Mississippi is the latest US state to see a bill introduced that would protect teachers who injected bogus information into science classes. In that regard, there’s nothing new; South Dakota beat it to the punch this year. The text of the bill is also unremarkable, fitting right in to the family tree of similar legislation that’s been introduced over the years (see sidebar).
What is unusual in this case is that the lawmaker behind the bill is being very upfront about his purposes. “I just don’t want my teachers punished in any form or fashion for bringing creationism into the debate,” Representative Mark Formby told The Clarion-Ledger. “Lots of us believe in creationism.” The bill he introduced would protect teachers from any disciplinary actions triggered by their discussion of it into the classroom.
In most cases, the people behind these bills avoid publicly admitting their intentions. In that way, they can pretend that the language of the bill (which ostensibly protects scientific information) has a purely secular purpose. By giving the game away—the language is a sham, and the bill is meant to allow proselytizing in the science classroom—Formby has created a record that will undoubtedly resurface should his bill pass and trigger a lawsuit.
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