May 6th, 2009 09:15 EST
High School Teacher In Trouble: Called Creationism 'Superstitious Nonsense'
"A federal judge ruled that a public high school history teacher violated the First Amendment when he called creationism `superstitious nonsense` during a classroom lecture.
U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled Friday in a lawsuit student Chad Farnan filed in 2007, alleging that teacher James Corbett violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment by making repeated comments in class that were hostile to Christian beliefs.
The lawsuit cited more than 20 statements made by Corbett during one day of class, which Farnan recorded, to support allegations of a broader teaching method that `favors irreligion over religion` and made Christian students feel uncomfortable."
GILLIAN FLACCUS/The Associated Press
"The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is the part of the United States Bill of Rights that expressly prohibits the United States Congress from making laws "respecting an establishment of religion" or that prohibit the free exercise of religion, infringe the freedom of speech, infringe the freedom of the press, limit the right to peaceably assemble, or limit the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
I strongly disagree with Judge Selna`s ruling, which turns logic upside down, and misconstrues the meaning of the First Amendment.
It is James Corbett`s responsibility as a teacher to dispel rumors and superstitions, and it`s difficult to find a more ridiculous superstition than creationism. It is almost impossible for a teacher not to make statements that make Christian students feel uncomfortable.
If a science teacher states that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, he is going to upset some evangelicals who believe that our planet is only 6,000 years old. If an English literature teacher says that the Bible is a great work of literature, he is going to offend fundamentalists who believe that it is also the inspired word of God.
If a biology insstructor teaches evolution, he is going to infuriate Christians who believe that we all descended from Adam and Eve. If a physical education coach instructs his young charges about using condoms, he is going to offend Catholics who believe it`s a sin to use contraceptives. It is impossible for any intelligent person not to offend people who cling to superstitions.
If an educator has to measure his words lest he offend the sensibilities of Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews and Moonies, the only one qualified to be a teacher will be an individual who is deaf and dumb.
It`s Corbett`s First Amendment right to free speech that is being violated, he has a right to characterize creationism as "superstitious nonsense." Corbett should appeal this ridiculous ruling, not only for his sake but for that of his fellow teachers.
Corbett, a 20-year teaching veteran, remains employed at Capistrano Valley High School. It`s a shame that a teacher who has dedicated his life to teaching his students the truth, is being harassed by a young ignoramus who can`t handle the truth.