Creationism in Louisiana: Plans for the future?
As reported earlier, school boards in La. are wrestling with their curriculum in light of the new law in that state.
The following is from the Livingston Parish School Board discussions:
The Livingston Parish School Board won’t try to include the teaching of creationism in this year’s curriculum, but has asked the School Board staff to look at the issue for possible future action, board officials said.
Livingston Parish School Board President Keith Martin, who acknowledges that the parish school system faces major financial challenges, said the cost of litigation does have to be taken into consideration.
“A lawsuit is something you always have to factor in because of finances of the board,” Martin said.
The question of teaching creationism was sent to a staff committee, which is not expected to report before the beginning of this school year, but should report in time for the board to do whatever it needs to do for next year, he said.
“We have decided not to try to hurry up and rush something in for this year,” Martin said.
Martin said that a number of years ago when the issue came up, he voted against teaching creationism, but not because he didn’t want it to be taught.
He said he was concerned about whether teachers would try to introduce their own religious beliefs.
“I was worried about the curriculum,” Martin said. “I was worried about how it was going to be taught.”
How the subject would be taught has been refined since then, he said. [oh really?]
Tom Jones, the School Board’s attorney, said a board member brought the issue up when evolution was mentioned as being part of the state’s 2008 Science Education Act.
Jones said his previous research indicated that under the U.S. Constitution public schools can’t teach religion or the religious theory of creationism.
“Without a doubt it’s a constitutional issue,” and state law does not supersede the U.S. Constitution, he said.
Well, at least one member of the board understands the ideas behind the Constitution. Let’s hope there are more… but:
David Tate, the School Board member who brought up the matter at the board’s last meeting, said he would rather not see litigation, but added that the board gets sued on other matters.
“We don’t want litigation, but why not take a stand for Jesus and risk litigation,” Tate said.
Tate said teaching evolution as a theory is fine, but there are other ideas.
“Creationism is another thought of how things came into being,” he said. “Give every theory due time” in the classroom.
“We don’t all have to believe the same thing,” Tate said.
I suppose we could all believe the world is flat too, but that wouldn’t make for good education.
This Livingston Parish school board is just one example of what goes on around this country. Even today, in 2010, there are very many people in this country who want their favorite religious views to be sanctioned by the state through teaching those beliefs in schools.
This is a struggle that will not go away quickly or quietly.