Battleground: One Mother's Crusade, the Religious Right, and the Struggle for Control of Our Classrooms

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Poseidon Press, 1993 - Law - 365 pages
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In Church Hill, a devoutly religious community in the mist-shrouded mountains of East Tennessee, housewife Vicki Frost detected the influence of Satan in her children's schoolbooks. Horrified, she complained to the school board that texts with such themes as evolution, feminism, and telepathy could turn children away from God. But the board members rebuffed Frost and her handful of allies. A principal ridiculed them. When she tried to remove her second-grade daughter from class, Frost was arrested and jailed. So she and some other parents filed suit in federal court. What began as a ragtag schoolbook protest quickly escalated into a ferocious proxy war between two Washington behemoths, powerful outsiders who intensified, reshaped, and exploited the conflict. Concerned Women for America, a religious-right organization dedicated to "protecting the rights of the family", squared off against People for the American Way, the liberal, media-savvy organization founded by Norman Lear to combat "the greatest immediate threat to our pluralistic society: the growing power of the Religious New Right". At stake were profound issues that a democratic society must continually confront, among them the limits of tolerance, the separation of church and state, and the rights of parents in their children's education. The dramatic, bitterly fought "Scopes II" trial (as journalists dubbed it) became front-page news across the country. The courtroom battle pitted one of the preeminent lawyers of the religious right, a scrappy former Moral Majority official with a quick wit and an even quicker temper, against a highpriced, smooth-talking Washington litigator. Star witness Vicki Frost and her allies weredenounced by The New York Times, chided by George Bush, mocked by Lewis Grizzard, and lauded, to their dismay, by the Ku Klux Klan. With consummate skill and scrupulous fairness, Stephen Bates vividly recounts this riveting saga. He depicts the leading figures on both sides in full human dimension and lucidly explains the crucial political and legal issues involved. Timely, provocative, cautionary, this is a vitally important work that illuminates the central values of our democracy.

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Battleground: one mother's crusade, the religious right, and the struggle for control of our classrooms

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In rural Tennessee, a fundamentalist Christian mother took a peek at her daughter's reading textbooks and was horrified to find materials that, in her mind, not only conflicted with her religious ... Read full review

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About the author (1993)

Stephen Bates is "The Guardian"'s religious affairs and royal correspondent. He is a regular broadcaster as well as writer, and has contributed to a wide range of publications, both at home and abroad.

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