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Tulane Law Review
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS: Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education: The Fifth Circuit Leaves William Jennings Bryan Crucified on an Establishment Clause Cross*
* William Jennings Bryan spoke against the adoption of the gold standard with the following famous lines: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold." Louis W. Koenig, A Political Biography of William Jennings Bryan 197 (1971). In 1925, Bryan assisted with the prosecution of Thomas Scopes, a Tennessee teacher charged with violating the state's law preventing teachers from teaching evolution or any theory that denied the Biblical version of Creation. See id. at 178-208, 629-60.
75 Tul. L. Rev. 533
Winston R. Kitchingham
Were he to be transported to the end of the century whose beginning he helped shape, William Jennings Bryan, defender of Biblical Creationism and foe of the teaching of evolution, would be pleased with the recent actions of the Tangipahoa Parish Board of Education. 1 Having seen a proposal to allow the teaching of Creation Science in Tangipahoa Parish Public Schools defeated, one school board member offered for the board's consideration what he believed to be a "very reasonable compromise": the reading of a disclaimer to students before they were taught Darwin's theory of evolution. 2 The disclaimer, which was adopted by the board in a five to four vote, stated, in part, that evolution was presented "to inform students of the scientific concept and [was] not intended to influence or dissuade the Biblical version of Creation or any other concept." 3 The disclaimer encouraged students to "closely examine each alternative toward forming an opinion." 4
Seven months after the board adopted the disclaimer, parents of children in the Tangipahoa Parish School System brought suit claiming that the disclaimer ran afoul of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. 5 The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, applying the test formulated by the United States Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, held that the disclaimer had a religious, rather than secular, purpose and enjoined the school board from having it read to students. 6 The United States Court of Appeals ...
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