Saturday, March 26, 2005

When, in the Course of Human Events...

a public school teacher in California alleges that his school district banned the Declaration of Independence, it became a national issue. The teacher, Steven Williams, a born-again Christian, made the accusation after the principal of his school, Patti Vidmar, refused to allow him to distribute supplemental material to his fifth grade class, including normally excised passages of the Declaration that emphasize the role of the founding fathers' Christian god. Mr. Williams sued the Cupertino School District, and the case will be heard this coming week. In Friday's Weekend Journal, Naomi Schaefer Reily re-evaluates the case, concluding that

"Religious people nationwide will no doubt be following the case closely, thinking of instances in which public schools have over-interpreted the separation of church and state to mean virtually banning religion from their premises. But should this new lawsuit join that list of excessive vigilance? The parents and principal at Stevens Creek don't seem to have a problem with religion at their school. They do seem to feel that one of their fifth-grade teachers crossed a line. For those who worry about the way faith is treated in our public institutions, Mr. Williams may not be the best candidate for a hero."

In light of the facts of the case, as they are reported in this article and in a New Yorker article no longer available on the web, this seems to be a fair assessment of the situation.


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