After years of “separation of church and state” being used against people of faith, a court in California finally applied this to a secularist/agnostic/atheist public school teacher who spent class time preaching views against religion.
In what apparently is a first-of-its-kind decision, a federal court has ruled that a California teacher violated the rights of a student by making fun of Christianity.
Teacher James Corbett of Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo already had a reputation for dissing the faithful when Chad Farnan began taking an Advanced Placement European history class from him two years ago.
In his class and in front of Farnan, Corbett criticized creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” and now he’s been brought up short by a federal court ruling that determined his statements violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
That prevents Christian teachers from proselytizing during classtime, and now apparently prevents agnostic or atheist teachers from condemning the faith during class time.
The case alleged Corbett “spends an extended period of time at the beginning of each class discussing topics that are not only irrelevant to history but also inflammatory and often altogether inappropriate for high school students.” …(The lawsuit) alleged that Corbett’s diatribes caused “students to hold religious beliefs to feel like second-class citizens.” …Students come to class to learn, not to be forced to listen to the personal, demoralizing rantings of their teacher," Tyler said
The court concluded that Corbett’s statement calling creationism “superstitious nonsense” was “improper disapproval of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause.”
“The Supreme Court’s comments with regard to government promotion of religion apply with equal force where the government disapproves of religion,” the court ruling said.
U.S. District Court Judge James Selna reviewed Corbett’s statement, and concluded, “The court cannot discern a legitimate secular purpose in this statement, even when considered in context.”