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California school bans The Declaration of Independence

Discussion in 'Legal' started by jsalcedo, Nov 25, 2004.

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  1. jsalcedo

    jsalcedo Member

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    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.
     
  2. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    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).
     
  3. SIGarmed

    SIGarmed Member

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    The words statist idiots comes to mind.

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

    Hawkmoon Member

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  5. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    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.
     
  6. SilentScream

    SilentScream Member

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    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
     
  7. Zedicus

    Zedicus Member

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    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:
     
  8. Black Snowman

    Black Snowman Member

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    As an Atheist I'm extremely offended by this action.
    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.
     
  9. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

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    when are people going to learn that its freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.


    Bobby
     
  10. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    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. :)
     
  11. AF_INT1N0

    AF_INT1N0 Member

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    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)
     
  12. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    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
     
  13. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    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?
     
  14. Marnoot

    Marnoot Member

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    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.
     
  15. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    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?
     
  16. reagansquad

    reagansquad Member

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    It turns out this is a hoax. The teacher was actually reading the bible to his class.
     
  17. carebear

    carebear Member

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    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.
     
  18. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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  19. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    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.
     
  20. mountainclmbr

    mountainclmbr Member

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    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.
     
  21. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  22. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    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;"
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2004
  23. Dbl0Kevin

    Dbl0Kevin Member

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    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??
     
  24. Mrs. Armoredman

    Mrs. Armoredman Member

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    This is so stupid and they next thing they will ban from public schools is The Constitution of the United States.
     
  25. Clean97GTI

    Clean97GTI Member

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    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.
     
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