Gotta love Tennessee.

The Scopes trial was in 1925.  Almost 100 years later, we are still fighting to have evolution, among other science, taught in our public schools.

Last week, Tennessee HB 368/SB 893, the ‘Monkey Bill’ was made law.  This bill can be read in its entire 2 pages here.

Here’s the relevant paragraph:

(2) The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to,
biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human
cloning, can cause controversy;

The governor didn’t actually sign the bill, but acknowledged that it would become law anyway, even without his signature, which, of course, it did.

There was a rally today at the state capitol in support of public school science teachers, and to protest opening the door to any hint of teaching creationism in primary and secondary schools in Tennessee.  The bill contained language about this legislation not intending to endorse or represent any religion blahblahblah, but my question is:  For what secular reason does anyone object to evolution? There is no secular reason – this is a religious issue.

Evolution is not controversial.  All biological scientific study is based upon this foundation, and no reputable biological scientist rejects it.  The opposition to the teaching of evolution comes from Christianity, because it is in conflict with the version of creation in the old testament.  And there are those, like the folks who supported and voted for this bill, who feel that if you discount that literal version of events, you have to bring into question the entire book.

You won’t believe what I’m going to say next.  I understand and agree with that last statement.  The theory of evolution is in conflict with the Bible’s version.  They can’t both have happened.  Having been a Christian and active church-goer for 45 years, I understand the importance of the creation story.  All of the rest of the theology depends upon it.  No Adam, no fall, no fall, no sin, no sin, no need for redemption, no need for redemption, no Christ, no salvation, no nothing.

As I stood at today’s protest, surrounded by passionate, science-minded people, as I listened to a Vanderbilt professor, then Vanderbilt graduate student, then a Ravenwood High School science teacher, and I looked at the crowd, most of whom I know from the secular community in the Nashville area, a thought occurred to me.  Where are the moderate Christians?  You may claim that you, in your groovy, modern version of Christianity, embrace evolution, and global warming, and other sciences…that’s great, I guess, although I can’t imagine the mental gymnastics you are doing to get there, but why aren’t you here?  At this rally?  Protesting this backwards, destructive legislation?  If “those Christians” don’t represent you, where is your voice?  Of course the humanists are going to fight this, you know our pro-science position, but why aren’t you, progressive Christian?  Why aren’t you shouting in defense not only of Tennessee’s schoolchildren, but of your own faith?

This legislation opens the door.  We are disrespecting our children by allowing this.  We are forgoing our future by allowing this.  Do you know that Tennessee is ranked 49th in ACT scores?  Do you think this kind of anti-science approach may have something to do with this?  We should be appalled and embarrassed by this legislation.  No, we should be outraged.  We are putting our children and grandchildren at an incredible disadvantage in the national community.

I love this state.  I love the 4 gloriously different seasons, I love the southern charm, I love the rolling hills and the clean rivers and the pastoral countryside.  I want to fight for it, I want to be proud of my home.  But I am discouraged not only by this nasty bill, but by how few, and who, came out in protest today.  This matters.

The seculars will always fight it.  But until moderate Christians begin to police the fundamental fervor that is rampant in its ranks, change will be a long way off.  Speak up.  Grow a pair.  Or else throw in with them.  Shit or get off the pot.  Your own book uses harsh language about how a lukewarm believer should be treated, and for the second time in this post, I agree with the Bible.

Your children, your grandchildren, and every child in this state is counting on you.

Thanks for reading.