Vi Simpson: The Woman Who Punked the GOP Creationists in the Indiana Senate
A good followup to the article I posted earlier in the week about this.
After interviewing Vi Simpson, the Indiana State Senate Minority Leader, I’m wondering why the hell I haven’t already seen this woman on national television or in the mainstream press.
I hope you see what I mean after you hear what she had to say about the way she crippled the latest Creationism-in-the-schools bill with a brilliant stratagem: by convincing the radical Republicans in the Indiana State Senate that if they want to teach Christianity in the schools, they’re also going to have to teach Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and even Scientology.
The Democrat, who represents a district centered on Bloomington, says she was just trying to come up with a way to deal with a religious crusade at the state capitol.
“We have elected a lot of folks, particularly in 2010, who have fundamentalist Christian backgrounds and what I consider a radical agenda of imposing their beliefs on others,” she says.
The latest onslaught was a bill sponsored by Republican Senator Dennis Kruse, just the latest of attempts around the country to get equal time for Creationism in science classrooms. (Such laws are routinely ruled unconstitutional, but that never seems to hinder young-Earth activists. I have also put in a call with Senator Kruse.)
“The bill was originally talking about ‘Creationist Science,’ and I thought that was a bit of an oxymoron,” Simpson says. “I wanted to draft an amendment that would do two things. First, it would remove it from the science realm. And second, school boards and the state of Indiana should not be in the business of promoting one religion over another.”
Simpson says that she had learned about world religions in school, and considered it a valuable experience. “But I think of it as literature or philosophy,” she says. “I wanted to clarify that if they wanted to teach Christianity, they should teach other religions as well.”
When the bill was on its second reading in the Senate, at a time when anyone can propose an amendment, Simpson offered this wording…
The governing body of a school corporation may offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.
I asked her why, of all things, she included Scientology.
“I wish it was something more dramatic, but what I did was I asked some of our staff people to do a little research and to come up with the major religions that might have differing ideas about the origin of life. And Scientology was on that list they came up with, and so it got added to the amendment.”