At the website of Columbus Local News, which appears to serve a number of community newspapers in Ohio, including the town of Whitehall (population 20K), part of suburban Columbus, we read ‘Science Month’ voted down in Whitehall; issue deemed ‘waste of time’.
To better appreciate the goings-on at city hall, we should learn how this situation started. Reason Magazine reported this earlier: Ohio Town Not So Sure About Darwin Day — or Scientific Inquiry in General:
Whitehall City Councilwoman Jacquelyn Thompson last week suggested that the council declare ”Darwin Day” for Feb. 12, the 200th anniversary of the day the evolution theorist was born. Thompson says the idea came from the Humanist Community of Central Ohio. A different secularist group, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, complained about Whitehall’s manger display last month.
So you see, it started in a manger, and it climaxed over Darwin Day. Now that we’re all up to speed, let’s read some excerpts from the Columbus News, with bold added by us:
As expected, Whitehall City Council members nixed a resolution at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 3, to declare February as “Science Month” and to recognize Charles Darwin and Galileo Galilei. Only its sponsor, Councilwoman Jackie Thompson, supported the resolution.
We know you’re wondering how the politicians justified the defeat of such a resolution, so let’s read on
Thompson said she introduced the resolution not for a religious purpose, but as a vehicle to encourage children to explore science and to honor two scientists whom she considers personal heroes.
That makes sense. But of course it may also be an attempt to balance the manger display. Let’s continue:
Other council members seemed to support the idea of a science month so long as no individual scientists were named, but Thompson was adamant, even after it was clear that doing so surely meant the resolution would fail, that the names of Darwin and Galileo remain in the legislation.
So it’s a battle over specifically recognizing Darwin and Galileo. Okay, get ready for the slime.
“My vote (against the resolution) has nothing to do with science or education,” Councilman Chris Rodriguez said immediately prior to voting. “It’s about wasting time. We need to focus on the real issues facing this city … and stop wasting time on such controversial and divisive issues.”
Right. Busy politicians don’t have time to waste. But we can’t help wondering what it is about recognizing Darwin and Galileo that would be “controversial and divisive.”
Here’s more slime from another civic leader:
Adopting the resolution, Councilman Jim Graham said, would “unjustly omit numerous other scientists” and would not lend any “legitimacy to Science Month.”
Ah yes, we must not discriminate. That’s a good reason to reject a Darwin resolution. Can you handle still more slime? Then let’s move along:
While council members were successful at avoiding a debate of evolution versus creationism, one resident attempted to do so. Tim Harrison, who lives on Rose Place, said evolution is a “theory.”
“It’s not science … to teach it to children as a science is a lie,” said Harrison, adding he viewed evolution as a matter of faith and therefore synonymous with religion.
It’s easy to understand how slimy politicians get elected. They represent their constituents. Anyway, the article ends with this:
Following the 6-1 drubbing of the resolution, Thompson said,” If I sparked interest in just one child, then it was worth it — and I will continue to use to my council position to bring forward ideas.”
The city council has spoken: Manger yes, Darwin no. And so, dear reader, we now leave the happy town of Whitehall.
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