Atheist Teacher Sued for Critiquing Creationism

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Atheist Teacher Sued for Critiquing Creationism

What do you all think of this?

 

SANTA ANA, Calif. —  A federal judge ruled that a public high school history teacher violated the First Amendment when he called creationism "superstitious nonsense" during a classroom lecture.

U.S. District Judge James Selna issued the ruling Friday after a 16-month legal battle between student Chad Farnan and his former teacher, James Corbett.

Farnan sued in U.S. District Court in 2007, alleging that Corbett violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment by making repeated comments in class that were hostile to Christian beliefs.

The lawsuit cited more than 20 statements made by Corbett during one day of class, all of which were recorded by Farnan, to support allegations of a broader teaching method that "favors irreligion over religion" and made Christian students feel uncomfortable.

During the course of the litigation, the judge found that most of the statements cited in the court papers did not violate the First Amendment because they did not refer directly to religion or were appropriate in the context of the classroom lecture.

But Selna ruled Friday that one comment, where Corbett referred to creationism as "religious, superstitious nonsense," did violate Farnan's constitutional rights. var adsonar_placementId="1425767",adsonar_pid="144757",adsonar_ps="-1",adsonar_zw=224;adsonar_zh=93,adsonar_jv="ads.adsonar.com"; qas_writeAd();

Farnan is not interested in monetary damages, said his attorney, Jennifer Monk of the Murrieta-based Christian legal group Advocates for Faith & Freedom.

Instead, he plans to ask the court to prohibit Corbett from making similar comments in the future. Farnan's family would also like to see the school district offer teacher training and monitor Corbett's classroom for future violations, Monk said.

There are no plans to appeal the judge's rulings on the other statements listed in the litigation, she said.

"They lost, he violated the establishment clause," she told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "From our perspective, whether he violated it with one statement or with 19 statements is irrelevant."

In making his decision, Selna wrote that he tried to balance Farnan's and Corbett's rights.

"The court's ruling today reflects the constitutionally permissible need for expansive discussion even if a given topic may be offensive to a particular religion," the judge wrote.

"The decision also reflects that there are boundaries. ... The ruling today protects Farnan, but also protects teachers like Corbett in carrying out their teaching duties."

Corbett, a 20-year teaching veteran, remains at Capistrano Valley High School.

Farnan is now a junior at the school, but quit Corbett's Advanced Placement European history class after his teacher made the comments.

The establishment clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from making any law establishing religion. The clause has been interpreted by U.S. courts to also prohibit government employees from displaying religious hostility.

Selna said that although Corbett was only found to have violated the establishment clause in a single instance, he could not excuse or overlook the behavior.

In a ruling last month, the judge dismissed all but two of the statements Farnan complained about, including Corbett's comment that "when you put on your Jesus glasses, you can't see the truth."

Also dismissed in April were comments such as, "Conservatives don't want women to avoid pregnancies — that's interfering with God's work" and "When you pray for divine intervention, you're hoping that the spaghetti monster will help you get what you want."

On Friday, Selna also dismissed one of the two remaining statements, saying that Corbett may have been attempting to quote Mark Twain when he said religion was "invented when the first con man met the first fool."

Corbett has declined to comment throughout the litigation. His attorney, Dan Spradlin, did not immediately return a message left Monday by The Associated Press.

Spradlin has said, however, that Corbett made the remark about creationism during a classroom discussion about a 1993 case in which a former Capistrano Valley High science teacher sued the school district because it required instruction in evolution.

Spradlin has said Corbett was simply expressing his own opinion that the former teacher shouldn't have presented his religious views to students.

Farnan's family released a statement Friday calling the judge's ruling a vindication of the teen's constitutional rights.

The Capistrano Unified School District, which paid for Corbett's attorney, was found not liable for Corbett's classroom conduct.


JillSwift
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What a mess.Corbett sure did

What a mess.

Corbett sure did violate student's civil rights - really there is no room for religious (or irreligious) teaching in public schools, save perhaps for comparative religion.

Worse, by taking that route he missed the opportunity to really drive home what science is. Covering the scientific method once again and demonstrating where creationism fails to meet that criteria would not have been an abuse of his authority because it leaves the religious aspect as religion without passing any judgement on its veracity.


...while we're at constitutional rights for children, ever notice how people get up in arms over thier right to belief, but never bat an eye when thier free speech rights are trampled on?

"Anyone can repress a woman, but you need 'dictated' scriptures to feel you're really right in repressing her. In the same way, homophobes thrive everywhere. But you must feel you've got scripture on your side to come up with the tedious 'Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve' style arguments instead of just recognising that some people are different." - Douglas Murray


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Silly shit.  (Sorry, not in

Silly shit.  (Sorry, not in the mood for more substance than that; but is it needed?)

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


EXC
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If that is how the

If that is how the creationist want it. Instead of attacking creationism, he should have promoted the flying spagetti monstor as creator of the universe.

Kill'em with sarcasm.

 

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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This must be a great day and

This must be a great day and age to be in public school.  "Hey teach, this vocabulary assignment violates my religious beliefs!  and so does having only one lunch..."

"I've yet to witness circumstance successfully manipulated through the babbling of ritualistic nonsense to an imaginary deity." -- me (josh)

If god can do anything, can he make a hot dog so big even he can't eat all of it?


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I knew before I read this

I knew before I read this that it would be in California.


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Thomathy wrote:Silly shit. 

Thomathy wrote:

Silly shit.  (Sorry, not in the mood for more substance than that; but is it needed?)

 

You think this is silly?  Remember that the next stop for this case is the 9th circuit court of appeals.  I swear that they use the D20 system to come to conclusions and a random text generator to write thier opinions.

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Thomathy
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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

Silly shit.  (Sorry, not in the mood for more substance than that; but is it needed?)

 

You think this is silly?  Remember that the next stop for this case is the 9th circuit court of appeals.

Huh?  Anyhow, yes, I do think it's silly.  The man is being taken to court for something silly.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Thomathy wrote:  

Thomathy wrote:

 

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

 

Thomathy wrote:
Silly shit. (Sorry, not in the mood for more substance than that; but is it needed?)

 

You think this is silly? Remember that the next stop for this case is the 9th circuit court of appeals.

 

Huh? Anyhow, yes, I do think it's silly. The man is being taken to court for something silly.

 

Then you must be from the part of the world where judicial decisions are supposed to make sense.

 

The fact of the matter is that in the US, we do not make sense internally. However, if enough courts make similar choices then, eventually, we may come to something close to a consensus of all the courts. Unless someone finds a discrepancy between what the various circuit courts have come up with, in which case, the Supreme Court gets the final say.

 

As relates to this thread, the next stop for this case is the comedy wing of our court system.

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Diagoras23
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Makes me want

Corbett's defence sucks or the Judge has their head up their arse.

Makes me want to study hard and become a lawyer, so that when a case like this comes along I can assist by,

KILLING

EVERY

CHRISTIAN

IN

THE

WORLD

(Comedy only)

Yes you do need a law degree to do that.

My lions are educated and hungry.

PS Founding fathers where atheists. Constitution is secular. Saw Hitchins smash some black dude on "Was America founded as a Christian Nation?" on Youtube. Gold.  

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


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link to the youtube bit? 

link to the youtube bit?

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

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Diagoras23
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Sorry

Sorry, at work, no youtube access dam it. I'll put it here tonight. Tonight my time is about 6 hours away.

I watch Bill Maher Real Time on youtube every week but HBO/youtube have started to delete it, so you need to subcribe to 0enlighten0 or other users, to watch it, and it was when I was fishing around I came across a number of Hitchens pieces. Meanwhile everyone should jump on youtube and search for "Christopher Hitchens" and watch the lot. Hitchens not Hitchins.

All praise to the pompous uncompromising intellectual. I must drink with this man before I die.

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


Cpt_pineapple
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Diagoras23 wrote:PS Founding

Diagoras23 wrote:

PS Founding fathers where atheists.

 

 

They were actually Deists

 

 

 

 


Diagoras23
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Sorry Again

Yes, sorry, you are right, they were mostly deist. Apologies.

Agnostic, deist, and theist? Good god woman, what is that about?

I am a agnostic atheist. I justify this by including mood swings normally brough about by alcohol.

Drunk angry = atheist

Sober Apathy = agnostic

What is your excuse?

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


Diagoras23
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Also

What is your spin on this.

Jefferson and the lads were actually staunch atheists but needed a moderate palatable description for political expediency.

The above may be easily brought down as they very specifically defined, clarified, and recorded their beliefs, but wouldn't they do that if they were closet atheists anyway?

Not passionate about it, just curious.

Maybe religion was not as important as I thought in that era and place, with the Republic and the casting off of old shackels, and the electrate itself respected diesm at the time.

I am Australian BTW.

I wish Hitchens was here.

Sigh.

Who would want to finish what they have said with the same thing everytime?


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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:

Diagoras23 wrote:

PS Founding fathers where atheists.

 

 

They were actually Deists

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were actually both atheists and deists. It wasn't one person.

Theism is why we can't have nice things.