Since the beginning of 2012, Republicans throughout the country tried to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution by pushing religion into public schools. They lumped evolution denialism and global warming denialism into the broad terminology of “scientific controversy” (in case you’re reading, there are no scientific controversies over these theories, just political ones). And those Republicans tried their best to give the children in those states the worst science education ever. Evolution is the foundation of biology, that field of science that is the basis of our health, of medicine, of agriculture, of our environment, and of every living thing on the planet.
So far, in 2012, there have been several attempts by Republican controlled state legislatures to force religion into public schools. It’s been a mixed bag, with several close wins for the science side, and a notable loss.
- Tennessee–the Monkey Bill, HB 368, was passed by the state legislature and allowed to become law by the governor. The legislation allows public schools to teach the scientific controversies about evolution and global warming.
- Private school scholarships–taxpayer funded scholarships are used to by schools to teach creationism.
- Indiana–brilliant move by state senator, Democrat Vi Simpson (not related), amended the bill in such away that schools would have been required to teach every form of creationism including some obscure ones. Legislature leadership pulled the bill, but also the Republican Speaker of the Indiana House stated that the legislature shouldn’t be mandating what is taught in science classrooms. Rationality in Indiana prevails.
- Oklahoma–HB 1551 and SB 1742 died in committee in March, 2012. Then the Republicans tried to amend HB 2341 to allow for schools to teach the scientific controversies in evolution and global warming. That bill died too.
- Missouri–HB 1227, an antievolution bill, died in committee before coming to vote.
- Alabama–HB 133, a bill that would have allowed Alabama public schools to allow teaching of creationism for school credit, died in the legislature prior to a vote being held before the legislature adjourned for the year.
- New Hampshire–by a resounding vote of 280-7, the Republican dominated legislature defeated a creationist bill.
- School teachers–A California school district was sued by a student because his teacher referred to creationism as “religious, superstitious nonsense.” The school district won. The Supreme Court of the USA refused to hear the claim so the school district won again.
So the good guys, the pro-science side, won the legislative year by a score of 6-2. Not bad, except a few of those losses were a result of parliamentary maneuvering rather than an outright vote. Except for the New Hampshire heroes.
Let’s remember, evolution is a scientific fact. And so is global warming. Whatever the Republican legislatures want to do, it just makes the country a scientific weakling in the world. And it violates the constitution. Amusing irony from the political party that whines about the constitution and American economic power.
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