Subscribe to RSS - California

Teaching Religion In Public Schools: One Calif. City Does It Right

In Modesto, Calif., public school students are learning about religion in class – but it’s probably not what you think. The geography and world religion course, which is required for all high school students, is described as an objective overview of the world’s belief systems, and according to a recent article in the Modesto Bee, it succeeds in doing just that. Read more

We Don’t Need No (Sex) Education?: Some Public Schools Continue To Push Dogma Over Science

The school year’s begun and debates over sex education have already spilled into school board meetings across the country. In Arizona, officials in the Tempe Union High School district are attempting to insert dogmatic views into a sex education course to be launched this fall.
Read more

Firing Offense: Calif. Catholic School Instructor Axed For Same-Sex Wedding

For the past week or so, I’ve been receiving press releases from a public relations firm representing students and former students at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, Calif. They are not happy.

It seems that Ken Bencomo, who taught English at the school for 17 years, was recently fired from the Catholic institution. These folks want him to get his job back. Read more

The People Speak: Parents With Children In School Say No To Vouchers

For years, anti-public school interest groups that favor privatization schemes have smacked their lips and salivated as they’ve contemplated the demise of public education.

But a funny thing happened: The people who actually rely on public education – America’s parents – aren’t buying it. Read more

Monumental Mistake: Calif. City’s Memorial Doesn’t Honor All Veterans

The municipal leaders of Lake Elsinore, Calif., decided they wanted to honor local veterans with a special monument in front of a local baseball stadium.

No problem there. The southern California city of about 51,000 people has produced its share of veterans, and giving them special recognition is a nice idea.

Unfortunately, the way the city chose to go about it was not so good. The original design was for a black granite marker depicting a soldier kneeling in front of a cross. Read more

Yoga Lesson: Calif. Court Says School Did Not Violate Church-State Separation With Relaxation Program

Earlier this year, an attorney affiliated with a small Religious Right legal group called the National Center for Law and Policy filed a lawsuit in a California court on behalf of some parents in Encinitas who opposed a yoga program in the public schools. Read more

High Noon At The High Court: Supreme Court Takes Up Marriage Equality

I was fortunate enough to snag a seat in the press gallery for the oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court this morning in the Proposition 8 case, Hollingsworth v. Perry.

Prop. 8 was narrowly approved by California voters in 2008. It added a ban on same-sex marriage to the state constitution. Opponents are challenging it in court, asserting that it violates the rights of gays and lesbians who wish to marry. Read more

‘Tis The Season To Be Cranky: Religious Right Gears Up New Round Of ‘War On Christmas’ Claims

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving – which means it’s time for the Religious Right to start carping about the so-called “war on Christmas.”

Actually, there have already been several developments in this alleged war. As an unwilling combatant, I’d like to give you a little round-up of the action so far. Read more

A Tale Of Two Cities: N.J. And Calif. Towns Take Different Approaches On Prayer

I was up bright and early Saturday morning to appear on Fox News Channel. Our topic was a perennial Fox favorite: prayers before government meetings.

It seems the borough council of Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., has been opening its meetings with the Our Father, the Roman Catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer, since the 1990s. A lawsuit was filed, and the council agreed to stop. Read more

Melee In Modesto: California Community Debates Creationism In Science Class

It’s the debate that never ends – thanks to an aggressive minority that insists religious beliefs belong in the science classroom.

California public school teacher Mark Ferrante belongs in that group. According to the Modesto Bee, Ferrante recently announced that he planned to teach the latest variant of creationism, “intelligent design” (ID), alongside evolution at Modesto’s Roosevelt Junior High, sparking quite the community discussion. Read more

Pages