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Jerry Bergevin, New Hampshire Legislator, Links Evolution With Nazis And Columbine

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A Republican state lawmaker in New Hampshire who introduced legislation to stop the teaching of evolution in schools has claimed that the theory of evolution lead to the Columbine massacre.

Republican State Rep. Jerry Bergevin told the Concord Monitor last week that his bill will teach evolution as a still tentative theory based on what he said is the political impact of the concept on society. Bergevin, author of one of two anti-evolution bills pending in the New Hampshire Legislature, linked the "worldview" of evolution to the rise of the Nazi Party, among other evils.

"I want the full portrait of evolution and the people who came up with the ideas to be presented. It's a worldview and it's godless. Atheism has been tried in various societies, and they've been pretty criminal domestically and internationally. The Soviet Union, Cuba, the Nazis, China today: they don't respect human rights," he said.

"As a general court we should be concerned with criminal ideas like this and how we are teaching it... Columbine, remember that? They were believers in evolution. That's evidence right there," he said.

Bergevin's bill was filed alongside a bill sponsored by two other Republican lawmakers that would broadly call for science teachers to emphasize that new scientific results can dispute established scientific theories. Both bills have been introduced for the 2012 legislative session, which begins this month in Concord. Under New Hampshire's legislative rules, both bills will receive a hearing before a relevant committee.

The bills come at the same time that Indiana legislators will also be wrestling with the subject of creationism, with a bill requiring the teaching of the concept in the state's public schools. The bill has gained the wrath of the National Center for Science Education, whose executive director said the legislation violated the Supreme Court's ruling on the issue.

"The obvious problem is that the Indiana legislature can't authorize a school district to violate the Constitution," NCSE executive director Eugenie Scott said in a statement. "And the Supreme Court held in its 1987 decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, that it's unconstitutional for creation science to be taught in public schools."

The NCSE has not returned a request for comment regarding Bergevin's comments.

Last year, seven states rejected bills designed to bring teach creationism in public schools. The bills were designed after a Louisiana law regarding the teaching of creationism. The Louisiana law, passed in 2008, allows for the teaching of any concept that challenges a scientific theory in order to promote thinking by students.

The New Hampshire bill comes as part of an increasingly conservative tilt in the New Hampshire Legislature, which is dominated by Tea Party affiliated Republicans who were elected in 2010. Bergevin, who was backed by the New Hampshire chapter of the Republican Liberty Caucus in his 2010 race, has introduced a series of conservative bills in his first year in office. Among the bills were proposals to make the killing of an unborn child a first degree murder offense and to allow churches to engage in political campaigning.

Harrell Kirstein, the spokesman for the state Democratic Party, declined to comment on Bergevin's statement.

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