Did you ever wonder why a Southern state like Arkansas hasn’t had any creationism legislation in all the years we’ve been running this blog? Stay with us, and all will be explained.
We learned about this from the website THV11, the CBS affiliate in Little Rock, Arkansas. Their headline is Arkansas legislators have introduced dozens of shell bills on the final day to file. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
On the last day to file a bill for the 91st General Assembly, Arkansas legislators have introduced dozens of shell bills before the end of the work day. Below are a list of some of those bills.
Only one of those bills interests us. Here’s what they say about it:
HB2050: To allow public schools to teach creationism and intelligent design as theories alongside the theory of evolution. Filed by Representative Mary Bentley (R-Perryville), HB2050 is designed to amend Arkansas code to allow teachers to teach creationism and intelligent design as theories.
That’s rather straightforward. They also tell us:
In 1968, the United States Supreme Court overturned a 40-year-old statute in Arkansas that prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools. [That was Epperson v. Arkansas.] Then in 1982, a state law was struck down, concluding that teaching “creation science” in Arkansas public schools was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
For that 1982 case, they link to a 44 page article by Barbara Forrest: UNDERSTANDING THE INTELLIGENT DESIGN CREATIONIST MOVEMENT:ITS TRUE NATURE AND GOALS. The case they’re referring to is McLean v. Arkansas.
That’s the news story. And that’s also why we haven’t seen any creationism legislation in Arkansas. That state has had its head handed to it a couple of times, so although they have no shortage of creationists, they seem to have learned that they can’t legislate about it — until now.
Here’s a a link to the Arkansas legislature’s page on HB2050. We don’t see any link to the bill’s text. Perhaps that’s because it was just filed.
And here’s their page on Mary Bentley, the genius who sponsored the bill. They say: “She is a member of Perry County Right to Life and serves as volunteer fireman/first responder. She was awarded Fireman of the Year by the Williams Junction Volunteer Fire Department. She is the owner of Bentley Plastics in Perryville, Arkansas.”
The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on 09 March, which is only three days from today. We doubt that Mary’s bill will go anywhere, but it’ll probably earn her a few rapture points, and it brings Arkansas back into the game.
Addendum: NCSE suggests that the bill is dead — see Arkansas creationism bill apparently dies.
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