God versus our schools, part 666

Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 05:07 PM

The emergence of the religious right as a national and local force has put our schools under constant scrutiny, with well-funded religious groups chomping at the bit to sue some school over some supposed slight to Christianity.  It not only fuels the misperception that Christians are persecuted, but creates an ever-stronger chilling effect: schools voluntarily change their behavior in ways that please the Christians, simply to stave off the cost and bad publicity of a lawsuit accusing them of discriminating against Christians.

Here's an example of one ludicrous lawsuit that is costing the school district God only knows how much money and grief, and a second example that looks to me to be a case of self censorship to avoid the possibility of a lawsuit.

1. Georgia parent continues lawsuit to remove Harry Potter books from school library

A suburban Atlanta mother who claims Harry Potter books teach children witchcraft said Wednesday that she will appeal the state's decision to keep the best-selling books in Gwinnett County school libraries.

Laura Mallory, who has three children in elementary school, said she has requested an appeal of her case to Superior Court.

Mallory has tried to ban the books from Gwinnett County school library shelves since August 2005. She argues that the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft.

2. School board restricts showings of Gore's "Inconvenient Truth"

Emphasis added:

FEDERAL WAY - The school board in this suburb south of Seattle has restricted showings of Al Gore's movie on global warming, including requiring that it be balanced with an adequate opposing viewpoint.

 The board also required Superintendent Tom Murphy to approve when the former vice president's film, "An Inconvenient Truth," can be presented.

The decision was sparked by complaints from parents who said their child was taking the film as fact after viewing it at school.

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who doesn't want the film shown at all.

"The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is," Hardison told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

Board President Ed Barney told The News Tribune of Tacoma on Wednesday that he'd received about a half-dozen complaints from parents.

"We have to ensure that our schools are not being used to politically indoctrinate anyone," said board member Dave Larson, who with Barney and board member Charlie Hoff voted Tuesday for the requirements.

None has seen the movie. District policy, however, requires that an opposing view be aired whenever a controversial issue is examined in school.

"I am shocked that a school district would come to this decision," the movie's co-producer, Laurie David, said in a prepared statement. "There is no opposing view to science, which is fact, and the facts are clear that global warming is here, now."

Gore's documentary has received approval from some of the nation's top climate scientists for its accuracy.

In it, he presents scientists' findings on the catastrophic dangers of climate change.

Federal researchers with the National Academy of Sciences have said the planet's temperature has climbed to levels not seen in thousands of years, and has begun to affect plants and animals.

But Larson offered two opposing articles, including one by author John Stossel that said many scientists discredit global warming predictions. He also cited NASA and NOAA Web sites referring to debate and disagreement over climate change.

You know your on firm ground when the "opposing viewpoint" comes from my old friend Stossel, boy.  What next? Limbaugh as the "opposing viewpoint" for the U.S. having cut down a large chunk of the forests that were here when the Pilgrims arrived?