Tell a friend


Email sign-up

defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

Law center that defended "intelligent design" ponders next move

By Martha Raffaele, (Levittown, Pennsylvania), January 7, 2006

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The legal fight over "intelligent design" in Pennsylvania is over, but will it resurface in another state?

Last week, the Dover Area School Board rescinded a policy requiring intelligent design to be mentioned as an alternative to evolution in high school biology class. It also formally severed its relationship with the Thomas More Law Center, a Christian-rights organization in Ann Arbor, Mich., by voting not to appeal a federal judge's ruling against the policy.

The vote came two weeks after U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III determined that intelligent design - which holds that the universe is so complex it must have been created by an intelligent force - is religious and not scientific. Jones deemed the board's adoption of the policy in October 2004 an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

Richard Thompson, the law center's president and chief counsel, said the board's decision disappointed him.

"They stopped the game at the end of the fifth inning," he said.

Now, Thompson is turning his attention to the Gull Lake Community Schools in Richland, Mich., where administrators barred two middle-school teachers from teaching intelligent design after a parent complained in 2004. In April, he sent a letter to the school board president threatening to sue.

Thompson said he plans to meet with the teachers and discuss whether to follow through with litigation.

One of the teachers, Dawn Wendzel, said she cannot even define the concept for her seventh-grade students. If they ask her about it, she tells them it has nothing to do with science.

"As far as my academic freedom goes, that's being stifled," Wendzel said.

Gull Lake Superintendent Rich Ramsey said Jones' opinion reinforces the administration's view that intelligent design does not belong in science class.

Fair Use Statement: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.