I think it’s pretty obvious what the Religious Right is up to here: They want to “protect” children from critical thinking, self-reflection and the type of curiosity about our world that an immersion into literature can give us.
Bruce Wilson writes about The Gathering, which provides millions of dollars to religious-right causes.
Like its familial evangelical parent The Family, The Gathering takes the coercive moral authoritarianism inherent to anti-LGBT laws being passed (aided and encouraged by The Gathering-funded groups) from Uganda to Russia, and fuses it to the radical economic libertarianism of the Koch brothers.... ..... [The Gathering] have bankrolled, from Uganda to Russia, the mounting international war on LGBT rights; evangelical opposition to healthcare reform and action to curb climate change; the promotion of young-earth creationism and Intelligent Design; ministries training African leaders in the “biblical worldview”; legal efforts that have fought against same-sex marriage and LGBT rights in the United States, and have forced anti-gay fundamentalist bible clubs into thousands of U.S. public schools....
Its foundation heads are plaintiffs in a legal challenge to healthcare reform now before the U.S. Supreme Court and they are leading efforts to attack organized labor and defund public schools.
The colossus of The Gathering is the National Christian Foundation, which gave out an estimated $670 million dollars in grants in 2013 and has rocketed, in just two years, from spot number 34 to number 12 on the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “Philanthropy 400” list.
Americans do not get it. Nearly half of US adults believe that humans were created as is, less than 10,000 years ago (Newport 2012). Those of us who care about evolution education must confront a sobering truth: evolution education does not work. Yet since long before the days of John Scopes, most of us have simply offered more of the same.
Laats says that evolution education fails to convince creationists.
Granted, the special purpose of evolution education is not to convince creationists. Evolution education in general succeed with many students as it should. If a student is objective and intellectually curious, they will learn evolution's principles and contemplate the theory's implications, and perhaps if they do not start down a path towards a profession in the sciences, then they may--more probably--remain curious about the new discoveries and developments in the field as they encounter it in future years through popular science writing and documentaries.
But for this education to be utterly ineffective fro such a huge percentage of Americans is a significant problem.
Laat proposes that evolution science educators need to better understand creationist culture, because evidence of evolution isn't sufficient to convince creationists.
Evolution education should never become an exercise in religious conversion, but it is high time for scientists and teachers to notice that not even religious missionaries engage in the naive and blinkered missionary approach still so common among evolution educators.
In particular, Laat stresses rightly that too many evolution educators assume creationists are ignorant about evolution; in fact, they often are not. They simply reject the evidence.
A large, publicly funded charter school system in Texas is teaching creationism to its students, Zack Kopplin recently reported in Slate. Creationist teachers don’t even need to be sneaky about it—the Texas state science education standards, as well as recent laws in Louisiana and Tennessee, permit public school teachers to teach “alternatives” to evolution. Meanwhile, in Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere, taxpayer money is funding creationist private schools through state tuition voucher or scholarship programs.
“A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics,” writes Suzanne LaBarre. “Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to ‘debate’ on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.”
Creationists advising the Texas Education Agency, the state’s board of education, are no longer even trying to hide the fact that they want to insert pseudo-scientific material grounded in religious beliefs into public school science textbooks. Terrence Stutz of the Dallas Morning News reports that evolution detractors appointed to the review boards are urging the textbook publishers to ignore the Supreme Court (along with science) and push Creationism, or be rejected.
A response to this religious-right ploy comes from the Texas Freedom Network (TFN) and its Stand Up for Science Education campaign (the hashtag is #standup4science). TFN explains:
Stand Up for Science is an ongoing TFN campaign uniting parents, educators, scientists and businesspeople in support of sound science education and responsible medical research in Texas. This multi-issue campaign focuses primarily on the issue of teaching evolution and climate change in public school science classes and defending stem cell research in Texas.
some public schools in America do all they can to avoid teaching evolution. Thanks to constant pressure from the Religious Right, many public schools are battlegrounds in a culture war that does great damage to our nation’s scientific credibility as creationists work overtime to slip their ideas into the curriculum.
A generation back, in the late 1970s, the Carter administration began to crack down on "segregation academies" in the Deep South, formed to take white kids out of public schools when integration was finally law in ALL the land.
The white academies were often affiliated with evangelical and fundamentalist churches. In the view of Randall Balmer, an Episcopal priest and Columbia University scholar, "The religious right of the late 20th Century was organized to perpetuate racial discrimination."
Paul Weyrich, one of the religious right's organizers, once explained how he tried to rouse fundamentalists with the abortion issue, and later the Equal Rights Amendment. "What changed their minds," Weyrich explained, "was Jimmy Carter's intervention against the church schools, trying to deny them tax exempt status on the basis of so-called de facto segregation."
A high school in central Mississippi allegedly forced students to watch a Christian video and listen to church officials preach about Jesus Christ.
The American Humanist Association’s legal center filed a lawsuit against Northwest Rankin High School in Flowood on Wednesday, accusing the school of violating the student's (sic) First Amendment rights.
The school has held at least three mandatory assemblies about finding hope in Jesus Christ this month, according to the lawsuit. ..... The assemblies concluded with a prayer and teachers blocked the exits to prevent students from leaving, the lawsuit claimed.