Creationist lawsuit against UC system criticized


The lawsuit against the University of California system for allegedly discriminating against applicants from fundamentalist Christian high schools was criticized in a trenchant editorial published in the San Jose Mercury News (October 3, 2005). Mincing no words, the author of the editorial argued, "The suit appears to be baseless -- a case of substandard academics hiding behind a false cry of religious persecution," but warned that the suit must be taken seriously "because a victory by Calvary Chapel Christian would weaken UC's ability to require strong curriculums and would open the door to more bad science and sectarian courses in high schools."

Commendably, the author took the trouble to examine one of the textbooks at issue, Bob Jones University Press's Biology for Christian Schools, which the University of California system regards as not providing students with "knowledge generally accepted in the scientific and educational communities and with which a student at the university level should be conversant." Accompanying the editorial was a sidebar with excerpts from the textbook, such as "Many current scientific observations, therefore, are open to various interpretations. We can be sure, though, that anything that contradicts the Word of God is wrong."

"The issue is not whether religious and private schools should be able to teach religion or other courses tied to the core mission of their schools," the author of the editorial emphasized. "They have a right to. The issue is what can be used for college entrance requirements." And the editorial concluded by exhorting the University of California system to resist pressure to compromise those requirements: "The suit against UC is part of a campaign by religious conservatives to put public educators on the defensive and insinuate their beliefs into the classroom. UC must stand firm, in defense of students who need to be taught objective content and critical thinking."