A judge refused to toss out a suit over inadequate curricula at some religious schools in California. The schools claim that the University of California shouldn’t be allowed to reject certain courses as adequate preparation for college. Or, as a lawyer for the schools explains,
The lawsuit is about theological content in “every major area in high school except for mathematics,” says Wendell Bird, a lawyer for Calvary Chapel.
Bird previously lost Edwards v. Aguillard, thus ending the “equal time” rules for creationism and evolution.
The University asserts a 1st amendment right to speak freely about the scientific inadequacies of the courses and their textbooks, the schools assert a 1st amendment right to teach whatever they like without the State (represented by the university) imposing Godless yada yada ….
Among the textbooks at issue is:
A biology book from Bob Jones University [which] presents creationism and intelligent design alongside evolution. The introduction says, “The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second.”
In order to claim that rejecting a course built around such a book, you’d have to have a fairly skewed perspective about religion. The bizarreness is evident in this argument, from Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center in Virginia:
what about Muslim schools? Are they next? They teach within a Koranic framework. That doesn’t mean those kids aren’t well-educated.
Neither does attending a Christian school (though we all remember that kids in conservative Christian schools underperform). The discrimination isn’t against religious teaching, it’s against bad teaching. Teaching a science class or a history class that sacrifices accuracy of the content for theological correctness is bad teaching, it’s bad science and it’s bad history. A university has every right to refuse admission to people who are poorly educated.
The only way this could be a First Amendment issue is if the schools claimed that accurately teaching science would infringe on their religious freedom, and that the State’s requirement that the children learn accurate science is itself an establishment of religion.
But just as the opposite of love isn’t hate but indifference, the opposite of religion is not anti-religion, it’s indifference to religion. That sort of official indifference to religion is precisely what the University of California exhibits in its policy, and is precisely what the Constitution demands.
Wendell Bird will fail again.