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US Judge Upholds Separation of Church and Science

The University of California can deny credit for high school courses that emphasize religious teachings over historic or scientific explanations, according to a federal judge. Yesterday's ruling upheld UC admission standards that do not recognize curriculum that declares the Bible infallible or that rejects evolution. The losing Christian schools and students will appeal the decision. Here are each side's positions:

The High Schools:

  • Denying credit is an attempt to secularize private religious schools.
  • It also violates freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

University of California:

  • The rejected material omits crucial topics in science and history.
  • UC is applying blanket admission standards without regard to religion.
  • UC has approved inclusive textbooks like Biology: God's Living Creation.

Course texts rejected include Biology for Christian Schools, whose first page says, "If (scientific) conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong," and text published by Bob Jones University that, "instructs that the Bible is the unerring source for analysis of historical events." The UC attorney says, "We evaluate the courses to see whether they prepare these kids to come to college at UC."

Is it an attempt to secularize private religious schools? Whose side are you on?


Join The Conversation
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I agree that colleges have the right to decide what they do or do not accept for coursework.
ally14 ally14 9 years
Woops didn't finish my thought- Because whatever their bible or any piece of religious study taught them has no proven basis or a solid foundation to build on.
ally14 ally14 9 years
Good; I think this is a good step in the right direction. You can't compare an objective (maybe fictionial, no offense but just stating that other people DO believe other things or nothing at all) piece of writing to scientific facts. A bit off-topic but Science is much more important to know than religion especially if whatever university you're applying to demands it as a course of yours. When I go to the doctor i want them to tell me factual proven information, not something "god " taught them.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I completely agree with the separation of church and state and would highly recommend a good read called (Fighting Words). However, this isn't about governing or voting this about getting an education.
organicsugr organicsugr 9 years
"Religion has influenced far too many laws and policies." Good point. Why do religious people think they have the right to vote and thereby influence laws and policies?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
This might be of interest as it relates to this topic. I dug up an article from April 2007.,9171,1601845,00.html
emmebeth emmebeth 9 years
Thank goodness! I can't stand the influence the church has over our supposedly "separated" (i.e. "Separation of Church and State") government. Religion has influenced far too many laws and policies.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Oh I see well then if they refuse to take the prereq's than so be it. That's why they have Christian Univiersity's. There's something for everyone.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
I don't think the students have completed the prereqs. It's not that they're not being admitted because somewhere along the way they studied the bible, it's that their "science" classes were based on fake Bible science.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I think this is outrageous. As long as the applicant has completed the prerequisite course work required for admittance the (theology specific) course work can be considered specialized advanced placement. How do they know these kids might not want to go into Christian ministry? I'm not a Christian but this is one homosexual that is standing up for their rights.
MD-Free MD-Free 9 years
Great, glad most people are in agreement here! It would be scary if people thought creationism was God's only plan. Secondly, at least we can have our education separate church from state. The last two presidents kinda screwed that up!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I'm with the university here. There's a reason most schools use scientific and historical texts as opposed to the Bible for teaching things like science and history...they tend to be a bit more objective and grounded in solid, verifiable fact (or at least theories based upon years of experimentation and validation) as opposed to millennia-old myth and theology. :shrug:
stephley stephley 9 years
Schools definitely need to do a better job of teaching the different usages of 'theory'.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
Colleges and Universities have standards that have to be met by all incoming Students. They can't be making exceptions because then all their standards will be challenged. There is nothing wrong with learning about evolution (it is a theory, after all) any more than learning the Pythagorean Theorum, (which is also a theory). If a child's faith is so tenuous that it cannot withstand differences of opinion, then the religious school is not doing their job very well. And a child so weak in the faith probably should apply for a college within that religious group and not some huge cauldron like the University of California.
javsmav javsmav 9 years
I went to a Christian high school & college. I hate science and managed to avoid it in college for the most part, but in high school it was taken for granted that god created the world in 7 days. So we never studied evolution--I really know nothing about it. That said, we didn't study the bible in science class either. My high school was one of the best in the state (a southern state, so we're not talking about an ivy league breeding ground) and our science classes were very much about science--we had labs, studied anatomy and the periodic table. I think it's quite possible to have a rigorous science program without mentioning creationism or evolution. I definitely think that the Bible needs to stay out of the science lab. Christian schools can teach what they want in bible elective classes, but Christianity shouldn't be an excuse for a subpar Science program. California definitely has a right to hold them to certain standard.
bransugar79 bransugar79 9 years
Ithink the schools in question need to evaluate their courses and make sure they are preparing their students to be accepted to major universities if that is their focus. I personally went to a Christian private school for elementary school and I can't recall that we had any texts resembling the ones listed in the article. OF course their was faith based teaching but we were also taught actual science. I think the idea that the two are mutually exclusive is incorrect. I also think that the vast majority of Christian schools are not teaching theological voo doo as science or insinuatiing that science is the devil's magic. I think there can be and should be a balance struck between the two
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Hooray! Good for them. Count your Jesus class as an elective, but if you haven't had a rigorous science education, you will be behind.
stephley stephley 9 years
Private religious schools can teach what they want, but if their courses don't appropriately cover required courses then there is no reason that the University should accept them.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think it makes sense that a University would standards about what they want covered in certain classes. Not all classes transfer, and I have even heard that many times courses from other colleges won't transfer depending on what was covered in the class. No one is promised that every class that is offered will be considered by every University. It doesn't sound like they are against religious teaching, they just need science taught. Whether that is in conjunction with other faith based education or whether that is just science by itself seems to be up to the students.
em1282 em1282 9 years
I was taught evolution at my Catholic high school with little to no protests from any other students/parents, so...I don't really see that as secularization. There's nothing wrong with exposing students to both ideas, but I always feel like science and scientists are so undermined and unappreciated nowadays (anyone hear about Bush letting contractors decide which species should be determined "endangered"? Yeah...) so I have to side with Team Evolution.
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