It could hardly have more credibility: A Republican federal judge President Bush appointed not only threw out the brazen attempt of a Pennsylvania school board to require the teaching of intelligent design, but he labeled the effort and its putatively Christian backers for what they were: dishonest.
Indeed, if one word describes the demeanor of U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III, it is "fuming." And who can blame him? So-called Christian fundamentalists came into his courtroom and lied under oath, he said, as part of the effort to require schools to teach religion while calling it science.
Jones' level of disgust aside, his ruling was on the money. He correctly identified intelligent design as Christian creationism in spiffier duds -- an effort to equate fundamentalist beliefs with science and to improperly inject religion into public education. As such, this subterfuge clearly violated the separation of church and state. It begged for the judicial shellacking Jones gave it.
That's only the most recent good news about this misbegotten maneuver, though, because last month, the residents of Dover, Pa., gave the boot to eight school board members who foisted the intelligent design requirement on the district. Call it intelligent intolerance, a position whose rightness was made clear by the reaction of the Rev. Pat Robertson, a veritable fountain of foolishness.
The reverend told the citizens of Dover that they shouldn't turn to God in case of a disaster, because "you just rejected him from your city."
Robertson had it wrong, as usual. By the voters' action, and the judge's, Dover was made safe for real religion and maybe even for real education. And, with it, the nation.