Thursday, February 02, 2012
Not For Long
Well, there's one benefit of the Indiana State Senate's passage of their creationist bill. It's flushed out at least a couple of toe marksmen.
In an article in the Indianapolis Star, the bill's sponsor, Sen. Dennis Kruse, admitted that he knew the law is unconstitutional:
“I believe in creation,” Kruse said, “and I believe it deserves to be taught in our public schools.” ...Umm ... you took an oath to uphold the law. What the Supreme Court ruled before is still the law ... and you, senator, are an oath breaker.
Creation science was specifically ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1987 case in which the court voided a Louisiana law that required creation science to be taught alongside evolution in science class. The court found the law violated the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution because it was designed to advance religion.
Kruse said he is aware of the precedent but isn’t sure it would survive today.
“This is a different Supreme Court,” he said. “This Supreme Court could rule differently.”
But even worse is one school administrator. In discussing the possibility that Krause's bill is intended to allow the state to fund the defense of any school board sued for teaching creationism, there was this:
Technically, a school district could teach creationism now — and some do.Let me exercise my mysterious powers of prognostication and say, "Not for long!"
“As far as I know,” said Mount Vernon Community School Corporation Superintendent William Riggs, “we’ve always been allowed to do that.”
Riggs said Mount Vernon High School’s biology class already teaches creationism alongside evolution. “We’ve been doing this for years.”
Riggs said the school teaches them as “two theories of the origins of life” and said that in literature classes students often learn about the Bible and the Quran. “The idea is to get kids to think.”
It is, of course, (at least potentially, depending on what is being taught) permissible to use the Bible and Quran in a literature course. But teaching creationism in a biology class is not, by any stretch of the imagination, constitutional. The only way Mount Vernon has gotten away with it so far is that no one has complained.
But going out and boldly proclaiming your contempt for the Constitution has a way of pissing people off enough to try to stop it. Not to mention attracting the attention of the state department of education.
Update: The bleeding feet have been noticed:
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he has not made a final determination on whether Senate Bill 89 will get a hearing and vote, but said he believes the General Assembly should not mandate what's taught in science classrooms.You can also bet that Governor Mitch Daniels is furiously twisting arms to make sure he doesn't have to face the Scylla and Charybdis of either vetoing this favorite law of the Righteous Right or having his reputation as a rational, technocratic Republican trashed.
"Delving into an issue that the United States Supreme Court has, on at least on one occasion, said is not compliant with the Constitution may be a side issue and someplace we don't need to go," Bosma said. "Parents, families have a choice on where their children go to school; it's an increasing choice now due to the legislation we passed last year [i.e. "vouchers"]."
Some people never learn -- which is pretty dire when they're the same people charged with overseeing other people's learning.
No, Freshwater was in Mount Vernon, OHIO. (Don't worry, I get confused about which province is which.)
We've got lots of places named Mount Vernon because that was the name of George Washington's home and a little magical thinking makes people think it's good mojo to name their town after the home of somebody famoos.
You could always give it to me and I'll at least publish it here.
 I never thought I'd say anything nice about a Microsoft product, but damn that's a handy tool for a web programmer.
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Email me at jtpieretATgmailDOTcom and we'll discuss it.