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Church State Issues

Rep. Judy Burges attempting to mix government and religion in Arizona??

Feb 11, 2013

By: Laurie Roberts

Arizona Republic

Bad bill aims to teach bad science to your kids

Posted on February 10, 2013 6:00 pm by Laurie Roberts

Bad bill aims to teach bad science to your kids

In keeping with Arizona’s growing national reputation, one of our leaders has introduced a bill aimed at allowing science teachers to explain that man has no role in global warming. [If you ask me I am a bit skeptical about global warming myself!!!]

And that the world really was created in six days. [Sounds like something straight out of the Bible!!!]

And possibly that the world is flat. (OK, I made that last part up, but you could believe it, couldn’t you?) [Well according to the Bible the world is FLAT!!!! But only a few of the most fanatic Bible thumpers push that line. After all it is kind of hard to claim the world is flat as the Bible says, when images from space show it being round.]

Rep. Judy Burges is the sponsor of this latest piece of crackpottery. The Sun City West Republican is best known for her efforts in previous years to ferret out the truth behind Barack Obama’s birth and to foil the United Nations’ dastardly plot to create a one-world order. She was a big supporter of guns on college campuses last year, reasoning that if you’re old enough to go to war, you’re old enough to pack heat on the way to the fraternity keg party.

Now, she’s at it again, deciding – with what suspiciously looks like a little help from the American Legislative Exchange Council – that the schools can’t be trusted to teach real science to our kids.

Thus comes Senate Bill 1213, mandating that state, county and local school officials “shall endeavor to create an environment in schools that encourages students to explore scientific questions, learn about scientific evidence, develop critical thinking skills, and respond appropriately and respectfully to differences of opinion about controversial issues.”

Which begs the question: Don’t they already?

I wanted to ask state Superintendent John Huppenthal that question but he was curiously unavailable over the course of two days to discuss it. His spokeswoman told me it’s a local issue. Go figure.

As for Burges, she isn’t talking to me either – or anyone in the media, according to her office. But she told longtime political reporter Howard Fischer last week that teachers who don’t believe in human-caused global warming should be able to express their views during science class without fear of retribution.

“There should be an opportunity for teachers to step up to the plate and give their opinion, if they have scientific proof, that it isn’t happening, that it’s a natural phenomomena,” she said.

Because, of course, your kid’s eighth-grade teacher knows far more about the subject that the 97 to 98 percent of the world’s climate scientists who agree that man-made global warming is occurring.

Burges’ bill says that Arizona officials “shall not prohibit any teacher in this state from helping pupils understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and weakness of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

The “controversial” scientific theories listed: evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming and human cloning.

The bill appears to spring from ALEC, the business-oriented lobby that keeps many of our legislators in its hip pocket and just coincidentally raises a lot of its money from the fossil fuel industry. Since 2008, ALEC has been pushing “model legislation” – the Environmental Literacy Improvement Act — that questions whether humans are changing the weather.

Burges, an ALEC member, told Fischer that she didn’t get the bill from ALEC but from Tennessee. What she doesn’t mention is that Tennessee, which passed the bill last year, got it from ALEC.

“I just happen to think,” Burgess told Fischer, “that if a person believes that this is not man-caused or that man only contributes so much, then they should be able to stand before their class and discuss it.”

Reminds me of the old days when Burges’ predecessors at the Legislature were trying to bring a little Bible study into science classes on evolution. At the time, then-Gov. Evan Mecham’s education advisor decreed that children should not be corrected by their teacher if they proclaim that the earth is flat.

No really, that happened.

Burges bill is being co-sponsored by Republican Sens. Chester Crandell of Heber, Rick Murphy of Peoria, Steve Pierce of Prescott, Don Shooter of Yuma and Steve Yarbrough of Chandler. To her credit, Senate Education Committee Chairman Kimberly Yee hasn’t scheduled the bill for a hearing.

Yet, that is.

Complain about this violation of Church & State to:

Judy M. Burges, Republican, District 4 - Attempting to mix government and religion in Arizona??

Judy M. Burges, District 4

House of Representatives
1700 W. Washington
Room 302
Phoenix, AZ 85007

(602)926-5861
(602)417-3104 Fax

jburges@azleg.gov