The South Carolina (motto: "First to Secede!") governing body is maybe not so much the bastion of science and reality-based thinking. But now, as reported in The Charleston Post & Courier, they join Texas in what I can only think of as utter stupidity:
State lawmakers shot down a request for extra financial help for low-income students who will attend South Carolina's public colleges and universities next year.
Meanwhile, they approved $2.5 million to help low-income students attend Bob Jones University, a private school in Greenville.
Yes, that BJU, where it
is was* school policy to forbid interracial dating (I guess Thomas Jefferson wouldn't be allowed to attend), and where, more to the point, they teach creationism instead of, y'know, reality.
That's right. In South Carolina, if you are poor or middle class and want to be educated, you can either do without, or go to a private school like BJU where you'll learn the Earth is 6000 years old!
If you go there, you can take a Life Science class where you can learn that:
Christians must reject any evolutionary ideas that people try to include in the classification system... God commanded all living things to reproduce "after their kind". You can see the results of God's command by simply observing the living things around you.
Reminder: this school now receives funding from the state of South Carolina. Another reminder: this is a private school. Why are they getting public funds at all? A third reminder: the state government refused to add funding to public schools, and instead gave the money to this sham place of "learning".
[Aside: Did you know you can get Bob Jones Science Kits online? Irony gland... straining.... ]
Funny thing is, the bill passed by the SC legislation doesn't single out BJU. However, under the new rules, BJU is the only institution in the state that benefits from them! It used to be that to get SC state funds a school had to be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Now the brain trust in the SC government has said that all it takes is to "be a bachelor's level institution chartered before 1962 with a major campus and headquarters in South Carolina!". No accreditation needed!
Of course, BJU is accredited... by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools. That sounds legit enough... until you actually do some, y'know, research. If you go to their website and look at their educational standards for schools they accredit, you'll see this gem:
The institution must have a Biblical Foundations Statement that includes affirmations of tenets such as ... the divine work of non-evolutionary creation including persons in God's image... Special creation of the existing space-time universe and all its basic systems and kinds of organisms in the six literal days of the creation week.
That's right. To get accredited by this fine organization, you have to affirm that you do not teach evolution, and/or that you do teach young Earth creationism.
Also, you have to affirm that existence of Satan.
Heaven help us.
I could go on and on, and it's hard to know where to stop pointing out the nonsense in this incredibly foolish move by the South Carolina government. They are firmly, resolutely -- and quite blindly --walking down the path of doom for their children.
So, it must be said:
Oh, one more thing: the legislation was sponsored by both a Republican and a Democrat. It just goes to show you that not just one political party holds the reins to religious fundamentalism... though I still say one has a much firmer grip (or, more accurately, has it wrapped around their neck) than the other.
Oh, one more one more thing: d'ya think this legislation would have passed -- would even have been written -- had the only beneficiary been, say, a fundamentalist Muslim school? Think on that, and answer it truthfully to yourself before you attack me on being anti-Christian, or make some comment on separation of Church and State.
* BABloggee Gary Eller pointed out to me that the interracial dating ban was lifted in 2000, which I didn't know. However, read here to see just how craven and evil BJU is about this.