Palm Beach Post columnist Frank Cerabino has a few things to say about Religious Liberties bills sponsored in the Senate by Dennis Baxley: Getting liberated from science in Florida’s ‘religious liberties’ bill. Cerabino brings up a bit about Baxley’s past consternation over science education:
Back when the Ocala Republican took a break from writing deadly bills like Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, he became the executive director of the Christian Coalition of Florida, where he argued that it was unfair for Florida’s impressionable school children to be force-fed a science curriculum that discouraged them from thinking that the Earth is just 6,000 years old, despite the conclusive scientific evidence to the contrary.
And then he notes one of Florida Citizens for Science’s concerns about the bill:
“Does this allow students to give unscientific religious views as answers on questions about science topics such as age of the earth and evolution?” Haught wrote. “If a teacher tries to explain to the student how the religious answer is unscientific and incorrect, would the teacher be seen as discriminating against the student?”
It’s good to see our views getting a wider audience. Cerabino explains very well how allowing students to express religious views on a poetry assignment is quite a bit different from doing the same on science homework.
On the other hand, we’ve got a fight on our hands. It looks like the Senate president has taken a shine to the bill: Religion in schools, ‘Stand Your Ground’ changes added to Senate priorities.
Florida Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, added a couple new priorities to his agenda for the 2017 session as the Legislature convened on Tuesday: the revived “Stand Your Ground” changes that will be voted on in the Senate on Thursday and a new bill fortifying “religious liberties” in Florida public schools.
Make your voice heard! Contact the members of the Senate judiciary committee. That’s the next stop for the Religious Liberties bill. Make them aware that the bill has repercussions for science education that they might not have considered. For background and analysis of this bill, see the Religious Liberties Act 2017 blog category.