Yesterday, the Secular Coalition of America (SCA) issued an alert to their members encouraging secular Americans to stand up for fact-based education. SCA is asking its members to support House Resolution 1593 that supports fact-based curricula in public schools without meddling by those with an avowed religious agenda. The bill, introduced by Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (T-DX) recently introduced a resolution (H. Res. 1593). This bill is a response to the recent hijacking of the social studies curriculum in Texas by religious extremists who have rejected fact based history in favor of religiously motivated historical revisionism.
Closer to home, several of the candidates for the Alachua County School Board have openly stated their desire to do the same to Florida’s science curriculum. The issue of whether creationism should be taught in Alachua County schools was brought up in a candidate forum the other day. Several expressed their desire to teach creationism even though it is not recognized as a scientific theory. Here is how the candidates break out on this issue.
Bonnie Burgess: According to the Gainesville Sun she is unaware that Florida’s science curriculum includes the teaching of Evolution and that it is included on the Science FCAT. She thinks it is “only logical to offer creationism.”
April Griffith believes that “we should teach creationism” and for some reason thinks this will help develop free thinking skills in the students.
Felicia Moss also agrees that creationism should be taught but added that the schools should “leave it up to the parents to expound on it.”
Rick Nesbitt is “absolutely opposed to teaching creationism as science in our schools.” Though he would not be opposed to its discussion in a philosophy class noting that the schools would “absolutely safeguard the separation of church and state.”
David Palpant thinks creationism does have a place in public schools, but only as a part of a comparative religion class.
Wayne Gabb thinks creationism should be brought up in the schools and that teachers should allow students to decide for themselves what they think ignoring the fact that schools should be teaching accepted science and not teaching false controversies.
Jodi Wood thinks creationism should be taught alongside Evolution saying, “So long as we are teaching the theory of evolution, we should teach the other theory of creationism, too. Evolution is not a fact, it is a theory.” Clearly she doesn’t understand what constitutes a scientific theory.
Gunner Paulson is the only District 3 candidate that is “opposed to teaching creationism in public schools.”
All District 5 candidates are opposed to teaching creationism as science.
Jennifer Deachin is opposed to teaching it as science but would be ok with it being introduced in a comparative religion course.
Carol Oyenarte said only that she believes in the separation of church and state and left it at that.
Christopher Smiley said that if it is taught, it should be taught in a historical context noting that that isn’t what creation advocates want. They don’t want creationism compared to other religions.
Janice Vinson did not respond directly to the question but one of her supporters, Rev. Griner of Hall Chapel United Methodist Church, said that while Janice grew up in a church, she respects the separation of church and state and that “She would not favor teaching creationism. It’s the parents’ responsibility to teach them.”
For more information about the Secular Coalition of America and their election 2010 resources, visit their website at: www.secular.org/election There is information there on how to get involved as a secular values voter and a candidate question they are encouraging all candidates to fill out.