The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suggesting that a creationist Wisconsin state representative step down from a key Assembly committee.
State Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, recently espoused creationism as a member of the Wisconsin Assembly's Committee on Colleges and Universities. At a May 11 public hearing, Kremer and fellow state Rep. Terese Berceau engaged in a lively debate:
Berceau: You do believe it's a fact that the Earth is only 6,000 years old?
Kremer: I do.
It was a stunning moment, FFRF Co-Presidents Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor assert in a letter to Kremer. And it is particularly incongruous, given that Kremer's entire life relies on a foundation of science. The same science and technology that inform us that the Earth is more than 4 billion years old dictates Kremer's life, from his time as a pilot to his website design and aerial photography businesses to the mobile phone in his pocket.
Kremer's remark is all the more stunning because it is a nearly perfect example of life imitating art. In the pivotal courtroom scene in the classic play and movie, "Inherit the Wind," a fictionalized retelling of the already dramatic Scopes Monkey Trial, the character based on William Jennings Bryan similarly opines the Earth to be no more than 6,000 years old.
Kremer's ignorance has very profound and invidious consequences. It is due to the unfortunate sabotage of the study of evolution in our nation by creationist lobbyists and public officials, such as Kremer, that the United States ranks next to last in Western countries on public acceptance of evolution. This widespread ignorance, with studies consistently showing about half of Americans reject the fact of evolution, gives our nation a black eye.
"We risk making the United States, or the Wisconsin Legislature, a global laughingstock," state Barker and Gaylor. "Understanding evolution is absolutely fundamental to any comprehension of biology. Our religious blindfold jeopardizes the country's standing in a global market, since comprehension of evolution is fundamental to progress in medicine, pharmacy, agriculture and biotechnology."
Courts have long held that Kremer's benighted religious rejection of science cannot be taught in public schools, including public universities. FFRF deems Kremer unfit to sit on the Assembly's Committee on Colleges and Universities and hopes he'll have the decency to step down.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a Wisconsin-based national nonprofit organization with more than 29,000 nonreligious members across the country, including 1,200-plus in Wisconsin and members in Kremer's district. Its purpose is to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.