Friday, January 14, 2005

The rule of law prevails...

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this!

Judge Rejects Georgia School Board Evolution Stand

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered a Georgia school district to remove stickers challenging the theory of evolution from its textbooks on the grounds that they violated the U.S. Constitution. In a ruling issued in Atlanta, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said Cobb County's school board had violated the constitutional ban on the separation of church and state when it put the disclaimers on biology books in 2002. The stickers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered." "We are pleased. The law was pretty clear," said Maggie Garrett, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which sued the board on behalf of a group of parents who were opposed to the disclaimers. The ACLU argued that the school board had demonstrated a clear bias about the material, effectively pushing the teaching of creationism and discriminating against non-Christians and followers of a number of other religions. Creationism refers to the belief that life was created by God. Evolution, which is accepted by most scientists, contends that life developed from more primitive forms and was dictated by natural selection. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1987 that creationism could not be taught in public schools alongside evolution. The Georgia school board, which introduced the stickers at the behest of hundreds of parents, many of them religious conservatives, contended that the stickers only advised students to keep an open mind. The board's lawyer was not immediately available for comment on Thursday. The federal ruling came about two months after the re-election of President Bush, who won the overwhelming support of religious conservatives with his stands against gay marriage and abortion. The Cobb County case also evoked memories of the 1925 "Monkey Trial" of John Scopes, a Tennessee biology teacher who was found guilty of illegally teaching evolution.

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