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April 30, 2005

Government School Principal sees Declaration of Independence as Religious Dogma

What anti-Christian bias?

From WorldNetDaily:

...defendant Patricia Vidmar, principal of the Stevens Creek School, reportedly ordered [history 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, according to ADF.

Deemed as unfit for the students by Vidmar were excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, the diaries of George Washington and John Adams, the writings of William Penn, and various state constitutions.

San Jose Judge James Ware dismissed three of the four charges Williams filed but the remaining charge was allowed, and, ironically, is based of the Establishment Claus. The Establishment Claus would be the very thing the principal was claiming she was obeying when she selectively censored a Christian teacher. Reading the judge's decision I agree somewhat with the three claims he dismissed.

The four claims were (1) Equal Protection; (2) Freedom of Speech; (3) Due Process; and (4) the Establishment Clause.

Since the problem is about his curriculum choices being censored, it doesn't really rise to the level of what the first three would need. But the judge said about the fourth claim:

A policy survives Establishment Clause scrutiny if: (1) it has a secular purpose, (2) its primary effect neither advances nor inhibits religion, and (3) it does not foster excessive government entanglement with religion....

During oral argument, Williams was unable to proffer any current case law interpreting the Establishment Clause to allow a public school teacher to express that teacher’s religious belief in a classroom environment. It seems clear that limiting a teacher’s lesson plans does not burden his religious practice. This Court agrees with the Defendants that the actions of Principal Vidmar were consistent with the requirements under the Lemon test. Principal Vidmar’s review and subsequent restriction of Williams teaching materials had a secular purpose of avoiding violation of the Establish Clause and being cautions “where a 5th grade teacher might be taken by his impressionable audience to endorse a particular religious viewpoint.”

The problem is the judge completely ignored the fact that Williams wasn't teaching his religion, he was teaching history, that happened to overlap his religion. If Christians who teach the parts of American history that would tend to favor Christianity can be accused, then of teaching their religion, why wouldn't Atheists who omit that parts of history that would tend to disfavor Atheism (the religious writings of the Founding Fathers), then be accused of teaching their religion?

Another thing the judge wrote that bothers me:

The Eleventh Amendment prohibits damage actions against state officials acting in their official capacities. ... However, the Eleventh Amendment “does not bar actions against state officers in their official capacities if the [plaintiff seeks] only a declaratory judgement or injunctive relief.”

He cited some decisions to “support” this, but I left them out because in all honesty I think they're irrelevant to anyone with any common sense. The Eleventh Amendment to the US Constitution says:

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Some idiot judge could some day decide that “Judicial power” actually means anyone wearing the color purple, and flocks of lawyers would scamble to find how that will apply to their cases, without once thinking, “Wait a minute -- that's stupid!”

Where in that wording does it mention an individual getting sued? It doesn't and only an idiot would assume it does. Guess who occupies our court benches.  (Lawyers, please spare me the knee jerk reaction, “It says it if a judge says it does.” because that's something only lawyers are stupid enough to fall for). That Amendment says, plain and simple that a State cannot be sued in a Federal court. Personally I have no idea why this Amendment was put in. It seems, even in that context, to be of little real use, other than to states which like to be able to get away with violating people's right and breaking Federal laws, but, nonetheless, it's there.

It's frightening that judges and lawyers have expanded this to mean any person in the employee of any state is immune from any lawsuit, while “on the clock” regardless of whether they were actually performing the duties of their job. (One exception seems to be rape charges against teachers who molest their students)  But then judges would be employees of the state, wouldn't they, hmmmm. And lawyers tend to rotate in and out of that kind of employment, hmmmm.

It's been obvious that the US Constitution has been rendered meaningless by our court systems for quite a long time. This is just another example of that.

While the teacher has won, sort of, at this level, I have no doubt that he can very well come up against another moron judge who will claim that the First Amendment allows school principles can selectively edit any religious content out of US History curriculum and that judge would be completely oblivious to the reality that that is exactly the opposite of what the First Amendment was intended by the writers to do.

Posted by Danny Carlton at April 30, 2005 10:45 AM

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I'd to say this is unbelievable, but I'm afraid it isn't.

Posted by: DeputyHeadmistress at April 30, 2005 02:36 PM

On the 11th Am: Williams is essentially suing the school. That's why the 11th applies.

As for the rest: Williams wasn't teaching history, he was proselytizing.

Posted by: jpe at May 1, 2005 06:22 PM

Suing the school still should not be seen as suing the state, otherwise the 11th Amendment could be used to rationalize all kinds of abuse. The school isn't the state.

Williams was teaching history, a history that anti-Christian bigots like to censor, but nonetheless is rife with references to the Christian origins of our nation. The school was imposing their own religion of secularism, and therefore were proselytizing. For pete's sake they were censoring the Declaration of Independence!!

Posted by: Danny Carlton at May 2, 2005 04:10 AM

....one nation, under-educated, with liberty and justice for all. Amen.

Posted by: boomSLANG at May 2, 2005 10:39 AM

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