Creationism Bill Dies in Indiana House

Indiana Speaker of the House Brian Bosma has killed a Senate bill that would allow creationism and evolution to be taught together in science classes. The bill was referred to the House Rules committee, a procedural move that essentially ensures the legislation will not be heard during the 2012 session.

The Republican speaker had concerns about possible legal challenges to the bill and was hesitant to allow the bill to become law given the time and expense a prolonged legal battle would likely produce.

"I felt, given the fact that we have a U.S. Supreme Court case that appears to me to be directly on point, that this is a fight that really should not be fought at this point," Bosma said Tuesday, according to the Indianapolis Star. "It looked to me to be buying a lawsuit when the state can ill afford it."

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Additionally, Bosma said he wanted to take the pressure off of the House Education committee since they would have to pass the bill before it could receive a full hearing on the House floor.

The controversial bill passed the GOP-controlled Indiana Senate earlier this year by a vote of 28-22. If approved, the bill would have allowed local school districts to teach creationism as long as it included beliefs from other religions such as Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Scientology.

In the 1987 decision Edwards v. Aguillard, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science or "creationism," be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law was specifically intended to advance a particular religion.

The original bill proposed by Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) called for allowing schools to teach creationism, but was later amended to include multiple faiths. Kruse said he had hoped the House would amend the bill back to his original version and was disappointed by the House speaker's decision to kill the bill. Kruse also indicated he would probably introduce the legislation again next session.

"We have five pretty decent Supreme Court members who have been ruling pretty conservative on a lot of different things and they might have had a different ruling," said Kruse. "I think God created the world and created man and woman. And I think that is the true truth and we have twisted things."

Feb. 12 was Charles Darwin's 203rd birthday. Darwin is known as the father of evolution. A 2009 Gallup Poll shows that only 39 percent of Americans say they "believe in the theory of evolution" and a quarter say they do not believe in it.

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