For a group trying to claim that its decision to teach intelligent design was not religiously motivated, the Dover Area School District has made some curious choices for its defense.
First, the district is being represented pro bono by the Thomas More Center, which, according to its website, is “dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life. Our purpose is to be the sword and shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without charge to defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public square.” (italics ours) Interesting that they’d volunteer to defend the school district merely over an alleged “scientific” theory….
Today’s Salon has a great interview with the Thomas More Center’s founder, president, and chief council Richard Thompson about the Dover case and his motivations. (You can read the whole article if you agree to see an ad.)
Scheduled to testify on Friday for the defense is Dick Carpenter, an assistant professor of leadership, research and foundations at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. He also happens to be the former Education Policy Analyst for Focus on the Family, which believes that “the ultimate purpose in living is to know and glorify God and to attain eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He held this position from 2000-2002, according to his vita.
He continues to be affiliated with Focus on the Family as a lecturer in their “Love Won Out” program, which is focused on “promoting the truth that homosexuality is preventable and treatable — a message routinely silenced today. …Individuals don’t have to be gay.” Dr. Carpenter’s sessions are called “Why is What They’re Teaching So Dangerous?” and “Teaching Captivity? Addressing the Pro-Gay Agenda in Your School.”
Now as a general matter we certainly don’t have any objection to religious groups being involved in public discussions or in litigation. But we don’t see any reason for them to pretend that they are not promoting their particular religious viewpoints when they in fact are. Of course it becomes rather problematic when a group promoting a particular religious point of view decides to advance that religious viewpoint by supporting government officials who are doing the same thing. And to do it while pretending that they are not doing it…. Hmmmm.
Perhaps there should be a little less posting of the Ten Commandments and a little more honoring the commandment to “not bear false witness.”