Monday, August 14, 2006


Good Day for Science

Richard Katskee, assistant legal director, of Americans United for Separation of Church and State sent these greetings to Kansas Citizens for Science:

Today is a good day for science; a good day for religious freedom; and a good day for the children of Kansas. Today we celebrate the seventh anniversary of the founding of this great organization, Kansas Citizens for Science.

It’s an amazing thing that you parents, teachers, students, working scientists, and clergy members have come together to say that you will not tolerate distorting science for a religious agenda. For seven years, you’ve said that you will not permit state officials to encroach on your right as parents to decide what religious instruction your children receive.

I had the privilege to represent the 11 parents who sued the school district in Dover, Pennsylvania, over intelligent design. Those 11 parents are justifiably proud of what they accomplished when they stood up in court for their children’s education.

But they are equally proud of what their community accomplished. As you all probably know, the citizens of Dover voted last November to remove from office the school-board members who tried to press intelligent design on the students at Dover High School. The people in the community stood up to ensure that the students would learn science in science class, and that they would receive their religious instruction where it belongs — in their homes and in their churches. What the citizens of Dover accomplished for their community last fall, you are doing for the whole state of Kansas.

I grew up in Omaha, and most of my family still lives there. A couple months ago, I was invited home to speak to a community group about my experience in the Dover case. The people I met there were interested in what went on in Dover. But what they really cared about — what they really wanted to know — is “what’s the matter with Kansas?”

Now, they didn’t ask me that question to make fun of Kansas. What happens in Dover, Pennsylvania, is interesting; but Dover is a long way from Omaha. Lawrence and Manhattan and Topeka are right down the road. So when all those people in Nebraska asked me, “what’s wrong with Kansas?,” what they were really saying is, “if it can happen there, it can happen here too.” And they were worried.


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