Monday, September 26, 2005


The Sham(e) in Dover

When Justice William Brennan, delivered the Supreme Court's decision in Edwards vs. Aguillard -- the 1987 Supreme Court ruling that the teaching of creation "science” in public school science class violated the First Amendment, he said,

"While the Court is normally deferential to a State’s articulation of a secular purpose, it is required that the statement of such purpose be sincere and not a sham.”

In Dover, today, the federal court will begin hearings in Kitzmiller v. Dover, a suit brought by a group of parents who oppose the introduction of intelligent design indoctrination in the public schools there.

The question of secular intent will be central to the Dover case, just as it was 18 years ago in Edwards vs. Aguillard. Once again, the courts will be called on to evaluate whether or not the intent of Dover board members was sincerely secular or not.

Last June 14, at a board meeting, chairman Bill Buckingham was widely reported in the newspapers to have said, “Two thousand years ago, someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”

Lauri Lebo, a reporter for the York Daily Record, reports that "[o]ther board members at the time, such as Noel Wenrich and Alan Bonsell, spoke during the meeting of finding a biology book that balances the Christian views of “creationism” with evolution.

Today, of course, the moral exemplars on the Dover board can't remember having said any such thing.

RSR wonders, how we are to teach children that telling the truth is important when those who claim to have a special relationship with the God of the Ten Commandments -- who are the elected officials charged with running the schools -- refuse to do something so simple, so basic, as to tell the truth.


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