WACO, TX – During a televised debate last week, the Republican candidates for Texas lieutenant governor expressed support for prayer and the teaching of Biblical creation in public schools.
In a Thursday evening debate broadcast by KCEN-TV, the four candidates for lieutenant governor discussed a variety of political issues, as the coveted position is considered one of the most powerful public offices in the state.
As the topic of evolution was broached, three of the candidates agreed that both sides of the evolution/creation debate should be presented to Texan students.
Incumbent Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who is currently the frontrunner in the race, said that he “believe[s] in creationism,” although he admitted that “there are a lot of people who disagree with me and believe in evolution.”
“I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this,” he continued. “That’s why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the Biblical account of life and creation.”
According to the Texas Tribune, two other candidates—state Senator Dan Patrick and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples—echoed Dewhurst’s remarks. Patrick, who in 2002 wrote The Second Most Important Book You Will Ever Read: A Personal Challenge to Read the Bible, stated that he is “sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God.”
“Our students … must really be confused,” Patrick outlined during the debate. “They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can’t talk about God.”
Unlike Patrick, Staples and Dewhurst, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson did not directly endorse the teaching of Biblical creation in state schools. However, he criticized the common notion of “separation of church and state,” pointing out that the phrase is not found in the U.S. Constitution.
“I see nothing wrong with standing up at least for a moment of silence,” Patterson remarked. “Let those who wish to pray pray in their own faith. I see nothing wrong with having a prayer before a high school football game.”
Following the debate, evolutionists berated the candidates via online comment threads, describing them as “nitwits,” “liars” and “demagogic idiots.”
Others referenced Edwards v. Aguillard—the famous 1987 U.S. Supreme Court case which, according to many, banned the teaching of Biblical creation in public schools. However, Ken Ham, president and CEO of Answers in Genesis, told Christian News Network earlier this year that the ruling does not forbid Biblical creation from being presented in schools.
“Contrary to what is commonly believed,” Ham said, “science instructors do have the freedom to bring up evidence that supports a Designer. The well-known 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision concerning creation in schools dealt with the issue of whether states can mandate that creation be taught along with evolution. But the Court did not say that teachers were not permitted to bring up alternative ideas to evolution—just that they could not be forced to.”
The Republican primary election for Texas Lieutenant Governor is scheduled for early March. The winner will then most likely face Democratic state Senator Leticia Van de Putte in the November 4th general election.