Issue 75, Summer 1999

The teaching of evolution has been overwhelmingly affirmed in New Mexico where the State Board of Education voted to strengthen the statewide science curriculum. The new policy bars the teaching of creationism as science. New Mexico’s action is a breath of fresh air in the wake of the Kansas decision to drop evolution and the Big Bang theory from its required science curriculum.

Arizona school officials banned a musical adaptation of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, at Carson Junior High in Mesa. The novel contains racial and sexist references, and offends law enforcement officials and churchgoers, claimed Mesa “educators.”

The 1999 Nobel prize for literature went to Gunter Grass, author of The Tin Drum. Is this the Nobel Committee’s response to Oklahoma City, where copies of the award-winning film version were seized by police? (CN 67 & 72) A federal judge ruled that The Tin Drum is not obscene, that the seizure was unconstitutional, and fined the City $400,000.

Good news in Wichita Falls, Texas, where the city council enacted a policy allowing challenges to controversial library books. In response to an ACLU lawsuit, a federal judge enjoined the policy, allowing the library to move two books back to the children’s section: Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Roommate.

New And Noteworthy From NCAC:

Public Education, Democracy, Free Speech: The Ideas That Define and Unite Us, produced in collaboration with the National Education Association, stresses the link between public education and free speech, and explores the role of public schools in teaching about controversial issues. $2.50.

The Cyber-Library: Legal and Policy Issues Facing Public Libraries in the High-Tech Era is a comprehensive resource for communities seeking to take advantage of the benefits of technology without sacrificing free speech and inquiry. $7.50. Click here for the text.

Also of Interest:

Freedom Forum’s State of the First Amendment 1999 (#99-F01), is a survey of public attitudes. E-mail: [email protected]

Mary E. Hull, Censorship In America: Contemporary World Issues (ABC-CLIO).

Wendy Kaminer, Sleeping With Extra Terrestrials; The Rise of Irrationalism and Perils of Piety (Pantheon). Discusses free speech, creationism, cyberspace, and other issues.

Nicholas J. Karolides, Margaret Bald & Dawn B. Sova, 100 Banned Books; Censorship Histories of World Literature (Checkmark Books)