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MD public schools want to preach the Bible

Professor Volokh has a good lengthy post — (Not so good at the very end. We don’t agree with his personal views on homosexuality, except for the bit about not bullying gays. But it’s easy enough to teach kids “don’t bully anyone” rather than “don’t bully gays.” There’s no need for teachers to take a side on the morality of homosexuality itself in order to stop bullying) — about the recent federal court decision in which the Montgomery County, Maryland Public Schools were restrained from distributing materials for their sex education curriculum. The court found the curriculum made theological judgments and thus violated the 1st Amendment establishment clause.

Volokh provides many excerpts from the curriculum; the entire post can be viewed here.

The first excerpt says: “Myth: Homosexuality is a sin.”

Let’s examine just that one small excerpt. Can you imagine if a public school in America started a curriculum that said “Fact: Homosexuality is a sin”? Can you imagine the outcry changing that single word would cause?

All the usual suspects – the ACLU, PFAW, etc. – would be having a collective stroke. They’re already screaming “THEOCRACY!” every time someone with views informed by traditional religious doctrine merely speaks publicly about any political issue. They’d be demanding the courts throw out that curriculum immediately. (They’d be right. Public schools do not need to be teaching that homosexuality is a sin.) They’d be denouncing the school district administrators as a bunch of bigoted, Bible-thumping rednecks.

But this is just more evidence in the left’s double standard on the Establishment clause. For them, publicly funded attacks on those views are fine; any positive mention of religion is verboten. As of this writing, we couldn’t find any mention of the Montgomery County case on the ACLU or PFAW websites. Maybe they’re at lunch.

Update: Bryan Preston of JunkyardBlog notes the judge had no problem with the frank sexual material being offered to children, only the religious content:

The judge didn’t rule on that, or even on the frankness of the lessons themselves. He ruled on the sectarianism contained in the lessons (and why the authors felt the need to slap that stuff in there is curious, to say the least). Which means, naturally, that once the Montgomery County schools take the anti-Baptist rhetoric out, the frank promotion of all things sexual can go right back into the classroom. These days schools consistently fail to teach reading, science or math–but they’ve got the frank discussions of sex down pat.

posted by: The Editors @ 11:54 am May 6, 2005


  1. I consider myself a strong opponent of the Bush administration, I’m worried about the malignant influence of Christianity on American politics, and I’m an atheist with more or less ‘liberal’ values. That said, I completely agree that what these schools were doing is unconscionable. Not all liberals are employing a double standard.

    Comment by Cole — May 6, 2005 @ 4:29 pm May 6, 2005

  2. I agree in part, the religious message being promoted here is wrong. Indeed, you can see lil’ ol’ liberal me’s objection to it here.

    However, as a proud alum of Montgomery County Public Schools, I would point out that the standard fare of “failing public schools not teaching reading or math” doesn’t apply here at all. MCPS is one of the top school districts in America, with skyhigh test scores, successful extra-curriculars, and students who consistently get into the most elite colleges in the country. My school, Walt Whitman, is indicative, last years graduating class of around 400 students sent kids to every single Ivy league school, as well as other top-ranked colleges and universities such as Carleton, Amherst, Chicago, Northwestern, Tufts, Wash U, Stanford, Williams, Wellesley, and Johns Hopkins among many others (and that year was considered weak!). Whitman is notalone in this regard, many of the other schools in the county (like BCC, Churchill, and Walter Johnson) have similar statistics, and this is all with 3 magnet programs (two at Blair and one at Richard Montgomery) draining some (but by no means all), of the best students.

    I had the opportunity to attend private school, turned it down, and could not have been happier with the education I recieved ain MCPS. It was enlightening, informative, and gave me opportunities I never dreamed I would have. I was even blessed to have one of those “life changing teachers” that appear to be only rumors these days. The religious message present in the curriculum was a mistake, but all in all MCPS is a perfect model for what our public school system is capable of doing.

    Comment by David — May 6, 2005 @ 5:46 pm May 6, 2005

  3. […] d which have bad ones. More from Pillage Idiot, the League of David, the Debate Link, the Unalienable Right, and Secure Liberty.

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    Track […]

    Pingback by Myopic Zeal :: Montgomery County Public Schools on Homosexuality :: May :: 2005 — May 10, 2005 @ 5:05 am May 10, 2005

  4. Montgomery County’s Right–Media’s Wrong

    Early in May, a Maryland District Court judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking a revised sex education curriculum in Montgomery county schools. The proposed lesson plan plainly sung from the secular hymnbook while simultaneously scornful …

    Trackback by No Oil for Pacifists — May 26, 2005 @ 8:29 pm May 26, 2005

  5. Early in May, a Maryland District Court judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking a revised sex education curriculum in Montgomery county schools. The proposed lesson plan plainly sung from the secular hymnbook while simultaneously scornful of conservatively-oriented Christian faiths.

    In the next-day’s press, conservative victories are signs of the theocracy to come–even when invisible to the rest of us; even where Constitutionally required.

    Comment by No Oil for Pacifists — May 26, 2005 @ 8:40 pm May 26, 2005

  6. […] The Left does not believe in separation of church and state MD public schools want to preach the Bible Kos-Kooks for Jesus Dizzy Dean Endorses Theocracy Liberals For Theocracy posted by: The Editors @ 1:05 pm August 8, 2005 […]

    Pingback by The Unalienable Right » Another Liberal for Religion in Politics — August 8, 2005 @ 1:18 pm August 8, 2005

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