This is a strange time in The Controversy between evolution and creationism. Compared to the early days of this blog, there’s really nothing going on.
Creationist litigation just isn’t happening. A few years ago there was always some creationist suing his school for not letting him teach creationism, or for not giving him tenure, or for not renewing his contract. Lawyers seem unwilling to take such cases these days, because they’re always losers. And of course, there’s virtually no activity in the legislative area. There are still idiots in the legislatures — loads of them — but their creationist efforts never seem go get anywhere.
Creationist outfits like ol’ Hambo’s operation are functioning and doing reasonably well, but they rarely generate any news for us to write about. If it weren’t for the goofy stuff they post on their blogs, we’d never mention them. As for the Discoveroids, well, they’re getting stranger by the month.
So what does a creationist politician do when everything seems to be going against him? He writes goofy laws. This is an example which appears in the New York Daily News: Public schools in South Dakota are now required to show ‘In God We Trust’ on their walls. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Separation of church and state? Not in that state. A new bill in South Dakota that recently took effect now requires the national motto “In God We Trust” to be displayed on public school walls. Students can expect the saying to be on their walls for the 2019-2020 academic year.
According to Wikipedia, In God We Trust became the national motto of the US in 1956. We didn’t have an official motto before that. E pluribus unum was the nation’s unofficial motto.
So we Googled around and found the South Dakota bill. Here it is (with our bold font for emphasis): Senate Bill 55. It reads as follows:
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That chapter 13-24 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:
Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the national motto of the United States, “In God We Trust,” shall be displayed in each public school. The display shall be located in a prominent location within each public school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal.
For the purposes of this section, a prominent location is a school entryway, cafeteria, or other common area where students are most likely to see the national motto display.
Section 2. That chapter 13-24 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:
For any lawsuit brought or any complaint filed against a school district, an employee of a school district, the board of a school district, or a member thereof as a result of a school district displaying the national motto of the United States in accordance with section 1 of this Act, the attorney general shall provide legal representation at no cost to the school district, employee, school board, or member of the school board.
That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Signed by the Governor on March 18, 2019.
What do we make of it? There’s not much to be said. This isn’t like teaching creationism in a science class, so we can’t get too worked up over it. But it’s a peculiar thing for the state to be doing.
We understand that other states also have such a requirement, but we can’t find a list anywhere. It doesn’t matter. There are certainly stranger things a legislature could be doing, so we’ll let this slide by. But please, dear reader, if you have some objection that we’ve overlooked, let us hear from you.
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