Creation science bill in Indiana

Indiana's Senate Bill 373 would, if enacted, provide that "[t]he governing body of a school corporation may require the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life, including creation science, within the school corporation." The bill was introduced on January 10, 2019, and referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Career Development. 

The sponsor of the bill, Dennis Kruse (R-District 14), has a long history of sponsoring antievolution legislation. In 1999, while serving in the Indiana House of Representatives, Kruse pledged to introduce a law to remove evolution from the state's science standards, according to the South Bend Tribune (August 27, 1999). Instead, however, he introduced bills that would permit local school districts to require the teaching of creation science — House Bill 1356 in 2000 and House Bill 1323 in 2001. Both bills died in committee. In the Senate, Kruse introduced a similar bill — Senate Bill 89 in 2012 — which passed the Senate, but only after it was amended to require the inclusion of "theories from multiple religions, which may include ... Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Scientology." SB 89 subsequently died in the House. In 2015, Kruse introduced SB 562, a version of the "academic freedom" bill, which ultimately died in committee. In 2017, Kruse cosponsored Senate Resolution 17, which echoed SB 562's language in urging the state department of education "to reinforce support of teachers who choose to teach a diverse curriculum"; the resolution passed the Senate. With SB 373, however, he returns to the language of HB 1356, HB 1323, and SB 89.

The teaching of creation science in the public schools was ruled to be unconstitutional by a federal court in McLean v. Arkansas (1982) and by the Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard (1987); the legal director of the ACLU of Indiana observed, of SB 89 in 2012, that the bill is clearly unconstitutional and would invite litigation.

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