Please Let this Bill Die Somehow…12 June 2008
Oh Louisiana. Now, I understand that most of the time many of the reputations that certain states have (like Dick Cheney’s remarks about West Virginia and incest) are not entirely fair. That said, Louisiana has confirmed that they are under the sway of the same religious-right crazies that are stereotypical of much of the South.
The Louisiana House of Representatvies has just passed a bill that, on the surface, allows teachers to “supplement school science textbooks with other materials”. Now, this sounds like a reasonable goal? Education shouldn’t be limited to text book and I don’t think that was truly the case before this bill was passed. This bill, however, sounds very similar to other bills that have been proposed in states (see here and here) like Florida.
These bills, while sounding benign, are often sponsored by groups such as the Discovery Institute and their goal of subverting science education in favor of teaching “Intelligent Design”. This of course is, despite their constant denials, simply creationism (specifically Fundamentalist Christian creationism) dressed up with a new name. Luckily, there are some organisations who recognize this bill for what it is, such as the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, as well as the Louisiana Coalition for Science.
The executive director of Americans United understands exactly what this bill is: “It’s time for Louisiana to step into the 21st century and stop trying to teach religion in public schools,” “Laws like this are an embarrassment.” Now keep in mind these are not the words of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris or other “notorious” atheists. No, these are the words of Rev. Barry Lynn. Notice the “Rev” before his name. If only there were more (perhaps there are?) sensible Christians like Lynn. His organization has stated that lawsuits will certainly follow after any attempt to bring religion into the classroom. I can’t imagine this is too far off. There’s no way this bill is going to be vetoed by Louisiana’s governor. Bobby Jindal is perfectly aligned with those who seek to replace science education with religious education. Sadly, it was not a Republican-only bill either. In fact, a member of the party I belong to, the Democrats, introduced this bill. So it seems that even my party has been infected with anti-science thinking…Wonderful.
On a more positive note, all of those who voted against the bill were Democrats. At least three of them had the sense to vote against this asinine bill.
Read more at nola.org.