IT is very difficult to comprehend how stupid the Livingston Parish School Board really is. The last time we wrote about them was Louisiana Creationism: It’s Coming Soon! We reported various statements made at a school board meeting, such as:
Jan Benton, director of curriculum … said that under provisions of the Science Education Act enacted last year by the Louisiana Legislature, schools can present what she termed “critical thinking and creationism” in science classes.
Board Member David Tate quickly responded: “We let them teach evolution to our children, but I think all of us sitting up here on this School Board believe in creationism. Why can’t we get someone with religious beliefs to teach creationism?”
Fellow board member Clint Mitchell responded, “I agree … you don’t have to be afraid to point out some of the fallacies with the theory of evolution. Teachers should have the freedom to look at creationism and find a way to get it into the classroom.”
All of that being part of the public record, and inevitably part of any litigation record, Dr. Barbara Forrest even publicly advised the political leadership of Louisiana to give up their attempt to force creationism into the state-run schools. We wrote about that here: Louisiana Creationism & Barbara Forrest. We said:
The importance of [the school board’s babbling] is that anything the Livingston Parish School Board does in furtherance of their creationist desires will be legally dead on arrival. They’ve already lost any litigation that may arise, because they’re going to flunk the first and second prongs of the Lemon Test — as happened to the creationist school board in Kitzmiller.
Well, there’s stupid, and there’s Louisiana stupid. There’s crazy, and there’s creationist crazy. All the worst elements of both are concentrated the Livingston Parish School Board. Stay with us and you’ll see.
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.
That’s good news — but only for the moment. Let’s read on:
A decision to teach creationism could become expensive for the parish school system, said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
Indeed. It would be madness for the taxpayers of Louisiana to pay for a replay of the Kitzmiller case in Dover, Pennsylvania. We continue:
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.
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.”
Amazing. He wants creationism taught, but he wants it done right — whatever that means. Here’s more:
“I don’t think the board would do anything if our attorney advised it was something that we couldn’t win in court, Martin said.
That’s the only thing holding them back. Not science, not sanity, not the Constitution. Moving along:
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.
We can imagine how that went: “Hey, Mr. Lawyer-man, Jindal signed the creationism bill. Can we teach Noah’s Ark now? Can we, can we?”
Jones said he is not sure what the staff committee “will come back with, but I think it will be reasonable.” Given the financial picture of parish schools “the worst thing we could do at this point is to get into protracted litigation,” the attorney said.
Curmudgeonly advice to Tom Jones: Be aware, sir, that your client is insane. They don’t know how to come up with anything reasonable.
On with the article:
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. [Curmudgeonly emphasis supplied.]
M’god! That’s almost word-for-word out of the transcript of the Kitzmiller case — from board member Bill Buckingham’s statement to the Dover School Board. The court’s website with the 139 page opinion (pdf file) is right here. Quoting from page 105, and adding red for emphasis:
“Nowhere in the Constitution does it call for a separation of church and state.” He explained that this country was founded on Christianity. Buckingham concedes that he said “I challenge you (the audience) to trace your roots to the monkey you came from.” He said that while growing up, his generation read from the Bible and prayed during school. He further said “liberals in black robes” were “taking away the rights of Christians” and he said words to the effect of “2,000 years ago someone died on a cross. Can’t someone take a stand for him?”
Mr. Tate, meet Mr. Buckingham. Here’s the end of the article:
“It’s a very touchy subject,” said Bill Spear, Superintendent of Livingston Parish Schools. “We as a staff will enforce whatever the board adopts.”
Go for it, guys! Clear sailing! Blue skies! Win one for the Gipper! Tally ho!
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