Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Censor of the Year: Jerry Coyne

My friends at the DI have announced the Censor of the Year for 2014: Jerry Coyne. It's well-deserved. Coyne is a nasty piece of work-- he has repeatedly threatened people and advocated legal force to silence people who don't share his Darwinian/atheist/materialist religion.

He's a disgrace to his profession-- he's an educator no less, who sics lawyers and a holocaust-denying anti-religious hate group on people who ask for discussion of critical issues like evolution and religion in the public square.

Congrats, Jerry. But don't feel too bad about it. It was all determined by physics anyway, and no one had any choice to do otherwise. 


  1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    Well, no one likes to be identified and singled out as an intellectual bigot, but I hope he can see that it maximizes utility for the Collective.

    1. Senile old fart,

      Jery Coyne is no more a censor than Egnor is when he called for climatologists and evolutionary biologists to be defunded.

      Jerry Coyne doesn't have the power to censor anyone. He just has the common right to point out whenever the law is being broken.

    2. The law isn't being broken, so that isn't it. But nice try.

      I didn't know you were such a law and order guy. How about sticking up for my second amendment rights every once in a while? Or my right to free exercise of religion?


    3. You'll have to show me where Egnor said that all climatologists and evolutionary biologists should lose their funding. I don't believe that Egnor said that, He does want to defund those climatologists and evolutionary biologists who defraud the public. Losing funding is really the least we can do.

      Coyne on the other hand wants to shut down classes he doesn't like because he's an intolerant bigot.


    4. Teaching ID (thinly veiled creationism) in science class goes against federal law.

      People have free exercise of religion, the state does not.

      A government function (like a school) cannot endorse a religious viewpoint.

    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 7:43 AM

      Define "endorse".

    6. Jarle, you mean that it violates some federal court case based on the first amendment. But all the first amendment says is that congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion.

      The supreme court has handed down a lot of terrible cases. Care to defend Korematsu v. United States? How about Plessy v Ferguson?

      You're wrong however that people have the free exercise of religion. They should, but in public schools today they do not. Schools are a God-free zone, enforced by bigots and bullies.

      "A government function (like a school) cannot endorse a religious viewpoint."

      Here's an online copy of the Constitution. Find it for me:


    7. If you dont like the way the law is interpreted by the courts, challenge it in a court case.

      Just saying that you dont agree with it is not enough.

    8. The same argument is recycled here, over and over: the court has decided and the court is infallible. They don't even bother to refer to the document that binds the court, the US Constitution, because they know it isn't on their side.

      @Boggs: it's der Fuehrer.

      "Just saying that you dont agree with it is not enough."

      I'm not saying that, and I don't think that anyone on here is. We're not upset that the court trampled our personal wishes. We're upset that the court trampled the Constitution.


    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

      Does your attempt at distraction mean you couldn't find it?

      If you did, tell us.

    10. Joey,

      Take a look at Egnor's 'Scientists, run for cover. Now'. The final section of his thread makes it blatant that he wants all climatology, evolutionary biology and environmental science defunded.

      Egnor doesn't regard these branches of science to be valid.

    11. I would defund them, and then salt the earth on which they grew.

    12. Joey,

      If you want any proof that Egnor wants to censor climatologists and evolutionary biologists, his last comment removes all doubt.

      Egnor is an ignorant science-denying rube.

  2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 7:15 AM

    OT, but great cartoon...

  3. Here's what KW said yesterday: "Last time I checked, we're not punishing anyone for expressing an opinion, no matter how vile some some religious fanatics may find it."

    Liberals (and I use the term loosely) live in the delusion that they are nice people who value pluralism. They most certainly do not. They tolerate the existence of nothing they don't like.


    1. School teachers aren’t hired primarily to express their opinion. Of course they can and do, but when a teacher uses their position to deliberately undermine the very subject they were hired to teach action needs to be taken for the good of the students. That is far different than punishing someone for expressing an opinion about population control.


  4. El Booto: I hear you won the Censor of the Year award.

    Jerry : Shut up!!


    El Booto: How did you becomes an atheist?

    Jerry : By going through an ASS procedure.

    El Booto: Let's hear your ASS procedure.

    Jerry : Abandon science, Skip logic and Surrender intuition.


    El booto : When did you realize we evolved from apes?
    Jerry. : When I looked in a mirror.

    1. Actually, Jerry has expressed nothing but amusement over getting this award.

      It must be hard to set up strawmen and knock them down.

    2. El Booto: How will you celebrate Darwin's Day?

      Jerry : I'll make a beard shaped cake!


      Jerry : I want to become Horseman of the New Atheism!

      El Booto: You'll need a lot of practice.

      Jerry : What practice?

      El Booto : On a rocking horse, silly!


      Jerry :Will Atheism become victorious?

      El Booto: (chanting like a Delphi oracle) victorious you will be never loose

    3. Does anyone else find these ungrammatical & incoherent ramblings by Eugen comprehensible, let alone funny? Just curious.

    4. Not one person spoke up in support of you, Eugen. Too bad.

    5. Jerry, these are just silly jokes.

      Don't take them too seriously but we like to mock you back a little. I don't spend much time on these jokes, they just pop in into my mind out of nowhere. That's very convenient.


      El Booto: I want to celebrate Darwin's Day with you Jerry.

      Jerry : What would you like to do?

      El Booto : Throw a pie in your face.


      Jerry : I am in philosophical mood today.
      El Booto : Cogito ergo sum.
      Jerry : I'm fine, thanks and how are you?


      Jerry : Dawkins is coming to visit tonight.
      El Booto : (barf)

  5. in the kitzmiller v. dover trial, it was concluded that ID is thinly veiled creationism.

    Religious viewpoints have no room in science class.

    1. A trial from 1857 whose decision has later been overturned is hardly a good comparison to a trial from 2006 that has not been overturned.

      What a weird/irrelevant comparison to make.

      On the subject, are you denying that ID is religiously motivated?

    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 7:54 AM

      Weird? At what point in history do court cases get put in the "Weird" file? You should notify the Supreme Court. They cite those dusty old (aka "weird") cases all the time. In fact, a large part of the job for SCOTUS clerks is digging up stuff like that. It's what makes them such great lawyers when they move on to private practice.

      And I didn't mention ID or religion. I can hardly be "denying" anything about either.

    3. The basis of comparison is that both were poorly decided by courts that wanted to come to a particular conclusion. Both are easily refuted by the text of the constitution. The very fact that the SCOUTS sometimes overturns itself proves that it is very, very fallible.

      Now, if you're going to defend this decision, you should at least be able to point out the constitutional basis of their decision.

      By the way, Korematsu v. United States has never been overturned.

      The majority opinion in the "separation of church and state" case was written by a Catholic-hating former Klansman named Hugo Black. As a weird coincidence, the Klan used that exact phrase in initiation oaths.


    4. I thought I made it pretty obvious that it was the comparison, not the case, that was weird.

      Citing a case from 1857, which has long since been invalidated by later court decisions, and is in no way relevant to the subject being discussed (ID/Evolution) does not somehow invalidate the court's decision in the 2006 Dover trial.

      Also, the legal decision in the Dover trial is highly relevant to the subject which is being discussed, since the "Censor award" was given to Coyne because of his involvement with the Eric Hedin case.

      Eric Hedin went against federal law when he decided to teach creationism in a science class. Therefore it is relevant to mention court cases in which the subject matter (teaching creationism) has been discussed.

    5. Old cases are cited in court all the time. One thing that's older than all of those cases is the Constitution which is supposed to be the foundation of all of their decisions.

      I don't think that Jarle really wants to put Japanese-Americans in camps. What he wants is to settle the argument by saying that the supreme court has spoken and the rest of us peons have no right to dispute it. He will continue with that yarn until he encounters a decision he doesn't like. Then he'll say something like that decision is old, or that decision has been overturned. The irony he will miss is that plenty of cases are old and much of today's case law will be overturned at a later date.

      His argument, however--that the court has spoken--was just as applicable to the slave-owning issue in 1861 as it is today. I doubt very much that Jarle would have been running around defending a slave owner's right to transport his slaves to free states in 1861 merely because the court had decided so.

      Here's a suggestion, Jarle. Compare the outcome of all cases to the text of the constitution, then decide if the court decided justly.


    6. I invite you again, Jarle.

      Here's an online copy of the Constitution. Find it for me:


    7. comparing a supreme court case to a supreme court case is weird. or something.


    8. You`re telling me that Judge John E. Jones III, a conservative Republican appointed in 2002 by George W. Bush (George Bush is pro-ID, if you didn't know) wanted to come ot a particular conclusion, and that conclusion was that ID is thinly veiled creationism.

      That makes sense. Conservative republicans are always trying to censor ID from schools and science.

      Again you mention a trial that is not relevant to the subject matter. Furthermore, Korematsu's conviction for evading interment was overturned on November 10, 1983. And while the Korematsu decision has not been explicitly overturned, the Department of Justice has filed official notice that it was in error in this case, and erased the case's value as precedent in further cases.

      Lastly, untill the supreme courts definition of separation of church and state is overturned, it is law.

    9. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 8:34 AM

      "Judge John E. Jones III, a conservative Republican appointed in 2002 by George W. Bush "

      So what? Earl warren was a conservative Republican governor appointed to the Supreme Court by Dwight Eisenhower. He led one of the most liberal Courts in history, perhaps the most liberal. Your observation, while having some minor historical interest, means nothing.

      A trial is not relevant to the subject matter. It is a matter of law. A court can rule that vaccinations cause autism but that doesn't make it "true".

      You really have no idea what you're talking about. You're just blattering. And boring.

    10. You`re the one claiming that the court wanted to come to a particular conclusion. You have no basis for that claim, and I merely pointed out that the opposite would have been more likely, i.e. that if the conservative republican judge wanted to come to a particular conclusion rather than uphold the law, he would have ruled in favour of intelligent design.

      If a court rules that something is against the law, it is true that it is against the law, untill the decision is overturned or otherwise nullified.

      Teaching religion as science in schools is currently against the law. This is true wether you like it or not.

      You dont want it to be against the law? Make a case against it and try to get it overturned. Present your argument that the supreme courts decision was in error.

      Untill you do, it is still the law.

    11. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 8:57 AM

      "You`re the one claiming that the court wanted to come to a particular conclusion."

      I claimed nothing of the sort. You are delusional or illiterate. Or both.

      I did claim you are boring. And you are.

    12. Argumentum ad hominem :)

      Even if you find me boring, science, and the law is on our side.

      If you think the separation of church and state is unconstiutional, by all means, challenge it in court. If you are right, then the court will surely rule in your favour.

    13. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 9:11 AM

      "If you think the separation of church and state is unconstiutional"

      I didn't mention either church or state.

    14. If you are right, then the court will surely rule in your favour.

      Again, the court is infallible. If you are right, the court will side with you. If the court sides with you, then you are right.

      I'm guessing that Mr. Korematsu doesn't agree with you. Neither does Mr. Scott.


    15. ""A government function (like a school) cannot endorse a religious viewpoint."

      Here's an online copy of the Constitution. Find it for me:"

      Your words. You challenged me to find (in the constitution) that a government function cannot endorse a religious viewpoint. By doing so, you heavily imply that there is nothing in the constitution that forbids a government function from endorsing a religious viewpoint. Which again implies that you are opposed to the separation of church and state, which forbids the government from endorsing a religious viewpoint.

      This is simply the method you use to avvoid answering questions. I asked you a question earlier, "do you deny that ID is religiously motivated?" where you avoid answering the question by stating that you didn't mention it.

      Being evasive is not a good way to further your viewpoint :)

      Its similar to the ID movement in general, when pressed to produce proof of their claims, the ID movement becomes evasive, as it much prefers to launch attacks on Evolution.

      Btw, I`m Norwegian, the struggles of the ID movement to get creationism included in american schools have no implications for me :)

      But I love watching ID struggle for legitimacy XD

      Which is why, again, I hope the separation of church and state, or any other facet regarding this issue gets challenged in court, reading the transcripts from the Dover trial was like eating candy :3

    16. I should explain something to one anonymous poster here, the system of law is a subjective system. What is legal in one law-system can be illegal in another law-system.

      So OF COURSE the court is infallible when it comes to what is legal or not. If something is legal that should be illegal, then it is legal untill the courts decides it is not, and vica verca. A law isn't right or wrong undependant on the system that DEFINES what is right or wrong according to the current law.

    17. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 10:47 AM

      Norwegian: "[Y]ou heavily imply..."

      You have an impliometer? :-)

      First, you're confusing different commenters. You should read more carefully to get your questions straight and delivered to the correct person.

      N: "that there is nothing in the constitution that forbids a government function from endorsing a religious viewpoint."

      I didn't "imply" it. But I do state it as a fact. Find it in there, if you disagree.

      The "separation" you refer to was derived from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, which holds no force of law. In fact, several of the original states had quite explicit religious requirements and laws. Those laws governed what you call "government functions" in the American English spoken here.

      N: "Which again implies that you are opposed to the separation of church and state, which forbids the government from endorsing a religious viewpoint.“

      That's ridiculous. They are completely independent views. You mistakenly assume without inquiry (“heavily implying” you’re an atheist bigot) that if someone is religious, they endorse a state religion. That's typical of a European and Euro-think. But things are different here, thank God. Religious Americans are broadly in favor of religious freedom and noninterference by the state in religious practice. "Noninterference" means not telling people to shut up when they express religious views. Look it up in your English/Norwegian dictionary. In fact, our Constitution requires that Congress “make no law” regarding the free exercise of religion. What part of "make no law" don't you understand?

    18. If you read the decision in the Kitzmiller case it becomes clear that the judge had no choice but to rule the way he did. Despite having the world’s greatest ID experts and advocates testifying on ID’s behalf, ID got stomped. It wasn’t even close.


  6. I have a feeling that as he grows older Coyne will end up in a straightjacket: he suffers from an extreme case of ailurophilia.

  7. The bar for censorship is set very low by the Dishonesty Institute. Coyne complained to a dean that in her public university recruiting for Jeebus occurs in a science class. The teacher could simply have labeled his course "Kissing Jeebus ass 101" and that would have been the end of it.

    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM

      Actually, I doubt you'll find any course title in any non-private university or college in America with the word Jesus in the title. But go look. I'll be interested to see what you find.

      However, you can take LGBT 359 - "Queer Comedy" for credit at the University of Maryland. There might be ass references in that course. Maybe even some ass-kissing references, if that what a student is looking to learn more about.

    2. Wrong as usual, Gramps.

      Religion 320 Jesus of Nazareth at Missouri State.


    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 11:54 AM


      Doubt: a status between belief and disbelief, involves uncertainty

      You were wrong again, Tooter.

      You know, son, you never should have dropped out of that ESL class.

      Thanks, though. You ware right for once about the course. Interesting.

    4. It's OK to be wrong, Gramps. That's how we all learn, from mistakes. Our own or others'.

      It's much worse to lack curiosity.


  8. The assertion that "because a judge said it that ends the debate" astonishes me. Judicial decisions only settle legal arguments, in the specific case in the specific venue at that specific time. Judicial decisions have no weight in the larger logical/factual/cultural argument.

    What's remarkable is the clarity with which the argument ("a court decided... therefore the debate is over") reveals the motives and default ideology of the left.

    It is fascist, plain and simple. "Everything within the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State."

    'Whatever Il Duce/das Fuhrer/Comrade Joe says is truth.' End of argument.

    It can happen here, folks. It is happening here.

    1. Well, the ID movement is free to perform experiments, and publish peer-reviewed articles in which they present proof for ID.

      If they have good, compelling argument supported by correct, factual information, there should be no problem at all to get it included in schools science curriculum.

      But for some reason, the ID movement does not pursue their agenda through this method.

    2. "Well, the ID movement is free to perform experiments, and publish peer-reviewed articles in which they present proof for ID."

      I think that if you watch Ben Stein's movie 'Expelled', you will find that just isn't true. It's kind of the thesis of the film. At the beginning of the film he asks the editor (publisher?) of Skeptic magazine about the idea of intelligent design, which he says is three quarters of the way over to the side of nonsense. Stein asks him why, if the idea is so nonsensical, it has to be supressed. (I'm paraphrasing here.) He says that as much as he disagrees with it, there's nothing stopping intelligent design advocates from making their case. The rest of the film, I think, was intended to demonstrate that exactly the opposite is true. Every time the term is mentioned, the discussion is terminated. People get fired.

      "If they have good, compelling argument supported by correct, factual information, there should be no problem at all to get it included in schools science curriculum."

      Really? Because that's exactly what they're doing and the courts say that it's unconstitutional. It would presumably be unconstitutional no matter how good the idea is.

      More importantly, how are we ever supposed to determine a good idea from a bad one when only one side is allowed to speak?

      "But for some reason, the ID movement does not pursue their agenda through this method."

      The evolution movement doesn't do that. They look at the fossil record, construct a narrative that satisfies them, then suppress all opposition.


    3. TRISH,

      The ID people have their own journal BIO-Complexity. All of the editors are ID-friendly people. Publication is virtually guaranteed. And yet this sorry journal publishes barely 4 articles a year. And most of them are criticisms of evolution, not ID research.

      I think the lack of original publications indicates that ID is a dead paradigm.


    4. Most biological research is ID research. Biologists need to make design inferences ("What is the purpose of this structure?', "what is the DNA sequence of this gene?", etc).

      The inference to design in biology is a precondition for most biological research. It certainly is in my research, which is on the suppression of arterial pulsatility in the brain using mathematical models of band stop filters.

      The malicious suppression of discussion of design and of scientists who are honest about the design in biology is an ideological witchhunt that has nothing to do with the science itself.

      The message is simple: if you challenge atheism's creation myth, they will make you pay.

    5. Design analogies are fine if they help determine function or provide a mechanistic description that aids in understanding. But if you reject evolution you will never ever answer any question about why something is the way it is in biology, and you will forever deny yourself the insights those answers may provide. It’s like you’ve given yourself a lobotomy.


    6. I accept evolution. Populations change. I also accept teleology. Biology manifests directedness and purpose.

      You do too, KW, because biology in particular and nature in general cannot be described without invocation of teleology.

      You do it all the time, but you don't admit it, because it conflicts with your religous viewpoints, and you'd rather lie than reconsider your atheism.

    7. What lie? I freely admit to invoking teleology. It’s virtually built into our language, and therefore into the way we think. It’s takes conscious effort to construct descriptive sentences that avoid teleological constructions. I disagree that Biology manifests directedness and purpose precisely because the theory of evolution properly understood shows that it’s absolutely not nessisary and there’s no evidence for it.


    8. KW:

      Does the heart have a purpose?

    9. Egnor,

      The heart has a function. It pumps blood. It doesn't have a single purpose. Purpose is subjective, dependent on the person making it. For an elite marathon runner, the heart's purpose is being able to pump enough blood to allow the runner to do a sub-2 hour 10' marathon. For the average American, its purpose is just to be able to get from the couch in front of the TV to the 'fridge and back.

    10. Purpose (teleology) is part of nature.

    11. Egnor,

      No, it isn't. Function is part of nature. Purpose is what you use the function for. The human brain is a better example. The human brain has function. Many functions in fact, many of which you're not aware consciously. The human brain can perform purpose. A Christian for example might regard the purpose of the human brain is to give praise to God.

    12. The heart does many things. It makes noise. It occupies the space between the lungs. It keeps the pericardium from collapsing. It pumps blood. It anchors the aorta.

      Only one of its functions is its purpose.

      Teleology is in nature. You can't speak coherently of nature without speaking of teleology.

    13. Egnor,

      You still don't get it. 'Function' isn't 'purpose'. All those other 'functions' you mention as existing in the heart aren't functions. The function of the heart is to pump blood. The purpose of it pumping blood can vary, depending on the person.

      And anyhow. Teleology isn't just current purpose or function. If it is, then it would be absolutely trivial. Teleology is the directed development of a function useful in the future but not needed in the present.

    14. Your semantic arguments illustrate my point exactly. Especially because it’s one component of a much larger and more complex co-evolved system it’s difficult to speak of the heart without invoking purpose.
      If when describing nature we limited ourselves to talking about the purpose of this, or the purpose of that, there’s no doubt we could convey a great deal of information about the interactions of various things, but we wouldn’t be conveying the big picture, and we would be leaving out the greatest insight, why things are the way they are.


    15. Mike,

      Your above dialogue re teleology is an excellent example of bellowing a truth deep into Plato's cave. They see teleology, they just cannot/will not comprehend the implicit and explicit truths of that observation.
      If they did.....

    16. Rex,

      No. You can't get from 'purpose' now to divinely mandated 'purpose'. You need to prove the existence of the Divine in some other way. 'Purpose' could be divinely ordained. Or it could have evolved naturally.

      And anyway. 'Purpose' isn't the same as 'function'. Egnor is confused regarding the basic meanings of words. Many of the things Egnor includes as 'functions' of the heart are just properties of the heart.

  9. I'm not sure that the Dred Scott case was overturned. Can anyone cite the case name?

    The Torch

    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyFebruary 12, 2014 at 10:56 AM

      Rather than "overturning" Dred Scott via a subsequent court case, the 14th Amendment was passed:

      "Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

      And now we have the argument about "anchor babies". :-D

      Law is interesting, isn't it?

  10. The irony is that Coyne is doing more to protect religious liberty than any of you religious folk.

    Christians in the U.S. have plenty of religious liberty, the only complaints they have are when they’re not allowed to use the government to promote their religion, or they are not allowed to discriminate based on their religious bigotry.


  11. The control of conclusions has been the foundation of civilizations.
    In our civilization IN order to gain the truth we have concluded to allow the freedom of speech in spirit and practice. Even if false or bad things are said.
    Thats the social and legal contract.
    People always have broken this and others fought them to not break it.
    Its our turn in time and space.
    The issues are so great that the bad guys, sometimes the good guys, strive to silence and censor while striving to control conclusions in segments of society.
    Its like they smell they can't take the competition.
    They are right.
    In fact it should be a prediction the wrong guys react with censorship here and there.
    Its everywhere actually especially from the left.
    They perceive they dominate institutions and they stifle opposition as far as they can.
    A bigger equation for freedom of thought and speech must be settled on and brought to the public.
    Creationists must aim better on these matters and gain allies.
    Its just the same old thing.
    We must become better lawyers everyone.
    Truth can't be in the hands of other people.
    Its not Coyne but the establishment that brings the attack on truth.
    Aim there. With us or not this Coyne should not matter.

  12. Jerry Coyne is deserving of such a title from the DI.
    He's worked hard to earn it.
    Coyne is one of these atheists who lends credence to the argument that atheism has/is being coopted by a cadre of evangelical anti-theists.
    If Jerry and his ilk maintain their fallacious legal attacks, proselytizing, misrepresenting, and the promotion of pretentious pseudo scientific story telling - they may well one day find their own myth banned from education by exactly the same argument (promotion of a state religion) that they have used against Christians and Jews.
    I get the impression from reading his blather, that Jerry is a little more than simply a person who 'lacks belief', as so many of these folks claim.
    I suspect Jerry has a horse in the race.

  13. Curious that some direct their ire at those who seek to uphold the Constitution, rather than those flouting it. It is important to distinguish between the "public square" and "government" and between "individual" and "government" speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square--far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views--publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers instructing students in class), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment's constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. (Students also are free to exercise and express their religious views--in a time, manner, and place that does not interfere with school programs and activities.) If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.