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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

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June 28, 2005

Response on Preachers at School

A reader writes about my post on the Ten Commandments ruling, in which I recalled a teacher in public junior high school in Lynnwood who, in 1964-65, brought in a whole series of preachers to discuss their various religions. The reader says:

You might be surprised to know that your study of various religions in junior high school would probably be constitutional under current federal law. From what you describe, your teacher took pains to present a range of differing religious views as well as the views of an atheist.

In other words, he did exactly what the Supreme Court has described is acceptable: he acted with neutrality toward and between religions, giving the views of (or funding of) no single religion, or religion vs. irreligion, any special prominence. To paraphrase Justice Scalia, if the state expresses a range of views equally, it cannot be said to be "establishing" one of them.

This reader is probably correct. That is, itís not illegal under Supreme Court rulings for a teacher to do what my teacher did. But I think no teacher would dare do it, and if any teacher tried, the principal would stop him, and if the principal didnít, the district would.

Respond to this reader.


 
Posted by Bruce Ramsey at June 28, 2005 06:15 PM



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