All right ... I didn't want to turn this into a religious flame war, but I suppose I'd better make a few points since some of my statements have been attacked, and others misinterpreted.
1. If I were teaching in a Catholic school, I would gladly lead my students in prayer, and if they wanted to know my religious beliefs, I would tell them. I would also tell them what the Catholic Church teaches about sex and marriage. But I teach in a public school, paid for by taxes. There's a non-establishment of religion clause in the First Amendment, and for me to endorse a particular religion (or to teach against any religion) would be a violation of the First Amendment.
2. The Catholic Church does not require me to teach the Catholic faith in a public school. So, as I interpret my Church's teaching, I can do so on my own time and on my own dime, but not in a government endorsed and funded institution.
3) There is no scientific data (that is, hard observational data that can be replicated) to support Intelligent Design. There is an enormous amount of scientific evidence to support the origin of species by natural selection; you could spend your entire life just glancing through it and barely scratch the surface.
4. The Catholic Church has rejected both Creationism and Intelligent design and endorsed the origin of species by natural selection, so I have no conflict of conscience on that regard. In my classes we don't do much biology, but we do physics, and the current evidence for the age of the universe is that it's about 14.5 billion years old, not around 6,000 as the biblical literalists claim. My Church also has no problem with this, so I have no conflict of conscience there either.
5. I don't use the term "evolution" because it's unscientific. It implies that organisms "evolve" over time into something better, and there's no scientific evidence for this. There is ample scientific evidence for the origin of species by natural selection, so I speak about it in that way instead.
6. In regards to sex education, I asked that it be included in my contract that I not be required to teach sex ed., as it might require me to teach something which would go against my conscience. Human sexuality always involves morality of one kind or another, and so I've recused myself from that subject. When the subject of sexual reproduction does come up in my classes, we deal in matters of biology. One mammal's means of reproduction is pretty much the same as any other's so we can deal with it generally. If a student ever asks me a question regarding human sexual morality, I'll refer him or her to a parent or other moral guide who is appropriate for that person.
7. Many if not most of the founding fathers of the United States may have been practicing Christians, but the private writings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin show that they were Enlightenment thinkers and deists. Jefferson and Franklin certainly had grave doubts about the divinity of Jesus, which at the time would have put them outside of mainstream Christian belief. For most churches, it still would. I don't see how that's relevant to this discussion, since the First Amendment clearly states that "congress shall establish no church," which in practice means no public funds for religious proselytizing of any kind.
8. I personally don't care what the religious beliefs of the majority of people in the US are. I also don't care that there are Christians, Jews, Atheists, and one Muslim in my classes. Their religious beliefs, and the religious beliefs of the majority of people in the US, are outside the scope of the philosophy of science, just as they are outside the scope of geometry, literature, geography, music, and so on. If people want to send their children to a religious school, they are free to do so. If they cannot afford to do so, they can home school their children.
9. I usually avoid discussions of the meaning of the Bible on the Internet, since so few people know much about the Bible. Very few people I know have enough knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, ancient near-eastern archeology, literary criticism, paleography, anthropology, sociology, psychology, et al. to have an informed opinion about the Bible. Most people who argue about the Bible are familiar with one translation in their native language which they tend to interpret literally. Many of the conclusions they draw are too flawed to even be wrong. So I won't argue about the Bible unless someone in here is familiar with all the subjects I listed above, and is willing to quote in one of the original languages (Hebrew or Greek). If somebody quotes me the Bible from some translation, I'll ignore the post.
Look, everybody, I know this is the Lounge, but I'd much rather talk about Linux in here than religion. If you all want to argue religion, that's fine, but in all likelihood this is my last post in this thread, even if somebody attacks me or my views. Also, I'm really not in the mood for an email discussion about religious matters, so please don't send a private message to my gmail account regarding the matters in this thread.