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Home arrow Latest News arrow Media's "Go-To" Man on Religion in Public Schools Has Confict of Interest

Media's "Go-To" Man on Religion in Public Schools Has Confict of Interest  

By Nancy Manno, co-host of the radio talk show "In Great Company"


Tuesday March 27, 6:00 am ET


LINWOOD, N.J., March 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Freedom Forum First Amendment Center Senior Scholar, Charles Haynes, the news media''s "go-to" man on religion in education, is not qualified to speak on legal Constitutional issues and Haynes should recuse himself when discussing teaching Bible in public schools because of a conflict of interest due to his longstanding association with the Bible Literacy Project, which is marketing a textbook to public schools.


Haynes, who is often called by the news media to give expert opinion on the Constitutional issues of teaching religion in public schools, lacks the formal training of a lawyer and does not hold a law degree, yet he has interpreted for the media how the legal framework of the separation of church and state applies to the public schools. Haynes'' background as a former employee of Americans United For Separation of Church and State and his close association with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Communitarian Network undoubtedly have shaped his viewpoint on religion in the public square.


Haynes'' true colors show in his written works. In "When the Government Prays No One Wins," Haynes infers that the National Day of Prayer should be illegal. Haynes wrote "The Relationship of Religion to Moral Education in the Public Schools," a manifesto of religion in public schools for the Communitarian Network, which Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily describes as "a new form of Communism for people who believe in God." Haynes also writes educational documents for the Council On Islamic Education. In addition, Haynes authored "Public Schools and Sexual Orientation: A First Amendment Framework," which is endorsed by the radical Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network. Activist ACLU attorney, Oliver Thomas and Haynes coauthored "Finding Common Ground: A First Amendment Guide to Religion and Public Education," where Haynes gives his legal interpretations, which no doubt have been filtered through his coauthor.


Haynes has been endorsed by Hartley Films, a division of The Temple of Understanding, which tries to move New Age videos into the public schools. Titles currently offered by the Hartley Film Foundation include "Buddhism: the Path to Enlightenment," "Hinduism and the Song of God," "Requiem for a Faith (Tibetan Buddhism)," "Taoism and Trip to Awareness: A Jain Pilgrimage to India." Further, Haynes is a board member of the Pluralism Project, and serves alongside a Wicca Priestess.


But Haynes'' conflict of interest lies in his support of the Bible Literacy Project''s (BLP) efforts to teach the Bible to public high school students using a textbook "The Bible and Its Influence." Haynes uses his position at the Freedom Forum First Amendment Center (formerly the liberal Gannet Foundation) to appear unbiased to the news media while he endorses and promotes the BLP textbook as a legally acceptable means of teaching the Bible in public schools. Haynes and the BLP partnered in developing the guidelines to which the textbook was written (The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide), and Haynes is a contributor to the textbook.


Haynes has called local school districts considering offering Bible classes and has implied a strong possibility that the texts will invite a legal challenge from the ACLU. Haynes then recommends in their place the BLP textbook. The textbook is supposed to be about the Bible, but some have suggested that it follows Haynes'' ideology by casting doubt on faith principles of the Bible, placing Islam in a favorable light, suggesting that the Bible was used to justify communism, and by promoting the United Nations Education, Science and Cultural Organization, which uses literacy as a tool to sponsor homosexuality, abortion, and religious pluralism.

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