Apparently, it is OK for a government agency to insist that its employees consider religious explanations for natural phenomenon as equal to scientific ones in the context of science education.

In a decision issued on July 2, 2010, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision that the Texas Education Agency’s policy requiring “neutrality” of its employees when “talking about evolution and creationism” is not unconstitutional.

This idiotic decision is contrary to a lot of other case law and won’t stand. But we will have to fight over this one.

Elections matter. Because elections determine who gets to be judge.

Details here at NCSE

Comments

  1. #1 Alisdair
    July 6, 2010

    elections determine who gets to be judge

    Good grief, that’s almost as bad as “elections determine who gets to be right”. Anyway, I look forward to this being overturned on appeal.

  2. #2 Kimmy
    July 6, 2010

    Roll of the eyes.
    The case is about employment law, not free speech.

  3. #3 bomoore
    July 6, 2010

    Religion is established and protected nonsense; judges aren’t impartial, they are EXPECTED to enforce superstition: that’s their job the world over. Americans hold on to the delusion of freedom, despite religious tyrrany by Christians, because they ARE Christians.

  4. #4 Wesley
    July 6, 2010

    Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that the decision will be overturned — or that it’s even wrong. Part of this blame lies with the employee who filed suit.

    I looked up the decision (Comer v. Scott), and, according to the 5th Circuit, Comer only argued that the “neutrality policy” has an effect of endorsing religion (second part of the traditional Lemon test), and NOT that the policy has a primarily religious purpose behind it (first part). If Comer truly didn’t raise the argument for an impermissible religious purpose, it likely won’t be considered on further appeal.

    I think the 5th Circuit’s conclusion is arguable, but that it is quite possible, if not likely, to stand. It is much more difficult to argue that the neutrality policy has an effect of promoting religion (considering more direct promotion, e.g. tax exemption, has been previously upheld). Even though I think the policy unquestionably has a religious purpose of limiting criticism of creationism, and Comer likely would have (or at least should have) won on that ground had she raised the argument.

    I do disagree with some of the 5th Circuit’s reasoning (especially its acceptance of creationism as even a possible consideration of substantive curriculum, which triggered the policy in the first place). But it doesn’t seem blatant enough to me to think that this Supreme Court will even likely hear the case.

  5. #5 Dan J
    July 6, 2010

    Good grief, that’s almost as bad as “elections determine who gets to be right”.

    Unfortunately, it’s my impression that this is the case in our judicial system. It’s never been about who’s right or who’s wrong: It’s about who can argue the better case.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    July 6, 2010

    Alisdair: I may be missing your point, but are you suggesting that Federal Judges are not appointed by the elected executive and approved by the elected Senate, or are you agreeing with that?

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