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From the Village Atheist Movement, You'll Be Hearing More About This ACLU Case in Louisiana


Ever since the Censor of the Year race started heating up, our new friend Louisiana youth Zack Kopplin has become a talkative correspondent with us on Twitter. Now he's tweeting about a brand new federal lawsuit by the ACLU in Louisiana, Lane v. Sabine Parish School Board. I suppose you'll hear more about it from leading figures in the Village Atheist movement, who inevitably latch on to and brandish these stories.

The specifics of the case, if true as alleged, are indeed outrageous, but irrelevant to anything to do with the cause of academic freedom that activist Zack has made a name for himself by opposing.

All I know for sure is that this is up on the ACLU website, which includes a heartrending and angering account by the stepfather of the boy who is the victim in the case. The ACLU is not by any means to be looked to for a dispassionate, reliable presentation of the facts, but for the sake of discussion let's assume matters transpired just as they say.

According to parents Scott and Sharon Lane, their sixth-grade son C.C., a boy of Thai background who identifies as a Buddhist, was harangued in his public-school classroom by a teacher who sounds in this telling like she needs not only an excellent lawyer but perhaps personal counseling and a physician's assessment to make sure she's on the right medications.

His science teacher, Rita Roark, repeatedly taught students that the Earth was created by God 6,000 years ago, that evolution is "impossible," and that the Bible is "100 percent true."

Roark also regularly features religious questions on her tests such as "ISN'T IT AMAZING WHAT THE _____________ HAS MADE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" When C.C. did not write in Roark's expected answer, "LORD," she belittled him in front of the rest of the class. While studying other religions, Roark has told students that Buddhism is "stupid."

When Plaintiffs objected, Sabine Parish Superintendent, Sara Ebarb, told them that "this is the Bible belt." She suggested that C.C. should "change" his faith or transfer to another district school 25 miles away where, in her words, "there are more Asians."

There's more, but you can read it for yourself. After being brushed off with the remark about its being the "Bible belt," the father recalls being "floored," as anyone would be. The man lives in the area, obviously, yet the sequence of events clearly was unexpected by him. There's no chalking this up to its being Louisiana. If these things happened, there's no indication that they are somehow demonstrative of the way things are in that state.

Zack and others have made an industry of the false accusation that "creationism" is being widely taught in public schools, especially in Louisiana and Tennessee where academic freedom laws protect teachers from sanction if they introduce students to varying scientific (not religious) perspectives on evolutionary theory.

We've already shown why that accusation is bogus. (See Josh Youngkin's post and my own from earlier today, for starters.)

This goes beyond teaching young earth creationism, anyway, which as I said would be expressly not sanctioned by the Louisiana law, the Louisiana Science Education Act. While needless to say the case has not been tried, it sounds more like religious harassment by a teacher who happens to be a creationist.

If the account is true, I wish the ACLU attorneys speed and success in setting things right. It shouldn't be hard. That should be the end of it, as far as we are concerned.

The LSEA, a good and responsible law, is not mentioned in the complaint and has nothing to do with the case. It does nothing to show the wisdom of Kopplin's unsuccessful drive to repeal the law. Suggesting otherwise would be like saying that the fact that some drivers speed, or otherwise engage in reckless, harmful behavior behind the wheel, invalidates existing speed limits and other traffic laws.

Zack and his friends should look for another horse to ride.

I'm now on Twitter. Find me @d_klinghoffer.

Image: Zack Kopplin; LSU CxC/Twitter.