Dennis Kruse, Indiana State GOP Senator, Pushes Creationism In Schools Via 'Truth In Education' Bill

GOP Lawmaker Renews Creationism Push

An Indiana state senator is renewing his push to teach creationism in schools with new legislation that opens the door to discussing the theory.

State Sen. Dennis Kruse (R-Auburn) will be introducing legislation in 2013 for "truth in education," Indiana Public Media reports. Kruse said that his bill will allow for teachers to discuss a range of theories from evolution to creationism. He said it will allow for students to question teachers and bring new perspectives to the discussion.

“If you’re teaching something, then a student could question that and say, you know, ‘How do you know that’s true?’ And so the teacher would have to come up with different sources, ‘This is why I think this is true,’” Kruse told Indiana Public Media.

Kruse, the Senate education committee chairman, pushed creationism legislation that failed in the state House. The Associated Press reported that Kruse is working with the Discovery Center, a Seattle-based group, to develop the new legislation. Josh Youngkin, a program officer for the Discovery Center, said that the legislation would meet constitutional muster.

"The teacher would not be barred from saying 'Let's look at both sides of the evidence and you guys can basically make a judgment,' rather than just accepting passively or memorizing by rote these facts and stating back these arguments on a test which would eventually determine where you go to college," Youngkin told AP.

Kruse has served in the state Senate since 2004, following several terms in the state House. An auctioneer by profession, Kruse graduated from Indiana University's School of Education and spent five years as a licensed teacher in the state in the 1970s. On his state website, he notes that he is a commissioner on the Education Commission of the States and has been a member of the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future. Kruse is also involved in pro-life and drug abuse causes and has served on the state's motor vehicle advisory board.

Creationism legislation has been on the rise nationally in the last year, with Tennessee passing a bill similar to Kruse's proposal, and several other states also proposing (though failing to pass) bills to teach creationism. Louisiana passed a "truth in education" bill in 2008. Earlier this year, former New Hampshire state Rep. Jerry Bergevin (R-Manchester) suggested that the teaching of evolution led to the Columbine massacre and the rise of the Nazi Party. Bergevin left office Wednesday after losing a bid for a second term. New Hampshire lawmakers overrode Gov. John Lynch's (D) veto earlier this year of a bill that would allow parents to object to any part of the school curriculum and allow the teaching of an alternate curriculum.

In Kansas, Republican Jack Wu, a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, sought a seat on the state Board of Education on an anti-evolution platform this year. Wu, who engaged in a public feud with Gov. Sam Brownback (R) and other state GOP leaders, lost his bid to incumbent Democrat Carolyn Campbell.

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