Jack Wu believes public education is “preparing its students to be liars, crooks, thieves, murderers, and perverts,” which is one of the reasons he's running for a chance to overhaul the system from the inside.
Wu is a Republican candidate for the Kansas Board of Education and an attendee of Fred Phelps' controversial Westboro Baptist Church, a far-right congregation best known for its anti-gay protests and picketing of military funerals. Wu writes that he moved from California to the "evil city of Topeka and this perverse state of Kansas” after "seeing the light of the Westboro Baptist Church.” He also believes evolution is "Satanic lies," which has added particular significance to his upstart candidacy.
Kansas is set to play a pivotal role in creating national education policy as one of 26 states working with the National Research Council to develop science standards for a large portion of the country. Wu's 4th District opponent, Democratic incumbent Carolyn Campbell, supports the teaching of evolution and natural selection, as does the majority of the state's board. But with five seats on the ballot this fall, Kansas' support for commonly accepted scientific principles could hang in the balance.
The Kansas City Star recently interviewed Wu, who explained a bit of his worldview:
“The truth matters more than the opinion of other men and women,” said Wu, clutching his green cloth-bound King James Bible during a recent interview on the grounds of state Capitol about a block away from the Kansas Department of Education’s offices.
“The Bible says if you’re hated by other people for taking a stance that’s not popular, it’s like a sign you’re chosen by God, almost,” added Wu, who describes himself as a reality television fan who works as a self-employed computer programmer and designer of video games.
He's also claimed that Harry Potter promotes witchcraft and likened Christmas trees to pagan idols.
Wu has said he is running for State Board of Education "to throw out the crap that teachers are feeding their students and replace it with healthy good for the soul knowledge from the holy scriptures."
But the nature of his candidacy has largely failed to draw support. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R), who makes a habit of supporting Republican candidates in the state, opted not to back Wu. According to the Lawrence World-Journal, Wu responded by claiming that he was happy not to receive Brownback's blessing.
“The poor governor needs to obey the commandments of God and stop being a vile Catholic,” Wu said, according to the World-Journal, reportedly noting the Catholic Church's problems with child abuse.
Democratic operatives and non-partisan educators say they're taking Wu's candidacy seriously, but the Star reports that he had only received $5 in contributions through July, the most recent reporting period.
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