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Comer loses appeal - Comments

Prieten's Avatar Comment 1 by Prieten

Where do I return my American citizenship?

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 03:35:10 UTC | #486878

Richie P's Avatar Comment 2 by Richie P

Neutrality policy? What a cop-out. Hey, what about a neutrality policy between the Sex theory of reproduction and the Stork theory?

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 07:12:32 UTC | #486913

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 3 by Nunbeliever

Being american has to be increasingly embarrassing for all the rational people in North America. Yes, we europeans think you americans are stupid and ignorant hypocrites! And I am sorry to say these prejudices are constantly confirmed. I wonder what will be left of USA in twenty years if this development continues? The worst part is that what happens in USA does not stay in the USA!

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 09:47:56 UTC | #486936

Michael Gray's Avatar Comment 4 by Michael Gray

Hey mate, Yankee-land went down the gurgler years ago. This is but a back-bubbling from the theistic-sewer.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 10:26:24 UTC | #486946

aquilacane's Avatar Comment 5 by aquilacane

It will be only a few years before this crap makes its way to Alberta then on through Canada. Lived in Calgary for a while and really got a sense of Texas North. Loved the land and skiing, but the people... Sorry to all those Albertans I just insulted, just to many damn fools.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 12:21:07 UTC | #486984

zengardener's Avatar Comment 6 by zengardener

Stay strong, brothers and sisters. We have a long row to hoe.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 12:39:07 UTC | #486988

Merco's Avatar Comment 7 by Merco

I was a little relieved when I saw Texas in the article. In that area, the damage is already done. It seems like half the stories I read on this site are native to Texas. The freethinkers of Texas have their work cut out for them.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:36:50 UTC | #487013

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 8 by Cluebot

Oh dear. A law that explicitly permits teachers to teach theology in science classes may or may not promote a particular religion, but it does promote religion in general. What could be more obvious?

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:37:10 UTC | #487014

jssl's Avatar Comment 9 by jssl

I agree with Merco, and remind folks that America is a big place. One shouldn't generalize what happens in Texas to the whole nation. In the Northeast, for instance, this sort of thing doesn't happen.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:43:19 UTC | #487015

Marc Country's Avatar Comment 10 by Marc Country

Creationism IS a religion. Nobody who is non-religious is a creationist.

So, obviously, if you have to be neutral about the benefits of evolution v. creationism, then that is not much different than saying one has to be neutral about the comparison between, say, mathematics and Islam (both use Arabic numerals, I think).

Didn't the good judge back in the Dover PA case already establish the completely religious nature of creationism? This here judge is just bad at judging, it seems.

Ah, yes: In the legal case Kitzmiller v. Dover, tried in 2005 in a Harrisburg, PA, Federal District Court, "intelligent design" was found to be a form of creationism, and therefore, unconstitutional to teach in American public schools.

To say creationism is wrong, or to say it is unconstitutional, is not to "pick sides", it's simply the plain truth.

Updated: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:59:26 UTC | #487016

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 11 by Dr. Strangegod

Hey, Nunbeliever, keep your hate and stereotypes and prejudices to yourself, dickhead. Prieten, leave anytime, you big wuss.

Updated: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:54:04 UTC | #487021

noimspartacus's Avatar Comment 12 by noimspartacus

I wonder if Ms Comer is using the wrong part of the 1st Amendment to make her case. Does it not violate her free speech rights to have an opinion on the TEA's neutrality policy? It's one thing for a non-government employer to use the threat of termination against an employee should he/she verbally and publicly disagree with the employer's decision. The employer is not a government entity and most people work in "at will" positions. However, I don't think the TEA, a government entity, is excluded from the purview of 1st Amendment's free speech clause. Any lawyers on this board care to chime in?

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 13:55:11 UTC | #487023

root2squared's Avatar Comment 13 by root2squared

Comment 3 by Nunbeliever :

Being american has to be increasingly embarrassing for all the rational people in North America. Yes, we europeans think you americans are stupid and ignorant hypocrites! And I am sorry to say these prejudices are constantly confirmed. I wonder what will be left of USA in twenty years if this development continues? The worst part is that what happens in USA does not stay in the USA!

That makes perfect sense. Because all the smart Americans are somehow responsible for the stupid ones. And of course, all those European monarchies are not embarrassing in the least because they are democratic!

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 14:03:02 UTC | #487027

PrimeNumbers's Avatar Comment 14 by PrimeNumbers

Comment Removed by Author

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 14:05:44 UTC | #487028

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 15 by Nunbeliever

Comment Removed by Author

Updated: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 17:29:10 UTC | #487084

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 16 by Nunbeliever

To Lucas:

Hey, Nunbeliever, keep your hate and stereotypes and prejudices to yourself, dickhead. Prieten, leave anytime, you big wuss.

I rest my case... ;-)

To root2squared:

That makes perfect sense. Because all the smart Americans are somehow responsible for the stupid ones

Seems like I really found a sore point there did I not :) Just, kidding! Yes, of course it was an exaggeration (although I would call it a pedagogical exaggeration). My whole point was to show that this is a big problem for the USA not only from an internal perspective but from an image and PR perspective. Although I am sure a great deal of the americans are rational and sensible people constantly hearing news like this makes USA the laughing stock of the western world. After eight years of Bush in the white house many europeans mistrust USA and this surely does not make things better. Well, I do not live in a monarchy and the monarchies in Europe are constitutional monarchies so your analogy is a bit strange to say the least. But yes! We definately have our problems in Europa. The difference is that americans rarely suffer from our problems while what happens in America never stays in America. Which is the reason why I am most worried about recent devlopment in USA. And I think you should be too...

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 17:46:06 UTC | #487087

Cestriana's Avatar Comment 17 by Cestriana

Nationalities apart, I just DO NOT understand why seemingly erudite, rational and well-educated people (including judges) think that creationism and intelligent design are worthy of serious study.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 18:47:32 UTC | #487102

alaskansee's Avatar Comment 18 by alaskansee

@ Comment 5 by aquilacane

No fucking way, Stockwell Gay (and his lying for jesus wife) road his jet ski to nuttersville many years ago. We're not nearly as crazy anymore.

Lucas, nice point of order (and logical fallacy). Nunbeliver, whatever you think about the Americans at least they're able to remember which flag is theirs. Can't say that about the English.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 20:26:56 UTC | #487127

kev_s's Avatar Comment 19 by kev_s

I feel very sorry for Chris Comer. To lose your job over such an absurdity must really hurt. I hope she finds better employment soon.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 20:58:23 UTC | #487137

Cestriana's Avatar Comment 20 by Cestriana

Why do some people here feel that they have to resort to personal insults and to use words like 'dick head' and 'wuss' against other posters? From reading the comments above I didn't get the impression that anybody was insinuating that all Americans are dumb just because SOME of their fellow countrymen are religious maniacs.

By the way, I'm English and I know what the English flag looks like. There's nothing special about that... at least as far as I can see.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 21:57:20 UTC | #487148

sara g's Avatar Comment 21 by sara g

I got too annoyed to read on. Does it say where she will appeal next? Once it gets out of Texas courts it should be in more sensible hands.

Wed, 07 Jul 2010 22:56:23 UTC | #487165

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 22 by Notstrident

Please, my Canadian, Australian, and UK cousins! Most of the U.S. has nothing but contempt for what Texas and the other Bible Belt States do. Please don't tar us all with the same broad brush.

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 00:40:42 UTC | #487186

Notstrident's Avatar Comment 23 by Notstrident

This forum would be better without Lucas's foul insults (comment 11).

Updated: Thu, 08 Jul 2010 00:43:24 UTC | #487187

Alternative Carpark's Avatar Comment 24 by Alternative Carpark

Secession: you know it makes sense...

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 00:59:56 UTC | #487191

Wuht2Ask's Avatar Comment 25 by Wuht2Ask

Comment Removed by Author

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 01:14:30 UTC | #487197

MEM's Avatar Comment 26 by MEM

Comment 12 by noimspartacus :

I wonder if Ms Comer is using the wrong part of the 1st Amendment to make her case. Does it not violate her free speech rights to have an opinion on the TEA's neutrality policy? . . . I However, I don't think the TEA, a government entity, is excluded from the purview of 1st Amendment's free speech clause. Any lawyers on this board care to chime in?

Hi noimspartacus - very good catch. As a US attorney, albeit not one who specializes in constitutional law, I can offer the following observations. The appeals court raised the exact same point that you did in their opinion in the footnote on page 12, and agrees that government employees have a 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech. In the words of the court:

"As a public employee, Comer’s “speech is protected by the First Amendment when [her] interests . . . ‘as a citizen commenting upon matters of public concern’ outweigh the interests of the state ‘as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the services it performs through its employees.’” Charles, 522 F.3d at 512 (quoting Williams v. Dallas Indep. Sch. Dist., 480 F.3d 689, 692 (5th Cir. 2007)). Comer, however, has raised no free speech claims, and consequently, we decline the occasion to surmise her chances of succeeding on claims she has not raised."

Reading a bit into this footnote, the court seems to be asking Comer's attorney's why this issue was not raised on appeal. In the US court system, judges will not raise and decide issues for the litigants, that's the job of their attorneys. (Perhaps because Comer was not acting in the capacity of a private citizen, but rather sent out her emails as a government employee - although this is speculation on my part.)

The appeal court found that as an employee of TEA, Cormer should not have been expressing her opinions on any subject matter that could be part of the school curriculum, whether or not it was religious. Again in the words of the court:

"The fact that Comer and other TEA employees cannot speak out for or against possible subjects to be included in the curriculum—whether the considered subjects relate to the study of mathematics, Islamic art, creationism, chemistry, or the history of the Christian Crusades—their silence does not primarily advance religion, but rather, serves to preserve TEA’s administrative role in facilitating the curriculum review process for the Board. "

Not really knowing very much about the case, I'm not giving my own opinion on the court's decision, only trying to explain the reasoning of the judges. (Although it is a bit interesting that their examples included Islamic art and Christian crusades.) If you want read the court's opinion in whole, it is one of the links above, entitled "Court filing" (although a title "Court opinion" seems more appropriate.)

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 02:05:34 UTC | #487213

GamerFromJumpZ's Avatar Comment 27 by GamerFromJumpZ

Comment 4 by Michael Gray :

Hey mate, Yankee-land went down the gurgler years ago.

This is but a back-bubbling from the theistic-sewer.

America has its theocrats. This is a problem, but it's mostly contained. Europe's importing theirs. That's a big problem.

How's that working out?

Make certain your house is in order before getting too up in arms about someone else's.

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 04:54:40 UTC | #487231

Nunbeliever's Avatar Comment 28 by Nunbeliever

To sctparker:

America has its theocrats. This is a problem, but it's mostly contained. Europe's importing theirs. That's a big problem.

Contained? Well, that is an interesting way to put it. Let me remind you that Sarah Palin was very close to becoming the vice president of the USA. And she is definately not out of the game yet. Eight years of Bush ought to make anyone careful using a word like contained. Ask the science teachers in Texas or the many other states of the bible-belt if they think the situation is contained. I would say this is an ever-growing problem in USA. Sadly it is spreading to Europe as well. Yes, of course we have our problems in Europe too. But we do not teach creationism in public schools or harrass non-believers. Morons like Bill O'Reilley or Glen Beck would never be allowed to enter a tv-studio in Europe. At least they would never be given a show of their own on prime time. It is not only about evolution and religion per se. Guess what country is more or less solely responsible for the last economical crisis? Oh yes! American capitalism! That's the way to go! Guess what country has not signed the Kyoto protocol yet and what country that is largely to blame for the world's ignorance regarding climate change and alternative energy in large? I could go on and on! Yes, we have our problems in Europe. Although nothing like the sheer madness we are witnessing overseas. And your arrogant attitude is actually a big part of the problem!

I am not saying all americans are ignoramuses! Of course not! America still has the best scientists and America is still world-leading in many fields! Still, it is impossible to ignore that the americans are facing huge challenges! The political system in USA seems to be largely corrupted by religious fanatics and now they are heading for your educational system! If I was an american that would make me most worried! And an arrogant attitude like yours is not going to help you a single bit! Why do I care? Well, because what happens in USA never stays in USA! The reason I get so emotional is because I actually CARE about what happens to the americans!

Updated: Thu, 08 Jul 2010 07:49:43 UTC | #487241

justinesaracen's Avatar Comment 29 by justinesaracen

To those Americans here who are snarling and insulting Nun-believer, all you are doing is illustrating just how right he is. I'm an American living overseas and am embarrassed by the image projected by the US. While there are millions of smart, broad-minded and well-meaning Americans, from over here, the average American looks brutish, spoiled, overweight and stupid. As a nation you consume vastly more than the rest of the world and you pollute more than the rest of the world, and you are self-righteous and nationalistic to a degree that baffles the rest of the western world.

European politics, however clumsy and/or corrupt, do not threaten the entire world, while the US military machine does.

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 08:04:05 UTC | #487244

Prieten's Avatar Comment 30 by Prieten

I'm an American who has lived in Japan for the last seven years and for six years in Europe before that. While living in America, I was a Ronald Reagan-loving, government-hating, free enterprise-loving, national health care-hating Republican (but I was an atheist!). I think there is something to the adage that you have to go abroad to see your own country as it really is.

America IS destroying this planet. Most of Western Europe and certainly Japan have a much better way of life. The schools are better, the health care is better/cheaper, there is less crime and violence. The biggest reason for this difference seems to be the religious fanaticism in America vs. Europe/Japan. American individualism and our worship of material wealth are deeply rooted in the Protestant ethic which so dominates American society.

I wish one could say the stupidity was just limited to Texas and Texan courts. It isn't. The most recent legal disaster has to be the Supreme Court striking down the Chicago gun control law. There's just one bodyblow after another coming out of the USA.

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 10:05:53 UTC | #487252