“when I was a kid, we didn’t have color tv’s, or cell phones, but we had a wall between church and state”

I know I’ve said it before, but I suspect that conservative law schools might be our undoing… Right now, while we’re all busy discussing Lakoff and Luntz, and the fact that the Republicans have a thirty year head-start on “messaging,” I think we might be missing the fact that the conservatives not only started building and funding think tanks in the age of Reagan, but that they also started building universities. More importantly, they started building conservative religious universities with law schools. And, much like the al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan, these schools have been pumping out zealous graduates just waiting for their chance to do god’s work on earth. Could it be that now that we’ve finally figured out what they’ve done with messaging (aka propaganda), they’ve moved on to phase two, the hijacking of the courts? Something that I read in today’s Ann Arbor News renewed my concern. It was a little mention of the fact that the Thomas More Law Center, an Ann Arbor law firm founded by conservative Catholic pizza-maker Tom Monaghan, is representing the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board in one of the nation’s several pending evolution cases. It made me wonder, what if we’re not just behind them on messaging, but on our strategy to protect the courts as well? What if we’re still debating the right’s use of the term “activist judges,” while they’re slowly eroding the foundations of that wall our founders built between church and state? Here’s a clip from the Ann Arbor News article that started my mind racing:

“I believe what the Bible says – Genesis, Chapter One,” said Adriya Pressley, a 10th-grader at Community High School in Ann Arbor. Standing nearby in a school hallway one recent morning, her friend Aliya Amin agreed.

They were expressing creationism, also known as creation science, which holds to a literal, six-day, Genesis-based creation of the universe.

“This is what we believe,” said Gladys Pressley, Adriya’s mother. Scientific evolution is what her daughter is taught in school, acknowledged Pressley, “but it’s not necessarily what she learns.”

Some private schools teach what fits religious belief. At St. Paul Lutheran School in northeast Ann Arbor, middle school science teacher Tom Draves said that although he carefully explains Darwinian evolution, students are expected to believe that God created the universe in six 24-hour days.

At the Michigan Islamic Academy on Plymouth Road, students are taught Darwinian evolution, but also that Muslims disagree on whether God specially created humankind or allowed evolution from lower animals.

Catholic schools teach that God set evolution in motion, and that at some point, he differentiated between animals and humans by infusing a soul in humans. ….

In the 1987 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that creationism advances religious doctrine, and that it can’t be taught in public schools because it violates separation of church and state laid out in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In 1999, a Louisiana court ruled intelligent design similar enough to creationism that it has no place in public school teaching.

And now, The Thomas More Law Center, an Ann Arbor firm founded by conservative Catholic philanthropist Tom Monaghan, is representing the Dover, Pa., school board in an evolution case watched by school boards all over the country.

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One Comment

  1. chris
    Posted March 15, 2005 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    One of the more mind boggling quotes from the article is that Catholic schools (aren’t they the ones who started this thing in the first place?) allow for the teaching of evolution at all…so there’s hope?

    The irony is that to some effect the promotion of intelligent design/creationism could ultimately reduce scientific advance in the area of medicine, and as a result limit our time on this earth. But hey! SS privatization conflict may then be resolved.

    Mark, I like you, am completely shocked. I don’t know what the answer is but can’t help but stand idle-y by and watch this thing unfold like a slomo train crash. Mind you, a pretty difficult thing to do when you are a passenger on the train.

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