Thursday, January 12, 2012

What is going on in Indiana?

I've lived in Cincinnati for the past 12 years or so. But I was actually born, grew up and went to college in Indiana. So it has gotten my attention that since the first the year, one crazy piece of proposed legislation after another has been hitting the news. In just the past couple of days, I've heard about 1) a proposed education bill which will require teaching "creation science" alongside evolution 2) a law to make it illegal to sing the national anthem the wrong way (I'm serious, I'm not making this up.) 3) and a law that would allow students to be led in the recitation of the Lord's Prayer to start off every school day.

Is this the same state that I grew up in? I was taught evolution in high school, without a hint of creationism. I heard some awfully bad renditions of the national anthem before basketball and baseball games, but I wouldn't want anyone fined over it (no, not even Roseanne.)

Two of these three bills are sponsored by Republican Dennis Kruse (the Lord's Prayer bill and the creationism bill.) Of course, the Star Spangled Banner law is also sponsored by a Republican. Because if you're not singing the anthem the right way, you ain't Americun enough or a big enough patriot.

Let's start with Kruse's creation science bill. The text of that bill is here, but in summary it says:
 Teaching of creation science. Provides that 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.
Um no, a school may not do this. This has been to the courts and has been settled time and again. Creationism is not science. Period. The Supreme Court held in 1987 in Edwards vs Aguillard that it's unconstitutional for creationism to be taught as science in public schools. There is no way this would stand up under challenge and the school systems and taxpayers would be on the hook to spend money on legal fees and court costs for an effort they will most assuredly lose. Is Dennis Kruse, a supposed fiscal conservative, really advocating something that will cost his constituents lots of wasted tax dollars?

The Indianapolis Star story about Star Spangled Banner law is here. I'm not really sure what to say about this. It just blows my mind period. So the supposed small government GOP of Indiana is really advocating telling people how they can perform the national anthem? I wonder what Jimi Hendrix would have to say about that?

And then we have the Lord's Prayer bill. The text of the bill to allow students to start every day by being led in a prayer is here. The summary of it is:

School prayer. Allows the governing body of a school
corporation or the equivalent authority of a charter school to provide
for the recitation of the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of each school

This one is also being sponsored by Kruse, who obviously is all about making sure he tries everything he can to turn Indiana into a theocracy. Did Mr. Kruse not get the update just last night out of Rhode Island? You can't advocate prayer in school. This is a clear violation of the separation clause and has been upheld time and time again by the courts. There isn't even any attempted veiling of this one, Kruse is coming right out and saying that our children would be better off if they prayed the Lord's Prayer every day.  Here's the thing. The Lord's Prayer appears in the bible in Matthew 6:9-13. Appearing just before that in the bible is Mathew 6:5, which tells Christians this:
When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
FOUR VERSES PRIOR! Look back just four verses Mr. Kruse.  Then tell me, if your bible is the words to live by, how forcing our school children to recite your Christian prayer every day is not a direct violation of your Lord's own instructions. But Kruse doesn't care. He's just willing to play his part for the GOP machine and drum up controversy around prayer, evolution and creationism in a red state in an election year.

If any of these laws are enacted, none of them will stand up under court challenge. The constituents of Indiana need to decide if they're going to continue to support lawmakers who refuse to spend legislative time on the real problems we have today and instead keep retreading over tired, settled, religious nonsense to try to force it upon our children.

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