Bonehead Quote(s) of the Week: Texas Lieutenant Governor Candidates on Creationism in Public Schools
This week we have a trio of Bonehead Quotes for you. During a Thursday evening debate in Waco featuring all GOP candidates vying for lieutenant governor– incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, state Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston), Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson–three of the four candidates promoted teaching creationism in public schools, according to the Texas Tribune. And all four of the candidates said religion should play a larger role in public education. From the Tribune:
Dewhurst said he happens “to believe in creationism.”
“I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this,” said Dewhurst. “That’s why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution.”
Apparently, state Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples agreed, saying that as Christians, “they believe students should learn the biblical view of creation in school.”
“Our students … must really be confused. They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can’t talk about God,” said Patrick. “I’m sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Staples is quoted as saying: “As a Christian, certainly creationism should be taught.”
Patterson insisted schools had, “focused too much on political correctness” because of the “mistaken belief that the U.S. Constitution mandated the separation of church and state.” Here’s a bonus quote:
“Show me where that’s in the Constitution, because it’s not in the Constitution,” said Patterson. “I see nothing wrong with standing up at least for a moment of silence, let those who wish to pray pray in their own faith. I see nothing wrong with having a prayer before a high school football game.”
As the Texas Freedom Network points out, Texas law already calls for a moment of silence in its public schools.
In another game of who can out-conservative each other, the lite guv Republican primary candidates seem to not understand the reality of Texas education. It is forbidden to teach creationism in public schools as per a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found it unconstitutional. While the conservative bloc of the Texas State Board of Education has sought to maintain teaching the “strengths and weaknesses of evolution” they eventually did not prevail. In the most recent fight to salvage sound science, the SBOE passed science textbooks that do not include creationism or a smack of evolution denialism, as hoped for by pseudo-science religious text reviewers.