The suit was filed in Los Angeles federal court Thursday by the Assn. of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 religious schools in the state, and by the Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, which has an enrollment of more than 1,000.
Under a policy implemented with little fanfare a year ago, UC admissions authorities have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin's theory of evolution, the suit says.
The 10-campus UC system requires applicants to complete a variety of courses, including science, mathematics, history, literature and the arts. But in letters to Calvary Chapel, university officials said some of the school's Christian-oriented courses were too narrow to be acceptable.
And what, precisely, did these curriculum planners expect? That universities would pander to their interests out of political correctness? Zealots on local school boards may be able to water-down science material to suit their fundamentalist perspectives, but if they think colleges will sanction these efforts via the admission process, then they are far more delusional than I've given them credit for.
"It appears that the UC system is attempting to secularize Christian schools and prevent them from teaching from a world Christian view," said Patrick H. Tyler, a lawyer with Advocates for Faith and Freedom, which is assisting the plaintiffs.
No, Mr. Tyler. The UC system is not preventing you from teaching your students anything. They are however, saying that Science By Thumpervision is wholly inadequate as preparatory material for college applicants.
The suit also accuses the university system of employing a double standard by routinely approving courses that teach the viewpoints of other religions, such as Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
In order to score any points here at all, the plaintiffs will have to demonstrate that somewhere in America, schools are supplanting evolutionary theory with Buddhist creation myths. Let's all hold our breath, shall we?
I can't applaud UC's stand on this enough. It is completely within their purview to demand that applicants meet certain base criteria, and if Christian schools cannot meet this criteria, well then that's just too bad. Perhaps they'd best re-think their approach to curriculum and recognize that beyond the cocoon of a Bible-based community, students will be held accountable for whatever education they lack.
Imagine that! Accountability in higher education?!? Preposterous, I say! Absolutely preposterous!