South Carolina Creationist Bill for 2019

There’s no shortage of creationists in state legislatures. They either don’t know or don’t care about the US Constitution, and they’re determined to use their state’s public schools — and taxpayers’ money — for teaching creationism.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have posted the latest news: Creation science bill in South Carolina. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

South Carolina’s House Bill 3826 would, if enacted, allow public school districts to offer elective courses on religion — and to “require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science[,] as part of the course content.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They want to require teaching creation science? NCSE calmly points out:

The teaching of creation science in the public schools was ruled to be unconstitutional — a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause — by a federal court inMcLean v. Arkansas (1982) and by the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987).

Clicking on NCSE’s link takes us to the legislature’s page for the bill, which is too long to copy here. We’ll give you a few of the bill’s provisions that got our attention, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

(A)(1) A school district may include as an elective in the curriculum of the high schools in the district a course surveying religions of the world.

[…]

(3) In addition to the provisions of item (1), a school district may require [require!] the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science [Wowie!] as part of the course content.

That’s what NCSE mentioned, but we found another interesting part of the bill:

(B)(1) When the parent of a student who is enrolled in a public school makes a written request, the principal of the school in which the student is enrolled may allow the student to attend a school for religious instruction that is conducted by a church, an association of churches, or an association that is organized for religious instruction and incorporated under the laws of this State.

(2) If a principal grants permission under item (1), the principal shall specify a period or periods, not to exceed one hundred twenty minutes in total in any week [Two hours a week!], for the student to receive religious instruction. The permission is valid only for the year in which it is granted. Decisions made by a principal under this section may be reviewed by the district superintendent.

(D) A student who attends a school for religious instruction under this section must receive the same attendance credit that the student would receive for attendance in the public schools for the same length of time.

In other words, public school credit for attending religious school at church. We’ve encountered something like that before — see Alabama’s 2012 Creationism Bill: It’s Dead.

Here’s the rest of what NCSE says:

The bill, which would also require display of “In God We Trust” in classrooms, was introduced and referred to the House Committee on Education and Public Works on January 31, 2019. Its sponsors are Dwight A. Loftis (R-District 19) and James Mikell “Mike” Burns (R-District 17).

We looked them up at the legislature’s website. Dwight A. Loftis is a retired insurance agent. James Mikell “Mike” Burn is a “businessman” who is a Member, Sunday School Teacher, Deacon, Trustee and Treasurer at Enoree Baptist Church.

The South Carolina legislature convened on 08 January, and will adjourn on 09 May. Here’s a link for following the progress of House Bill 3826. As of today, it’s just sitting in the House Committee on Education and Public Works. We’ll be keeping you advised, so stay tuned to this blog.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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5 responses to “South Carolina Creationist Bill for 2019

  1. ” A school district may include as an elective in the curriculum of the high schools in the district a course surveying religions of the world.”

    I’m with Dawkins on this one. I’m all in favour of the teaching of religions, the more different religions the better. and I’d love to see exam questions like “compare and contrast the stories of Noah in Genesis with that of Utnapishtim in Gilgamesh”, or “Who was the first to describe Jesus as divine?” or “It is sometimes suggested that despite superficial differences, all major religions have certain fundamental truths in common. Examine this view, using Islam and Hinduism as your examples.”

  2. Paul Braterman says: “I’m with Dawkins on this one. I’m all in favour of the teaching of religions, the more different religions the better.”

    Me too. My only exposure to theology in college was an elective course in comparative religion. I was mildly curious, and it looked like an “easy A,” as students used to say. When the course was over: (1) my curiosity was satisfied; (2) I got an A; and (3) I no longer had any interest in the subject.

  3. This guy went to the University of South Carolina and he claims, earned a Bachelor of Science degree there in 1974. I just had to go to his web page and share a few thoughts.

  4. Is it even possible for schools in these conservative states to really teach a course that would be inclusive and fair to even the most well known religions?

  5. What if, for example, a teacher would mention the indisputed fact that the Pilgrim Fathers banned the celebration of Christmas?