I’ve gotta think about this case some more, but it’s not a good decision.
- From my view as an Advanced Placement teacher, and as a teacher of history, the judge is contradicting Settle v. Dickson in saying, essentially, the student may claim religious exemption to get out of doing the hard work of thinking.
- The judge’s ruling might fairly be said to call into question the entire issue of giving harder-studying high school kids college-level classes, if the serious issues in those classes may not be discussed.
- Claiming that creationism is the root of Christianity is rather dictating Christian beliefs to Christians, and in this case, offensive and incorrect beliefs (most Christian sects do not favor creationism, and only a minority of Christians hold such views, generally contrary to their sect’s theology). Can judges order people to believe something? Can a judge dictate to the many sects of Christianity one false and crazy thing they all must include in their creeds?
The case is C.F. vs. Capistrano United School District et. al. [Dr. James C. Corbett]. The Orange County Register has a story and links to the case decision, with the headline “High School Teacher found guilty of insulting Christians.”
The headline is troubling because it was a civil suit — no “guilty” verdict could be rendered under the law. But with a wacky decision like this, the reporter and copy desk must have been quite discombobulated, enough to let such a bizarre headline sneak by.
Will students flock to our AP classes now, hoping to be able to get out of the work by saying history offends their religion? Ooooh, we could hope!
It’s a very, very strange decision, insulting to scholars, academicians, historians and Christians. Go read it — what do you think?
- Hey, it’s an Orange County, California, newspaper — if you want high entertainment, check out the comments to the article (low information-to-rant quotient, though)
- Earlier articles from The Orange County Register, here, here, here, here, and here
- At Pharyngula, Dr. Myers notes the silliness of the decision, and dares the plaintiff to sue him
- View from The Sandwalk
- A lawyer’s take at Thoughts in a Haystack