Indiana Senate Panel Wants To Get Sued


The Indiana Senate apparently wants to lose a really big lawsuit. The Committee on Education and Career Development passed Senate Bill 89 last week by an 8-2 vote, sending it to the floor for a full vote. Here’s what that bill would do:

The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.

The Center for Inquiry – Indiana sent a letter and testified against the bill and explained to them that the Supreme Court’s 1987 ruling in Edwards v Aguillard clearly makes that law unconstitutional. They didn’t seem to care.

Comments

  1. Paul Neubauer says

    Well, of course, the Senate committee won’t get sued. It will be the individual school districts that get sued. And obviously they will lose and lose money at it. But the Senators won’t care. It isn’t their money and it isn’t their budget. They will get the additional advantage that they can point to the ACLU and claim to be victims of persecution. They win!

  2. peterh says

    To have fully rounded curricula in the Indiana schools, they need to incorporate phrenology in psychology course, the four bodily humors in medicine courses, whether the flat Earth rests on elephants or turtles in geography classes . . . . .

  3. eric says

    Its been amended. The new language reads:

    Page 1, delete lines 4 through 5 and insert ” offer instruction on various theories of the origin of life. The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions, which may include, but is not limited to, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology.”.

    Courtesy of the Sensuous Curmudgeon.

  4. jerthebarbarian says

    Paul Neubauer @2 has it right. The Senate won’t be sued, it will be one or more of the individual school districts who implement this that will get sued. By a member of the community who doesn’t want their school using a thinly veiled version of evangelical fundamentalist Protestantism to proselytize at their children. Which will outrage and divide the community as the school not only expends tax money on a defense but also inevitably has to pay some kind of penalty.

    Meanwhile the guys in the Indiana legislature get to pretend like Christians are persecuted because they aren’t allowed to preach their religious beliefs in school at a captive audience while being funded by tax money. It’s win-win for conservative politicians – they can say “I tried to do something but those horrible activists judges and the ACLU just keep working for Satan” and then rake up the campaign contributions from people who are even angrier than before.

  5. Larry says

    I’m sure they’ll follow up with a bill mandating the teaching of logic, reason, and the scientific method in churches around the state.

  6. raven says

    It’s just fundie Christofascism in action.

    No, they don’t care that this is illegal and unconstitutional.

    They don’t care that this elevates their perversion of cult xianity above other xian cults and other religions.

    If they try things like this in a democracy, what would they do in their theocracy? I’m sure most biologists, astrophysicists, geologists, and paleontolgists would be burned at the stake.

  7. N. Nescio says

    #4: Good Ol’ Vi, at least she’s trying to be ‘inclusive’. She’s one of the few state senators (she used to represent the district I lived in!) who isn’t an idiot. I wish she had used ‘shall include’ instead of ‘may include’ though, because all this really means is the school districts have an escape hatch for just teaching creationism.

    Including Scientology origin myths? Snicker.

  8. says

    When your belief system is founded on victimhood, and you’re in the majority and in positions of power, you have to manufacture false victimhood by whatever means necessary. Picking a fight you know you are going to lose because you’re in the wrong is a perfect strategy.

  9. mareap says

    Peter @3… everyone knows that we are a flat, or disc, shaped world resting on 4 elephants standing on one giant turtle. Get with the program.

  10. Michael Heath says

    The new language:

    The curriculum for the course must include theories from multiple religions

    I’m not aware of any theories coming from any religion. Religions express notions and assertions, but as best as I know, zero actual theories. In fact the Dover ruling, which is technically precedent only in that federal district but can be cited by federal courts outside that district, noted that creationism and intelligent design creationism were not theories but instead religious ideas.

  11. eigenperson says

    Of course they want to be sued. Every time they get sued there is a chance, however small, that they will win. And they don’t have to personally foot the bill for the legal representation.

  12. d cwilson says

    “creation science”? Wow, they’re not even keeping up with the current marketing terms. Or are they just falling back to creation science since their last attempt at rebranding it as “intelligent design” fell through?

    #4: Good Ol’ Vi, at least she’s trying to be ‘inclusive’. She’s one of the few state senators (she used to represent the district I lived in!) who isn’t an idiot. I wish she had used ‘shall include’ instead of ‘may include’ though, because all this really means is the school districts have an escape hatch for just teaching creationism.

    Probably won’t make a difference. The fact that the bill is now a permission slip for schools to teach anything other good ole’ ‘Merican by-bull believin’ Jay-sus worshipin’ will probably result in the bill being withdrawn.

    Which I suspect is probably her whole intent.

  13. Doug Little says

    include theories from multiple religions

    I wish they would define the word theory. If they mean scientific theory then then the cupboard is bare as there are no scientific theories put forth by any religion.

  14. D. C. Sessions says

    They didn’t seem to care.

    Of course they don’t care. The whole point is to get this shot down in the courts. That accomplishes two things:

    1) Remind the voters who’s in which tribe: Us (God’s people) and Them (those who voted against God.)
    2) Get shot down by liberal, God-hating, unelected judges.

    Work the voters up into a lather, Rince, and repeat.

  15. John Hinkle says

    Senator 1: Let’s get this bill through committee and onto the floor for a vote.

    Senator 2: Can do. But what about this letter from the Center for Inquiry?

    Senator 1: Are they trying to butt in again? Feckin busy bodies!

    Senator 2: I know! Let’s draw Darwin’s face on the letter and throw darts at it!

    Senator 1: Yay!

  16. briandavis says

    I’m all for teaching high school students about alternate theories of the origins of life and its diversity. But what should we use for course materials? Where could we possibly find a good summary of what IDers consider to be the best arguments for the non evolutionary origin of the species we see today?

    I’ve got it! We’ll use the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial transcripts. Schools districts can get it without paying money to text book companies. Students learn about “The Controversy”. And they learn some civics in addition to biology.

  17. Chris from Europe says

    I’m all for teaching high school students about alternate theories of the origins of life and its diversity

    ID is not a theory. I would propose a lesson “Why is ID not a theory?” in which the students create presentations in teamwork.

  18. alost says

    Since I’m not aware of the particulars on how this would be implemented…if these “theories” would not be presented in a non-mandatory Cultures course, how could they be presented into a Science classroom? Many Science teachers are overtaxed as it is in getting through the curriculum as it stands, ensuring that students understand evolution in all of its applications in the scientific community, but when this bill introduces several alternate “theories” from a wide spectrum of world religions, how could that possibly be incorporated into the curriculum for, on average, a 45 minute class? Aside from paying lip-service to the idea that several other religious ideas, divorced from scientific theories, exist?

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