OUR last report on this situation was here: Spencer Iowa School Board Update (18 Jul ‘09). The school board, led by two local worthies — one a preacher, the other a pharmacist — were working on what they imagined was a brilliant plan for their public schools to teach the bible and to criticize evolution.
They were obviously getting in way over their heads. Now we have some news to report. The Des Moines Register informs us: Spencer schools drop new Bible class. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:
Spencer school officials will throw out a Bible class and discard a critique of evolutionary theory to avoid being sued over the district’s proposed “religious liberties” policy.
The elective classes and other parts of the plan drew fire last month from civil rights activists who said they promoted Christian beliefs.
School board members have gone back to the drawing board.
Quite a turn-around. Let’s read on:
A second crack at the policy will be scrutinized by attorneys, teachers and other groups before it’s made public in September, Superintendent Greg Ebeling said. “I think the wisdom is to slow down and make sure we cover our bases,” he said. “In the end, it’ll probably be a much more palatable policy.”
Ah, the creationists aren’t giving up. They never do. We continue:
Although the policy “wasn’t said clearly or explicitly, it was pretty clear it came from a fairly conservative Christian angle,” said Bob Ready, president of the Iowa Secularists, a group that does not identify with a religion. “That’s clearly going to come up for legal challenge.”
[Superintendent] Ebeling said court battles aren’t worth the fight. “Certainly we do not want to create a legal challenge that the district loses or has to spend a lot of money on and win,” he said.
Somebody must have told the school district about Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District and a long string of earlier cases. Creationists aren’t impressed by science, but sometimes the realistic possibility of long and expensive litigation they’re almost certain to lose will get through to them.
So this little controversy may be fading away. Or maybe not. Creationist activists really don’t like to give up.
The next episode of this Spencer, Iowa drama will be in September.
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