'Intelligent Design' Dispute Sparks National Interest

In response to legal action by 11 parents in Dover, Pa., opposing their school board's attempt to present so-called "intelligent design" in science classes, news reports are focusing on the issue of religion in America's public schools.

"There is a reason that the eyes of the nation will be on this," the assistant legal director at Americans United, Richard B. Katskee, told The New York Times, "because these kinds of efforts are going in other places or are imminent there."

Ever since the famous 1925 Scopes "monkey trial," America has been confronted with an organized effort to undermine the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution in public school science classrooms. The issue has cropped up famously in Kansas in 1999 and since then in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Montana, and elsewhere.

Earlier this week, Americans United and the ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of parents who have had enough of their school board's policy designed to undermine science instruction.

"There is a small group of people trying to push a particular religion on everybody," Joel Leib, a parent who participated in the lawsuit, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "It is basically a way of teaching creationism.... It doesn't belong in science class."

Steven Stough agreed, telling the Associated Press that the concept of "intelligent design," approved by the school board, is nothing more than a secular form of creationism, a Bible-based view of human origins. "I just felt it had no place in the science curriculum," he said.

Although the school board has attempted to couch the policy in terms of teaching both sides, parent Tammy Kitzmiller saw clearly that "The Dover school board created the policy for religious reasons," reported the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.