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6000-Year-Old Texas

Alas, the horrible creationist Louisiana Science & Education Act (SB70) wasn’t repealed, but the Orleans Parish School Board doesn’t want anything to do with it.

On December 18, 2012, the board voted unanimously  to prohibit the use of any textbooks that include revisionist history (as in Texas) or creationism, including intelligent design (ID). They also voted to prohibit teachers from teaching creationism, including ID, in Orleans Parish public schools. This is a gratifying development in light of the fact that the Louisiana Senate Education Committee has twice refused to move Zack Kopplin’s bill to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act [LSEA] out of committee.

If the uncultured heathen of New Orleans refuse something, going as far as to state that the LSEA makes them “look retarded,” you’d think Texas would drop it like a hot potato. Yeah, no.

New TFNEF Report: Texas Public School Bible Classes Teach Races Come from Noah’s Sons, Biblical Literalism, 6000-year-old Earth

… The 2007 law included numerous guidelines designed to help public schools create academically rigorous and constitutionally appropriate courses. But the Legislature failed to appropriate funding to develop in-service training for teachers of Bible courses, and most school districts simply ignored the requirement that teachers get such training. Moreover, the State Board of Education — under the control of religious conservatives at the time — refused to adopt serious curriculum standards to help guide school districts as they planned their courses. For these and other reasons detailed in the new report, school districts across Texas are offering courses about the Bible that simply have no place in a public school classrooms — or, in numerous cases, any classroom at all because their quality is so poor.

To learn more about how the Texas State Board of Education of fifteen people operates and retains its control over “science” and “history” textbooks, watch a documentary called The Revisionaries that will air on PBS on January 28th. It’s critical that you watch this (or get a hold of it somehow if not aired in your area) because Texas makes textbooks for the whole nation. This board has to go in the next election.

In Austin, Texas, fifteen people influence what is taught to the next generation of American children. Once every decade, the highly politicized Texas State Board of Education rewrites the teaching and textbook standards for its nearly 5 million schoolchildren. And when it comes to textbooks, what happens in Texas affects the nation as a whole.

There is hope. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal’s private school voucher program was declared unconstitutional. Let’s not forget that Catholic and other religious schools with “uncredentialed teachers” would have been the primary recipients of that funding.

Meanwhile, young Zack Kopplin has amped up his efforts to get LSEA repealed in Louisiana and is receiving a lot of attention from larger, more national media outlets for it. Brave soul. I don’t know if I have it in me to repeatedly testify in front of people like this state senator who asks if an observed E. coli population turned into a human. The trouble is not in falling for creationism, though. It’s in thinking that “creationist politicians” believe that stuff themselves. The purposeful promotion of ignorance for political gain is one of the oldest tricks in the books.

The real problem, in my opinion, is not who we vote for, but how we vote and judge those we vote in. A recent Scientific American article reveals that “41% of Democrats are young Earth creationists.” This is completely unsurprising to me considering faith, especially belief in a Christian god, is almost a prerequisite for political office. How else can the general public tell you’re a Good Person?

To borrow from the aforementioned article, “facts matter more than faith.” Those facts are where our morality and our choice of public servants ought to come from, especially when faiths vary and their adherents’ sense of right and wrong with it. Look at it this way, if you must: God gave you a brain to think about the difference between right and wrong.

5 comments… add one

  • Tim January 23, 2013, 12:28 PM

    We just had the President of the United States put his hand on TWO bibles and swear the oath of office “So Help Me God.”

    I think you’re right: until we can separate personal religious beliefs from public policy making and government service, we’re going to have more of the same.

    Peace,

    Tim

    • Maitri January 23, 2013, 12:58 PM

      Nowhere is the violation of the establishment clause more evident than in our own “upholders of the Constitution.”

      As I just said on Twitter, “Dear media, the LSEA repeal is a lot more than Boy vs. Ignorant Backwoods Politicos. Political creationism is a vote-getting technique.” And this technique is a direct result of deriving piety from religious affiliation. Once that door is opened, all this nonsense is possible.

      No one is asking believers to give up their faith other than to THINK about it. Believe all you want. Just keep it out of taxpayer-funded schools and the way of American progress, and don’t expect others to believe with and like you.

  • Mike Cohen January 23, 2013, 12:39 PM

    How did the US become the most superstitious country in the world?

    • Maitri January 23, 2013, 12:54 PM

      My husband and I are of two minds about this. He believes that we are a nation founded on and steeped in superstition (Puritans, Quakers, etc.) while I argue that we are based on reason and changing for the better (Constitution, Thomas Jefferson’s writings on religion and the intent of the free exercise / establishment clause.) So, some will argue that we have always been this way, but I think there was a time (anti-Soviet Cold-War era) when we showed that we can put superstition aside for our country to thrive intellectually and, thus, economically.

  • Clay January 29, 2013, 9:22 PM

    I’m pretty sure politicians have been running on God since the days of Ra.

    The Revisionaries was just painful to watch at points.

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