February 18, 2007: Texas Takes Up The Torch of IgnoranceAn influential member of the Texas House of Representatives circulated a bizarre letter to the rest of the Legislature last week, claiming that it is unconstitutional to use public funds to teach evolution, and citing a crank website as authority.
The memo reads like something straight out of Illuminati. “Indisputable evidence--long hidden but now available to everyone--demonstrates conclusively that so-called ‘secular evolution science’ is the Big-Bang 15-billion-year alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion. This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”
Executive summary: This site says that the Earth does not move around the Sun, and that there's a crypto-Jewish conspiracy to teach that it does. This religious conspiracy also teaches evolution. Therefore evolution is a religious belief that may not Constitutionally be taught with public funds.
When the reaction hit the fan, the legislator (Warren Chisum, of Pampa, chairman of the Texas House Appropriations Committee) quickly tried to distance himself, pointing out that the memo had originally been written by a Georgia representative and he had just copied it. Chisum did admit that perhaps he should have looked at the Web site before he recommended it.
You'll find links to Chisum's memo, the original Georgia letter that he endorsed and circulated, and a more detailed explanation of their attempted reasoning, in this blog.
As time comes for this to post, it appears that the Georgia legislator is now denying responsibility for the memo, Rep. Chisum is "willing to apologize" if he has offended anyone but has not repudiated the actual content of what he sent out, and the blogosphere is having a field day.
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