There hasn’t been any creationist news in South Carolina for a couple of years, but now it looks like they’ve won the race to be the first state to consider a crazed piece of creationist legislation for the coming year.
In the The State, published in the capital city of Columbia, South Carolina, this headline appeared a couple of days ago: Should SC teachers express religious views? It briefly mentions three pre-filed bills. Only the first of those interests us, so here’s all we found relevant in the newspaper article:
S.C. House members filed bills this week ahead of the legislative session that starts next month. Those proposals would:
[First bill:] Allow teachers to express religious viewpoints
Reps. Bill Chumley, R-Spartanburg; Mike Burns, R-Greenville; and Stephen Long, R-Spartanburg — are sponsoring a proposal to allow a public school teacher to express a religious viewpoint, and participate in any student-led prayer or student-organized prayer groups or religious clubs.
That’s all they say, so we went looking around. At the South Carolina legislature’s website we found some information about the three geniuses who are behind this bill. They’re all Republicans, and none (as of now) is a member of any education committee. James Mikell “Mike” Burns is described as a “businessman” who is also “Member, Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, Trustee and Treasurer at Enoree Baptist Church, 1959-”
This is the text of: House Bill H 3345. It’s very short. We added a bit of bold font for emphasis:
That’s the whole thing. It’s been referred to the Committee on Education and Public Works. We think that with this link the progress of the bill can be tracked: H 3345 General Bill, By Chumley, Burns and Long.
If it passes, it would literally let the state’s public schools become the equivalent of Sunday schools. The bill isn’t limited as to any specific religion, so there may be some debate about what “academic freedom” means in this context. The South Carolina legislative session for 2017 convenes on 10 January and is scheduled adjourn on 01 June. It should be interesting to see what happens to this legislative masterpiece.
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