Ahh. . . Indiana: the Alabama of the north. How many times over the last year have we heard about creeping creationism in the Hoosier State? And now comes another case—a report from the Elkhart Truth that a public high school teacher, Ryan Culp, showed one of Kent Hovind’s videos (“Lies in the textbooks”) to his class as Concord High School. (Hovind, you may recall, is doing a stint in federal prison on tax charges). A parent complained, which is all it takes to get the ball rolling, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) wrote the school superintendent the letter shown below.
It notes that Culp, when confronted with his First-Amendment transgression, argued that he has a right to teach creationism in the classroom, and that he does so to promote “critical thinking.” The man clearly knows nothing of the law—or the Constitution.
The letter, from FFRF attorney Patrick Eliott, lays out in no uncertain terms why Culp’s actions were illegal. I would bet a thousand dollars that within a few weeks Culp will have to deep-six the creationism, for after the Dover case no school district wants to subject itself to a losing court case, which makes the school district not only look dumb, but saddles it with hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills.
The point I want to make is that this stuff is going on all over the U.S., but we never hear about it because nobody complains. (To get court action started, someone with “standing” must complain: either a student in the classroom or his/her parents.) If you complain, you’re often a pariah. But that’s the only way to get First-Amendment rights enforced.
Nevertheless, the FFRF can write such letters even without a student’s or parent’s complaints. If you hear of creationism being taught in a classroom, do consider forwarding that information to the FFRF. This page tells you how to report church/state violations.