Republican Texas Lieutenant Governor Candidates Hellbent on Violating the Constitution

The entire universe in blog form
Jan. 29 2014 9:34 AM

All Four GOP Texas Lieutenant Governor Candidates Want to Violate the U.S. Constitution

Texas
Texas creationists: Only off by 13,819,994,000 years.

Illustration by Phil Plait

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Texas seems—if you’ll pardon the expression—hellbent on destroying science education in the Lone Star State.

Watch this video (from December 2013) of the four Republican candidates for lieutenant governor talking about why they feel creationism must be taught in Texas public schools.* Warning: Weapons-grade ignorance unfolds. I will not be responsible for any exploded heads resulting from watching this.

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(Note: David Dewhurst, who speaks first, is the sitting lieutenant governor of the state.)

This is a stunning display of not just a lack of any understanding of science but also of the very laws and U.S. Constitution they will have to swear to uphold. Teaching creationism in public schools is illegal and a violation of the First Amendment. Full stop. That has been ruled by courts and judges across the land, over and again.

This idea that teaching reality and facts is “politically correct” is just so much fertilizer, too. The politics of teaching science is a fully owned product of the far-right’s attempts to illegally insert religion into the school system. Evolution isn’t politics, it’s science. And science is a reflection of our attempts to understand how the Universe works. Evolution isn’t a guess, or a cynical move to promote atheism, or whatever feverishly imagined bugaboo flies around in the heads of these four men. It’s the driving force that runs through modern biology, much like gravity is to astronomy, or the periodic table is to chemistry.

tax-funded creationism
Map of where states allow the tax-funded teaching of creationism. Click for details.

Illustration by Slate

About this nonsense I wish I could say, “Only in Texas!,” but of course I can’t. It’s also only in Louisiana, and only in Tennessee, and only in Indiana, and only in a dozen other states across this country.

This year, one of the four men in that video will become the lieutenant governor of the state of Texas. In January 2015, which of them will violate the ninth commandment by signing the following oath?

IN THE NAME AND BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF TEXAS, I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the duties of the office of __________________ of the State of Texas, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State, so help me God.

Emphasis mine. But then, the emphasis should be everybody’s, shouldn’t it?

Tip o’ the Stetson to Zack Kopplin.

*Correction, Jan. 29, 2014: This post originally neglected to specify that the four candidates mentioned are the Republican candidates for lieutenant governor of Texas.