The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in PELOZA v. CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DIST., 37 F.3d 517 (9th Cir. 1994), held that if a student asks a Christian teacher a question about religion during the lunch break, the teacher is forbidden to answer if the teacher would give a Christian answer. The court said a school has a right to order a teacher to be silent in order to avoid a costly ACLU lawsuit.
|Peloza alleges the school district ordered him to refrain from discussing
his religious beliefs with students during "instructional time," and to tell any
students who attempted to initiate such conversations with him to consult their parents or
clergy. He claims the school district, in the following official reprimand, defined
"instructional time" as any time the students are on campus, including lunch
break and the time before, between, and after classes:
Complaint at 16. Peloza seeks a declaration that this definition of instructional time is too broad, and that he should be allowed to participate in student-initiated discussions of religious matters when he is not actually teaching class.6
The school district's restriction on Peloza's ability to talk with students about religion during the school day is a restriction on his right of free speech. Nevertheless, "the Court has repeatedly emphasized the need for affirming the comprehensive authority of the States and of school officials, consistent with fundamental constitutional safeguards, to prescribe and control conduct in the schools." Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community School Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506-07, 89 S.Ct. 733, 737, 21 L.Ed.2d 731 (1969). "[T]he interest of the State in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation `may be [a] compelling' one justifying an abridgement of free speech otherwise protected by the First Amendment. . . ." Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist., ___ U.S. ___, ___, 113 S.Ct. 2141, 2148, 124 L.Ed.2d 352 (1993) (quoting Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 271, 102 S.Ct. 269, 275, 70 L.Ed.2d 440 (1981)). This principle applies in this case. The school district's interest in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation trumps Peloza's right to free speech.
While at the high school, whether he is in the classroom or outside of it during contract time, Peloza is not just any ordinary citizen. He is a teacher. He is one of those especially respected persons chosen to teach in the high school's classroom. He is clothed with the mantle of one who imparts knowledge and wisdom. His expressions of opinion are all the more believable because he is a teacher. The likelihood of high school students equating his views with those of the school is substantial. To permit him to discuss his religious beliefs with students during school time on school grounds would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Such speech would not have a secular purpose, would have the primary effect of advancing religion, and would entangle the school with religion. In sum, it would flunk all three parts of the test articulated in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 91 S.Ct. 2105, 29 L.Ed.2d 745 (1971). See Roberts v. Madigan, 921 F.2d 1047, 1056-58 (10th Cir. 1990) (teacher could be prohibited from reading Bible during silent reading period, and from stocking two books on Christianity on shelves, because these things could leave students with the impression that Christianity was officially sanctioned), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 112 S.Ct. 3025, 120 L.Ed.2d 896 (1992).
The court makes clear that Secular Humanism is not a religion for purposes of the establishment clause of the First Amendment, and so a Secular Humanist would not have his or her free speech rights denied, but would be free to answer the student's question and to indoctrinate the student in the religion of Secular Humanism.
In stark contrast to the myth of separation, the Founders believed that schools should positively and affirmatively teach religion. Every single person who signed the Constitution believed that religious and moral inculcation was the purpose of schools. Peloza is light-years away from the original intent of the Constitution. Consider Samuel Adams:
As piety, religion, and morality have a happy influence on the minds of men, in their public as well as private transactions, you will not think it unseasonable, although I have frequently done it, to bring to your remembrance the great importance of encouraging our University, town schools, and other seminaries of education, that our children and youth while they are engaged in the pursuit of useful science, may have their minds impressed with a strong sense of the duties they owe to God. If we continue to be a happy people, that happiness must be assured by the enacting and executing of the reasonable and wise laws expressed in the plainest language and by establishing such modes of education as tend to inculcate in the minds of youth the feelings and habits of "piety, religion and morality."
(Addressing the Legislature of Mass., 1/16/1795)
Let divines and philosophers, statesmen and patriots, unite their endeavors to renovate the age, by impressing the minds of men with the importance of educating their little boys and girls, of inculcating in the minds of youth the fear and love of the Deity. . . and, in subordination to these great principles, the love of their country. . . . In short, of leading them in the study and practice of the exalted virtues of the Christian system.
Letter to John Adams, 1790, who wrote back: "You and I agree." Four Letters: Being an Interesting Correspondence Between Those Eminently Distinguished Characters, John Adams, Late President of the United States; and Samuel Adams, Late Governor of Mass- achusetts. On the Important Subject of Government (Boston: Adams and Rhoades, 1802) pp. 9-10
It has been observed that "education has a greater influence on manners than human laws can have." [A] virtuous education is calculated to reach and influence the heart and to prevent crimes. . . . Such an education, which leads the youth beyond mere outside show, will impress their minds with a profound reverence of the Deity [and] . . . will excite in them a just regard to Divine revelation.
The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, Wm.Wells., ed. (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1865) Vol.III, p. 327.
Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.
Northwest Ordinance, 1787
In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed. . . . No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people. The opinion that human reason left without the constant control of Divine laws and commands will preserve a just administration, secure freedom and other rights, restrain men from violations of laws and constitutions, and give duration to a popular government is as chimerical as the most extravagant ideas that enter the head of a maniac . . . . Where will you find any code of laws among civilized men in which the commands and prohibitions are not founded on Christian principles? I need not specify the prohibition of murder, robbery, theft [and] trespass.
Noah Webster, Letters, Harry A Warfel, ed., (NY: Library Publishers, 1953) pp. 453-454, to David McClure, Oct. 25, 1836.
Thomas Jefferson's good friend Benjamin Rush, after he signed the Declaration of Independence, was the first Founding Father to call for free public schools. He said:
[T]he only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments. Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.
(Benjamin Rush, Essays, Literary, Moral, and Philosophical, 1798, p.6 ["On the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic"])
Rush was clearly a Christian, but no "fundamentalist nut." In his paper entitled, "A Defense of the Use of the Bible as a Schoolbook," Rush argued,
[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government . . . is the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. For this Divine book, above all others, favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws, and those sober and frugal virtues, which constitute the soul of republicanism.
Daniel Webster reflected the views of every single Signer of the Constitution:
We regard it [public instruction] as a wise and liberal system of police by which property and life and the peace of society are secured. We seek to prevent in some measure the extension of the penal code by inspiring a salutary and conservative principle of virtue and of knowledge. 
[However, t]he attainment of knowledge does not comprise all which is contained in the larger term of education. The feelings are to be disciplined; the passions are to be restrained; true and worthy motives are to be inspired; a profound religious feeling is to be instilled, and pure morality inculcated. [Four years later, the U.S. Supreme Court would agree that this could only be done by having the government teach the Bible.] 
The cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness . . . inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric.
 Works of Daniel Webster (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1853) vol I, pp 41-42, Dec 22., 1820.
 vol II, pp 107-108, Oct 5: 1840
 vol II, p 615, July 4, 1851
The Father of his Country warned:
And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle
And secularists would be quick to point out that Washington was less Biblically-oriented than the most influential educators in the nation, such as Benjamin Rush and Noah Webster.
All the scholars are required to live a religious and blameless life according to the rules of God's Word, diligently reading the holy Scriptures, that fountain of Divine light and truth, and constantly attending all the duties of religion . . . .
All the scholars are obliged to attend Divine worship in the College Chapel on the Lord's Day and on Days of Fasting and Thanksgiving appointed by public Authority.
The Laws of Yale College in New Haven in Connecticut (New Haven: Josiah Meigs, 1787) p. 5-6, ch II, art. 1,4
William Samuel Johnson, signer of the Constitution, was appointed Columbia's first president. Under him,
It is expected that all students attend public worship on Sundays.
Columbia Rules (NY: Samuel Loudon, 1785) 5-8
Johnson's views on public education were similar to those of every other signer of the Constitution. In his commencement address, he told the graduates:
You this day, gentlemen, . . . have . . . received a public education, the purpose whereof hath been to qualify you the better to serve your Creator and your country . . . . Your first great duties, you are sensible, are those you owe to Heaven, to your Creator and Redeemer. Let these be ever present to your minds, and exemplified in your lives and conduct.
Imprint deep upon your minds the principles of piety towards God and a reverence and fear of His holy name. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom [Proverbs 9:10]. Remember too, that you are the redeemed of the Lord, that you are bought with a price, even the inestimable price of the precious blood of the Son of God. . . . Love, fear and serve Him as your Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Acquaint yourselves with Him in His Word and holy ordinances. Make Him your friend and protector and your felicity is secured both here and hereafter.
Early US Supreme Court decisions agreed that in a Christian nation such as America, the Bible must be taught in all government-run schools.
In 1844, the Court was asked, Can the state enforce a will which creates a government-operated school which will not teach the Bible? The Supreme Court said that the very idea of a school which will not teach the Bible is contrary to the legal foundations of this Christian nation.
It is unnecessary for us, however, to consider what would be the legal effect of a devise in Pennsylvania for the establishment of a school or college, for the propagation of . . . Deism, or any other form of infidelity. Such a case is not to be presumed to exist in a Christian country; and therefore it must be made out by clear and indisputable proof.
The government made firm assurances that the Bible would be taught in the school, and the will was approved. (Vidal v. Girard's Executors)
The Vidal Court, as it talks about Christianity and the Bible, sounds more like David Barton than anything one would hear from the post-1947 Court. The Vidal Court said that the government in its school "may, nay must impart to their youthful pupils . . . the Bible, and especially the New Testament," which must "be read and taught as a divine revelation in the college -- its general precepts expounded, its evidences explained, and its glorious principles of morality inculcated." The Court asked rhetorically:
Where can the purest principles of morality be learned so clearly or so perfectly as from the New Testament? Where are benevolence, the love of truth, sobriety, and industry, so powerfully and irresistibly inculcated as in the sacred volume?
The Bible MUST be taught in government schools, the 1844 US Supreme Court declared.
You would NEVER EVER hear language like this from the modern secularist Court. But you ALWAYS heard language like this from the Founding Fathers.
The "separation of church and state" is a myth.
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