T Nation

Declaration Of Independence Banned At Calif School

How can anyone defend this?

Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School
Wed Nov 24, 2004 04:12 PM ET

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God – including the Declaration of Independence.

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

“It’s a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful,” said Williams’ attorney, Terry Thompson.

“Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country,” he said. “There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence.”

Vidmar could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose and claims violations of Williams rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

Phyllis Vogel, assistant superintendent for Cupertino Unified School District, said the lawsuit had been forwarded to a staff attorney. She declined to comment further.

Williams asserts in the lawsuit that since May he has been required to submit all of his lesson plans and supplemental handouts to Vidmar for approval, and that the principal will not permit him to use any that contain references to God or Christianity.

Among the materials she has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington’s journal, John Adams’ diary, Samuel Adams’ “The Rights of the Colonists” and William Penn’s “The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania.”

“He hands out a lot of material and perhaps 5 to 10 percent refers to God and Christianity because that’s what the founders wrote,” said Thompson, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which advocates for religious freedom. “The principal seems to be systematically censoring material that refers to Christianity and it is pure discrimination.”

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a California atheist who wanted the words “under God” struck from the Pledge of Allegiance as recited by school children. The appeals court in California had found that the phrase amounted to a violation of church and state separation.

Man, we need to go to Cali and kick somebody’s ass. I’m probably one of the most devout atheists on these boards, but shit like this makes me sick. Trying to censor our teachers in the name of protecting us from ourselves… What will they think of next?

And Democrats wonder why Middle America thinks they are insane.

[quote]lothario1132 wrote:
Man, we need to go to Cali and kick somebody’s ass. I’m probably one of the most devout atheists on these boards, but shit like this makes me sick. Trying to censor our teachers in the name of protecting us from ourselves… What will they think of next? [/quote]

Just don’t kick my ass. I think what they’re doing is atrocious.

Don’t sweat it, PoKe! You’re cool. Those fuckers in that SF suburb need a little attitude adjustment, though. Where’s my pimp stick?

[quote]doogie wrote:
And Democrats wonder why Middle America thinks they are insane.[/quote]

Where in that article does it claim that anyone was “democrat”?

ProX: I guess the reference to “Political Correctness” made some folks intuitively assume that there was some liberal democrat goofiness afoot. You’re absolutely right, though. There was no mention of any political affiliation of anybody in that article.

PC run amok.

Prof,

Didn’t you know, all the ills in the world are de-facto caused by democrats… :stuck_out_tongue:

[quote]vroom wrote:
Prof,

Didn’t you know, all the ills in the world are de-facto caused by democrats… :p[/quote]

I think a lot more ills are caused by bureaucrats… Of course, going back up the chain to see who is responsible for the creation of most of the bureaucracies might lead one to the same conclusion as the one above… =-)

As to the article, if the facts are as presented, it’s pretty ridiculous.

Just who are the “God haters” in America? Do you think the ACLU is made up of staunch republicans?

Who was behind attempting to remove the words: “One nation under God from the Pledge?”

Who is behind virtually every major lawsuit that seeks to “kill” God in America?

Here’s a clue: It’s not the republican party!

Wow, are you suggesting the democratic party is official against god?

vroom:

I am suggesting that the ultra-liberals or left wing whacko’s (Whichever you prefer) are against many traditional values that made this country great!

[quote]ZEB wrote:
vroom:

I am suggesting that the ultra-liberals or left wing whacko’s (Whichever you prefer) are against many traditional values that made this country great!

[/quote]

You know Zeb, it can be argued that the founding fathers were the ultimate liberals. They desired huge change: seceding from England. Can’t get much more untraditional than that.

It does say “excerpts.” Now, if this teacher was specifically cherrypicking quotes from historical sources so that he could “prove” to his class that the founders were religious, that is an inappropriate lesson. If he made his class into a who’s who of historical Christians, I think that it would be legitimate to say that that really shouldn’t be the focus of his class.

Neph, you ultra-liberal whacko you! :stuck_out_tongue:

If neph is correct, that would indeed be inappropriate, but that is pure guess.

Another example:

(yes its fox so it must be a lie, so no reason to read on)
www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,139304,00.html

"Young students across the state read stories about the Pilgrims (search) and Native Americans, simulate Mayflower (search) voyages, hold mock feasts and learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups.

But what teachers don’t mention when they describe the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but repeatedly thanked God…

Brown, a former social studies teacher, said she was surprised to hear schools aren’t teaching about the Pilgrims’ faith in God.

Teaching about a secular Thanksgiving counters the holiday’s original premise as stated by George Washington in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

So it is verbotten to mention god in schools even at the expense of distorting history…

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Just who are the “God haters” in America? Do you think the ACLU is made up of staunch republicans?

Who was behind attempting to remove the words: “One nation under God from the Pledge?”

Who is behind virtually every major lawsuit that seeks to “kill” God in America?

Here’s a clue: It’s not the republican party!

[/quote]
I am not trying to remove God from the pledge of Allegiance and I think this move by the principal to keep her from teaching about the Declaration is retarded. I know many who may have voted Democrat in this last election who feel the same way. This didn’t stop you, Zeb, from naming me a liberal. If this is the case, why don’t I support what you claim “liberals” all support?

[quote]nephorm wrote:
It does say “excerpts.” Now, if this teacher was specifically cherrypicking quotes from historical sources so that he could “prove” to his class that the founders were religious, that is an inappropriate lesson. If he made his class into a who’s who of historical Christians, I think that it would be legitimate to say that that really shouldn’t be the focus of his class.[/quote]

From what I understand, none of the quotes mentions Jesus. They all referred to the generic “God” and “Almighty”. Hard to argue that he was pushing Christianity.

Does “God” need to be taken out of the Pledge? We had to say it in Kindergaten and 1st grade. I just didn’t say it then, didn’t really bother me. I don’t say it now either, still doesn’t really bother me.