The Republican dream has finally arrived. Louisiana highschools are using the Book of Genesis in their science classes, thanks to Bobby Jindal’s religious extremism agenda and his blatant violations of church and state.
In 2008, creationist Governor Jindal signed the “Louisiana Science Education Act” into law, much to the dismay of scientists. The law allows teachers in the state to use religious materials, like the Bible, to give an alternate views on evolution and climate change. Now, nearly seven years later, the teachers in at least one Louisiana school district are using the Bible to teach kids in public schools about science.
When the bill was passed in 2008, one of its sponsors said that he felt students should know that there are weaknesses in both “scientific arguments”– implying that the creationism is rooted in science. One high school junior, Zack Kopplin, was so horrified by the idea that science teachers would violate the Constitution by using religious materials in a public classroom, he got in touch with 75 Nobel laureates (nearly half of the living science Nobelists) and asked them to support a movement to have the law repealed; they did. Unfortunately, the repeal failed five consecutive years in a row and now teachers are finally using it to indoctrinate public school students.
Kopplin is all grown up now and a science writer for Slate, but he has not forgotten his goal of getting Jindal’s damaging law repealed. Recently he obtained dozens of emails from the science teachers in the Bossier Parish school district, where they were discussing how they planned on teaching their students a “creation point of view” using the Bible instead of a science book.
In one email from science teacher Shawna Creamer, at Airline High School, to Principal Jason Rowland, she lets him know when she will be teaching creationism to her students and how “you wanted me to let you know when I was planning the Creation point of view. I will be doing this on Monday 3/21. The students will actually be doing most of the presenting. We will read in Genesis and them some supplemental material debunking various aspects of evolution from which the students will present.” That’s right: a teacher paid with taxpayer dollars will be using the Bible to “debunk” science.
In another email to Principal Rowland, a parent complains that her child’s teacher taught “evolution garbage” in class that day and the principal assured the parent “it will not happen again.”
Jindal’s law makes it perfectly legal for a teacher to bring in “supplemental material” to “critique” evolution; it does not make it legal for a principal to ban the teaching of evolution in schools completely. Furthermore, even though this backwards state allows Creationist teachers to bring their cherry-picked Bible into school, federal law expressly forbids it.
Not only is it illegal to teach students that God created man, it’s also factually incorrect. 99.9 percent of the scientific community supports the theory of evolution; when 99.9 percent of the scientific community supports something, there is nothing left to dispute. Bobby Jindal and his fellow Republicans are destroying the foundation of science when they teach kids that some magical man in the sky created earth 6,000 years ago and The Flintstones is a historically accurate show.
All over the country, Republicans are waging war on education. It’s been scientifically proven that the more educated someone is, the less likely they are to vote for a red candidate. Besides voter suppression and gerrymandering, the easiest way to ensure that their party doesn’t go extinct is to dumb down the electorate. The easiest people to fool are the ones who don’t know that they are being fooled, and that’s why the GOP is pushing so hard for religion in classrooms.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.