As you know, Tennessee is one of only two states (Louisiana being the other) that have enacted a version of the Discovery Institute’s creationist Academic Freedom bill. At the time it was passed (in 2012), we wrote Thoughts on the Tennessee Creationism Law.
Now a new education bill has been proposed for that state. We read about it in The Tennessean of Nashville, Tennessee, the state capital. Their headline is Bill seeks to prevent religious indoctrination in schools. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
A state lawmaker filed a bill Wednesday to quell statewide concerns about religious indoctrination in public schools.
That sounds nice. What’s would the new bill do — repeal the 2012 creationism law? No, of course not. We’re talking about Tennessee, where it seems that no one can get elected to office unless he’s a hard-core drooler. The Tennessean tells us:
Middle school students learn about major world religions in social studies, and in recent months, some parents and officials have raised concerns about how and what students learn about Islam. The bill enables local school boards to set guidelines on how religions are taught in school, among other things.
Ah, it’s not about science. The kiddies already get creationism in science class. This bill applies to social studies, where there has been — gasp! — instruction about Islam. Let’s read on:
“I’m not opposed to teaching religion. I am opposed to indoctrination and proselytization,” said Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, who co-sponsors HB1905 with Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, and Rep. Micah Van Huss, R-Johnson City.
Matthew Hill is a Tennessee legislator, so of course he doesn’t oppose teaching religion — his religion. What he probably means is that he doesn’t want any other religions presented in a favorable light.
This is the legislature’s page for Matthew Hill. It doesn’t say much. He has a degree from East Tennessee State University, and his occupation is listed as “Broadcaster.” Ah, Wikipedia has a more informative write-up on him: Matthew Hill. They say:
Hill graduated from Tri-Cities Christian High School and then went on to earn an Associate degree from Northeast State Technical Community College during 2001. Hill later completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communication from East Tennessee State University.
Hill is a children’s radio show host of the weekday broadcast of the Bible Buddies WHCB Kid’s Show with Mr. Matthew featuring Christian Rock music and had formerly hosted the The Matthew Hill Show nationally syndicated broadcast radio program that was also hosted online by the IRN USA Radio News network as a free archived podcast.
Hill is employed by his father, Rev. Dr. Kenneth “Ken” C. Hill, as Information Communications Corporation, Inc. Vice President and as an Evangelical Methodist broadcaster with WHCB 91.5 FM (Dr. Hill also serves as the president of the 501(c)(3) Appalachian Educational Communications Corporation that owns WHCB 91.5 FM and the Cameo Theater).
Among the 2006 legislation sponsored by Hill in the Tennessee General Assembly is HB2921, authorizing (upon passage) “…the display, in county and municipal public buildings…, of replicas of historical documents and writings” including the Ten Commandments religious displays.
That’s what we’re dealing with. Here’s a link to his bill: HOUSE BILL 1905. We’ll skip the rest of the news story and give you the text of the bill, with a few Curmudgeonly remarks included in brackets:
If this thing gets passed, what does it mean? We’re not sure. We’ve seen worse. It seems to be an attempt to keep religion in the public schools, while minimizing criticism because teachers have to mention religions other than Christianity. Considering who is behind this thing, we doubt that it’s intended to have what we would consider a beneficial effect.
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