Good news for the integrity of science and church-state separation in South Dakota: The state House Education Committee on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have opened the door to teaching “intelligent design” – which is really just creationism – in public school science classrooms.
John Glenn is a pretty cool guy, to say the least. The former U.S. senator and astronaut flew more than 120 combat missions combined in both World War II and the Korean War, but he is best known as the first American to orbit the earth – a feat he accomplished in 1962.
Glenn, now 93, recently granted an interview to the Associated Press, during which he made it clear that he is a religious man who supports evolution.
Americans United has reported frequently on the slew of Religious Right groups trying to test and redefine the bounds of “religious liberty.” Now it seems yet another organization has joined the fray, claiming that teaching evolution in public schools forces atheism on students and violates the “religious liberty” of some parents.
Back in the early 1990s, I helped an Americans United activist in Missouri fend off efforts by a small-town school board to insert creationism into science classes.
We were frustrated. We had explained to the members of the board that what they wanted to do was unconstitutional and would run afoul of the 1987 Supreme Court decision Edwards v. Aguillard (at the time a fairly new opinion). They were not swayed.
Creationism is stealing headlines again in Pennsylvania.
Eight years after Americans United successfully challenged the Dover School District’s attempt to push creationism in public schools, lawmakers are at it again. State Representative Stephen Bloom (R-Cumberland) is now seeking co-sponsors for a bill that would allow students to question evolutionary theory.
We always like to report positives, and this week the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) delivered some very good news: legislation aimed at pushing creationism in public schools failed in eight states this year.
The bills ranged from subtly promoting so-called “academic freedom” to openly attacking evolution by offering “equal treatment” for creationism and “intelligent design.” They’re all bad ideas intended to inject religion into biology classes, and we’re very happy to see they failed.
It has been more than 25 years since the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that mandated religious instruction in science classes, yet lawmakers in many states are still pushing ahead with attempts to force creationist concepts into the public schools.
The 2013 legislative session has just begun, and there are already anti-evolution bills (in some cases more than one) circulating in Missouri, Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma and Indiana.
Like something out of a George A. Romero movie, Tennessee lawmakers have revived a scary bill that would open the door to promotion of creationism in public schools.
HB 368 passed the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2011, but went nowhere after that. This year Sen. Bo Watson (R-Hixson) brought it back, albeit with some minor changes.
It looks like opponents of creationism are going to have their hands full in 2012. The new year is just a few days old, and already we’ve seen several anti-evolution bills popping up in the states.
In Indiana, state Sen. Dennis Kruse has introduced S.B. 89, a bill that would allow public schools in the state to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”