John Kasich: States Can Teach Creationism

We found an article about John Kasich, the Republican Governor of Ohio who is running for his party’s Presidential nomination. It doesn’t appear that he’ll be successful, so we’re not writing about him in that context. But we’re interested in something he recently said about creationism.

Kasich hasn’t discussed creationism lately, but he definitely has tendencies in that direction. Back in 2009 he said he supported teaching both evolution and “creation science” in Ohio biology classes. We wrote about it in John Kasich of Ohio: Creationist. But he’s been far more guarded about his views lately — until now.

At the website of the Political Monitor, which reports political news in New Hampshire where the Presidential candidates are now campaigning, we read At town hall meeting in Bow, Kasich focuses on leadership. One item in that article got our attention:

Asked about the teaching of creationism versus evolution, Kasich said it should be a state’s choice, explaining that placing the power there gives parents the best access to effect change. “It is far easier for you to get your hands on a state legislature here than in the federal government,” he said.

That’s an interesting position to take. In the uniquely American political setup, education isn’t a federal responsibility. Constitutionally speaking, schools are strictly a state function. But are a state’s public schools free to teach creationism? This is where it gets sticky.

Most states, in their own constitutions, provide for separation of church and state. Approximately 37 states have some version of the Blaine Amendment, which usually provides that “No revenue of the state or any political subdivision or agency thereof shall ever be taken from the public treasury directly or indirectly in aid of any church, sect, or religious denomination or in aid of any sectarian institution.” A few years ago we had several posts on a failed attempt to remove that provision from the Florida constitution — see Florida’s Theocratic Constitutional Amendment.

What about Ohio? We can’t find the specific Blaine language in the Ohio Constitution, but Article 1, Section 7 says, with our bold font:

All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience. No person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or maintain any form of worship, against his consent; and no preference shall be given, by law, to any religious society; nor shall any interference with the rights of conscience be permitted. No religious test shall be required, as a qualification for office, nor shall any person be incompetent to be a witness on account of his religious belief; but nothing herein shall be construed to dispense with oaths and affirmations. Religion, morality, and knowledge, however, being essential to good government, it shall be the duty of the general assembly to pass suitable laws to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship, and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.

That’s a bit fuzzy, but it seems to do the job. Kasich should be aware that in his own state, public funding for teaching creationism would probably violate the Ohio Constitution.

Then, of course, there’s the First Amendment to the federal Constitution, which, if applicable to Ohio, would certainly outlaw using tax money to teach creationism. Originally, the Bill of Rights (of which the First Amendment is part) was thought to restrict only the national government, but using the incorporation doctrine, the US Supreme Court has been ruling that the federal Bill of Rights applies to the states. That’s because of the passage of the 14th Amendment, which says, among other things: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

So either way we look at it — using only the Ohio Constitution or by applying the First Amendment to that state, which the US Supreme Court would surely do — Kasich seems to be babbling theocratic nonsense. Ah well, that’s how things are these days. [*Mumble, grumble*] That’s why we’re a Curmudgeon.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “John Kasich: States Can Teach Creationism

  1. John Kasich also spearheaded a successful campaign to reduce the United States Geological Survey many years ago, specifically targeting the paleontology division. Evidence indicates that he is an anti-science bigot. He is not a friend of rationality or intellectualism or nature or science.

  2. Kasich is another pandering Repub that is just playing to the Repub choir. Instead of promoting their Christian ideals the same could be applied to the logic of Sharia law. I know, I know, the founding fathers were Christians but their beliefs were also tempered with the European Enlightenment more than can be said for the current Repub majority.

  3. I am old enough to remember when the worst thing you could say about Republicans is that they were rather humourless and boring.

    When did the GOP become the party of crazy? It’s a terrible loss, not just to the United States, but to the world.

  4. Sadly, Kaisch, as far as I know, has a stronger record for balancing the books and providing financial stability than the other Republican candidates – but a leopard can’t change its spots, nor hide them for very long, and so it doesn’t surprise me that he supports creationism.

  5. “Asked about the teaching of creationism versus evolution, Kasich said it should be a state’s choice, explaining that placing the power there gives parents the best access to effect change.

    Just what does Kasich imply here regarding “change?” To dismantle the scientific body and replace it with religious nonsense? Apparently so. Apparently this damn period of enlightenment needs to be brought to a close, or so he hopes.

  6. Kind of makes you wonder what the courts have said about teaching creationism in public schools. If only there was an interconnected network of information that a guy like Kasich could access from his computer or phone to find that sort of stuff out.


  7. I don’t know if I share your trust in the U.S. Supreme Court, but I agree with all your other sentiments here.

  8. Very unfortunate, because I like Kasich as a candidate, and think he would be a strong Republican contender, able to move the dialogue towards rationality. I’m a Democrat, but we desperately need some good rational Republican politicians.

    I know he’s not high in the polls, but one could hope. But, teaching creationism in the schools, well, let’s hope that he’s just saying that to help his chances.

  9. michaelfugate

    Why bring it up when it is not really big on the list of concerns – even Republican concerns? It won’t help his chances in the general election and it won’t distance him from any other Republican candidate. No wonder he’s losing.

  10. And to think, he comes across as one of most rational of the Republican candidates. Hard to be proud to call yourself a conservative now a days.