If Democrats want to get back in the "values" game and change the perception of their party as being full of secularists intent on removing any reference to God from culture and even the history of America, they can start in the government schools. That's where reverent or favorable mentions of God are often prohibited, but using His name as a curse word is protected by the same First Amendment that supposedly prohibits the favorable mention of His name.
Democrats have an ideal case that they could make their own in the San Francisco suburb of Cupertino, where a fifth-grade public school teacher has filed a discrimination lawsuit against his school. The teacher, Steven Williams, says he has been prohibited by the school principal, Patricia Vidmar, from teaching the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents of the United States because they often refer to God.
It's one thing to ban contemporary attempts to use the schools to proselytize. It is quite another to censor history. It is a fact beyond dispute that the Founders often referred to God or "Divine Providence" or "the Almighty" in their public lives. Ignoring or censoring such facts presents a false history of our nation and denies students their right to know the truth.
According to Williams' lawsuit, among the other materials rejected by the principal were George Washington's journal, John Adams' diary, Samuel Adams' "The Rights of the Colonists" and William Penn's "The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania."
Democrats could make political hay for their party and do a good deed for public school students by opposing the extension of political correctness to history books and historical documents.
Attempts to expunge references to God, past or present, are not limited to one California school. In Maryland, there is a dispute concerning what may and may not be properly taught in that state's public schools.
The Washington Times carried a Capital News Service (CNS) story Nov. 23 that reported that when teachers instruct about the 17th-century origins of Thanksgiving, they can only say the Pilgrims thanked the Indians and cannot say they also thanked God for their safe journey and for the bounty set before them.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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