May 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case involving use of the Bible as a text at a publicly funded charter school in Idaho.

Citing a provision of the state constitution, Idaho state officials ordered the now-defunct Nampa Classical Academy not to use the Bible and other religious texts as part of the curriculum. The action was upheld by the federal courts.

The March 26 Supreme Court announcement was another blow to the efforts of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), a Religious Right legal group founded by TV and radio preachers. The ADF claimed Idaho officials were stepping on free speech rights. It was an argument that several courts never bought.

In August 2011, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Idaho Public Charter School Commission acted constitutionally when it ordered the academy to stick to a secular curriculum.

In its decision, the appeals court said: “The First Amendment’s speech clause does not…give Idaho charter school teachers, Idaho charter school students, or the parents of Idaho charter school students a right to have primary religious texts included as part of the school curriculum.”

The high court did not give a reason for declining to consider Nampa Classical Academy v. Gossling.