We can only guess at its meaning. McGrath, , 1951 Frankfurter, J. The state may lend school textbooks to parochial school pupils because, the Court has explained, the books can be checked in advance for religious content and are 'self-policing'; but the state may not lend other seemingly self-policing instructional items such as tape recorders and maps. Students exposed to it better understand the current state of scientific evidence about the origin of life. Because the primary purpose of the Creationism Act is to advance a particular religious belief, the Act endorses religion in violation of the First Amendment. Our country has become strikingly multireligious, as well as multiracial and multiethnic. E-312 - E-313; see also 2 App.
Rather, we have said that, in at least two circumstances, government must act to advance religion, and that, in a third, it may do so. Unemployment Appeals Comm'n of Fla. To a substantial extent, their testimony was devoted to lengthy, and, to the layman, seemingly expert, scientific expositions on the origin of life. As in Epperson, the legislature passed the Act to give preference to those religious groups which have as one of their tenets the creation of humankind by a divine creator. Although the Establishment Clause, including its secular purpose requirement, was of substantial concern to the legislators, they eventually voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Balanced Treatment Act: The House approved it 71-19 with 15 members absent , 2 id. For example, in Hobbie v.
This is particularly true, we have said, where the legislature has specifically considered the question of a law's constitutionality. Creation science can and should be presented to children without any religious content. Nevertheless, there is ample evidence that the majority is wrong in holding that the Balanced Treatment Act is without secular purpose. We now turn to the evaluation of the Act under the Lemon test. Allen, , -395 1983 ; Larkin v. It is clear, however, that members of the Louisiana Legislature were not impermissibly motivated for purposes of the Lemon test if they believed that approval of the Balanced Treatment Act was required by the Free Exercise Clause.
The State, by contrast, submitted the affidavits of two scientists, a philosopher, a theologian, and an educator, whose academic credentials are rather impressive. Striking down a law approved by the democratically elected representatives of the people is no minor matter. They certainly weren't accepted as true for purposes of summary judgment. But, in the State of Louisiana, courses in public schools are prescribed by the State Board of Education, and teachers are not free, absent permission, to teach courses different from what is required. The Act provides Louisiana schoolteachers with no new authority. In other words, the teaching of evolution was conditioned on the teaching of a religious belief. The Act's primary purpose was to change the public school science curriculum to provide persuasive advantage to a particular religious doctrine that rejects the factual basis of evolution in its entirety.
The legislative history documents that the Act's primary purpose was to change the science curriculum of public schools in order to provide persuasive advantage to a particular religious doctrine that rejects the factual basis of evolution in its entirety. One might argue, , that the expertise fostered by academic disciplines deserves First Amendment protection. Catrett, , 1986 emphasis in original. These experts insist that creation science is a strictly scientific concept that can be presented without religious reference. The sponsor of the Creationism Act, Senator Keith, explained during the legislative hearings that his disdain for the theory of evolution resulted from the support that evolution supplied to views contrary to his own religious beliefs. In sum, even if one concedes, for the sake of argument, that a majority of the Louisiana Legislature voted for the Balanced Treatment Act partly in order to foster rather than merely eliminate discrimination against Christian fundamentalist beliefs, our cases establish that that alone would not suffice to invalidate the Act, so long as there was a genuine secular purpose as well.
There a summary judgment held that the act promoted religion, and was thus in violation of the Tripart test of the Establishment Clause and thus unconstitutional. I write separately to note certain aspects of the legislative history, and to emphasize that nothing in the Court's opinion diminishes the traditionally broad discretion accorded state and local school officials in the selection of the public school curriculum. Putting that problem aside, however, where ought we to look for the individual legislator's purpose? We have no basis on the record to conclude that creation science need be anything other than a collection of scientific data supporting the theory that life abruptly appeared on earth. The State exerts great authority and coercive power through mandatory attendance requirements, and because of the students' emulation of teachers as role models and the children's susceptibility to peer pressure. Legislators made other comments suggesting a concern about censorship and misrepresentation of scientific information. Tax Comm'n of New York City, supra, at 673; see also Gillette v.
Our cases in no way imply that the Establishment Clause forbids legislators merely to act upon their religious convictions. After approval by the full Senate, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Education. Notwithstanding the majority's implication to the contrary, ante, at 589-591, we do not presume that the sole purpose of a law is to advance religion merely because it was supported strongly by organized religions or by adherents of particular faiths. On many past occasions we have had no difficulty finding a secular purpose for governmental action far more likely to advance religion than the Balanced Treatment Act. In summary, the case is significant because it reaffirmed that the advancing of any religious doctrine violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.
The Louisiana legislators had been told repeatedly that creation scientists were scorned by most educators and scientists, who themselves had an almost religious faith in evolution. Although states may prescribe public school curriculum concerning science instruction under ordinary circumstances, the compulsion inherent in the Balanced Treatment Act is, on its face, inconsistent with the idea of academic freedom as it is universally understood. These concepts do not shed that religiosity merely because they are presented as a philosophy or as a science. We have not yet come close to reconciling Lemon and our Free Exercise cases, and typically we do not really try. Perhaps most valuable of all would be more objective indications -- for example, evidence regarding the individual legislators' religious affiliations.
Edwards then appealed to the 5th Circuit court of appeals. At least at this stage in the litigation, it is plain to me that we must accept appellants' view of what the statute means. As a matter of history, schoolchildren can and should properly be informed of all aspects of this Nation's religious heritage. Compare § 3702 in 1 App. Instead, this Act has the distinctly different purpose of discrediting evolution by counterbalancing its teaching at every turn with the teaching of creationism. When creation or evolution is taught, each shall be taught as a theory, rather than as proven scientific fact.
Evolution, in turn, is misrepresented as an absolute truth. Infinitely less can we say or should we say that the scientific evidence for evolution is so conclusive that no one could be gullible enough to believe that there is any real scientific evidence to the contrary, so that the legislation's stated purpose must be a lie. Nevertheless, a few principles have emerged from our cases, principles which should, but to an unfortunately large extent do not, guide the Court's application of Lemon today. E-74 - E-75 noting that evolution is contrary to his family's religious beliefs ; id. We have in the past repeatedly relied upon or deferred to such expressions, see, e.