Munford-Republican State Rep. Steve Hurst introduced a bill last month that would allow Alabama teachers to present “the theory of creation as presented in the Bible” alongside any discussion of evolution.
“This bill would enable public school teachers who teach kindergarten through 12th grade to include, as a portion of instruction regarding the scientific origins of man and the Earth, instruction regarding the Biblical theory of creation, so long as evolution is also taught,” reads the bill.
Under HB258, any teacher who desires to instruct students regarding the Biblical theory of creation is permitted to read passage from the Bible in class as deemed “necessary to propel the instruction forward.”
It also allow students the choice as to which understanding of Earth’s natural history they wish to accept: evolutionary theory or creationist theology. In doing so, the bill would ensure students accepting creationism, instead of evolution, would not be penalized for answering exam questions in their courses in a way that reflects their preference for creationism, “provided the response is correct according to the instruction received.”
The bill does however specify that teachers in public K-12 school may not stress any particular denominational religious belief.
In the case, the Supreme Court held unconstitutional Louisiana’s “Creationism Act.” Similar to Hurst’s bill, this statute prohibited the teaching of evolution in public schools, except when it was accompanied by instruction in “creation science.” The Court found that, by advancing the religious belief that a supernatural being created humankind, which is embraced by the term creation science, the act impermissibly endorses religion. In addition, the Court found that the provision of a comprehensive science education is undermined when it is forbidden to teach evolution except when creation science is also taught.
HB258 has been referred to the House committee on Education Policy.