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Indiana House panel leader leery of creationism bill

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The leader of the Indiana House Education Committee said Tuesday a proposal specifically allowing public schools to teach creationism alongside evolution in science classes could be unworkable.

The bill approved by the state Senate would permit local school districts to add teaching of creationism as long as it included origin of life theories from multiple religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology.

Education committee Chairman Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, said that requirement would probably stop most school districts from even considering the subject.

"I think it's almost impossible to find somebody who would know about all those different theories of creation," he said.

Behning said he personally believed in creationism and didn't think anything in current state law prevented local schools from adding it to their classes.

Critics argue that the proposal is unconstitutional since federal courts repeatedly have found teaching creationism violates church-state separation because of its reliance on the Bible's book of Genesis. Supporters in the Senate, which approved the bill last week in a 28-22 vote, say the broader religious reference improves the bill's chances of being ruled constitutional.

Behning said he wasn't sure yet whether his committee would take up the bill during this year's legislative session that is to end by mid-March.

Many parents who want their children to learn about creationism also have the option of sending their children to private schools with state-supported vouchers under a law that legislators approved last year, he said.

The House could revise the creationism bill to remove the requirement of teaching theories from multiple religions. Democratic Sen. Vi Simpson of Bloomington proposed that change in the Senate with the aim of making it clear that schools couldn't just teach Christian creation theory.

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  • Vote
    These are the people who have been elected. The voting public should remember this next November. We may not get everything we want or need but getting rid of the Republicans is a start.
  • Waste of Time
    Every year I'm gobsmacked by the things our legislators find to busy themselves with. Really? There's nothing else going on in the state that you could be working on besides teaching creationism in schools? I have a handy solution for you: if you want your child to learn about creationism, take them to Bible study. Stop wasting everyone's time with this politicized crap that makes our state look about as backward as it is.
  • pitiful
    All the good publicity from the Super Bowl ruined by these yokels. Saturday Night Live already lambasted the state. Pitiful just pitiful
  • Excellent
    Good work boys....only focus on the important stuff. Now if I could only get to work and avoid breathing in smoke........if only
  • Unconstitutional
    Maybe this bill is wrong because it violates the seperation of Church and State? I'm just guessing.
  • Say NO to Creationism
    Creationism is not relation to factual science. Creationism is purely only religion in terms of its approach. Creationism is based solely upon a hypothesis and not on any proven facts. In no way should creationism, in any form, be taught as science in public schools. The Supreme Court has already ruled on the Constitutionality of creationism. Religion belongs in religious institutions or in religious education classes, philosophy classes but it should not be taught as fact.
  • It Belongs in Church
    If parents want their children to learn about "creationism" then send them to church. Creationism is a religious belief it's teaching has no business in public schools.

    Keep YOUR religious beliefs out of OUR public schools!
  • Parental Option
    If all the different theories can not be taught because of resources and it is changed to Biblical only, parents should have the opportunity for their children to opt-out of the classes.

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