The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of Dr.
Dilawar Edwards, a professor at the California University of
Pennsylvania, who appealed his rights to free speech, due process and
equal protection under the U.S. Constitution to the highest court in the
nation for being restricted from using classroom materials of a
religious nature in his classes.
a petition of certiorari was filed before the U.S. Supreme Court on
behalf of Edwards who was prohibited from using any materials having a
Christian perspective as part of his course entitled "Introduction to
Educational Media." A
Pacific Justice Institute
affiliate attorney, Craig L. Parshall, had
filed the petition.
Advertisement - story continues below
Although a number of students claimed Edwards' materials were, in
fact, appropriate for the course and that his religion could not be
determined based on class discussion, the university's vice president
for school affairs, Nancy Nelson, directed Edwards to "cease and desist"
from using "doctrinaire material." Edwards was expected to follow these
orders although the university, through an "academic freedom" agreement
with its faculty members, allowed the professors to choose whatever
materials they wanted for their courses as long as it was material that
was relevant to the subject matter.
After Edwards had taken the matter to court making various appeals
from one court to another, the only option left for him was appealing to
the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, however, denied his petition last
Regarding the case, Brad Dacus, the president of the Pacific Justice
Institute, said, "Without question, we feel that the court made a
mistake by passing up this case. Although we understand that only a
small percentage of cases filed before the Supreme Court are granted
review, this case had the potential to protect many professors across
the country from policies which are openly hostile to religious
With no other legal recourse, Dacus told WorldNetDaily that Edwards
will have to abide by university guidelines in regards to the curriculum
he uses. Although the university still has a policy of "academic
freedom," Dacus said the university is apparently allowed to carve out
whatever exceptions it wants, including the prohibition of religious
perspectives and a professor's attempt to have a balanced class course.
Advertisement - story continues below
"This is a tremendous concern to us because there already is such a
great degree of anti-religious viewpoints and perspectives being
proselytized by the universities -- particularly public universities,"
said Dacus referring to the university's ability to manipulate their own
policies. "This only furthers that gap of disparagement between
secularists and that of a more conventional, religious perspective in
allowing students to have the full picture."
"This case was in no way about the ability for a teacher to
proselytize," Dacus added. "This material that Edwards was going to
include, which the university objected to, was really a part of making
sure that his instruction and teachings were going to be balanced.
Apparently, the university doesn't have a very high priority on balanced
Dacus is concerned this case may set a precedent for other Christian
teachers who want to use Christian material as part of the classroom
"(This decision) shows that the court may not be so weighted in favor
of acknowledging "academic freedom" as being part of the First Amendment
of the Constitution," Dacus said. "For the average public university,
all this is going to mean is further oppression of individual professors
wanting to provide alternative perspectives which differ from the
liberal, social movement of the day."
WorldNetDaily contacted the university for comment, but officials
were not available.