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CA school bans the Declaration of Independence

Old 11-24-04, 06:10 PM
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CA school bans the Declaration of Independence

http://www.reuters.com/printerFriend...toryID=6911883
Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School
Wed Nov 24, 2004 04:12 PM ET

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -<b> A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God -- including the Declaration of Independence.</b>

Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.

"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."

Vidmar could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose and claims violations of Williams rights to free speech under the First Amendment.

Phyllis Vogel, assistant superintendent for Cupertino Unified School District, said the lawsuit had been forwarded to a staff attorney. She declined to comment further.

<b>Williams asserts in the lawsuit that since May he has been required to submit all of his lesson plans and supplemental handouts to Vidmar for approval, and that the principal will not permit him to use any that contain references to God or Christianity.

Among the materials she 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."</b>

"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. "The principal seems to be systematically censoring material that refers to Christianity and it is pure discrimination."

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a California atheist who wanted the words "under God" struck from the Pledge of Allegiance as recited by school children. The appeals court in California had found that the phrase amounted to a violation of church and state separation.
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Old 11-24-04, 06:20 PM
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Oy, first the Pilgrims and now this. How stupid can it get?
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Old 11-24-04, 06:20 PM
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Well, hopefully he wins. Seperation of church and state is fine, but we don't need to pretend religion doesn't exist, and never did. There's a difference between teaching about religion (or mentioning it) and evangelizing. It's unfortunate some people are too dumb to figure that out.
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Old 11-24-04, 06:28 PM
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Ah, the progressiveness that is California.
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Old 11-24-04, 06:34 PM
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The real victims here are the children. Now they'll never find the treasure.
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Old 11-24-04, 06:35 PM
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Old 11-24-04, 06:43 PM
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Wow, this is becoming scary.
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Old 11-24-04, 06:56 PM
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next thing you know is the currency will no longer valid in Kalifornia
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Old 11-24-04, 07:10 PM
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And people are worried about Jesusland?

Here is what I would honestly do. Get a huge dollar bill to put on the wall and put a huge "Censored" sticker over "God" in "In God We Trust".

I feel like I should sing "Come all ye faithful" so that people will come in and defend this.
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Old 11-24-04, 07:15 PM
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The article said that the documents handed out included the Declaration of Independence - the rest could've been papers with titles like "how to murder your classmates in the name of god" for all we know. Conservative media bias sensationalism. Bleh.
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Old 11-24-04, 07:24 PM
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Originally posted by Trigger
The article said that the documents handed out included the Declaration of Independence - the rest could've been papers with titles like "how to murder your classmates in the name of god" for all we know. Conservative media bias sensationalism. Bleh.
I agree, but I doubt it. Even if that was the case, she still did not allow the Declaration of Independence. I don't know how you get around that one.
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Old 11-24-04, 07:25 PM
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I'll just cut and paste my response to the pilgrim thread into this thread. Geez.

I'm fully FOR to the strongest degree, for keeping religion (that includes christianity) out of schools. Even down to that damn pledge that everyone argues about, etc, etc.

But THIS is different.

Historically, religion was a huge driving force for many events, and it was a major factor in people's lives.

But this is more of a censorship of history. You can't leave religion out of history. Then you aren't really teaching history.

There's a difference between teaching about religion, historically, and including religion in schools. As long as schools aren't teaching kids "you should be thankful to God" and are teaching "the pilgrims thanked God..."
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Old 11-24-04, 07:30 PM
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this is disgusting, just like the thanksgiving thread. people think the moral backlash from the christian right was big this election, just wait until they decide to really seize back their country after being fed up with all the liberal persecution of their faith.
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Old 11-24-04, 07:40 PM
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because I'm sure that's what these are about
<b>Among the materials she 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."</b>

Originally posted by Trigger
the rest could've been papers with titles like "how to murder your classmates in the name of god"
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Old 11-24-04, 07:42 PM
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Originally posted by Trigger
The article said that the documents handed out included the Declaration of Independence - the rest could've been papers with titles like "how to murder your classmates in the name of god" for all we know. Conservative media bias sensationalism. Bleh.
While its true that some information in the article may have been omitted. How do you defend this:

"Among the materials she 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.""
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Old 11-24-04, 08:15 PM
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Yeah, I'm not sure how you could defend this. Even if the teacher was trying to put information like "you're going to hell if you don't believe in Jesus" and reading the Book of Mormon, how does that justify banning the Declaration of Independance? Or any of those other works for that matter.

People say they're worried about a theocracy, but we've got just as many looneys on the other side to balance it out.

Fortunately, rational thought will prevail, as I can't imagine rational people could think this is a good idea. But who knows.

And conservative bias media sensationalism? Yeah...that makes sense for this article.

Last edited by jaeufraser; 11-24-04 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 11-24-04, 08:24 PM
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What were the excerpts he was presenting and was he emphasizing only references to God in the documents? I could see it if he was trying to push an agenda and use select phrases from the documents.
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Old 11-24-04, 09:27 PM
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It sounds like either the teacher is a wacko Christian who the principle is trying to reign in, or the principle is a wacko ACLU liberal who is trying to remove God from history. I can't tell from this article (but I bet is the former).

Originally posted by Jim
What were the excerpts he was presenting and was he emphasizing only references to God in the documents? I could see it if he was trying to push an agenda and use select phrases from the documents.
I was thinking that too. What if the document was entitled "Our Forefathers and Faith"? But then, does it really matter? Should it be forbidden to teach about such things? Unless the teacher has a history of over-emphasizing such things (and that sounds like a possibility) I don't think it should be restricted.

Also, I think we should look at the actions, not the motivations. There are plenty of teachers in public schools who are "trying to push an agenda" on both sides. Only one side seems to routinely get away with it.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:11 PM
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Liberals gone wild!
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Old 11-24-04, 10:57 PM
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Principle Vidmar,

YOUVE GOT MAIL!

[email protected]

Her secratarys e-mail address.
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Old 11-24-04, 10:59 PM
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Dear Principle Vidmar,

Your primary responsibility as an educator is to prepare your students for their educational future. Do you think you are accomplishing this goal by having the students in your charge go on to higher levels of education thinking that the United States materialized out of thin air? Is the state of education in this country not bad enough without you trying to whitewash history based upon your own anti-Christian bias?

But here is the most important question; Do you believe that the fact that you thought you could get away with this in the internet age bring your overall intelligence, and therefore your capability as an educator, into question?

That was my e-mail to the school
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Old 11-25-04, 12:08 AM
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Well, I guess I can't defend this one .
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Old 11-25-04, 12:19 AM
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The Smoking Gun has the 8 page brief up.

NOVEMBER 24--A California teacher who teaches his fifth-grade students with the aid of primary source documents like the Declaration of Independence has been ordered by school administrators to stop using such artifacts of American history because the material contains references to God. In the below federal discrimination lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Steven Williams contends that brass at Cupertino's Stevens Creek School have recently rejected his use of "curriculum-related handouts" like the Declaration, various state constitutions, George Washington's journal, John Adams's diary, and writings by William Penn. Williams alleges that the San Francisco-area school's principal, Patricia Vidmar, banned the use of these handouts because "many original source documents from the founding era contain references to God and Christianity." Williams alleges that Vidmar cracked down on his lesson plans in May, shortly after he distributed an example of a presidential proclamation. The document he chose was one issued by President George W. Bush dealing with a National Day of Prayer. Williams, who describes himself as an "orthodox Christian," states in his complaint that he "understands and admits that he is not permitted to 'proselytize' or seek to convert his students to Christian beliefs during instructional time."
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Old 11-25-04, 12:25 AM
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The story makes me fucking sick, and I'm an avowed agnostic.

Originally posted by Trigger
The article said that the documents handed out included the Declaration of Independence - the rest could've been papers with titles like "how to murder your classmates in the name of god" for all we know. Conservative media bias sensationalism. Bleh.
I doubt it, and even if so, the percentage of such material looks to be rather low...
Originally posted by mikehunt from the article
"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. "The principal seems to be systematically censoring material that refers to Christianity and it is pure discrimination."
Same goes for you, wmansir...
Originally posted by wmansir
It sounds like either the teacher is a wacko Christian who the principle is trying to reign in, or the principle is a wacko ACLU liberal who is trying to remove God from history. I can't tell from this article (but I bet is the former).
I tend to think it's more the latter, due to the same reason I just posted in response to Trigger.

In any event, deist, Christian, Puritan whatever, most of the forefathers believed in providence and a supreme being, whether that be nature or 'God' or whatever. To deny this fact of our history is downright complete and utter bullshit. The seperation between church and state has to do with Congress passing laws regarding religion, not with stamping religion out of every aspect of public daily life, let alone existence.

Our country was built on a premise of religious freedom, which to me furthers an agenda of tolerance. The sad, sad irony is that the wellspring from which this tolerance flowed is being shut off left and right within our society these days. It's insane that the very people who want to deny the public the freedom of religious thought and discussion under the guise of fear from intolerance are themselves the most intolerant sons of bitches that have ever lived.

Fuckers. Needless to say, I hope the teacher wins.
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Old 11-25-04, 12:44 AM
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Good post, Mutley.
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