Bill Advocating Creationism Dies in Indiana House Due to Lawsuit Concern

Church & State, April 2012 | Go to article overview

Bill Advocating Creationism Dies in Indiana House Due to Lawsuit Concern


A bill that would have mandated the teaching of creationism in Indiana's public schools died recently over fears that it would spark costly lawsuits.

SB 89 passed the Indiana Senate Feb. 1. Sponsored by longtime creationism advocate Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn), the measure would have mandated that science courses offered at public schools include theories on the origins of life on Earth from several religions, naming Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology as examples.

Critics, including Americans United, pointed out that the measure was patently unconstitutional. Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosnia (R-Idianapolis) apparently shared those concerns and decided to table the legislation.

"It seemed to me not to be a productive discussion, particularly in light that there is a United States Supreme Court case that appears to be on point that very similar language is counter to the Constitution," Bosnia said, according to the Indianapolis Star. "It looked to me to be buying a lawsuit when the state can ill afford it."

Kruse said he was disappointed and vowed to push his proposal again next year. He insisted that the high court might be willing to revisit the issue of creationism.

Although the Indiana bill failed, that does not mean the state's public schools are free of creationism. Some schools are apparently teaching it anyway.

Devan Filchak, a sophomore at Ball State University, recently wrote a column about her shock when creationism appeared at her high school.

"I was surprised when my science teacher pulled up a video of the seven days of creation during class," Filchak wrote in the Ball State Daily News. "The video was not only cheesy, but it crossed a line that is unconstitutional."

She continued, "When I showed my distaste, my teacher picked on me, prodding me until I finally admitted I am agnostic in front of the whole class. …

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