This Monday marks the 30th anniversary of Edwards v. Aguillard, a milestone U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming the separation of church and state in public schools. As we mark the anniversary, it’s a good time to examine the history of the efforts to undermine instruction about evolution in public schools – and understand that the threat remains with us.
The Washington Post recently ran a long story about Ark Encounter, the Williamstown, Ky., creationist attraction founded by Ken Ham, who leads the fundamentalist Religious Right organization Answers in Genesis. Although some readers found the story to be oddly sympathetic to Ham, some interesting tidbits are found in it.
Americans United has worked for decades to protect Americans’ access to effective and affordable birth control, standing up to foes who seek to use religion as an excuse to deny healthcare that is so vital to women and their families. Contraception is crucial to women’s health and equality.
One Tennessee woman has all but thrown down a gauntlet and demanded a duel in opposition to a proposed statue of Clarence Darrow, the attorney who defended teacher John T. Scopes when he taught evolution in a Dayton public school.
Philadelphia sculptor Zenos Frudakis is creating the statue, which is scheduled to be dedicated in July at the Rhea County Courthouse – the site of the infamous “Scopes Monkey Trial.”
Another year, another attempt to encourage proselytizing in public-school classrooms.
Last Thursday, the Florida Senate passed SB 436 by a vote of 23-13, almost entirely along party lines. A revised version in the House – HB 303 – will likely receive a floor vote in the House this week. Then the two chambers will duel it out over the two versions, or better yet, pass neither.
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.
If some South Dakota legislators have their way, the state’s public school students soon may be learning the “alternative facts” version of science: Senate Bill 55 could open the door to creationism being taught in classrooms.
Republican Sen. Jeff Monroe sponsored the bill to “protect the teaching of certain scientific information,” which allows teachers to introduce “in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information.”
Ken Ham has been on quite a tear against Americans United lately. The Australian creationist is all worked up because AU continues to point out the inconvenient fact that he built his Ark Encounter park, a re-creation of Noah’s Ark in northern Kentucky, in part on the backs of the state’s taxpayers.
President Donald Trump has clarified the role of Religious Right favorite son Jerry Falwell Jr. in his administration: leading a task force on higher education.