SPEAKER: LAURI LEBO
, author of “The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America.”
SUBJECT: Inside the Famous Dover Court Case That Kicked ‘Intelligent Design’ Out of LOCAL Schools...AND WHAT THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IS UP TO NOW.
Inside the Famous Dover Court Case
That Kicked ‘Intelligent Design’ Out of Its Schools
NYCA Brings You the Reporter Who Was There
And Says It Changed Her Life
Is the Religious Right Now Out to Privatize Public Schools?
You may not remember the 2005 Dover, Pennsylvania, court case in which a group of parents succeeded in kicking 'Intelligent Design' out of the local public schools. But rest assured that lawyers, politicians, Atheists and the fundamentalist religious right all remember it very well. The case has shaken up a nationwide string of conservative school boards that apparently had their eye on a similar goal--getting Intelligent Design into school curriculums--and has caused them to rethink their strategies. Could the religious right now be on to something worse?
The Dover case also shook up a local reporter, Lauri Lebo, who was assigned to cover the trial every day by her newspaper, the York, PA, Daily Record. Lauri’s father, a religious fundamentalist, owned the local Christian radio station.
At the end of the case, Kitzmiller v. Dover School District, the Bush-appointed Republican judge startled the country by ruling that the teaching of Intelligent Design in public school biology classes violates the U.S. Constitution. And Lauri Lebo had become a nonbeliever who faced the burden of confessing this to her fundamentalist father.
School Board ‘Lying for Jesus?’
“I eventually came to see that the School Board was forcing their religious beliefs on those children,” Lauri says. “I don’t come from a science background, I’m not a science reporter. I was purely the objective reporter coming in to this. I learned because I did my homework and I said, wow, this is a fraud. The School Board members were lying for Jesus! They covered up their religious motivations.”
Lauri felt so strongly about the case that she wrote a book, “The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America,” (The New Press, 2008), which has been called by reviewers “an excellent, troubling book.”
Religion Destroying Public Schools
In the ensuing six years, Lauri father has died and left her the radio station. She resigned her job at the newspaper and now works doing communications for a teachers union. But she is increasingly concerned: Lauri, now an advocate for science and realism in public schools, sees the thwarted religious right as starting a new thrust:
“What we’re seeing now is the religious right focusing less and less on trying to get Intelligent Design into public schools and more and more on working to privatize public education so they can teach whatever they want.”
She finds this frightening. “Atheists and nonbelievers need to be concerned about these privatization efforts. I think the religious right is trying to destroy our public schools. In New Orleans, they teach that the Trail of Tears was created by god to bring American Indians to Christ!”
Featured in PBS Documentary
Lauri has been featured in the PBS documentary film, “Judgment Day,” about Dover. “To me, what was playing out in my family was very similar to what was also playing out in the Dover trial: We had a very split, divided community. And nation.”
Come on Sunday, December 8, to hear this courageous young woman who was able, finally, to face up to her father, her boss and her whole community to witness the truth.
Come on Sunday also to hear her clarion call about what the religious right is up to now in its efforts to force religious dogma into our children’s schools and minds. There is a danger, she is convinced, that the religious right will take any steps they feel necessary to achieve their theocratic goals, even if it means destroying our public school system.
WHAT: “HOW THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT TRIED TO SNEAK RELIGION INTO OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS--AND IS STILL TRYING,” a talk by Lauri Lebo, author of “The Devil in Dover,” a book about the famous Dover court case and its effect on a whole community.
WHEN: SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2013 - 12 noon
WHERE: THE PRESS BOX - 932 Second Ave. - (Bet. 49th & 50th Streets) - SECOND FLOOR
COST: BRUNCH IS $20, which includes buffet entrees, salad, soft drink, coffee, tax and tip. We encourage going back for seconds on the Eggs Benedict!