MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A Republican lawmaker in Alabama has introduced a bill that would allow Biblical Creation to be taught in public schools in the state, alongside evolutionary theory.
H.B. 258 was recently presented by Rep. Steve Hurst, R-District 35, and provides allowance for teachers to explain to students both Biblical Creation and evolution, so that youth can formulate their own conclusions as to what they believe.
If a student adheres to a belief in the Bible’s account of the creation of the world, he or she would be permitted credit on exams if the student answers test questions in accordance with the Scriptures. In other words, the student would not be punished in any manner for answering the questions in alignment with the Bible, as long as the answers are correct and reflect what was taught.
“In any public K-12 school instruction concerning the theories of the creation of man and the Earth, and which involves the theory commonly known as evolution, any teacher may include as a portion of instruction the theory of creation as presented in the Bible, and may read passages in the Bible as deemed necessary for instruction on the theory of creation, thereby affording students a choice as to which theory to accept,” the bill reads.
“For those students receiving instruction … and who accept the Bible theory of creation, credit shall be permitted on any examination in which the student provides a response in adherence to the theory, provided the response is correct according to the instruction received,” it states.
The National Center for Science Education notes that the legislation mirrors an existing statute in Kentucky that was passed in 1976 and remains on the books.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Alabama has expressed opposition to Hurst’s proposal, as it believes that information on the Bible should not be presented in schools, and that teaching the Biblical view of Earth’s origin should be left up to parents.
“We strongly oppose this legislation that would place religious beliefs alongside sound scientific principles in our classrooms. Parents, not public schools, are entitled to instill religious beliefs in their children,” it said in a post on its website. “If passed, it would likely be challenged because similar laws have already been declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.”
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Education Policy and has yet to be brought up for a vote.
As previously reported, in 1830, just over 40 years after the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and vice-president of the Bible Society of Philadelphia, wrote:
“[T]he benefits of an early and general acquaintance with the Bible were not confined to the Jewish nation; they have appeared in many countries in Europe since the Reformation. The industry and habits of order which distinguish many of the German nations are derived from their early instruction in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible. In Scotland and in parts of New England, where the Bible has been long used as a schoolbook, the inhabitants are among the most enlightened in religions and science, the most strict in morals, and the most intelligent in human affairs of any people whose history has come to my knowledge upon the surface of the globe.”
“The sciences have been compared to a circle, of which religion composes a part. To understand any one of them perfectly, it is necessary to have some knowledge of them all. Bacon, Boyle, and Newton included the Scriptures in the inquiries to which their universal geniuses disposed them, and their philosophy was aided by their knowledge in them. A striking agreement has been lately discovered between the history of certain events recorded in the Bible and some of the operations and productions of nature, particularly those which are related in Whitehurst’s observation on the deluge, in Smith’s account of the origin of the variety of color in the human species, and in Bruce’s travels. It remains yet to be shown how many other events related in the Bible accord with some late important discoveries in the principles of medicine. The events and the principles alluded to mutually establish the truth of each other.”