So says a Texas lawmaker. While Kansas has cried uncle and joined the rational world after a wild spree into the realm of the befuddled, one Texas state representative would like to drag our state into the never-never land of creationism and fixed earth theory. Warren Chisum, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee of the Texas Legislature, circulated a bizarre memo to his colleagues calling to end the teaching of the Theory of Evolution in school science classes. Among other things, the memo, which was actually written by Georgia GOP Rep. Ben Bridges, claims that evolution was "a religious plot disseminated by one "Pharisee Religion" and therefore violates the US Constitution!
"He...hangeth the Earth upon nothing." Job 26:7 (from fixedearth.com)
Just when Kansas returns science to the classroom, Rep. Chisum tries to goad Texas toward Dark Ages. (Houston Chronicle)
It started off as a such a good week — both for science and for the American students who must understand it to compete with their peers abroad. The Kansas Board of Education finally joined most of the United States in accepting the teaching of evolution in public schools.
ThenTexas' own state Rep. Warren Chisum, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, had to mail colleagues a freakish memo denouncing evolution as a religious plot disseminated by one "Pharisee Religion."
The mix of nonsense, free-floating anti-Semitism, misuse of power and seeming obliviousness to all of the above were like a dip into the Dark Ages.
Evolutionary science, Chisum's memorandum told lawmakers, was the creation of "Rabbinic writings" in the "mystic holy book Kabbala." As such, the memo went on in a medley of type fonts, underlined sentences and misplaced capitals, teaching evolution in public school violates the Constitution.
The document linked to Web sites including "fixedearth.com," which asserts that Earth is the center of the universe. Chillingly, the links also offer overtly anti-Semitic rants, contending that evolutionary science supports a "centuries-old" Jewish conspiracy against Christian teachings.
Circulated under Chisum's letterhead as Appropriations Committee chairman, the memo actually was penned by Rep. Ben Bridges of the Georgia Legislature. "I ... greatly appreciate his information on this important topic," Chisum assured his Texas colleagues.
Chisum has offered — wanly — to apologize about the Jewish references.
Unsavory as they were, though, the memo's incoherent ravings about rabbis and Kabbala may not be its most dangerous offense. Most literate people know the Hebrew Bible and rabbinical writers as the sources for Judeo-Christian accounts of Creation. Chisum's far-fetched theology doesn't quite track.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Chisum said he's "willing to apologize" about his references to Jews. He said he didn't know about the ranting on the memo's recommended Web sites.
But presumably he knew, and liked, the preposterous contents of his memo itself. It's hard to know what's worse: Chisum's careless spreading of words he condemns — or his unremorseful promotion of ideas that would fling Texas' students and economy years behind their competitors.
Texas Governor Rick Perry recently issued an executive order to make vaccination of pre-teen girls with Gardasil mandatory in order to protect them from the Human Papilloma Virus. Alas, no vaccine, mandatory or optional, exists to protect the children from the willful ignorance of their elders.