Creationism bill introduced in Arkansas

Arkansas statehouse

Arkansas's House Bill 1701 (PDF), filed on March 11, 2021, if enacted, would allow — although not require — teachers in the state's public and open-enrollment charter schools to "teach creationism as a theory of how the earth came to exist."

The bill is sponsored by Mary Bentley (R-District 73), who previously introduced House Bill 2050, which would have allowed "public schools to teach creationism and intelligent design as theories alongside the theory of evolution," in 2017. The bill died without receiving a hearing when the legislature recessed. Joining Bentley in sponsoring House Bill 1701, from the Senate, is Gary Stubblefield (R-District 6).

Creationism is not generally understood as "a theory of how the earth came to exist," and the federal courts — including in McLean v. Arkansas (1982) — have repeatedly held that teaching creationism in the public schools is unconstitutional.

Glenn Branch
Short Bio

Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.