It’s always disappointing when advocates of the First Amendment find an excuse to fall short of full freedom. Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center wrote a column last week arguing, “Teachers should have more academic freedom than they presently enjoy. But when religion is involved, teachers should not be free to impose either a religious or an anti-religious viewpoint on students.” Haynes accuses the 9th Circuit of having a double standard on religion because they rejected the claim of a teacher who had put up patriotic banners in the classroom emphasizing references to God, but defended a teacher who called creationism “superstitious nonsense.” I happen to disagree with the 9th Circuit’s restriction on religious banners, but I think there is a clear distinction between a teacher giving opinions in class and a school deciding that certain banners should not be put up in classrooms. What’s more alarming is Haynes’ belief that teachers today have too much freedom to discuss religion. Why should religion be treated any different from any other controversial or offensive topic? It’s very disturbing to me that Haynes thinks that the First Amendment demands that all teachers must be banned from calling creationism “superstitious nonsense,” primarily because creationism is, in fact, superstitious nonsense, and I cannot bear to think that stating the obvious scientific facts could be forbidden in school. But I also believe in freedom for teachers who disagree with me, who believe in religion and express these views in class.