanish missions, aren't even remotely close to creating "an establishment of religion."

Indeed, the First Amendment Establishment Clause was intended only as a prohibition on Congress; there were several states that had established churches through the time of the framing of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Quoting from the Hon. J. Clifford Wallace, Emeritius Chief Judge of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

At the start of the American Revolution in 1775, nine of the thirteen colonies had established churches. When the Constitutional Convention began in 1787, five states still retained their established faiths. State-established churches continued during the Convention, state ratification, and acceptance of the First Amendment. Indeed, it was not until 1833, forty-six years after the Constitutional Convention and fourty-two years after the First Amentdment was ratified, that Massachusetts disestablished the last state-sponsored church. The fact that these official state churches existed and continued to exist after the ratification of the First Amendment is strong evidence that the Framers meant the Establishment Clause to apply only to the federal government; the First Amendment left the states free to decide the propriety of having state churches.

J. Clifford Wallace, The Framers' Establishment Clause: How High the Wall?, Brigham Young University Law Review, Volume 2001, Number 2, pages 759-760 (2001).
Clearly, the "wall of separation of church and state" that some are trying to create in this country, that in reality amounts to enforced atheism, is not supported by the Establishment Clause.

SIGarmed
November 27, 2004, 12:37 AM
The principle is full of it. I listened to a radio program on KABC in Los Angeles where the teacher's lawyer was being intervied. The teacher introduced some supplimental historical documents like most teachers do. Because they had words associated with the christian religion the principle put a stop to it.

The documents were things that the teacher felt where necessary for the children to learn because they were historically accurate.

The so called "seperation of church and state" requires that history be re-written because it contains God?

twoblink
November 27, 2004, 12:52 AM
Just another typical day in a 3rd world country...

I'm waiting for them to start burning books...

pluvo
November 27, 2004, 01:32 AM
At least now we know what won't be on their state quarter in 2005.

http://www.worth1000.com/entries/64500/64503eKmJ_w.jpg

c_yeager
November 27, 2004, 01:49 AM
There's a world of difference between "establishing" and "respecting an establishment" of religion.

THere is also a HUGE difference between "respecting an establishment" of religion and eliminating exposure to religion. Being free to practice your own religion doesnt mean that one has to live in a vacuume of opposing viewpoints. The founding fathers, with few exceptions, were Christians. The knowledge and acceptance of that FACT doesnt make it impossible to be a Budhist or a Muslim.

The_Antibubba
November 27, 2004, 03:53 AM
After all, The PRK banned The Constitution years ago.

Moondoggie
November 27, 2004, 11:02 AM
Let's not forget that nearly all of the founding documents, and many current government documents (i.e., military promotion warrants) end with the statement "given under my hand on the XX day of XXX IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD XXXX".

I suppose the next thing will be that the ACLU will try and establish a new method for counting the years. I'm surprised that the liberal universities haven't thrown a hissyfit over B.C/A.D. BTW, Arab governments have their own method for counting years based upon some religious event...probably Mohamad's ascent to heaven. Last time I remember seeing an Arab document it was dated 15XX somethingorother. (I'm not slamming or marginalizing the Muslim faith, I just know there is a different system but I don't remember exactly what it is.)

I heartily agree with the posts above regarding the first ammendment and the concept of freedom OF religion vs. freedom FROM religion.

I just love the way liberals promote the "values" (or lack thereof) of political correctness...as long as they get to dictate what those values are and are able to enforce them on the rest of us.

Marnoot
November 27, 2004, 03:37 PM
I suppose the next thing will be that the ACLU will try and establish a new method for counting the years. I'm surprised that the liberal universities haven't thrown a hissyfit over B.C/A.D.
They've already contented themselves with their own system, using C.E. (Christian Era), in place of A.D., and B.C.E. (Before Christian Era), in place of B.C.; this system is in wide use in the scientific community. I doubt it will be long before the liberals try to push this system as the official system, you know, to replace that horribly repressive A.D. (anno domini = year of the Lord), or indeed try to redesign it to something that doesn't even reference Christians.
But honestly, the evil vast right wing conspiracy (or was it the Stonecutters:p) managed to keep the metric system down, we should have no problem resisting a calendar change. :neener:

Zackmeister
November 27, 2004, 05:28 PM
They've already contented themselves with their own system, using C.E. (Christian Era), in place of A.D., and B.C.E. (Before Christian Era), in place of B.C.

If I'm not mistaken, it's Before Common Era and Common Era. Either way bugs me. I am sticking with BC and AD.

Andrew Rothman
November 27, 2004, 05:44 PM
I think y'all might need to read between the lines a bit.

Ask yourself which is more likely:

a) a school is looking to ban historical documents, or

b) a teacher, already on notice for proselytizing his Christian faith to students, tries to do so by selectively quoting founding fathers to accomplish the same thing?

Use some freakin' common sense, here.

M1911Owner
November 27, 2004, 06:46 PM
Matt, it looks to me like it's half way in between your two options: She's trying to stamp out the last vestiges of God in her school. And if the Declaration of Independence has the evil "G" word in it, then the Declaration's gotta go.

Living in this area, it's amazing to see how anti-God some of the left-wing freakazoids around here are.

Atticus
November 27, 2004, 08:00 PM
Well.....I guess the true test will be whether the schools give up their Christmas and Easter breaks. Mail delivery and school on Sundays would be nice as well.

Marnoot
November 28, 2004, 02:41 AM
If I'm not mistaken, it's Before Common Era and Common Era. Either way bugs me. I am sticking with BC and AD.
D'oh! You're right, I got messed up. Not a fan of it myself, but I won't be shocked or surprised if/when the libs start pushing it to officially replace BC/AD.

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