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Freedom of Religion

A federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling on books used in the Alabama public schools.

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A federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that 44 books used in the Alabama public schools constituted an impermissible establishment of the "religion of secular humanism."

The court observed that

"examination of the contents of these textbooks … reveals that the message conveyed is not one of endorsment of secular humanism or any religion. Rather, the message conveyed is one of a governmental attempt to instill in Alabama public school children such values as independent thought, tolerance of diverse views, self-respect, maturity, self-reliance, and logical decision-making. This is an entirely appropriate secular effect."

The message conveyed by the textbooks was one of neutrality

"the textbooks neither endorse theistic religion as a system of belief, nor discredit it." Further, "if we are to eliminate everything that is objectionable to ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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  • January 1, 1988