Sunday, August 13, 2006


No Infidels Need Apply

Kentucky lawmakers have just woken up to the fact that there is a state law still on the books that mandates that "no book or other publication of a sectarian, infidel or immoral character, or that reflects on any religious denomination, shall be used or distributed in any common school." While the provision was included in the 1990 Kentucky Education Reform Act, it dates at least as far back as 1905.

As this article notes:

The legal definition of infidel is unclear. It may be defined as an unbeliever or as someone who rejects the majority's religious faith.

But, of course:

The law doesn't apply to the Christian and Hebrew Scriptures. The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that the Bible is not a sectarian book.

It is hard to see how this law could survive a Constitutional challenge but, when asked if it should be repealed, local legislators reacted with all the vision and courage Americans have come to expect in their politicians:

"There's nobody that wants to get on record saying 'I'm against God and Christianity,'" said state Sen. David Karem, D-Louisville.

Such a vote could cost incumbents their seats and give challengers an issue to run on, he said.

"Why would a legislator want to give someone ammunition by repealing a law nobody knows is there,"* he said. ...

"There's a strong conservative religious tone to the Kentucky General Assembly. The legislature would be adverse to changing the statute to allow those types of publications in our schools." said state Rep. Stephen R. Nunn, R-Glasgow.

State Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington says "Democrats are scared silly (about) every moral and social issue that's come down the pike" in recent years.

The book ban is fine with him.

"It was put there for a purpose, and if one of the purposes is to keep immoral books out of the schools, then I'm all for that," he said.

But state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, has it about right:

It's 2006, for heaven's sake. ... We look like a bunch of Jim-Jones-drinking-Kool-Aid kind of folks. I think it makes it look like we're not quite in the 21st century.
Actually, it makes Kentucky look like it even missed the 18th century. Consider this, for instance, from Thomas Jefferson, writing in his Autobiography about the Virginia Act For Establishing Religious Freedom:

[A] singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

I certainly hope that the people of Kentucky are happy to know that, not only are none of their leaders of the stature of a Jefferson and his contemporaries, but that if one were to arise, he or she apparently could not be elected in their state.
* Contrary to that assertion, the article notes that "[s]chool districts across the state ... have included the book ban in their policies and procedures."
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

. . . . .


How to Support Science Education