After Lengthy Legal Battle, School Board Emerges Victorious Over Creationist Science Teacher

In a case that’s lasted more than five years, there’s finally a happy resolution in the legal battle between Creationist teacher John Freshwater and the Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education.

A quick refresher: In 2008, school board members voted 5-0 to fire Freshwater, a Mount Vernon Middle School science teacher, after learning that he had preached Creationism to the students, handed out flyers in class urging kids to attend a presentation by the “Answers in Genesis” ministry, left the Bible out on his desk during class even after being told to stop, hung a Ten Commandments sign in his classroom, offered extra credit to students who watched the Ben Stein pro-Intelligent Design movie Expelled, and burned a student in the arm with a Tesla coil… in the shape of a cross:

That set off a long appeals process that culminated with a 4-3 decision by the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday in favor of the district. The Court said the district was right to fire Freshwater for his insubordination.

The decision holds little back:

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Should These Tennessee Campus Guards Have Been Protecting the Freelance Preacher … or the Paying Students?

Last Thursday, a student at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga found himself forced to the ground by four security officers for attempting to verbally engage a fire-and-brimstone campus preacher who is an outsider — not a student or a faculty member.

Angela Cummings, who’s been preaching for a dozen years, had been showing up at the campus for weeks, loudly calling the students “adulterers and adulteresses” (an odd charge to level at people who are, for the most part, unmarried). “Are you a child of God or a child of the devil?” she demanded to know.

Student Cole Philip Montalvo, who was riding a bicycle, was violently taken down and pepper-sprayed when he breached, by about a bike-length, a wide orange-coned circle on campus. The altercation happened after he addressed Cummings by advising her:

Hey ma’am? If you’re trying to spread the good word, maybe you shouldn’t be telling everyone that they’re sinners, and maybe you shouldn’t be yelling at everyone.

Here’s the video of the preacher’s (and the guards’) handiwork. The incident starts at 7:18.



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On Second Thought, Watauga Schools Will Take ‘In God We Trust’ Posters After All — As a Tool to Teach History

Headline in the Watauga Democrat (North Carolina), November 6:

Schools Decline ‘In God We Trust’ Posters 

Headline in the same newspaper, eight days later:

Schools Accept ‘In God We Trust’ Posters

As regular readers of this site may remember, the posters in question are framed photos of an American flag with the motto “In God We Trust” superimposed on it. They are being offered by American Legion Post 130.

The placards are now welcome in the public schools after all. Why the yo-yo-ing?

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Alberta School Now Prayer-Free… but for How Long?

In a controversial and not very popular decision, Christian prayer has been kicked out of a public school.

Students at Dr. Hamman School in Taber, Alberta, are no longer expected to recite the Lord’s Prayer along with the school’s P.A. system as part of the daily opening exercises. Dr. Hamman School was the last remaining public school in Taber where prayer was still part of the morning routine.

The prayer was challenged by Melanie Bell, whose two sons attend Dr. Hamman School and had come home in tears more than once when school officials punished them for failing to participate in the class prayer, which the children had not learned to recite at home.

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This Dutch Professor of Medicine Lost His Job For Saying He Witnessed a Divine Miracle. Should He Have?

I was talking about science and religion with a Dutch friend yesterday when he casually referred to the Van Schayk affair and asked me what I thought of it. My mind drew a blank, so he filled me in. It’s a bizarre and fascinating story that I thought I’d share.

In March of this year, a Dutchman named Onno van Schayk, a professor of medicine and the head of the CAPHRI School for Public Health in Maastricht, the Netherlands, caused a bit of an uproar when he gave an interview to an evangelical TV station. He mentioned his Christian beliefs a few times, and then segued into this remarkable statement:

“There have been moments that I’ve seen God’s work directly, up close. It involved a person whose leg was too short, who was being prayed for. And I saw that leg grow. …

I concede we have to be careful with that, and that the [stories] in the Bible — they should be tested, examined. We shouldn’t just assume things. We have to apply, very carefully, almost a scientific principle — establish that it’s incontrovertible. And in this case, it was indeed incontrovertible. You could see from looking at the X-rays that [bone] growth had indisputably occurred, something for which there was no normal explanation.”



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