This post is no doubt going to open various cans of worms, but things have been a bit quiet here at W4 lately, so a few cans of worms may not do much harm.
Ed Feser recently put up this brief post about Frank Beckwith and Intelligent Design. (See also here.) In reading some responses to a link to Feser elsewhere (on Facebook, to be specific), I was struck and puzzled by a certain approach to this topic. Here's how the response goes, approximately: "The courts were right to ban the teaching of intelligent design in science classes, because ID is by definition not science [insert your favorite demarcationist riff here], so it's a violation of contract, or fraudulent, or academic malpractice, to teach ID in a science class. There would be no problem if it were taught in a class labeled 'Metaphysics' instead." (These statements remind me of this article in First Things by Robert T. Miller from 2006.)
When people say these kinds of things in this context, they are ignoring something. (Miller, to be fair, does a bit better, but he does seem to me to fudge somewhat on the matter.)
It is not unconstitutional to teach in Course A content that should more properly be taught in Course B.
Now, full disclosure--I think all this demarcationist talk is misguided (there goes one can of worms). So I don't grant the premises of the criticism of ID as "metaphysics rather than science" anyway. But even if one did grant them, why in the world is all this high-falutin' talk about mislabeling classes and metaphysics being brought up in the context of a constitutional argument? Schools and teachers teach subject matter of dubious relevance in classes funded by public monies all the time. Has anyone noticed the prevalence of bare-faced political advocacy in humanities classes for the past several decades? We can understandably object to such proceedings, but there's nothing unconstitutional about them.
It wouldn't be an "establishment of religion" to teach metaphysics in science class even if the philosophers who try to make this demarcation were right. This shouldn't need to be said, but since this "ID should be called metaphysics" trope has become increasingly common, especially among, I'm sorry to say, Catholic ID-haters (there goes another can of worms), it gets brought out and proudly displayed whenever someone starts talking about whether ID should be able to be taught in public schools. But in that context, it's just a change of subject.