Creationism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry coalesce in Arkansas Legislature, Seidel writes

1AndrewSeidelPresskitCreationism is back. Not disguised as intelligent design or teaching a controversy, but unadulterated biblical creationism. And in Arkansas, a state with a long history of losing fights in court to teach creationism in public schools. (FFRF is looking for families in Arkansas school districts in case this bill becomes law. If you or your children attend Arkansas public schools and you’re interested in fighting, please email [email protected].) FFRF’s Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel explains in his latest op-ed for Religion Dispatches that the push to teach creationism is inextricably linked to anti-LGBTQ bigotry. Seidel proves that link by examining Arkansas’ new creationism bill and the overlap it has with the Legislature’s anti-trans veto override. The evidence for the links is compelling. In the piece, entitled, “Arkansas’s Creationism Bill is Also Motivated by Anti-LGBTQ Bigotry,” Seidel begins:

The average American might not realize that the prejudices and superstitions that underlie the push to teach creationism in public schools, also undergird anti-LGBTQ bigotry. But the Arkansas Legislature has worked hard recently to showcase this link.

Earlier this month, the Arkansas Legislature overrode the governor’s veto on HB1570, which takes away the right and ability of transgender youth to self-determine their medical care and sexual identity in consultation with medical professionals. This is part of a wave of anti-trans bills sweeping the country, an effort to unite the conservatives and Christian nationalists by otherizing and demonizing a minority.

The same day the Legislature overrode the veto to insert itself between trans patients and their doctors, a House committee passed a bill to allow public schools to “teach creationism.” The full House passed the creationism bill the next day. Dehumanizing trans-people and indoctrinating schoolchildren, all in 24 hours. Is this just a sign of a retrograde Legislature or is something more going on here?

Passing these two bills might be simply coincidence, but the genesis of the creationism bill is telling. …

Seidel concludes the piece with a concise history of Arkansas’s embarrassing history of losing these cases in court. He notes that the bill’s primary sponsor is not only motivated by bigotry, but also by a new Supreme Court already packed with ideologues. The court is already packed, explains Seidel, and Arkansas is simply showing the need for court reform and expansion. Seidel ends by quoting H.L. Mencken, the freethinker and journalist who covered the Scopes Monkey trial. Please read the whole column on Religion Dispatches and then share it on your social media.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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