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Religion in public schools?

The Columbus Dispatch<!—->.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

The Columbus Dispatch

Apparently seeing the handwriting on the wall, those who want religious ideas about the origins of life to be taught in public school science classes have offered a ”compromise.”

Having provoked stiff opposition by demanding that ”intelligent design” and other nonscientific explanations be taught alongside the theory of evolution, they now merely ask that the State Board of Education allow, but not require, local school districts to decide whether religious ideas should be introduced into science classes.

Though dressed in the guise of compromise, this is a plan for an anti-evolution jihad in the state’s 600-plus school districts.

Proponents of intelligent design – which argues that higher forms of life are too complex to have evolved and, therefore, must have been created by a higher power – are a tiny minority. But they are extremely well-organized and adept at giving a scientific-sounding gloss to what is just a more sophisticated form of creationism.

Intelligent design and other religiously based notions about the origin of life are not science. Science concerns itself strictly with understanding the natural world and discovering the natural laws and processes that govern it. The moment science begins to ”explain” the natural world by invoking supernatural forces, it ceases to be science.

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The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge has crafted a color-coded terrorist threat guide to let us all know which way the winds of war blow.

It’s a literal rainbow of concern, a five-shade framework running the spectrum from the universally recognized danger signal of red, demanding maximum alert, to the relatively relaxed ease of green.

Right now – and as far into the future as we can see – we all live in a yellow soup tureen, swimming daily around the psychological obstacles of elevated anxiety and ”significant” risk of terrorist attacks.

The question on the minds of many Americans – what should we, Joe and Jane Citizen, be doing about all this? – remains largely unanswered. Ridge’s five-way terrorist traffic signal is written in cold bureaucratese: ”Implementing, as appropriate, contingency and emergency response plans.”

But it’s long on officialspeak and short on details. Just what, your local mayor and police chief may well be asking, should we be doing that we have not yet done?

That, Ridge says, is up to state and local governments and private businesses to decide as the nation works to form a ”common language” of security. In short, he doesn’t know either.

Until he and we do, we remain ever wary in the middle of this muddle, looking over our shoulders for whatever we might see.

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The (Youngstown) Vindicator

Not satisfied to arrest opposition leaders on trumped-up charges of treason, to shut down the free press and to instigate violence against all who disagree with him, Zimbabwe’s de facto dictator Robert Mugabe has demonstrated that even without absolute power he can corrupt the democratic process absolutely. The elections held over the weekend in the African nation are all the proof anyone needs that Mugabe’s regime is determined to eliminate all the last little vestiges of democracy. International political sanctions are a necessity.

Oh yes, the results of the election? Surprise, surprise! Mugabe won. As if there were any doubt.

Officially, Mugabe had about 56 percent of the vote, while his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai had 42 percent. The other 2 percent, election officials said, were for other candidates and spoiled ballots.

But if you were to ask international observers monitoring the balloting, they would tell you that ”won” is spelled ”s-t-o-l-e-n.” Thousands of ballots may have been destroyed or not counted. Thousands more citizens were prevented from voting.

Walter Kansteiner, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, said the United States would consider further sanctions against Mugabe and his government.

However, a tough response to Mugabe has to come from more than the United States, Britain and the European Union. If African nations don’t condemn the events in Zimbabwe and isolate him politically, he will have little incentive to change.