In classrooms across our nation, science and faith are almost never allowed equal footing. Whenever there is no solid physical evidence to settle an opposing viewpoint, students are taught that scientific theory trumps religious beliefs.
This prejudiced approach to teaching does a disservice to our students and to society as a whole. I believe that whenever educational organizations make the decision to side with one viewpoint over another and there is no conclusive evidence to support that viewpoint, they bear at least the responsibility to make it crystal clear to the student that the topic of study does not have consensus of opinion. Not doing so would be just the same as lying to the student and presenting conjecture as fact. A lie of omission is still a lie.
If this were a private school, then I can understand the institution might be in the business of supporting only one perspective. Those private schools are upfront about their views and usually proud to be. For the vast majority of students, however, they attend public schools and those schools should not support one side of a debatable and unproven issue over another.
Also with regard to private schools, religious or otherwise, students are there by their own choice and most expect a particular viewpoint. In public schools, especially in elementary and secondary schools, students do not have that choice. They are required by law to attend school and most of those students families cannot afford sending their children to a private school. So, why should they be taught only one side of any debate?
Madalyn Murray O’Hair was instrumental in the movement that was successful in having the practice of reading scripture in public schools declared unconstitutional. In this Supreme Court decision, Justice Thomas Clark stated “We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person ‘to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.'”
Why isn’t this challenged in court? I’m not saying this decision should necessarily be overturned, but it should at the very least be enforced. When public school curriculum or a teacher’s instruction purposefully omits fact that leads a person to accept the perspective being presented as truth, then isn’t this tantamount to forcing that person to ‘profess a disbelief in religion’? The SCOTUS decision said “belief or disbelief”. It seems that our public schools backed by governmental authority have chosen to ignore the “disbelief” part of this ruling.
In MY opinion, I believe the deck IS stacked and many of our students end up playing a losing hand. What a shame.