Texas families do not have a religious freedom right to home-school absolutely free of any regulation, a state court of appeals ruled last week. The decision is a setback for Michael and Laura McIntyre, who removed their nine children from a private school in order to educate them at home.
The news out of Texas is depressingly familiar.
The Lone Star State is in the process of reviewing public school social studies textbooks. Texas, as you might have noticed, is a large state. It has no shortage of first-class public and private universities. These institutions are full of scholars who have expertise in areas like history, civics, economics and so on.
Creationism continues to make headlines in Louisiana, where a science teacher is under investigation for an unfortunate letter to the editor. Charlotte Hinson, who teaches in a Caddo Parish public school, wrote to the Shreveport Times after that newspaper published articles favorable to evolution.
Hinson slammed the articles for treating creationism as an unproven theory, and evolution as fact. “That is strictly opinion,” she wrote.
A company called Responsive Education Solutions runs charter schools in several states, most of them in Texas. These schools receive millions in taxpayer support every year.
Mayor Tom Hayden of Flower Mound, Texas, rang in the new year by with a controversial use of his public office: He declared 2014 to be the “Year of the Bible,” based on a “One Year Bible” program that divides Scripture readings into a daily format over 12 months.
In an interview with a local TV station, Hayden spoke bluntly about his motivation. “There's so much benevolence on helping your fellow person,” he told reporters.
It’s that time of year when people are compiling lists. So let’s look at the Top Ten Church-State Stories of 2013.
1. Greece, N.Y., prayer case argued before U.S. Supreme Court: An Americans United-sponsored lawsuit challenging legislative prayer in the city of Greece, N.Y., reached the Supreme Court.
Earlier this week, FoxNews.com published a column by Religious Right attorney Kelly Shackelford accusing Americans United and other groups of ignoring the allegedly overwhelming evidence that there is a “war on Christmas.”
In his column, Shackelford mentioned several incidents that he insists are proof of this war. Let’s take a closer look at them, shall we?
The Religious Right’s creationist campaign continues to threaten Texas public schools.
The controversy began when Texas’ State Board of Education appointed a number of creationists to review panels meant to ensure the quality of new biology textbooks. Despite valid concerns raised by watchdogs like the Texas Freedom Network (TFN), creationists remained on the panels.
Whenever I hear someone – especially a politician – say that the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, not freedom from religion, I just want to start screaming.
As I’ve pointed out many times on this blog and in other forums, that statement is inane and shows great ignorance of our founding principles. Religious Right figures started using it a few years ago, apparently believing they had stumbled onto something clever. In fact, they are simply spouting puerile nonsense.