November 24, 2014 · 2 Kislev

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Reform Jewish Leader Commends Ohio Board of Education’s Decision to Eliminate Language that Questions the Theory of Evolution
In response to the 11-4 vote by the Ohio Board of Education to eliminate a passage in the state’s science standards which would open the door for the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued a statement noting, “For the scientific and religious communities, this decision represents an important step in keeping the wall of separation between church and state in tact.”

Pelavin: For the scientific and religious communities, this decision represents an important step in keeping the wall of separation between church and state in tact. We applaud the Ohio Board of Education for standing up for religious freedom, and for science, by refusing to allow one religious view to be advanced within public school science curricula.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Sarah Burrows, 202.387.2800

Washington, February 16, 2006: In response to the 11-4 vote by the Ohio Board of Education to eliminate a passage in the state’s science standards which would open the door for the teaching of “intelligent design” in public schools, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the follow statement:

Intelligent Design advocates received another setback, and science received another boost, this week when the Ohio Board of Education voted 11-4 to eliminate a passage in the state’s science standards that encourages students to seek evidence for and against evolution. The standards, which are from 2002, include language which says students should be able to “describe how scientists continue to investigate and critically analyze aspects of evolutionary theory.”

For the scientific and religious communities, this decision represents an important step in keeping the wall of separation between church and state intact. We applaud the Ohio Board of Education for standing up for religious freedom, and science, by refusing to allow one religious view to be advanced within public school science curricula. The Board’s decision follows the holding by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in the “intelligent design” case (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District), intelligent design, also known as creationism, is not a science, but, rather, is religion. Including language that suggests otherwise in public school science standards is a disservice to students, as well as to all Americans.

As people of faith, we understand that the choice between religion and science is both false and unfair. We know that science and God exist complementary of each other. Maimonides, the great Jewish scholar and physician, taught that an individual’s ability to learn was a key element of spirituality. As Jewish Americans and members of a religious minority, we understand, as did the framers of our Constitution, that our government and its institutions must serve Americans of all faiths and no faith alike. We look forward to further decisions that strengthen this fundamental value.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.




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