Thursday, September 08, 2016

Suit Says Arizona Charter School Teaches Religious Curriculum

Yesterday Americans United filed a federal court lawsuit alleging that an Arizona public charter school teaches a religiously-based required American Government course, and interjects religion in a number of other parts of its curriculum. The complaint (full text) in Doe v. Heritage Academy, Inc., (D AZ, filed 9/7/2016), alleges that the taxpayer-funded charter school with three campuses in Arizona violates the Establishment Clause as well as the Arizona constitution by providing religious education to its students.  The required American Government class is taught by the school's founder and principal, Earl Taylor, Jr., and uses materials from the National Center for Constitutional Studies-- an organization founded by Taylor. The complaint alleges in part:
In class, Taylor teaches the students that the Ten Commandments — including those that mandate worship of God — must be obeyed in order to attain happiness; that socialism violates God’s laws; and that true patriots believe in the “universal religion of all mankind,” the tenets of which ...  incorporate the beliefs of some Christian denominations.
AU issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit. [Thanks to Jeff Pasek for the lead.]