January 2017 Church & State - January 2016

Challenge To Evolution Instruction In Kansas Fails

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The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a lawsuit that aimed to stop the teaching of evolution in public schools.

The case was brought by a group called Citizens for Objective Public Education (COPE). In the lawsuit, members of the group asserted that the state’s science standards permit “only atheistic/materialistic answers to ultimate religious questions.”

A federal court didn’t find that argument persuasive and dismissed the case. That ruling was later upheld by an appeals court. The unsuccessful appeal to the Supreme Court means the legal action is over.

Carolyn Campbell, a board member from Topeka, told the Topeka Capital-Journal that she’s happy the case is over.

“I struggle to understand how people can decide that the science standards [are] promoting atheism or just whatever their thoughts are,” she said. “We’re just trying to educate children so that they will have a well-rounded understanding of science.”

The teaching of evolution in Kansas public schools has been challenged before. In 1999, the state attracted international attention when the Kansas Board of Education voted to remove virtually all references to evolution from the science standards.


Americans United & the National Women’s Law Center file suit to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans.

Abortion bans violate the separation of church and state. Americans United and the National Women’s Law Center—the leading experts in religious freedom and gender justice—have joined forces with thirteen clergy from six faith traditions to challenge Missouri’s abortion bans as unconstitutionally imposing one narrow religious doctrine on everyone.

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