In 1981 in Federal District Court, Judge William R. Overton held that the Arkansas law mandating equal time for the teaching of “scientific creationism” in the state's public schools was unconstitutional.
The Overton decision was the latest in a series of legislative and judicial setbacks suffered by fundamentalists who advocate the introduction of creationism into schools, libraries, museums, and other public institutions. But rather than giving up the ghost, creationists are now switching their campaign into a series of local confrontations. In California the teaching of creationism in San Jose high schools is defended while the use of an evolution-oriented high school biology text is attacked. In Iowa an ambitious effort to introduce shoddy creationist paperbacks into the schools of 60 communities has just bogged down. In Michigan an exhibit on plant development in a modest, county-run museum is characterized as “blasphemous” because of the exhibit's evolutionary tone. So it goes across the United States and Canada.