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Declaration of Independence banned at California school?

memeorandum: Archive Edition for Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Reuters News Article

Here's a sticky wicket. Teacher is "banned" from using the Declaration of Independance in class.

Are this fellow's First Amendment rights being violated? Do First Amendment rights even apply when the issue is classroom materials (not political speech, by any means, or shouldn't be). The article refers to 5 - 10 % of the classroom docs containing references to Christianity - that doesn't seem outlandish; in point of fact, the founders did use Christian theology as a basis for much of their writing. However, many of the pertinent details of the case are absent from this post - does the teacher have a history of proselytization, for example? One of the follow ups to the memeorandum post has commentary by someone who actually read the lawsuit (which I have not) and indcates that the teacher may have been overly pushing the god aspect (ref: the comment). In fact, I'm not sure that the Declaration itself was banned as much as this particular teacher's use of it was to be closely watch, so the very headline is sensationalist.

These issues surrounding The Declaration of Independance seem to me to be substantially different than the issues surrounding the Pledge of Allegiance in several ways: 1) children aren't being forced or coerced into reciting the Declaration, and 2) the "under God" phrase in the Pledge has no historical basis whatsoever - it was inserted in the 1950's.

This was bound to come, and I think it shows a certain "liberal" disconnect with the majority of people in the US, but the questions it raises are important ones, and ones that are certain to be heard often in the next 4 years.


At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”
- Herman Melville

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