2012 in Quotes: Church, State and Science

by Dan Quinn

Whether on prayer in public schools or creationism in science classrooms, we heard plenty from politicians and activists who see no problem mixing religion and state. Our review of what the far right had to say in 2012 continues. You can read more quotes from 2012 and previous years here.

“In 1962 we kicked prayer out of the schools. In 1963 we kicked God’s word out of ours schools. In 1980 we kicked the Ten Commandments out of our schools. We’ve kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, ‘Hey, I’ll be glad to protect your children, but you’ve got to invite me back into your world first. I’m not going to go where I’m not wanted. I am a gentleman.'”

— The always-thoughtful and compassionate (NOT) spokesperson of the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer, blaming the Connecticut school shootings on there being no government-forced prayer in public schools

“To say that people of faith have no role in the public square? You bet that makes you throw up. What kind of country do we live that says only people of non-faith can come into the public square and make their case? That makes me throw up and it should make every American…Now we’re going to turn around and say we’re going to impose our values from the government on people of faith, which of course is the next logical step when people of faith, at least according to John Kennedy, have no role in the public square.

I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.  The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is absolutely antithetical to the objectives and vision of our country. This is the First Amendment.  The First Amendment says the free exercise of religion.  That means bringing everybody, people of faith and no faith, into the public square.  Kennedy for the first time articulated the vision saying, no, ‘faith is not allowed in the public square.  I will keep it separate.’  Go on and read the speech ‘I will have nothing to do with faith.  I won’t consult with people of faith.’  It was an absolutist doctrine that was foreign at the time of 1960.

— Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, in a wild mischaracterization of President John F. Kennedy’s views on the separation of church and state. In his famous 1960 speech to Baptist ministers, Kennedy never said people of faith are not allowed in the public square.

“I do think if our teachers are given the freedom to teach the strengths and the weaknesses of evolution, then what we’re going to do is allow our students to look at all aspects and to make a well-reasoned decision as to what they believe with regard to a particular theory.”

— Marty Rowley, the Republican candidate for the State Board of Education District 15 seat, advocating in favor of teaching creationist arguments against evolution in public school science classes. Rowley won his election.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

— U.S. Rep. Paul C. Broun, R-Ga., a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, offering his views on science

“Most everyone in Glen Rose (Texas) that I know believes man and dinosaurs coexisted. The only conflict we have is when people move from metropolitan areas and have different value systems. I think some don’t have a strong [religious] belief system, and they’re more likely to go with science than faith.”

— Alice Lance, a resident of Glen Rose, Texas, home to a creationist museum

“I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It’s a worldview and it’s godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they’ve been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today: they don’t respect human rights. As a general court we should be concerned with criminal ideas like this and how we are teaching it. . . . Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That’s evidence right there.”

— New Hampshire Republican state Rep. Jerry Bergevin, who introduced an anti-evolution bill in that state’s legislature

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