Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Christian education in Cali in the news again

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]star_cabaret)

If you want the background about what the article is talking about, the A Beka Books tab has all the information, going back to the beginning. Basically, the university system started getting stricter about schools teaching what they're supposed to be teaching, and certain Christian schools started crying foul.

Here's an update on what's going on in California (with some of the history):

Christian high schools sue University of California, alleging bias in admissions

The Christian perspective is why people send their children to a Christian school, said Robert Tyler, head of Advocates for Faith and Freedom and Calvary's lawyer in a controversial case against the University of California system.

In an unprecedented lawsuit that opens yet another front in the nation's culture wars, an association of Christian schools, including Calvary, charges that the admissions policy at the university unconstitutionally discriminates against them because they teach from a religious perspective.

The case offers a window into the deepening conviction of many conservative Christians that there is hostility to their faith in the public square and particularly in public schools. "This is just another example of what's happening on a much larger scale," said Tyler, who maintains that the university is attempting to secularize private Christian education.


The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), lead plaintiff in the case, accuses UC of rejecting some of the core courses at their member schools primarily because they add a religious viewpoint to the standard course material taught at secular schools, a charge the university system vehemently denies. Viewpoint discrimination, on which the case pivots, is banned under the 1st Amendment. In this case, the plaintiffs charge that the university's a-g policy allows a "secular viewpoint" to be taught in core classes but not a religious viewpoint.

If UC continues to reject core courses, the plaintiffs assert that future graduates of their schools may not be eligible for admission to UC schools. "UC follows the policy of rejecting any course in any subject, even if it teaches standard content, if it adds teaching of the school's religious viewpoint," the plaintiffs claim in their legal filings.

"That statement simply is not true," said Christopher Patti, counsel for UC. "There is no prohibition on religious content in UC a-g courses," he said. "If the course adequately teaches the subject matter and adequately teaches the skills that students need in that subject, then the fact that it may also make reference to other theories doesn't disqualify it, even religious theories," he said.

He was referring to the charge that the university rejected core courses using textbooks by leading Christian publishers Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book because of religious content. These included biology texts that presented evolution but also the biblical account of creation and intelligent design as alternative theories.


"If it's all looked at closely at trial and the university prevails, then it seems to me to send a message across the country that a religious viewpoint at a religious school can get you in trouble. That's a chilling message. That can hurt your graduates, and that is also a disincentive to go to a religious school," he said.

"On the other hand, if the schools prevail, then I think it really sends a message that we take seriously the freedom of religious schools to teach from a religious perspective and that the public university and the government don't interfere with that. All we require is the same sort of neutral criteria for admission that apply to everybody else," Haynes said.

As Michael Broyde, a professor of law and academic director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University, sees it, "In order for this to become an important case, the factual predicate has to be as follows: They [the Christian schools] are teaching the right course, but they're teaching it with an intellectual bias and because of that intellectual bias the University of California is denying them credit."

For Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a Christian legal group, the bias is on the part of UC and of a kind "that I thought we had gotten past a long time ago," he said.

[... Calvary] is in a fast-growing part of the state's so-called Bible Belt. Starr makes clear the school's educational approach in his comments on its Web site: "Helping our students develop a Christian mind is central to our mission. Simply put, this means that our teachers train students to integrate or connect their Christian faith with their learning. They are taught to understand, analyze, and interpret every subject from a biblical perspective."

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Classes dismissed

Examples of courses at Christian schools rejected by the University of California:

Course: Special Providence: Christianity and the American Republic

Text: "American Government for Christian Schools" (Bob Jones University Press)

Reason rejected: Content was not consistent with the "empirical historical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community."

Course: Christianity and Morality in American Literature

Text: "American Literature: Classics for Christians Vol. 5" (A Beka Book)

Reason Rejected: Used only an anthology instead of complete works; selected works inconsistent with university "expectations regarding critical thinking and broad exposure to writers' key works."

Course: Biology

Text: "Biology for Christian Schools 2nd Edition" (Bob Jones University Press)

Reason rejected: Text "is not consistent with the knowledge generally accepted in the scientific community" and operates from the premise that "science is invalid to the extent it conflicts with Christian belief."
As someone who went to a private (conservative) Christian school until college, I'm not surprised that there were problems with the curriculum. Neither am I surprised by the identity of the companies whose curricula are problems.

Looking up the lawyer's employ, Advocates for Faith and Freedom, one sees the usual catchphrases:
We recognize that America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. In today's culture, that foundation is slowly being eroded by legal challenges to the family structure, religious freedom, basic property rights, and parental rights, and by other court decisions that have created a society increasingly devoid of the message and influence of God.

[on the Our Purpose page:]
"Dedicated to Protecting the First Amendment Right of Christians to Spread the Gospel."

Advocates for Faith and Freedoms’ purpose is to protect our religious liberty in the courts. The organization represents individuals, churches, organizations, and businesses whose civil liberties have been attacked in such a way that a Christian’s right to spread the Gospel has been compromised.

**It is our intent to encourage Christians to engage the culture and fulfill the Great Commission by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ
I know it's wrong of me to be so dismissive of groups like this because of the danger they pose. Has anybody else heard anything about this group?