Oklahoma GOP Pushing Bill That Would Require Teaching “Creation Science”
With a Democrat no longer in the governor’s office to keep them in check, Republican legislators have filed numerous bills that could violate federal and state prohibitions against mixing religious doctrine with government, a group of concerned residents said Saturday.
“This year we really have a challenge,” said Victor Hutchison, president of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education and professor emeritus of the University of Oklahoma’s zoology department.
Measures include requiring teaching creationism in public schools, paving the way for vouchers for private schools, and establishing when life begins, which could interfere with medical research and a woman’s choice to have an abortion, said members of the Oklahoma City chapter of the Americans for Separation of Church and State.
“We’ve got tons of legitimate problems in this state — economic problems and we’ve got big deficits,” said Mike Fuller, president of the local group. “These legislators want to focus on these ideological cases that really will not advance our state at all. They’ll send it going backward in my opinion.”
John Krizan, director of the religious liberty department at the Tenth Street Seventh-day Adventist Church, 1407 NE 10, said he is concerned proposed bills are drawing the church into government affairs.
“The closer you get church and state together the weaker they both become,” he said.
Hutchison criticized Senate Bill 554, which would allow creationism to be taught in public school science classes. He called it a “slick bill” because it states it requires the teaching of evolution but would also consider creationism a science. It would allow religious answers to count on science tests and science assignments.
“We are not anti-religion,” Hutchison said. “We are simply saying religion is supernatural. It cannot be addressed by science.”
Most of the rest of the developed world seems to have put this issue behind them, I cannot for the life of understand why nonsense like this keeps happening in the United States.