Just when you think you’ve seen it all…

“Take bones,” he says, offering a brief description of the collagen and amino acids in bones as an example of biological complexity. “Intuitively people have a tough time thinking nothing guided this. Are we supposed to believe that all of a sudden, say on April 1, five million years ago, the first bone appeared? The question is, how did evolution do this, and the evolutionists have been painted into a corner. They don’t even have a clue. How did that first piece of bone get there?”

That’s Don McLeroy, a member of the Texas State Board of Education and a young Earth creationist who believes Earth is less than 10,000 years old. McLeroy is quoted in a new Times of London article about how the state board is revising curriuculum standards for nearly 5 million public school students in this state — and, because Texas is so influential in the national textbook market, essentially for millions of other kids around the country.

Of course, evolutionary scientists don’t suggest that the first bone appeared “all of a sudden” millions of years ago. That’s not how evolution works. But that’s how McLeroy and other creationists on… Read More

We have heard the Texas State Board of Education's far-right members claim over and over again that they are unfairly attacked for their fundamentalist religious views. They do so even as they seek to inject those narrow views into curriculum standards for our state's public schools, whether it's by promoting creationist arguments against evolution or objecting to students learning how the Constitution bars government from promoting (or disfavoring) one religion over all others. And often their own words betray a disregard for others -- including other people of faith -- who don't share their particular religious views. New case in point: Don McLeroy statements on a PBS program last week. Speaking on the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly last Friday (April 30), the College Station Republican talked about how he thinks different board members deal with recommendations they get from educators, curriculum specialists and scholars: "Conservatives on our board are the only ones—the Christian conservatives—that are able to sit there and to think for themselves and say, well, wait. Is this really good policy? Should we just trust what’s being brought to us? Should we just rubber-stamp it?"…… Read More

It looks like Texas State Board of Education members Don McLeroy, R-College Station, and Cynthia Dunbar, R-Richmond, don’t mind speaking to Republican organizations that discourage — intentionally or not — non-Christians from becoming members. McLeroy and Dunbar will be joining other far-right speakers at an education “conference” hosted by Golden Corridor Republican Women in the Dallas area April 24.

The Golden Corridor group covers Dallas, Collin and Denton counties in North Texas. Check out the group’s logo, which includes a Christian cross positioned over an American flag and an outline of Texas:

Of course, we defend the right of all Americans and private associations to show their faith as they see fit. But we imagine Jews and other non-Christians might not feel very welcome joining a party organization that seems exclusively for Christians. For that matter, we suspect mainstream Christians might feel a bit out of place as well. In any case, Golden Corridor is yet another example of how the Republican Party of Texas is increasingly an exclusionary organization that welcomes primarily conservative Protestant fundamentalists (and others who don’t mind having their personal faith slighted or ignored).

The conference’s audience… Read More

Religious-right candidates in two key Republican runoff elections on April 13 are badly trailing their opponents in the campaign funding race. But will that mean much on election day?…… Read More

Texas State Board of Education members are pointing fingers at everyone but themselves for the debacle over revising social studies curriculum standards. In new interviews with the Southern Baptist TEXAN, board Chair Gail Lowe, R-Lampasas, and fellow member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, are complaining that reporting about the board's actions have been inaccurate. And they point their fingers at the Texas Freedom Network for causing the problems. So let's do a little fact-checking of Lowe's and McLeroy's comments, shall we? Lowe tells the TEXAN: "Nowhere in our social studies curriculum standards is America referred to as a Christian nation." Lowe is technically correct -- even these board members know that inserting a blatant "Christian nation" standard would lead almost immediately to a court battle that they would lose. What she doesn't say, however, is that the board's far-right members have seeded the standards with distortions that suggest the nation's origins and constitutional foundations lie in the (Christian) religious beliefs of the Founders. Read More