Saturday, February 14, 2009

an open letter to a concerned California teacher

Dear Jeanne Caldwell,

I see you and your attorney husband are appealing to the US Supreme Court to hear your lawsuit against UC Berkeley for violating the separation of church and state. Berkeley has a web site presenting information on evolution, and from that site one can link to a page which presents an argument that evolution is not incompatible with religious positions about divine creation. That, according to you and your husband, is a violation of church and state.

I realize that your argument is that the violation is that it contradicts a your religious position that evolution and (your) religion are contradictory - that is, that it says something about the relationship of science to religion that your religion disagrees with. But I think you've hit on something much deeper.

You see, you're absolutely right that religion and the state should be divided by a wall of separation. In fact, the UC Berkeley web site should not have mentioned the issue at all, since there is no scientific controversy about evolution: evolution is the only scientific theory of the development of life. Religious views have no place whatsoever in the discussion, as your law suit helpfully points out. You no doubt support the independence of all public schools from any incursion of religion, too. For instance: no instruction on creationism in biology classes. I'm right, aren't I?

The only way the state can protect your religious freedom is to keep the state free from any religious affiliation at all. Equal protection, right? Which of course means removing "under god" from the Pledge of Allegiance - another move I'm sure you're ready to support, since obviously the mention of god in the Pledge affiliates the state with religion.

While you're at it, maybe you should sue the federal government for granting tax money to faith-based social services groups that discriminate in employment, which would be a violation of federal equal opportunity statutes for a public agency to do. That's an obvious case of a violation of the separation of church and state, innit?

Wow, there's a lot for you great activists for liberty and the constitution to do! I can only wish you the best of luck, because there are lots of people who seem to think the separation of church and state is a principle they can bend and twist in all sorts of shapes to basically any particular outcome they want.

Yours in the Jeffersonian spirit,
Doc Nagel

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