MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a Southland teacher who ridiculed creationism did not violate a student’s First Amendment rights and thus is not subject to any legal action.
The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned a lower court ruling from earlier this year.
That ruling said a Mission Viejo teacher’s dismissal of Biblical creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense” violated a ban of governmental hostility toward religion.
However, the appellate court would not rule on the constitutionality of the comments in particular, according to the Associated Press.
The court ruled Capistrano Valley High School teacher James Corbett is protected from such lawsuits because the instructor had a reasonable belief such comments were acceptable in an advanced placement European history class.
Until the late 19th century, creationism was taught in U.S. classrooms under the presupposition that the Bible is inerrant and is to be interpreted literally except where the context denotes otherwise — a stance that radically changed when widespread acceptance of the evolutionary theory took hold of public schools in the 1860s.