I don’t have much time right now but I want to bring attention to this “news” story Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif School:
A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence.
Steven Williams, a fifth-grade teacher at Stevens Creek School in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, sued for discrimination on Monday, claiming he had been singled out for censorship by principal Patricia Vidmar because he is a Christian.
Summary (inferred) – the teacher was forcing his students to listen to and read “Christian Nation” propaganda. The school asked him to stop. The teacher is suing the school with the help of a right-wing “Christian Law” organization, the Alliance Defense Fund. (Also see this.)
The school did not “ban the Declaration of Independence” — that is just a lie. This story is like when you hear that a man was “arrested for praying” and you find out he was kneeling in the middle of a busy intersection at rush hour and refused to move.
This is the BIG STORY today, on Rush, and Drudge, and the rest of the Usual Suspects. And it is a carefully planned and carefully timed lie.
The story is timed for this afternoon so that it cannot be refuted until Monday.
It is timed to cause fights and hatred at family Thanksgiving dinners across the country.
It is part of a strategy to reinforce a “conventional wisdom” notion that “liberals” are “going too far” with their demands of separation of church and state.
People For the American Way has a web page about the Alliance Defense Fund. From PFAW:
Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ
Larry Burkett, founder of Christian Financial Concepts
Rev. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family
Rev. D. James Kennedy, founder of Coral Ridge Ministries
Marlin Maddoux, President of International Christian Media
Don Wildmon, founder of American Family Association
(And 25+ other ministries)
President and General Counsel: Alan Sears
Date of founding: 1994
Finances: $15,411,093 (2001 budget)
And note this:
ADF defines itself by its ability to strategize and coordinate with lawyers all over the United States.
[. . .]
ADF also defends the right of Christians to ‘share the gospel’ in workplaces and public schools, claiming that any efforts to curb proselytizing at work and school are anti-Christian.
“Strategize and coordinate.” Sounds like what’s happening with this story, planted on Rush and Drudge, in time for the holiday. I hope that other bloggers can pick up on this. I suspect many of us are going to miss how important this is — how big of an effect this is going to have on things we care about. This story is designed as ammunition for family conversations tomorrow.
As I write this, O’Reilly is on the air on FOX saying “Another ruling by an activist judge that puts us all in danger.” That’s an exact quote. It isn’t about this story, but it reinforces it: Yet more “liberals’ who are “going too far.”
See the forest. See how this stuff works!
Update – I have a more few pre-holiday minutes to spend on this… To be clear about this story, the school said the teacher could not use handouts that included quotes from the Declaration and other documents. A San Mateo Times story (where I live) says,
“She then prevented Williams from giving students several handouts including:
– Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence with references to “God,” “Creator,” and “Supreme Judge.”
And from the Alliance’s press release,
Attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit yesterday against the Cupertino Union School District for prohibiting a teacher from providing supplemental handouts to students about American history because the historical documents contain some references to God and religion. [emphasis added]
Supplemental handouts, huh? I wonder where he got those from?
That’s all this is. The rest is strategic disinformation — agitprop.
And for the Right’s spin on the story — how’s suing for saying “Merry Christmas?”
Update II – Digby’s on it too. And the blogosphere is picking it up: Atrios, Daou Report. Now Blue Lemur, Liberal Oasis, Information Clearing House, First Draft, APJ, archy, different strings, Homeschool, Brilliant at Breakfast, Kidding on the Square, What It Is Today, Vegacura, The Peking Duck, Scoobie Davis, Mouse Words, pquesblog, Akkams Razor, Grinblog, Agblog, Steve Gilliard, Exile on Main Street, Off the Cuff, Mahablog, skippy, Julia at American Street, culture kitchen, the 23rd monkey, Majikthise (settle down, Richard), An old soul. We might just get the major media involved and beat this lie down before it does too much damage!
Update III Too late. Damage done. Drudge has posted the phone number of the principal of the school.
The word ‘”inferred” after ‘Summary’ has been added.
Truest comment, spotted at Blue Lemur: “2 years from now, the right-wingers will still be talking about that story like it was true.”