FREE SPEECH — A public high school history teacher went too far in insulting creationist doctrine, a federal judge ruled the other day, but the teacher told the Orange County Register he wasn't hostile towards religion—he was trying to get young people to think.

Corbett, 62, who teaches at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission
Viejo, routinely brings up divisive topics in class and often makes
inflammatory statements about religion. It's all part of his effort to
"provoke" students to think critically about "changes in religious
thought and institutions," he says.

The class in question,
after all, is a college-level Advanced Placement European history
course that has religion as one of its key themes.

"I'm never
negative toward religion," Corbett said. "I'm negative toward the
actions of some churches toward religion. It's not disparaging religion
to point out that the Renaissance popes were a bunch of whacks."

The queasy-making spectacle is a federal judge picking, poking and parsing through a list of statements complained of as hostile to religion, as if religion can't take it.  That all but one passed the magistrate's assay will be little comfort to those who don't like to see history teachers in the dock for being provocative.