Old School Creationism Bill Dies in Alabama

How behind the times is Alabama? They haven’t even caught up to the thoroughly discredited “intelligent design” strategy, they just propose straight up Biblical creationism in science classrooms. One bill that would have done that just died in committee.

Alabama’s House Bill 258, which would have allowed teachers to present “the theory of creation as presented in the Bible” in any class discussing evolution, “thereby affording students a choice as to which theory to accept,” died in committee on March 29, 2018, when the legislature adjourned sine die.

As NCSE previously reported, HB 258 is evidently modeled on a Kentucky law, Kentucky Revised Statutes 158.177 (PDF), enacted in 1976 and still on the books despite its patent unconstitutionality. The sole sponsor of the Alabama bill was Steve Hurst (R-District 35), a legislator noteworthy for his previous proposals to require public school teachers to read a daily prayer in the classroom and to punish sex offenders with surgical or chemical castration.

The fact that it only had one sponsor suggests that this is a straw proposal. These are very common, especially at the state level. A political proposes a bill they know has virtually no chance of being passed, or in most cases even seriously considered, so they can go out on the campaign trail and talk up their sponsorship of the bill without having to deal with it actually being made into law. But the idea of teaching “Biblical creation” is, I have no doubt, a very popular one in Alabama, where they think Supreme Court rulings don’t apply to them.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1987, in Edwards v Aguillard, that it was unconstitutional to teach creationism in public school science classrooms. Perhaps one day that news will reach Mobile.

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