Thursday, November 21, 2013

Religious Freedom or Free Speech?

http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-ohio-teacher-bible-20131120,0,7656274.story#axzz2lIbDAKNQ

A science teacher in Ohio, apparently a very good science teacher, was dismissed because school officals thought that his personal expression of his Christian faith was too overt. The line between personal religious freedom and free speech, guaranteed by the constitution, and the separation of church and state, and the so-called principle of "freedom from religion" is being drawn ever tighter by court rulings. The main issue in this case was the visible presence of a Bible, belonging to the teacher, in his classroom. That drew attention to some other perspectives which came from the testimony of students and parents, determining that he had doubts about the veracity of evolutionary theory. There wasn't anything that suggested his students were not getting everything they were supposed to get from the curriculum, and in fact, the evidence suggested that he was the best science teacher in the district in the way they measure achievement. Quality instruction, though, appears to matter less than political correctness does.

The court ruling that upheld the dismissal of the teacher, John Freshwater, sets a precedent for schools in Ohio in determining where the boundary between free speech, religious freedom and separation of church and state lies, and there's very little territory allocated to the personal freedom side of the issue. And this isn't the Northeast, or New York or Philadelphia, or some large metro or suburban school district. This is a small town in Ohio, in the heart of middle America, and this was a politically conservative state supreme court. The public education system is completely in the grip of secular humanists, even there.

Readers will get some small comfort from the words of the minority opinion, written by Justice Paul Pfeifer. Unfortunately, well reasoned, truthfully supported arguments not only aren't allowed in public school classrooms, they are ignored in the court system as well. If your kids are here, you should feel blessed.