Facing a certain override by the state legislature, Governor Bill Haslam is allowing HB 368/SB 893, a creationism bill, to become law in Tennessee without his signature. Under Tennessee law, if there is no action by the Governor on a bill, that bill automatically becomes law after ten days. Such is the case with the creationism bill.
The bill allows educators to teach creation myth alongside real science. There’s really no other way to put it. Even students can feel free to question the validity of evolution by bringing up religious views that have no scientific evidence. Students and teachers can even use religion to question global warming and the chemical origins of life. And teachers are totally protected by the law to allow this. It’s a recipe for confusion and division in schools.
According to The Tennessean, despite pleas from scientists and educators to veto the bill, Governor Haslam didn’t sign the bill as a symbolic gesture to express his opposition. It wouldn’t matter if he had vetoed it anyway because the legislature passed the bill by an overwhelming margin and would have easily been passed via override since it only takes a simple majority to do so.
“The bill received strong bipartisan support, passing the House and Senate by a 3-to-1 margin,” Haslam stated, “but good legislation should bring clarity and not confusion. My concern is that this bill has not met this objective.”
And he’s right about that. All this bill does is place religion where it does not belong. In the classroom. This bill isn’t about improving education. It’s about preaching Christian religious views to impressionable kids. This is the very definition of indoctrination. The Book of Genesis is not an accepted scientific theory, yet Republican lawmakers want it to be taught in school so that they can use it as a vehicle to push their twisted biblical views which are the basis for their destructive agenda. Science contradicts Republican viewpoints. So naturally, Republicans want to poison the well of knowledge with religion. Republicans don’t want the people to have decent health care, so they need to make people believe that it’s not medicine or science that heals, all you need is prayer. Republicans don’t want the people to care about the environment, so they must make people believe that God will take care of the planet as we destroy it. Republicans reject diversity and peace, so they must make people believe that God wants them to hate and make war. That’s why these school prayer and creationism bills are being touted by the GOP.
Instead of leaving religion in the home and church where it belongs, Republicans want it in school so it can distract and divide. And what about the students and teachers who are not Christians? Do they also get the privilege of expressing their own views? Probably not. The first time a teacher or student talks about the Islamic view of creation, or pagan views, or Hinduism, conservative parents and politicians will throw a hissy fit. That’s why this law is such a terrible idea. It opens the door to endless and expensive lawsuits that will cost schools and taxpayers millions of dollars, which will weaken the ability of the public school system to operate. Instead of buying books, desks, chairs, technology, and other materials to educate our kids, schools won’t have the money to do so because Republicans irresponsibly placed religion over education.