The U.S. Bill of Rights protects Americans from having religion imposed upon them by their government. The separation of church and state is a lively issue these days, and some people, and even some courts, improperly interpret this concept to mean that any reference to God that is in any way – however remotely – connected with anything governmental is unconstitutional and, further, is offensive to everyone who does not believe in God. Christianity is most often the target of these secularist zealots, followed closely by Judaism.
Americans United explains it this way: “Courts, city halls and other units of government should refrain from displaying religious symbols because such actions send the message that the state has a favored religion and that people who do not share that faith are second-class citizens.”
This tortured interpretation leads to hair-splitting that would make any brain surgeon proud, and causes Americans who tend toward common sense to scratch their heads in wonder.
Added to a long list of bizarre public school related decisions regarding everything from singing Christmas songs in Christmas programs to school vouchers comes this story from, where else: California.
Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God, including – are you ready for this – the Declaration of Independence.
The following paragraphs are excerpted from a Reuters story on this latest hubbub.
"It's a fact of American history that our founders were religious men, and to hide this fact from young fifth-graders in the name of political correctness is outrageous and shameful," said Williams' attorney, Terry Thompson.
"Williams wants to teach his students the true history of our country," he said. "There is nothing in the Establishment Clause (of the U.S. Constitution) that prohibits a teacher from showing students the Declaration of Independence."
Among the materials [the principal] has rejected, according to Williams, are excerpts from the Declaration of Independence, George Washington's journal, John Adams' diary, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists" and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania."
"He hands out a lot of material and perhaps 5 to 10 percent refers to God and Christianity because that's what the founders wrote," said Thompson, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, which advocates for religious freedom.
Political correctness has crossed over the limit of tolerance when it allows a teacher to be prevented from using the Declaration of Independence and other historically relevant documents is his classroom.
Mr. Williams also contends he is being singled out by the principal because he is a Christian. Can there be any doubt that at some point in the future teachers will be required to have no religious beliefs whatsoever?
But as attorney Thompson notes, the Founders were religious people whose founding documents contained abundant references to God and a Supreme Being. It is absurd to claim that acknowledging that they held religious beliefs somehow is tantamount to establishing a national religion.
However, absurdity is the stock in trade of the politically correct.