BATON ROUGE, La. — A Senate committee in Louisiana has struck down an effort to repeal a law that allows requires equal treatment for biblical Creation and evolution in public schools.
The law, known as the “Balanced Treatment for Creation Science and Evolution Science Act,” has been deemed since 1987 as being unenforceable as it was struck down by the courts, but legislators have refused to take it off the books.
The 1981 Act provided freedom to public school teachers to “provide information and instruction in both creation and evolution models” that they deem “necessary and appropriate.” But the law was challenged in federal court, and in 1987 case of Edwards v. Aguillard, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional because it was designed “to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind.”
As previously reported, in 2013, Louisiana’s House Education Committee rebuffed an effort by Rep. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, to scrub the law from state code, and last month, the issue was brought up again in the Senate as Claitor is now a Senator.
Sen. John Milkovich, D-Keithville, argued to Claitor that science confirms the biblical account.
“Are you aware that there is an abundance of recent science that actually confirms the Genesis account of creation?” he asked.
“[S]cientific research and developments and advances in the last 100 years, particularly in the last fifty, twenty, ten years have validated the biblical story of creation by archaeological discoveries of civilizations in the mid-east that secularists said did not exist and further archaeological research determines are true,” Milkovich said.
“I’m not asking you to give up your belief in God,” Claitor contended. “I’m not asking you to get in bed with the devil. I’m asking you to follow your oath to follow the Constitution.”
The Senate Education Committee ultimately voted 4-2 against repealing the law on Tuesday. Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, and Sen. Gerald Boudreaux, D-Lafayette, stood in favor of scrubbing the Act from the books. Sens. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, and Mack White, R-Baton Rouge, joined Milkovich in voting against it.
Lawmakers have also sought to repeal the 2008 Louisiana Science Education Act, but all five efforts have likewise been struck down.
The Education Act, which is believed to similarly allow the discussion of biblical creation in schools, is meant to “create and foster an environment within public elementary and secondary schools that promotes critical thinking skills, logical analysis, and open and objective discussion of scientific theories being studied including, but not limited to, evolution, the origins of life, global warming, and human cloning.”