Evolution Dismissed from Home School Textbooks
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Home-school mom Susan Mule wishes she hadn’t taken a friend’s advice and tried a textbook from a popular Christian publisher for her 10-year-old’s biology lessons.
Mule’s precocious daughter Elizabeth excels at science and has been studying tarantulas since she was 5. But she watched Elizabeth’s excitement turn to confusion when they reached the evolution section of the book from Apologia Educational Ministries, which disputed Charles Darwin’s theory.
Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth’s creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83 percent of home-schooling parents want to give their children “religious or moral instruction.”
“The majority of home-schoolers self-identify as evangelical Christians,” said Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the Home School Legal Defense Association. “Most home-schoolers will definitely have a sort of creationist component to their home-school program.”
Those who don’t, however, often feel isolated and frustrated from trying to find a textbook that fits their beliefs.
Two of the best-selling biology textbooks stack the deck against evolution, said some science educators who reviewed sections of the books at the request of The Associated Press.
GILBERT, Ariz. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed an appeal Wednesday with the town of Gilbert’s zoning Board of Adjustment to overturn a decision banning churches from meeting, holding Bible studies, or having any other activities in private homes. The pastor of the seven-member Oasis of Truth Church received a cease-and-desist letterordering him to terminate all religious meetings in his home, regardless of their size, nature, or frequency.
“Christian church groups shouldn’t be singled out for discrimination and banned from meeting in their own homes,” said ADF Litigation Counsel Daniel Blomberg. “The interpretation and enforcement of the town’s code is clearly unconstitutional. It bans 200,000 Gilbert residents from meeting in their private homes for organized religious purposes—an activity encouraged in the Bible, practiced for thousands of years, and protected by the First Amendment.”
In November 2009, Oasis of Truth Church was ordered in a letter from a Gilbert code compliance officer to stop church meetings in Pastor Joe Sutherland’s home, based on the town’s Land Development Code. The officer was not responding to a complaint, but to signs he came across near Sutherland’s home about the meetings.
The town contends that, under its zoning code, churches within its borders cannot haveany home meetings of any size, including Bible studies, three-person church leadership meetings, and potluck dinners. This ban is defended based upon traffic, parking, and building safety concerns. However, nothing in its zoning code prevents weekly Cub Scouts meetings, Monday Night Football parties with numerous attendees, or large business parties from being held on a regular basis in private homes. In fact, the zoning code explicitly allows some day cares to operate from homes.