Sunday, November 20, 2005

"Ignorance" is not a "viewpoint."

The recent news about "viewpoint discrimination" against "evangelical Christians" by the University of California shows lots of things wrong, but not about discrimination against evangelical Christians. From today's NY Times:

They say the public university system, which has 10 campuses, discriminates against students from evangelical Christian schools, especially faith-based ones like Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, where Mr. Young is a senior.

Mr. Young, five other Calvary students, the school and the Association of Christian Schools International, which represents 4,000 religious schools, sued the University of California in the summer, accusing it of "viewpoint discrimination" and unfair admission standards that violate the free speech and religious rights of evangelical Christians.

The suit, scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 12 in Federal District Court in Los Angeles, says many of Calvary's best students are at a disadvantage when they apply to the university because admissions officials have refused to certify several of the school's courses on literature, history, social studies and science that use curriculums and textbooks with a Christian viewpoint.

he lawyer for the school, Robert Tyler, said reviewing and approving the course content was an intrusion into private education that amounted to government censorship. "They are trying to secularize private Christian schools," Mr. Tyler said. "They have taken God out of public schools. Now they want to do it at Christian schools."

A lawyer for the university, Christopher M. Patti, called the suit baseless. Acknowledging the university does not accept some courses, Mr. Patti said that more than 43 courses were recognized and that university campuses had offered admission to at least 18 Calvary students since 2002. "Calvary students are perfectly free to take whatever courses they like," Mr. Patti said. "All we are saying is that unapproved courses cannot be submitted to satisfy the requirements for entry."...

A lawyer for the Association of Christian Schools International, Wendell Bird, said the Calvary concerns surfaced two years ago when the admissions board scrutinized more closely courses that emphasized Christianity. In the last year, the board has rejected courses like Christianity's Influence in American History, Special Provenance: Christianity and the American Republic, Christianity and Morality in American Literature and a biology course using textbooks from the Bob Jones University Press and A Beka Book, conservative Christian publishers.

The officials rejected the science courses because the curriculum differed from "empirical historical knowledge generally accepted in the collegiate community," the suit said. Calvary was told to submit a secular curriculum instead. Courses in other subjects were rejected because they were called too narrow or biased.

"What really lights the fire here," Mr. Tyler said, "is when you look at courses the U.C. has approved from other schools. In the titles alone, you can see the discrimination against us."

The university has approved courses on Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and gender and counterculture's effects on literature, he noted. Ms. Poorsina said many courses on Christianity had been accepted, as have Bob Jones science books.

Well, let's see what they're talking about, shall we?
Here's the book the school in question, Calvary Chapel Christian School uses. Do a search on Amazon on "Zen," for example, and you'll find mistatements, errors, anachronisms, and downright sloppy work that Buddhists have come to expect from Intervarsity Press publications on religions other than evangelical Christianity.

Indeed, they use works from Bob Jones University, including evidently a biology text that denies that evolution takes place.

So in fact these folks want "special rights" to be able to attend normal schools without learning what's needed to attend those schools.

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