A federal appeals court has denied a request by the school board of Cobb County, Georgia, to delay an order to remove evolution disclaimer stickers from science textbooks. The printed stickers advise students that evolution is “a theory, not a fact.”
Six parents had sued to remove the stickers, successfully arguing that they are an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Federal Judge Clarence Cooper ordered the school system to remove them from 34,000 textbooks. However, the Cobb County School Board had requested a delay while appealing the court's decision that the textbook stickers violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment the so-called separation of Church and State.
Brian Fahling, a constitutional lawyer with the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, says, although it is unlikely the 11th Circuit Court will rule in the school board's favor, the Cobb County district officials should continue with their appeal of Judge Cooper's ruling.
It is telling that the judge would “sniff out a religious purpose” behind the disclaimers, Fahling contends. He says it “really does demonstrate, I think, and confirm that there is this histrionic view of religion Christianity in particular by the federal judiciary.”
But, in fact, the pro-family lawyer points out, the main interest behind the stickers was a concern with the proper education of youngsters. “It was simply because some Christian parents were concerned that evolution was being taught as fact and not as theory,” he says, “and they wanted their kids to be told, 'Look, make sure you think critically.'”
Fahling says the opponents of the evolution disclaimers have been showing a tremendous amount of hostility. “The high priests of evolution, if you will, are becoming increasingly shrill in their attacks on, for instance, the intelligent design scientists,” the AFA Law Center attorney notes, “and the reason for that is they're not able to answer [the proponents of the intelligent design theory]. They can't debate them and meet them on intellectual and scientific terms.”
Cobb County school system officials have made tentative plans to discard the stickers, including an expectation that the district could pay staff and students to do the work. At the time of this report, dates for the removal had not been set.