Science advocates in Texas won a battle last month after the State Board of Education voted to approve new science textbooks that teach evolution. However, they don't seem to have won the war.
During a debate Thursday, three of the four Republican candidates in the state’s lieutenant governor race said that they think creationism should be taught in public schools, according to The Texas Tribune. While the fourth candidate, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, did not specifically state his beliefs on the subject, he later told The Dallas Morning News that he thinks creationism should be taught in schools, just not in science class.
According to the Morning News, none of the candidates referenced the education board’s textbook vote. However, candidates Todd Staples, who is currently serving as the state agriculture commissioner, Senator Dan Patrick and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst all stressed the importance of religion in the classroom.
"Our students ... must really be confused. They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school on Monday and we tell them they can't talk about God," said Patrick, per the Tribune. "I'm sick and tired of a minority in our country who want us to turn our back on God."
"I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this," said Dewhurst, who is currently seeking a fourth term as lieutenant governor, according to the outlet. "That's why I've supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people who disagree with me, and believe in evolution."
When Patterson spoke with the Morning News, he said creationism should be taught in schools “as a social studies/history/comparative religion subject,” but not as science.
In 1987 the Supreme Court ruled that teaching creationism in public schools violated the Constitution.
However, not all Texas officials seem to understand that. Back in 2011, when Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) was running for president, he told a young boy that “in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools.” The Huffington Post noted at the time that although official Texas public school curriculum does not currently include creationism, students are directed to examine all sides of scientific theories.
Currently, only 21 percent of Americans believe "human beings evolved without God's influence," according to a YouGov poll.