Thursday, 25 October 2018

Another Failed Attempt at Christian Political Subversion

Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Credit: David Wallace/The Republic
Arizona superintendent fails in last attempt to limit evolution teaching | Ars Technica

Yet another attempt by entitled Christian fundamentalists to subvert the US Constitution and foist their superstition on vulnerable children at public expense, contrary to the Establishment Clause, has failed, just as it has failed in every attempt when brought before the US courts.

This latest attack on the Constitution was by Christian fundamentalist, Diane Douglas, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction (an elected position) who abused her position by instructing her staff to edit a set of educational standards to remove any mention of 'evolution'. She later also ordered them to remove any reference to 'climate change'. When these changes were rejected by the Arizona school board she tried another tack and attempted to have the entire educational guidelines for Arizona replaced by those developed by Hillsdale College.

Hillsdale is a private, Christian college in Michigan with connections to U.S. Secretary of Education, creationist Betsy DeVos. Hillsdale President Larry Arnn is a racists and supporter of President Donald Trump. He recently made the news for complaining that Michigan state officials had visited his college to 'check that enough dark ones were being enrolled'. The Hillsdale set of guideline, referred to as the "Barney Charter School Initiative's Scope and Sequence," were developed to support the program to establish charter schools (ie, fundamentalist Christian schools financed by taxation).

According to this report:

The DeVos family donates to Hillsdale, where the education secretary's brother, Erik Prince, is an alumnus. Its student body has been designated the second-most conservative in the country, after the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas.

So the attraction to the conservative Christian extreme right of having Arizona's children indoctrinated in extreme conservative ideas, taught to them as truth in school, is obvious, as is the attraction of having unsuspecting taxpayers pay for their political propaganda. Of course, as entitled Christians they believe this is their birthright.

Douglas had earlier suggested that Arizona schools teach 'Intelligent Design', the lab-coat-dressed version of creationism developed by the Discovery Institute which courts have already ruled is religion in disguise (Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, etc). She has also shown the she has misunderstood, deliberately or otherwise, the scientific meaning of theory, assuming it means that the Theory of Evolution is uncertain and lacking evidence - just an idea.

The Arizona school board however would have none of Douglas' machinations. Her proposal didn't even find a seconder and was therefore dismissed without debate. The board then approved the standards with edits provided by the science teachers' organisation. Hopefully, Arizona's children will now be taught science and not indoctrinated with superstition for the benefit of Christian fundamentalist churches and other politically subversive extremist interests.

Superintendent Douglas is now on her way out of office, having lost the Republican Party primary to Frank Riggs, so she will not be standing for re-election and will relinquish her office next January.

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