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School district sued for censoring founding documents

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Desertdog, Nov 24, 2004.

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  1. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

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    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District for prohibiting a teacher from providing supplemental handouts to students about American history because the historical documents contain some references to God and religion.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
     
  2. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    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.
     
  3. RobW

    RobW Member

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    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:
     
  4. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

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    :fire:

    At what point will it be argued by these idiots that the Constitution is unconstitutional?
     
  5. M1911Owner

    M1911Owner Member

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    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.
     
  6. CannibalCrowley

    CannibalCrowley Member

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    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.
     
  7. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    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.
     
  8. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    They've been arguing for years it's outdated and irrelevant, so why would they even bother?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

    crucible Member

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    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
     
  10. M1911Owner

    M1911Owner Member

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    Drudge has picked it up, as well.
     
  11. CannibalCrowley

    CannibalCrowley Member

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    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.
     
  12. bubbygator

    bubbygator Member

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    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.
     
  13. TarpleyG

    TarpleyG Member

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    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
     
  14. Jonathan

    Jonathan Member

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    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.
     
  15. longeyes

    longeyes member

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    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.
     
  16. M1911Owner

    M1911Owner Member

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    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?
     
  17. CGofMP

    CGofMP Member

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    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 revealed the above information.

    Be polite but firm if you choose to make contact.
     
  18. TimRB

    TimRB Member

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    "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
     
  19. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    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.

    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.
     
  20. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  21. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    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.
     
  22. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    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".
     
  23. griz

    griz Member

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    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.
     
  24. jimpeel

    jimpeel Member

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    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 current English, that says:
     
  25. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
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