GOP Candidates for Texas Lieutenant Governor Advocate Teaching Creationism in Public Schools

by Dan Quinn

During a debate in Waco on Thursday, candidates for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor said they support teaching biblical creationism in the state’s public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism in public school science classrooms violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and two of his Republican primary opponents, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and state Sen. Dan Patrick, called for teaching creationism in public schools. The Dallas Morning News reports that Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson also voiced his support, but the Texas Tribune reports Patterson didn’t specifically call for teaching creationism in public schools. However, the Tribune says Patterson insisted that the Constitution doesn’t protect separation of church and state.

The Texas Tribune directly quotes three of the candidates on the issues of creationism and religion in public schools.

Dewhurst:

“I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this. That’s why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution.”

Patrick:

“Our students … must really be confused. 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. I’m sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God.”

Patterson:

“Show me where [separation of church and state] is in the Constitution, because it’s not in the Constitution. I see nothing wrong with standing up at least for a moment of silence, 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.”

Texas law already calls for a moment of silence in Texas public schools.

The Dallas Morning News directly quotes Staples on creationism:

“As a Christian, certainly creationism should be taught.”

The Texas Tribune article is here. The Dallas Morning News article is here.

Last month the Texas State Board of Education adopted new science textbooks that don’t teach creationism or include creationist-inspired arguments against evolution.

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