U.S. District Judge, Clarence Cooper, ruled today (January 13) that the evolution disclaimer sticker placed in the front cover of some high-school biology textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia, USA, is unconstitutional and violates the so-called “separation between church and state.” As a result of the ruling, the sticker, which includes the following words, must be removed:
This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.
In 2002, Cobb County (near Atlanta) adopted a policy to place disclaimer stickers in the front of high-school biology textbooks that present evolutionary ideas, but caution the readers that evolution is “not a fact, regarding the origin of living things.” That decision by the school district was challenged in U.S. federal court by six parents of Cobb students and the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union (see Will the Sticker Stick?), who argued that the sticker pushes creationism (note, however, that there is no mention of creationism or anything religious in the wording above) and discriminates against non-Christians and followers of a number of other religions.
Check back soon for a full response to this ruling.
For the past month, AiG has anticipated the broadcast of a major U.S. news story on ABC-TV’s Nightline program after Nightline correspondent, John Donvan and ABC crew spent over six hours last month touring the AiG Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky and interviewing many of the staff.
UPDATE: ABC-TV on the Georgia Decision
January 14, 2005
The American TV network ABC and its evening news program Nightline weighed in on yesterday’s decision by a federal judge to remove the textbook disclaimers, although interviews conducted with AiG staff on how the topic of origins should be taught in America’s public schools were not used.
The TV program dealt mostly with a controversy surrounding a different US school district. In Dover, Pennsylvania, a school board has mandated that students be told that intelligent design is an alternative to evolution, a decision which has led to a lawsuit filed by those wanting to ensure that evolution retains a monopoly in public school science education. A court decision there is forthcoming (see our web article on this controversy) and for the moment, the Georgia case has overshadowed the Pennsylvania one.
AiG-US President Ken Ham was interviewed by Nightline several weeks ago about these school controversies, and indicated that AiG is not in favor of mandating that instructors must teach creation or intelligent design in public school science classes, but added that the textbook disclaimer that stated that evolution was not a fact was quite reasonable.
Most of the taping with Ken centered around AiG’s future Creation Museum, with producers indicating that a future Nightline program will again discuss the growing creation/evolution controversy and will highlight the museum being built near Cincinnati, Ohio.
Late this afternoon, AiG received word through a Nightline broadcast email, that tonight’s subject of the Nightline program will cover the growing controversies over the teaching of evolution in public school science classes (including today’s controversial decision by a federal judge in Georgia, who ruled that disclaimer stickers about evolution must be removed from Cobb County biology textbooks-read AiG’s comments above.)
Because Nightline producers interviewed AiG staff members last month about the future Creation Museum and also asked us for our opinions on the teaching of origins in public schools, AiG may be featured tonight (11:30 pm; 10:30 pm Central—check your local listings to confirm the time). A longer segment on the Creation Museum may be aired at another time.
Ken Ham, AiG-USA president, told Nightline’s correspondent John Donvan back in November that AiG is not in favor of mandating that instructors must teach creation or intelligent design in public schools, but added that the textbook disclaimer stating that evolution was not a fact was quite reasonable.
At the same time, Ken argued that teachers should have the academic freedom to present the major problems with the evolution theory, and also to present alternative, scientific views of origins (although not mentioning the Bible, as per a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision, unless the students themselves bring up a creation/evolution question—then a teacher is free to answer with his or her perspective and beliefs).
Please pray that if AiG is indeed featured tonight, viewers will discover that the Bible can be trusted from the very first verse. (By the way, expect more follow-up articles/updates about the Nightline program and the Georgia decision to be posted on our website very soon.)