Arkansas Creationism Bill Creeps Forward

A month ago we wrote Arkansas Has a Creationist Bill for 2021, about House Bill 1701, sponsored by Representative Mary Bentley, a drooling creationist queen who had introduced an idiotic bill like this in a previous year.

Today in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (which has a comments feature), we found a headline that is certain to thrill creationists everywhere: Panel advances bill to let Arkansas teachers talk creationism. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

A House committee on Tuesday advanced a bill [Ooooooooooooh!] that would allow teachers to discuss religious beliefs of creationism along with instruction about scientific theories in public schools in Arkansas, over objectors who said the bill puts matters of faith in schools and doesn’t match up with the state’s curriculum-forming process.

Idiots everywhere are thrilled! Then the newspaper says:

Sponsor Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, said House Bill 1701 would enhance classroom discussion. [Hee hee!] “Our students are missing out on being able to hear the debate, and it causes them to grow and hear different sides,” she said. She noted support for creationism among the country’s founding fathers and said the bill would not cause any type of proselytizing.

The Founding Fathers were creationists? Let’s see now … the Declaration of Independence was written in 1776. Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published in 1859. Mary Bentley is a genius!

After that the newspaper tells us:

A House Education Committee member, Rep. Megan Godfrey, D-Springdale, said the bill doesn’t align with how curricula are created in the state, and asked why Bentley introduced a blanket bill rather than going through that process. “Blanket permission without specifics or contextualization really is unhelpful to teachers. If we see the value of teaching this theory then it needs to be in the academic standards,” Godfrey, a former educator, said later in the committee meeting.

Interesting objection. No reaction to it, however. The newspaper continues:

Bentley [the flaming creationist] said HB1701 is a response to Act 590 of 1981, which mandated that the state “give balanced treatment to creation science and to evolution-science.” Then-U.S. District Court Judge William R. Overton ruled that the law was unconstitutional in 1982. Another law in the state attempted to ban teaching the theory of evolution, which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down in a 1968 ruling.

She’s probably referring to Epperson v. Arkansas. In her idiotic mind, the way to cure that problem is for the state to pass yet another unconstitutional bill. Bentley really is amazing!

There’s not much else to the news story, but they never got around to telling us what they meant when they said that a House committee “had advanced” the bill. So we looked the thing up at the legislature’s website. Here it is: HB 1701. They say that on 06 April the action taken on the bill was: “Returned by the Committee Do Pass.” We’re not certain what that means, but the bill is in the House Education Committee, so things don’t look good — unless you’re a drooling creationist.

Okay, dear reader that’s all we know as a result of today’s newspaper article. There will undoubtedly be more to come, so stay tuned to this blog!

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8 responses to “Arkansas Creationism Bill Creeps Forward

  1. Good to know Arkansas has enough money for lawsuits.

  2. “ Arkansas Creationism Bill CreepsSlithers Forward”

  3. Ken Phelps


  4. Ken Phelps


  5. Ken Phelps


  6. Ken Phelps


  7. I just learned that the bill passed the House today, and now it’s going to the state Senate. I’ll have to post about it tomorrow.

  8. Dave Luckett

    The money quote from the draft:

    “A teacher of a kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) science class at a public school or open-enrollment public charter school may teach creationism as a theory of how the earth came to exist.”

    Now what? If the Senate is stupid enough to let this one through, I imagine it will stand until some science class in some public school in Arkansas is exposed to its teacher’s folly, and someone with standing brings suit. I imagine that person will have to be a lawful resident of Arkansas whose minor child is put through this. I imagine, also, that that plaintiff will need to be public-spirited enough to insist on a court ruling striking down this damnfool legislation, and not be satisfied with merely a retraction and settlement – for that would mean that the idiots could do it again.

    Wheels within wheels. Any public official – school principal, district supervisor, board, whatever, receiving such a complaint would surely have wit enough to know that this is an “uh-oh” moment. Any legal advice would confirm a feeling of impending catastrophe. No legal insurance would cover it. If it goes to trial, somebody’s going to lose their shirt.

    Damn, I wish I had the popcorn concession. The only qualm I have is my virtual certainty that whatever happens, Rep. Bentley is going to be far, far away, in perfect safety and comfort.