On Oct. 17, the defense opened its case, beginning with testimony from Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University and a leading proponent of intelligent design theory. As the case progresses, Beliefnet will post intriguing excerpts from testimony on both sides of the isssue.
ATTORNEY: And can you please tell us how the Board's actions have harmed you?
REHM: There are a lot of different ways. I'll simply start with professionally. When I went to Dover, I thought that was going to be my teaching home. I enjoyed working with the faculty. I enjoyed the students I had. It was my home district. It's where I lived. I was looking forward to that.
Within those two years I was in the district, I saw a totally different side. I saw a district in which teachers were not respected for their educational expertise. Their educational background was not respected. Science teachers were not respected. And it was all, as far as the science teachers not being respected, out of religious ideas.
I sat in a meeting when [school board member] Alan Bonsell told me he didn't agree with evolution because of his religious background. He may not have been aware of it, because I was teaching evolution as well, because natural selection was part of the curriculum for the environmental course that I had to teach.
So, therefore, even though he was addressing the curriculum change in biology, he was addressing the curriculum change in something that I also had to teach. How long is it until he changes my environmental [course] and tells me what I have to do?
|They don't know me. They don't know that I'm the co-director of the children's choir at church, or that I run the music at the second service, or that my wife and I run Vacation Bible School. Yet they have no problem going around calling me an atheist because my particular religious viewpoint doesn't agree with that of the school board, which is a public entity and not a religious one.|
In addition to that, if his religious beliefs of young earth creationism that he expressed are in disagreement with evolution, what happens when we get to the big bang theory and I'm teaching in physics that the earth is billions of years old? I saw my head on the chopping block and my curriculum as being the next to be altered when they realized what was there.
Personally, I live in the neighborhood, you know. I live within the school district where I taught. You used to be able to go out to any restaurant, sit down, not worry about who was next to you. You could walk down the street and say hi to everybody and get a nice pleasant return.
Now people stare. They know I'm a Plaintiff or they know in this particular case that I'm a candidate opposing the school board, and you can't sit there and not worry about who's looking at you or what's going to happen, you know. You'll go out and regularly be called inappropriate things centering around the concept of atheist.
They don't know me. They don't know that I'm the co-director of the children's choir at church, or that I run the music at the second service, or that my wife and I run Vacation Bible School. Yet they have no problem going around calling me an atheist because my particular religious viewpoint doesn't agree with that of the school board, which is a public entity and not a religious one.
It can't explain the divine creator. Intelligent design, every aspect I've ever heard of it, is religious creationism. You know, if the designer is not -- an intelligent designer is not a God, even if you don't want to refer to it as Judeo-Christian God, what is it? Aliens? Then you're still not addressing the origins of life that you speak of. Where did the aliens come from?
So there has to be a supernatural component too. And that, to me, is religious. That's not my religion, and that's not something that should be shared in the science classroom. Scientifically, there is no merit right now to the concept of intelligent design. Philosophically or religiously, is it a possibility? Sure.
But it's out of the realm of science. And my career as a science educator is educating students what science is. And we also educate them in what the limits of science happen to be. And through the things the Board has done, through their policy, through the mailing of their newsletter here, they're setting up the students that would be walking into my classroom to have conflict right away. They have statements in here dealing with -- am I allowed to read from this?
THE COURT: We're in the midst of a narrative answer, and I think the narrative answer might be getting a little extended.
ATTORNEY: We just need you to tell us. The question was, how does that cause you harm, and you started to complain how this causes harm. If you could complete your answer?
REHM: Professionally covered. Personally, you know, going out, we have issues with people, where they're not very pleased to see us around and are not hesitating to let you know that. And it's not very polite. It goes beyond atheist to adding other words onto it that I don't care to repeat.
So there is a lot of issues and a lot of different ways in which it hurts me, not to mention now my daughter is in the biology course, and there are students in the class that want to know, well, what if you do come from monkeys? What's going on with this? Well, you know that evolution doesn't make sense. Why are your parents doing this?
So it has filtered down to the kids, and it's affecting my children directly. And that's a problem. And if the school board didn't pass the policy, it never would have occurred. Prior to their policy change, I never once had a student in class criticize another student for believing evolution, even when we were teaching it. It didn't happen.
MR. HARVEY: I have no further questions, Your Honor.