Stranger Fruit

Florida joins the pack

NCSE is reporting that SB 2396 has been proposed in Florida. It will require "thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution." The bill is sponsored by Stephen R. Wise (R-District 5). Amazing how many of these bills are being sponsored by Republicans. You’d think they’d have more important things to worry about.

It’s a bit of a strange bill. The preamble calls for the "thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution and certain governmental, legal and civic-related principles" while the body calls for teachers to “teach efficiently and faithfully … the following: (a) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution.” Following that item there are a number of others: the history and content of the Declaration on Independence, the Constitution, flag education, history of the United States, the Holocaust, kindness to animals, “the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard”, the sacrifices of veterans, and “the nature and importance of free enterprise to the United States economy.” Quite the grab-bag and it seems as though students don’t have to critically analyse any of the other topics beyond evolution. I wonder why?

This brings the tally for 2009 to eight:


  1. #1 Wes
    February 28, 2009

    A character-development program in the elementary
    102 schools, similar to Character First or Character Counts, which
    is secular in nature.
    Beginning in school year 2004-2005, the
    104 character-development program shall be required in kindergarten
    105 through grade 12. Each district school board shall develop or
    106 adopt a curriculum for the character-development program that
    107 shall be submitted to the department for approval. The
    108 character-development curriculum shall emphasize stress the
    109 qualities of patriotism; responsibility; citizenship; kindness;
    110 respect for authority, life, liberty, and personal property;
    111 honesty; charity; self-control; racial, ethnic, and religious
    112 tolerance; and cooperation; and conflict-resolution management,
    113 including peer mediation.

    Bzzzzzt! This set off alarm bells in my head. I’ve heard of this “Character First” organization. They’re headquartered in an old Holiday Inn building in Oklahoma City, and while they try their damnedest to put up a secular facade, they are most certainly a religious organization.

    The group is run by a guy named Tom Hill, who is also on the board of directors at Oklahoma Christian University. He also runs the “Character Council of Central Oklahoma”, a somewhat cultish group that gives out the following award:

    Oklahoma Family of the Year

    Nomination Criteria
    The Character Council of Central Oklahoma and Oklahoma Family Policy Council desire to recognize and honor an outstanding “Oklahoma Family of Character.” This award is presented annually in the spring during Family Day at the Capitol.

    If you are interested in nominating a family please consider the following standards which are designed to assist you in thinking of a family who deserves recognition. Please try to think specifically of the ways in which the family uniquely influences others in each of the three categories below:

    Faith Involvement
    A Family of Character will value a relationship with God.
    A Family of Character will model positive moral values.
    A Family of Character will serve in a local faith body.
    A Family of Character will encourage others to grow in faith.

    Family Dynamics
    A Family of Character will show respect and honor to parents, elders, and one another.
    A Family of Character will demonstrate genuine, sacrificial love for one another.
    A Family of Character will make wise choices and will strive to right wrongs committed against others.
    A Family of Character will enjoy family activities together and with others outside the family.

    Community Involvement
    A Family of Character will be involved in community service.
    A Family of Character will have a positive influence on others within the community.
    A Family of Character will be looked to as respected leaders.

    Add “Good genes” to the list and you got yourself a bona fide Fitter Families Contest.

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