Friday, January 13, 2006

Quote of the Day: "The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second."

That "enlightened" quote comes from a high school biology textbook published by Bob Jones University Press. The textbook purposely lays out creationism and intelligent design as legitimate alternatives to evolution. Apparently, a number of private, Christian schools are using this biology text book, among others, with a decided slant towards religion and away from scientific facts.

And now that major universities are starting to reject high school course credits from classes that are taught using these textbooks, some private Christian schools are starting to fight back.

A Christian high school's lawsuit against the University of California is escalating the culture war over the role of religion in public education.

The Calvary Chapel Christian School of Murrieta, Calif., with 1,300 students, is suing UC for not giving credits for some courses with a "Christian viewpoint" when students apply for university admission. The lawsuit is about theological content in "every major area in high school except for mathematics," says Wendell Bird, a lawyer for Calvary Chapel.

Courses in dispute include history, English, social studies and science. In federal court here, U.S. District Judge S. James Otero could rule soon on the university system's motion to dismiss the high school's claims that its First Amendment rights to free speech and religion were infringed.

While the private Christian schools are claiming discrimination and a violation of their constitutional rights, the University of California's position appears to be pretty clear cut. They have certain course standards that are required for admission. Students are welcome - and free - to take any and all courses offered by their private high schools; however, only certain courses and textbooks will be accepted for admission.

Seems fair to me. And if certain private school students and their parents don't like it, they are free to go to college at a fine, upstanding Christian college like Bob Jones University (sometimes referred to as...ahem...BJU). I'm sure they will accept any and all course credits from classes that put the word of God before science.

Of course, let's not forget that BJU is known as a place where inter-racial dating isn't allowed among its students, but that's another story for another day...


At 10:43 AM, Blogger filosofo said...

[quote]Seems fair to me.[/quote]

It would be fair if UC were a private school system. Then it would be free to discriminate against applicants' religions. The problem is that the families of students being excluded because of their religious beliefs are paying taxes that go to support UC.

UC claims it is concerned about the quality of the students' high school education. But a list of "acceptable" textbooks is a pretty weak criterion. Assuming the applicants understand evolutionary theory, why should UC care that it's being taught from a critical standpoint?

[quote]BJU is known as a place where inter-racial dating isn't allowed among its students[/quote]

By the way, that's not true any more.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger DrewL said...

Oh, nice to see they've become just a bit more enlightened. Bravo to BJU.

On the issue of the UC system's academic requirements, I think it's an enormous stretch to say that they are engaged in discrimination against religion. The fact that UC is a public university system is irrelevant. One could argue that they discriminate against lousy students because they don't admit people with a 2.0 GPA, even though those kids' parents pay taxes. Certain standards must be met. And, clearly, some of these private schools' curricula do not meet the UC standards. UC is a secular university, not a Sunday school.

If these kids want their religion-centric high school courses to admit them to a college, then they can apply to Liberty U. or BJU, among others. If they want to go to UC, then they should find another high school or encourage their private school to teach the accepted curriculum.

As it is, 24 of 32 students from the high school in question have been admitted to UC. So it's not impossible.


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