WHEN we last reported on creationist events in the happy, pastoral town of Spencer, Iowa a month ago, we left things dangling a bit.
As you recall, this story started back in July. The Spencer school board, led by two local worthies — one a preacher (Barbara Van Wyk), the other a pharmacist (David Schlichtemeier) — were working on what they imagined was a brilliant plan for their public schools to teach the bible and to criticize evolution. They had been motivated by Darwin’s Black Box, a creationist book by Michael Behe. But at the end of August, we reported:
Spencer school officials will throw out a Bible class and discard a critique of evolutionary theory to avoid being sued over the district’s proposed “religious liberties” policy.
We also reported that:
A second crack at the policy will be scrutinized by attorneys, teachers and other groups before it’s made public in September, Superintendent Greg Ebeling said.
Others may have forgotten about Spencer, but we’ve been watching for developments. We’re writing this on the last day of September, so what’s the deal?
Our world-wide network of clandestine operatives has nothing to tell us — but that too is news. You see, dear reader, your Curmudgeon not only informs you about what’s happening with The Controversy between evolution and creationism — we also report about what’s not happening. No one can give you more comprehensive coverage than that.
Superintendent Ebeling presented plaques to retiring board members Dave Schlichtemeier, Ed VerSteeg, and Barb VanWyk. Superintendent Ebeling thanked the retiring members for their years of service and dedication to the Spencer Community School District.
What does this mean? We don’t really know, but now that the principal movers behind the creationism initiative are no longer on the board, it’s likely that the revised initiative which had been anticipated for September probably isn’t going to materialize. However — although this isn’t much of a cliffhanger — September isn’t yet over as we’re writing this. Something might happen today, but there’s no agenda at the Board’s website. It looks to us like it’s all over.
For the remaining members of the Board, we have a suggestion. At the website of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), there’s an article about a new book: Religion in the Public Schools, with “detailed information about the law governing religion and the public schools,” which includes:
Chapter 4: A Road Map for Avoiding Lawsuits and Respecting Parents’ Legal Rights
NCSE recommends the book, so we’ll recommend it to the Spencer School Board. They may not need it now, but it won’t hurt to have it on hand.
And so, dear reader, we take our leave of Spencer, Iowa. It’s been fun, but The Controversy seems to have moved on. The good folks of Spencer probably don’t know how fortunate they are.
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