You may have heard of the 1987 Supreme Court case Edwards v. Aguillard because it held that teaching Creationism in public schools was unconstitutional.
The decision struck down a 1981 Louisiana law, sponsored by then-State Senator Bill P. Keith, requiring all public schools that taught evolution to also teach Creationism. You couldn’t have the former without the latter.
(If you’ve ever heard the term “Intelligent Design,” that’s because it was an attempt to work around the Supreme Court’s ruling by avoiding the word “Creationism” and direct references to God.)
It’s appalling, in hindsight, that this law was ever passed.
That brings us to what happened this week. Louisiana State Sen. John Milkovich (a Democrat) has proposed Senate Resolution 33, which literally “commends former Louisiana state Senator Bill Keith” for his “support and endorsement of teaching creationism in public schools.”
I repeat: Milkovich wants to honor Keith for promoting Creationism in public schools.
Most resolutions aren’t very controversial, but check out how Milkovich rewrites the history of what Keith stood for — as if Creationism had nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
WHEREAS, Mr. Keith received national attention for legislation he introduced which required equal emphasis in public school science instruction to creation science and to evolution; and
WHEREAS, Bill Keith recalled that his interest in the matter developed in 1978 when his then thirteen year old son came home from school to report that a teacher had ridiculed the teen’s belief in God as the creator of human life…
WHEREAS, Senator Keith’s legislation did not require or allow instruction in any religious doctrine…
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana does hereby commend former Louisiana state Senator Bill Keith on his support and endorsement of teaching creationism in the public schools.
The lie is right there in the text. It says Keith’s legislation wasn’t about “religious doctrine.” That’s not true. Creationism is religion. It’s Christianity. It exists only because some people choose to interpret the first chapter of Genesis literally.
It sure as hell isn’t science.
Bill Keith doesn’t deserve an honor for this. He deserves the ridicule that a teacher apparently reserved for his child. Keith temporarily ruined science education and turned Louisiana into an educational laughingstock.
It’s shameful that anyone — especially a Democrat — would try to formally honor someone this disgraceful.