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FW: Plaintiffs ask: Why [Dover school board] choose Thomas More? -- Dover Area's counsel advertised itself as a defender of Christian beliefs.

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@Ohio.edu] Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 9:06 AM To: Science Education Subject: Plaintiffs ask: Why
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 1 4:44 PM
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Steven A. Edinger [mailto:Steven.Edinger.1@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2005 9:06 AM
      To: Science Education
      Subject: Plaintiffs ask: Why [Dover school board] choose Thomas More? --
      Dover Area's counsel advertised itself as a defender of Christian
      beliefs.

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      >From the York Daily Record at YDR.com

      Plaintiffs ask: Why choose Thomas More?
      Dover Area's counsel advertised itself as a defender of Christian
      beliefs.
      By MICHELLE STARR
      Daily Record/Sunday News
      Tuesday, November 1, 2005

      Dover Area School Board member Alan Bonsell testified he would be
      offended if
      plaintiffs' attorney Steve Harvey was implying he chose Thomas More Law
      Center's counsel based on information from its Web site.

      During cross-examination in U.S. Middle District Court Monday, Harvey
      read the
      following line from the center's site: "Our purpose is to be the sword
      and
      shield for people of faith, providing legal representation without
      charge to
      defend and protect Christians and their religious beliefs in the public
      square."

      Harvey said the information was on the Web site in December, not long
      after
      Bonsell, then-president of the board, was supposed to be checking into
      options
      for the district's legal representation. The district was sued last year
      over
      its biology curriculum change, which included mentioning intelligent
      design.

      While Harvey asked why the district picked Thomas More, noting the
      center's
      Christian focus, defense attorney Patrick Gillen objected that the
      questioning
      was improper.

      Harvey argued that Bonsell's views on the Thomas More Law Center go
      toward
      establishing the board's religious motivation for adopting a statement
      about
      gaps in evolutionary theory and pointing students to other theories and
      materials.

      Attorneys are trying to prove board members were religiously motivated,
      which
      would violate the First Amendment's establishment clause.

      Contrary to the opinions of mainstream scientists, the board maintains
      intelligent design is a scientific theory and that its mention in the
      curriculum is good for the students' science education.

      Judge John E. Jones III allowed Harvey's question.

      Thomas More Law Center was one of a few firms to offer legal advice for
      free,
      Bonsell said, but he did not mention names of other firms.

      "I picked Thomas More because they are the most qualified to defend the
      district," Bonsell testified.

      Gillen continued his objections, and said, "I fail to see the purpose of
      this."

      Harvey also questioned Bonsell about the site listing a Salon.com story
      by
      Gordy Slack in which Richard Thompson, head of Thomas More and Dover's
      lead
      attorney, was quoted saying intelligent design was "harmonious with the
      Christian faith."

      He wanted to know if Bonsell had that understanding of intelligent
      design, too.

      Bonsell said no.

      Outside court, Gillen said he objected to the questions because "no
      amount of
      rhetoric on our part should be held against our client."

      "The lawyers and clients are two separate things," Gillen said. "They
      should
      never be charged or convicted based on anything a lawyer has done."

      For months, defendants and their supporters have questioned the
      intentions of
      the ACLU, one of the groups representing 11 plaintiffs suing the Dover
      board.
      They've claimed the group promotes immorality, such as child pornography
      and
      legalizing illicit drugs.

      ACLU attorney Witold Walczak said his legal organization doesn't
      discriminate
      and represents people - including Christians - who want to defend their
      rights.

      Walczek said Harvey's question hit on a lingering point.

      "I think it's a question everyone wanted to ask," Walczek said. "If this
      case
      has nothing to do with religion, why are you employing the Thomas More
      Law
      Center?"

      Reach Michelle Starr at 771-2045 or mstarr@....



      Please see the Ohio Citizens for Science's web page at:


      http://OhioScience.org



      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---
      Steven A. Edinger, Physiology Lab Instructor

      064 Irvine Hall
      Department of Biological Sciences
      steven.edinger.1@...
      Ohio University Office: (740) 593-9484
      Athens, Ohio 45701-2979 Fax: (740) 593-0300
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      ---

      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************




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      ******************************************************
      "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of
      evolution." Theodosius Dobzhansky, 1973
      ******************************************************
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