Supreme Court: Don’t teach evolution difficulties!
It’s over. Teacher Rodney LeVake’s appeal to the US Supreme Court has ended, with the Justices refusing to hear his case.
As we reported earlier (Time magazine gets it wrong again!), LeVake is a Christian biology teacher in Minnesota whose ‘crime’ was simply to expose his students to some of the scientific flaws in evolution. He did not even teach creation but merely brought up problems with evolution. His punishment was removal from his high-school biology classroom (to teach the ‘safer’ subject of general science).
Contrary to some media reports, LeVake never taught creationism in his biology classes. He merely wanted his students to know that evolution is not a fact.
LeVake filed suit against Faribault High School (near Minneapolis) back in 1998, claiming that the school district had violated his freedom of speech and freedom of religion.1 Incredibly, the district court ruled that the school could forbid LeVake’s criticism of evolutionary ideas even "though [his arguments] may be scientifically meritorious." (See Muzzled in Minnesota!)
LeVake then went to the US Supreme Court, but on Monday, 7 January 2002, the Court refused to hear the case. Sadly, the US Supreme Court appears to be reaffirming its pattern of hostility toward the teaching of Christianity.
CMI applauds the courageous efforts of instructors like LeVake, who are fighting to protect the freedom of teachers to present students with the scientific evidence against Darwinian evolution, including, as LeVake told Time, ‘the amazing lack of transitional forms in the fossil record.’2 What could be more fair to students?
In a society that increasingly rejects the authority of Scripture and its history in Genesis, we should not be surprised at how America’s court system and public schools are increasingly intolerant of anything that may even hint of Christian beliefs. This shows how important it is that CMI presents information that exposes the bankruptcy of evolution that student’s can’t hear in their public school classes.
- CMI has been clear about its position on teaching evolution/creation in public schools: ‘While we don’t support compulsion to teach the creation position (imagine how unbelievers would distort our position), it would be good if Christian teachers had the legislative freedom and encouragement to present critiques of evolution and discuss alternatives’.
LeVake was not even testing the full scope of his academic freedom. He adamantly limited his course content to science, and he never taught alternatives to evolution or his personal views about the book of Genesis.
So why did he sue over religious discrimination? His fellow teachers and school administrators knew that he was a Christian and that he didn’t believe in evolution. The school’s hostility toward his personal views led to the public actions against his classroom teaching. If any other worldview were at stake–for example, if a Marxist were giving statistical evidence to question capitalism–the academic community would have rushed to the teacher’s defense. But because this teacher accepts the authority of God’s Word and holds a Christian worldview, academic freedom gets thrown out the window.
- Tyrangiel, J., The science of dissent, Time, 10 July 2000.