For the first time we can remember, we agree with today’s letter-to-the-editor. It appears in the News Leader of Staunton, Virginia. The title is Del. Dickie Bell tries to bring creationism into public school classrooms. (Del. is an abbreviation for Delegate, Virginia’s term for members of the state’s lower legislative chamber.) The newspaper has a comments feature.
When the letter-writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. Today’s writer should be proud of his letter, but we’ll adhere to our rule. His first name is Sean. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
The General Assembly’s HB 207 was a bill to bring creationism into public school science classes. Don’t take my word for it: the bill’s sponsor, Delegate Richard “Dickie” Bell, has said publicly that the “scientific controversies” mentioned in the bill include, among other things, “the theory of evolution.”
Wow — that goes back a few years. The first time we wrote about Little Dickie’s bill was back in 2014 — see Virginia Creationism: Dickie Bell’s Bill. It’s the only time in our experience that there’s ever been such a bill in Virginia.
Who is Dickie Bell? Wikipedia has a brief entry for him. Yes, he calls himself “Dickie.” Here’s his page at the Virginia Legislature’s website: Delegate Richard P. Bell. It doesn’t say much. What happened to his 2014 bill? It quickly died in committee — see Virginia Creationism: Dickie Bell’s Bill Is Dead.
Okay that’s the background. Back to Sean’s letter. He says:
Let’s be clear: The only remotely convincing arguments that evolution is not the way the current diversity of life on Earth arose are grounded not in scientific empiricism but in religious faith. This bill, therefore, by its sponsor’s admission, is intended to let religious ideas into public school science classes.
After that he tells us:
Now, you may be entirely OK with the idea of students being taught Christian creation in science classes. Even if you are, though, this bill should still terrify you. Why? Because there is no constitutional way to let religious doctrine we like into government programs while keeping religious doctrine we don’t out.
Right! Sean continues:
To create a loophole that lets representatives of one religion into our science classes is to let representatives of every other religion under the sun in as well – a tradeoff that I’d wager the vast majority of Virginians would find unacceptable. That’s why it’s so vital that we have a delegate in Richmond who crafts education policies acceptable to constituents not just next school year but for decades to come.
And now we come to the end:
Del. Bell has made it abundantly clear that he is not that delegate.
Indeed. We’re grateful to Sean for alerting us to Little Dickie’s re-election effort. Here’s his election campaign website: Meet Richard “Dickie” Bell. It says he’s a “Retired High School Special Education teacher and Coach.” The general election will take place on 07 November 2017.
The people of Virginia don’t need an idiot like Little Dickie in the legislature. We’ll be watching to see how things go.
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