Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 16, 1964
NUMBER 36, PAGE 4,10a

Supreme Court Rulings, Evolution, And Bible Teaching


When the Supreme Court early last year was studying the matter of Bible reading and the use of prayers and devotional exercises in public schools, no fewer than six secular and atheistic organizations filed briefs with the Court opposing the public school devotions. (In contrast, not a single church group) or religious organization of any kind filed a brief supporting arguments for the practice.) When the decision was finally handed down on June 17, many religious people were distressed and dismayed at the trend toward secularism the Court was taking (a tendency seen the year before in its earlier ruling on the use of a prescribed prayer in public schools), and those secular and atheistic organizations which had filed briefs were no doubt pleased and happy.

But now it appears that the whole question of "religion versus secularism" in public schools may be in for a new — and bitter — airing through the courts. Here, for example, is a brief news story appearing in the December issue of United Evangelical Action, a religious journal of national circulation:

"Conflict between Supreme Court opinion and teaching in the public schools is being carefully studied M California. Two Orange County housewives, Mrs. Nell J. Segraves and Mrs. Jean E. Sumrall, recently presented the problem to the State Board of Education meeting in Los Angeles.

"They pointed out that teaching evolutionary theory to the exclusion of a creationist position constitutes indoctrination and does not give the student a basis for critical judgment.

"Quoting the Court's opinion in the June 17 decision they noted constitutional and statutory provisions for the objective presentation of different philosophies in public schools. This opinion makes it illegal to present unproven theories as facts of history,

"They recommended that the Board adopt a policy whereby a balance between atheistic, agnostic and traditional religious beliefs would be maintained. A thorough review of all textbooks was proposed with the removal of those which are illegal and the development of 'philosophically balanced' editions."

We do not know what action, if any, the California Board of Education took on the recommendation of these two women. But we are aware of a swelling tide of concern and apprehension across the nation as the full impact of the Supreme Court's decision begins to he realized. For it is very evident that the Supreme Court reached its decision on the basis of current thinking, rather than on the basis of what the authors of our Constitution mended or had in mind when they framed the article against "Establishment." It is a simple matter of history that our founding fathers were seeking to prohibit and prevent any "establishment of a state religion" to be supported by taxes from the public funds, and to be accepted as the "official" religion of the nation. They certainly neither desired nor intended to banish religion as such from the lives of the people, nor from institutions supported by, or related to, the state. Yet the recent actions of the Supreme Court have clearly headed toward a complete secularization of all tax supported educational institutions.

This, within itself, would not be bad — except for one thing: it is a notorious fact that many of these state supported schools are NOT NEUTRAL in the matter of religion versus atheism. They are ardently and aggressively on the side of atheism! Their text-books, sometimes subtly, sometimes naively, but almost unanimously assume the non-existence of God, and are written from that bias. The full weight and prodigious prestige and authority of both teachers and text-books is often brought to bear on the immature, susceptible, and receptive minds of the young to condition them to the acceptance of atheism's many unproven hypotheses and assumptions. They are taught, both implicitly and explicitly, that religion (any kind of religion) is no longer relevant, that "science" has demonstrated the absurdity and nonsense of the Genesis record, and that only the ignorant and superstitious still cling to their out-dated faith.

This teaching and attitude (abundantly evident to those who have been mentally percipient at all through their years in state supported schools and universities) is clearly prohibited in such statements as the following from the majority opinion of the Supreme Court (written by Justice Tom Clark):

"We agree of course that the State must not establish a 'religion of secularism' in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus 'preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe'...."

But what the Supreme Court said "must not" be done is precisely what is being done — as any parent can learn for himself by examining closely the science text-books his fourth, fifth, and sixth grade children bring home from school!

We hope the action of these two California women will be but the first tenuous, groping move in what will become an irresistible surge of efforts on the part of those who believe in religion (any kind of religion!) to demand that our public schools be exactly what the Supreme Court declared they ought to be — neutral! If they are NOT going to teach the Genesis story of creation as a fact, then they MUST NOT teach the theory of atheistic evolution as a fact.