A bill in Minnesota requiring instruction about "the Creator"

St. Paul, Minnesota.

St. Paul, Minnesota. Photo by Josh Hild on Unsplash.

Minnesota's Senate File 517 would, if enacted, require school districts in the state to "provide instruction to students in grades 9 to 12 exploring the contrast between the scientific facts on how sickness, disease, pain, suffering, and death relate to the existence of complex living organisms, and how sickness, disease, pain, suffering, and death are a consequence imposed by the Creator of complex living organisms."

The purpose of such instruction, according to the bill, is "[t]o advance critical thinking skills in history and science," but it is not specified in what type of classes — history, science, or health — it would be presented. The bill was introduced on January 23, 2023, by Glenn H. Gruenhagen (R-District 17), a new member of the Senate but a veteran of the House of Representatives, and referred to the Senate Education Policy Committee.

While serving in the House of Representatives, Gruenhagen introduced a substantially similar bill, House File 2779, in 2022, as Hemant Mehta observed (February 15, 2023) on his Friendly Atheist Substack. The bill was referred to the House Education Policy Committee; received a cosponsor, John Poston (R-District 9A), who is no longer in the legislature; and apparently died in committee without receiving a hearing.

[Updated on February 15, 2023, by the addition of the third paragraph.]

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.