During Florida’s 2008 creationism legislative battle, initiated by State Senator Ronda Storms and Representative Alan Hays, a creationist dentist, we made an interesting observation in Florida’s Anti-Evolution Bills: Sectarian Legislation? After watching the news every day, we mentioned this peculiar coincidence about the key players’ church membership:
Ronda Storms, sponsor of the Senate version of the creationism bill — First Baptist Church in Brandon.
Daniel Webster (R-Winter Garden), majority leader in the Senate — First Baptist Church of Central Florida.
Alan Hays, sponsor of the House version of the creationism bill — First Baptist Church in Umatilla.
Kim Kendall, a stay-at-home mom and leading witness for the creationist legislation — First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.
Donna Callaway, of the Florida’s State Board of Education, evolution opponent — First Baptist Church in Tallahassee.
This was a curious collection of facts. Then, in Florida Anti-Evolution Bills: Inside Info, we pointed out that the Florida Baptist Witness had been an excellent inside source of information about the anti-evolution legislation introduced by Senator Ronda Storms. We also mentioned that the Florida Baptist Convention had a legislative consultant who was keeping the Florida Baptist Witness informed of the creationism bills’ progress.
We finally concluded, in Florida Creationism Bills — Two Informed Opinions, that the best information about anti-evolution legislation in Florida was coming either from the Florida Baptist Witness or the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). It appeared to us that it was only after one of those two sources disclosed what was happening did the traditional press report it. The rare exceptions were press conferences to which the media had direct access.
We didn’t notice this this before, but given the unusual pattern described above we went looking, and we found that Senator Stephen R. Wise, who has promised to introduce similar legislation this year, is a member of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville. That tidbit comes from this almost two year old article in Florida Baptist Witness: New governor opens Florida legislative session.
From these observations we regard the Florida Baptist Convention and the Florida Baptist Witness to be part of the faith-based network of the Discoveroids, and they constitute the principal Axis of Creationism in Florida. We have therefore been scanning the Florida Baptist Witness for early indications of what we can expect in Florida for this year.
And while scanning the Witness we just now found this new article: Point of View, By Charles Colson. We won’t bother to give you any excerpts. Click over there and read it if you think you can stand it.
Let us say only that Colson’s article is the most bizarre creationist rant we’ve seen from a recognizable name. He raised almost every goofball point except “Why are there still monkeys?” We suspect that the only reason it was omitted is because Colson ran out of room, but it’s probably a real Darwin-killer in his mind. The only time we’ve seen stranger rants is the occasional letter to the editor written by solitary psychos living in trailers in deep rural isolation.
What do we conclude from this? In our experience, tactics and talking points flow from the Discoveroids to the Florida members of their faith-based network, and then appear in the Florida Baptist Witness. From there they will soon find their way into the Florida legislature. Different states have different arrangements, but this is the Axis of Creationism in Florida. Colson’s rant is probably a good indication of the thinking behind this year’s creationist initiative in the legislature.
We’ve said this before, but we’ll say it again: We don’t care what church someone belongs to. We don’t care what children are taught at home or in Sunday school. Such things are private family matters, with which we have no desire to interfere.
We rarely take notice of what denomination a creationist belongs to, because it doesn’t matter, at least not to us. However, in the Florida situation it’s impossible to avoid seeing the denominational connections.
Regardless of denomination, legislating to teach creationism in the state-run schools isn’t a private act of personal faith — it’s theocratic aggression, and it’s evil.
See also: Florida’s Axis of Creationism, Part II.
Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.