(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana is challenging a proposal to allow public schools to teach creationism.
An Indiana Senate committee passed a bill Wednesday which would let schools decide whether to teach creationism along with the theory of evolution.
The ACLU of Indiana’s top lawyer, Ken Falk, says the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1987 case of Edwards v. Aguillard already sets precedent declaring teaching creationism as unconstitutional.
In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Louisiana statute had no identifiable secular purpose, but that the "pre-eminent purpose of the Louisiana Legislature was clearly to advance the religious viewpoint that a supernatural being created humankind."
"The idea that somehow our state legislature can trump the Constitution just doesn't make sense," said Falk. "When lawmakers propose legislation they clearly know will end up in the courts, it wastes valuable time and resources, disrespects the legislative process and confuses an already complicated issue."
The legislation, however, states “The governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation.”
Falk did acknowledge that the ruling does not bar religion from being taught in public schools, if in the right context of serving a secular educational purpose. For example, if the purpose is to examine religion's role in history, art, literature, society or other secular subjects.
The bill, Senate Bill 89, will be heard next by the full Senate.