Despite modern society's attempts at political correctness and increasingly liberal social mores, certain issues continue to divide friends, families, and nations. Religion is one such issue. The conflict over religion's proper place in society is not limited to local coffee shop banter, the purview of social commentators, or dinner conversation in a gated suburban home. The Supreme Court has similarly struggled to define a border in the morass between secular and sectarian. The broad language of the First Amendment lends itself to diverse interpretations and conflicting opinions, stating in part, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting free exercise thereof."2 This language has led to disagreement between Supreme Court Justices3 and inconsistent employment of Establishment Clause "tests."4 The ongoing debate over the Establishment Clause's meaning recently surfaced in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.5 In Kitzmiller, the Dover, Pennsylvania, school board passed a resolution requiring a verbal disclaimer be read to high school biology students. The disclaimer stated in part that there are unexplained gaps in the theory of evolution and directed students to materials related to the alternative theory of intelligent design ("ID").6 The Kitzmiller court held the disclaimer violated the Establishment Clause and also determined that ID was a non-scientific, and hence theological, argument for creation.7
Special "Effects": Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, 400 F. Supp. 2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005), and the Fate of Intelligent Design in Our Public Schools,
86 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol86/iss3/5