Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bible Outlawed in Idaho Now in Court

ADF files appeal over Western Civilization book ban in Idaho public schools, universities
Commission bans use of any texts it deems ‘religious,' even if used solely for objective literary or historical reference
Monday, June 14, 2010, 12:00 AM (MST) |
ADF Media Relations | 480-444-0020 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              480-444-0020      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Link to original article from Alliance Defense Fund

BOISE, Idaho — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed an appeal Monday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, contesting a federal judge’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges the Idaho Public Charter School Commission’s across-the-board ban on the use of texts and documents deemed to be “religious.” ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit on behalf of Nampa Classical Academy last November after the commission threatened to revoke the academy’s charter if it used the Bible or other religious texts on its classroom resource list for any purpose whatsoever.

“Censoring classical books, including religious books, does not improve a student’s education; it harms it,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman. “A wholesale ban on books with religious content conflicts with established U.S. Supreme Court precedent stating that even ‘the Bible may constitutionally be used in an appropriate study of history, civilization, ethics, comparative religion, or the like.’ Nampa Classical Academy offered just this sort of complete education, which is what any child deserves.”

Cortman said that if the commission’s misinterpretation of the law is allowed to stand, all Idaho public school and university students will be subject to the ban. He explained that, contrary to the conclusion of last month’s ruling from the court, the local school district--not the charter school commission--is the entity allowed by law to make the ultimate determination on how to implement the state’s curriculum standards.

“And the curriculum it chose, in this case, is fully within what the U.S. Supreme Court has stated is acceptable and constitutional,” Cortman said. “On these grounds alone, we trust the decision will be reversed on appeal.”

After being in the development process for more than six years, Nampa Classical Academy recently completed its first year of instruction with more than 500 students. It received approval from the State Board of Education in 2008 and received positive responses from the commission at each stage of its development. Last year, however, the commission voted to prohibit the academy from using any “religious documents and text” in its curriculum or in its classroom, even if used objectively as a curriculum resource.

“Nampa Classical Academy is endeavoring to exercise its right to provide the best possible education for its students and has decided to include the Bible--along with dozens of other religious and secular writings--as resources in its curriculum to enrich instruction of literature, history, and culture, among other topics,” Cortman explained. “Schools have been doing this throughout American history.”

Attorney Bruce Skaug of Nampa is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit, Nampa Classical Academy v. Goesling, filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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