Supreme Court rejects Creationism – June 19, 1987
This week marks the anniversary of when the United States Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that mandated the teaching of creation science alongside the theory of evolution.
In a 7-2 decision, the high court found that the Balanced Treatment Act violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and failed to pass the Lemon Test, which stated that government and religious entanglement must fulfill a secular purpose.
“The court observed that the statute's avowed purpose of protecting academic freedom was inconsistent with requiring, upon risk of sanction, the teaching of creation science whenever evolution is taught,” wrote Justice William J. Brennan for the majority.
Justice Antonin Scalia authored a dissent, being joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, arguing that the Act should not be considered just because a religion might benefit from its implementation.
“On many past occasions, we have had no difficulty finding a secular purpose for governmental action far more likely to advance religion than the Balanced Treatment Act,” wrote Justice Scalia.