Is it constitutional to teach the biblical account of creation in the public schools?

Friday, September 9, 2005

Some states have passed laws requiring that creationist theory based on the biblical account be taught in science classrooms. The courts have found these laws to be unconstitutional on the ground that they promote a particular religious view. The Supreme Court has acknowledged, however, that a variety of scientific theories about origins can be appropriately taught in science classes. In Edwards v. Aguillard, the Court stated:

”[T]eaching a variety of scientific theories about the origins of humankind to schoolchildren might be validly done with the clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.”

Though science instruction may not endorse or promote religious doctrine, the account of creation found in various scriptures may be discussed in a religious-studies class or in any course that considers religious explanations for the origin of life.