That’s what happened earlier this spring at the Texas State Board of Education during the vote on new science curriculum standards for public schools, according to Kelly Shackelford of Texas’ Focus on the Family affiliate, Free Market Foundation. When it looked like the board was about to pass science standards that did not include creationist-inspired criticisms of evolution, his group raised the alarm and:
“…basically what happened is, God unleashed his people.”
Shackelford — who made these remarks while accepting the “Family Champions” award from Focus on the Family Action at the far right’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. last month — gave a dramatic play-by-play of the board’s final vote on evolution at the March meeting:
“It was clear that out of nowhere everything changed on a dime. And when we thought it was over — I mean, it was shocking. But it was God. And we just kind of stood their with our mouth open and said, ‘Praise the Lord.’”
Watch the full video of Shackelford’s remarks for yourself. Then consider the dishonesty it exposes.
On one hand, it is gratifying to hear Shackelford finally speak without evasion — his opposition to evolution is rooted in his theological beliefs, not scientific arguments. Fair enough. Lot’s of people, including many Christians, believe otherwise, but Mr. Shackelford is entitled to his own personal religious beliefs. If he thinks evolution is an affront to God and incompatible with Christian doctrine, he has every right to say so publicly.
But listen to what the lobbyist for Shackelford’s organization said a year ago when asked by the Houston Chronicle if opposition to evolution at the State Board of Education was religiously motivated:
“The reality is this issue is about evolution and teaching strengths and weaknesses of evolution. It’s about science and teaching science right, regardless of what religious beliefs people have.”
We have run into this issue before: evolution opponents shying away from — or one might even say lying about — the religious motivation for their attacks (see previous TFN Insider post “Not About Religion?”). But this one takes the cake. Can we finally, once-and-for-all drop the pretense that the crusade against evolution is about anything other than religious objections?
A sincere plea to Shackelford and his fellow creationists — have the courage of your convictions and speak honestly! (Or as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.”) If you want to use science classrooms to promote your religious views over those of others, say so. If we have to continue to rehash this dispute in Texas, can’t people like Shackelford at least be honest about their motivations?