Last week we reported the excellent news that James Corbett Won His Appeal. We assumed that the matter was over, unless there was an effort by the creationist side to drag the thing out further. But we forgot something — creationists never quit.
We were reminded of that ancient verity by a story about Dr. Corbett’s victory in WorldNetDaily (WND). As you know, WND is the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed.
WND’s treatment of the Corbett matter is so extraordinary that we had to write about it. The title of their piece gives you a clue as to how it’s slanted: Court opening door for teachers to ridicule Christians? We’ll give you just a few excerpts, with bold font added by us. First they briefly state how the 9th Circuit ruled, and then:
Chad Farnan brought the case in 2007 against history teacher James Corbettt of Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Calif., citing at least 22 comments by Corbett considered “derogatory, disparaging, and belittling regarding religion and Christianity in particular.”
The WND article then quotes several allegedly unconstitutional classroom statements made by Corbett that were listed in Chad’s original complaint. This is interesting “reporting,” because all but one of those were found to be inoffensive by the trial court judge, as we reported more than two years ago. The ruling is still available online: trial court’s 37-page ruling (pdf file).
After that catalog of allegedly raw blasphemy, taken entirely from Chad’s complaint, WND makes a brief reference to the appellate court’s opinion and says:
The ruling said some of the dispute was moot since Farnan has since graduated, but the statements couldn’t be targeted in a lawsuit since the teacher had no “fair warning” that his statements might be improper.
Right. The issues presented by Chad were unprecedented, and the appellate court declined to take an activist role by making new law. Then WND quotes one of Chad’s lawyers, who says they’ll keep appealing, and who also says:
It’s quite ironic that while the 9th Circuit complains in the decision that the law is unclear as to whether a public school teacher showed hostility in the classroom, it failed to bring clarity when it had the opportunity to do so. Instead of addressing the constitutionality of the case, the court abandoned it.
Okay, now you’re probably waiting for WND to balance their story by giving a quote from the other side, right? Well, dear reader, we know this will surprise you, but that doesn’t happen. WND — in their theocratic zeal — tells this story solely from the viewpoint of Chad’s complaint and statements from Chad’s lawyers. That’s it. The other side of the case, in WND’s opinion, isn’t worthy of being mentioned.
But wait — it gets better. Then they quote someone from the Family Research Council — a theocratic lobbying group founded by James Dobson. We’ve previously pointed out that any public-interest organization with “Family” in its name is a creationist outfit — unless the group advocates family planning. The guy WND consulted about the appellate decision says that “such hostility to Christianity is on the rise.” He also says:
This isn’t about political activity. It’s not about public-policy positions. It really comes down to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We’ve seen the circle being drawn smaller and smaller in terms of what’s politically correct.
That certainly helps to understand the appellate court’s opinion — oh yeah.
WND doesn’t tell its readers anything else. There’s no hint that Corbett may have been an excellent teacher, that Chad’s complaint may have quoted Corbett out of context, that the creationist kid may have been a pawn in a game he doesn’t understand, and that Chad’s “public interest” lawyers may have been interested in establishing a lucrative practice in creationist law by winning court-awarded fees to be paid by the school district’s taxpayers.
WND’s readers are left with the tale of a Satanic teacher, an anti-Christian court, and a holy — so holy! — student who (we are left to assume) went through life with his hands clasped in prayer, his eyes turned heavenward, his only thoughts being of his Savior and the glory of the world to come. That fine, godly lad was brutally shocked by the blasphemy to which he was continuously subjected in Corbett’s secular classroom. And the wicked 9th Circuit refused to make new law and instead they let the teacher off the hook! O the horror! Grab your torches and pitchforks!
So there you are, dear reader. WND has told the story, and your Curmudgeon has reported on WND’s reporting. That’s life on the internet.
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