Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have a new post about Antievolution legislation in Alabama.
We haven’t written about creationist legislation in that state since 2009: Alabama Creationism Bill: It’s Dead. That one was was introduced into the Alabama House of Representatives by David Grimes. It was “inspired” by the misleadingly-named Academic Freedom Act, promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids).
This year’s bill was introduced into the House by Blaine Galliher. Here’s his campaign website. It informs us that: “He is currently the Director for Training of Existing Business and Industries at Gadsden State Community College.”
The bill is HB133, which is almost impossible to find at the legislature’s website. If you click on that website, then you’ll have to click on “Bills” in the margin, and then “Status” and then enter “HB133” to receive minimal information. It’s pending action in committee, and the bill is described as: “Education, local boards of education authorized to provide for released time religious instruction in public high schools as an elective course for credit.”
Aha! From that screen, if you first click on the HB133 button, then you can click on “View” at the top of the window. That gives you a little popup window that has the bill’s text. Here it is, with bold font added by us:
There’s nothing specifically about creationism in the bill, but NCSE says:
HB 133 seems to go further [than case law allows], however, by providing, “A student who participates in a released time religious instruction may earn elective course credit for participation as determined by the local board of education. … The local board of education may adopt minimum standards for the curriculum and participation necessary to qualify for credit.” The provision of elective course credit is in fact identified as the purpose of the bill, which includes as a legislative finding that “the absence of an ability to award such credits has essentially eliminated the ability of a school district to accommodate the desires of parents and students to participate in released time programs.”
Ah, school credit! NCSE also says, with bold font added for emphasis:
Discussing the bill with WAFF in Huntsville, Alabama (February 5, 2012), Galliher was “pretty clear on where he stands,” telling the station, “They teach evolution in the textbooks, but they don’t teach a creation theory,” and “Creation has just as much right to be taught in the school system as evolution does and I think this is simply providing the vehicle to do that.”
Then they add this:
There are already signs that the passage of HB 133 would encourage the teaching of creationism. The Gadsen Times (November 19, 2011) reported that a local religious group in Galliher’s district was eager to participate in such a released time program, planning to offer four classes per day, five days per week. “The primary thrust of the school,” explained a spokesperson, “is to inform young people there is [a] theory of creation besides evolution, and it’s strictly based on Genesis 1 through 12.”
What can we say? These classes are voluntary and they don’t involve any expenditure of state funds, even for transportation — at least until next year when taxpayer-funded vouchers will probably be proposed. Nor, at least for now, do these classes involve state personnel. Further, whatever the kiddies are exposed to in such classes, it isn’t part of the science curriculum. This is like going to Sunday school on public school time and getting credit for it. It’s goofy, and we doubt that colleges will be impressed with this on a kid’s transcript, but it’s the least objectionable creationism bill we’ve seen yet. It’s still objectionable, however.
Alabama’s legislative session began on 07 February and is scheduled to end “mid May” (whatever that means). So there you are. Now we have another state to watch. Isn’t creationism fun?
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.