After much apparently impassioned and raucous debate from the floor, the waving of banners, and the standing of ovations, the board rejected formalizing the proposal by four votes to three.
A representative of the ACLU posted to its Twitter account thumbnail summaries of several of the colloquies delivered by citizens who spoke against financing the charter school's parochial curriculum.
Among the more telling dispatches:
Former [school board] member warns of personal & petty motives of some [current board] members. Cautions against lawsuits if it gets passed.And:
Passionate pastor from Sheboygan shouting about his personal calling & forgetting our moorings. Not sure if he was pro or con.And:
[S]peaker expresses her admiration for Constitution [and] exposes 3 School [board] members as part of sponsoring church.Two of those are David Weigand and Randy Marquardt, avowed creationists elected to the board in April. Weigand had famously declared that "the idea of 'millions of years' does not belong in the science classroom." The third was Tim Stepanski, who the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel says is "a deacon at Dunford's church."*
According to the Journal-Sentinel, "Dunford denied that the school would teach religion in violation of the law," a denial difficult to square with the West Bend Daily News's report that "the charter school would teach creationism in its science classes."
The latter is a de facto admission of religious instruction according to innumerable decisions of various federal courts reaching back decades. In 2005, a federal judge in Pennsylvania found the most recent creationist Trojan horse, "intelligent design," to be religion for First Amendment purposes and thus barred from state support.
Even so, politically activist creationists have shown little sign of abandoning their plans to appropriate the rubric of science for purely religious purposes, nor should anybody expect them to so desist.
Amusingly, when the militant creationists Weigand and Marquardt were jockeying for influence on the school board last winter, top conservative blogger "Boots & Sabers" opined that, "Nobody but leftist reactionaries even consider this an issue in this election."
Rather, nobody but someone with a profound ignorance of the issue and its legal history would so naively assert its insignificance. Last night its latest turkeys attempted to roost and were justly thwarted.
But not by much.
* Yesterday the Journal-Sentinel's award-winning political calumnist Patrick McIlheran told those raising legitimate Establishment Clause concerns to "Go back to Mommy's basement and let the adults talk."
Instead, the adults properly ignored McIlheran's vacuous petulance.