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Indiana Senate backs creationism teaching proposal

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Indiana's public schools would be allowed to teach creationism in science classes as long as they include origin-of-life theories from multiple religions under a proposal approved Tuesday by the state Senate.

The Senate passed the bill on a 28-22 vote even though some senators raised questions about the measure's constitutionality. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

The bill permits local school boards to offer classes that include origin theories from religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology.

Democratic Sen. Tim Skinner of Terre Haute, a former high school teacher, said he believed few teachers would be qualified to teach a class covering multiple religions and worried about the lack of specifics on what such a class would include.

"I think you are just asking schools —and I think you're asking teachers — to do something that is going to open up a door that is probably going to result in a lawsuit which is going to be costly," Skinner said.

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.

The original bill simply called for allowing schools to teach creationism, but the Senate on Monday revised it to include references to multiple faiths.

Republican Sen. Dennis Kruse of Auburn, the bill's sponsor, said the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't ruled on the teaching of creationism since the 1980s and that the court could rule differently today. Kruse said he believed the broader religious reference in the bill would improve its chances of being ruled constitutional.

The proposal doesn't require any school district to teach creationism and allows them to continue with their current science classes, Kruse said.

"This does not do away with the teaching of evolution," he said. "This provides another alternative to evolution so our children are being exposed to more than one view, which I think is healthy for them."

Ten Republican senators joined all but one of the 13 Democratic senators in voting against the bill.

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  • Judith Hayes Quote
    "If we are going to teach creation science as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction."
  • Science Project
    I support the teaching of creationism - IN A
    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE CLASS. If Sen. Kruse
    wants to give the lil' darlins a useful lesson in science, have them investigate how
    an inanimate mass of corporate goo changes
    into a person.
  • Who voted for this garbage?
    I want to see a list of which legislators approved this nonsense.
  • Not my tax dollars
    From his comment it sounds like Senator Kruse wants to spend our tax dollars to try and overturn a Supreme Court case he doesn't like. If he feels that strongly about it he can file his own lawsuit and pay for it himself. I have no issue with whatever Senator Kruse believes about how the world was created, but I strongly disaprove of funding he and his supporters personal agenda with the people of Indiana's tax dollars.
  • It isn't science
    Creationism does NOT qualify as a science any more than reading and arithmatic do. We don't - and shouldn't - teach these subjects under the label of "science".
  • Response
    To J.E. and others... where are you? Well you're in a grand state that decided to elect an extremist group of conservative republicans to the House, Senate, and Governor's mansion... See my previous post on "unchecked power" and you'll figure out how we got here.
  • Why stop there?
    Hello Flat Earth Society.

    The door has just been opened...
  • Where am I?
    I'm a fifth-generation Hoosier but with some of the nonsense coming out of the legislature I feel like I'm now living in Alabama. And with the world coming to Indianapolis this week, I'm embarrassed.
  • More reason not to make an unformed decision for Governor, Legislature or President.
    This is all the more reason to make sure we are all as informed as possible about the candidates running for office. Many are chasing after their own agendas and not representing their constituents. Look at the Gubernatorial Election, Presidential and even National and Local Legislative Elections. Be informed people!
  • Yes--they are still true to form
    They want Jesus prayers at their sessions, they want to outlaw abortion and therefore Planned Parenthood (which does so much for women), and they go on and on about what they want that insures their evangelical Christian brainwaves. I bet, if this goes thru, they will conveniently foprge about teaching anything but their Christian viewpoints. Wanna bet?

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