Creation in California’s Christian Classrooms Challenged

Federal judge upholds rights of University of California to deny course credit for Christian high school courses/texts that reject evolution.

At a Glance

  • Federal judge upholds rights of University of California to deny course credit for Christian high school courses/texts that reject evolution.
  • An appeal is planned.

The American media were heavily reporting yesterday that a federal judge in California ruled that the large University of California school system can decline to accept coursework taken by students from Christian high schools that teach that the Bible is infallible. Plaintiffs representing the schools had argued that the university system was violating the constitutional rights of students applying to U.C. who attended schools where classes were partly based on Christian science textbooks.1

U.C. officials argued that such instruction made applicants ill-prepared to enter its university system. In essence, the court on Wednesday was establishing the constitutionality of the university system’s policies in evaluating the qualifications of applicants for admission to its many schools.

The case was filed three years ago in Los Angeles, at which time some California Christian schools (and the Association of Christian Schools International) maintained that the university had an anti-religious bias in how it reviewed the content of Christian high school science classes.

Judge S. James Otero, in deciding in favor of the U.C. system this week, declared that he rejected the Christian schools’ arguments because the university had, in his mind, convincingly argued that the curricula of the schools in question did not teach the required science, history, and critical thinking. The judge also said the plaintiffs failed to show anti-religious hostility on the part of the university system.

Without having had the opportunity to fully review the rejected classes or all the texts, we can’t say with confidence that the university was not accepting the coursework because of inadequate instruction. But we have reviewed some of these texts and believe their scientific and historical presentation to be adequate, and so we suspect that some good textbooks have probably been disallowed by the U.C. system due primarily to their biblical basis (e.g., teaching biblical creation).

The plaintiffs have appealed the ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Look for more about this court decision in this weekend’s News to Note, posted every Saturday morning.


  1. E.g., textbooks published by Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Books


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