Louisiana's evolution education could see an overhaul soon, after lawmakers passed a bill protecting the rights of teachers who challenge the theory.
The Louisiana Science Education Act breezed through the state senate June 16 with a 36-0 vote, after being approved by the house the week before.
The landmark bill allows an "open and objective discussion of scientific theories" including "evolution, the origins of life, global warming and human cloning." Teachers will also be allowed to use outside textbooks and references to further dissect the topics.
"Not all DNA and fossil evidence support a Darwinian view of life. This bill gives teeth to the freedom of a public school science teacher to ask their students to objectively analyze the scientific data," Wade Warren, professor of Biology at Louisiana College, said.
Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to sign the bill into law. But opponents say that the law would bring religion into the classroom.
The Louisiana Coalition for Science denounced the bill in a letter sent to Gov. Jindal shortly after the bill received the okay Monday,
"Creationism, which includes both young-earth creationism and [intelligent design], is not science but a sectarian view based on the Bible..." the letter stated. "Since you hold a biology degree from Brown University... You also surely understand that there is no scientific controversy over the fact of evolution. The current controversy is a political one."
The American Civil Liberties Union also stepped out in opposition of the legislation, threatening to sue even before the bill hit the state's senate.
"It is the ACLU's position that we intend to do whatever is necessary to keep religion out of our science classrooms," said Marjorie Esman, ACLU New Orleans executive director.
Sen. Ben Nevers, a Democrat, sponsored the bill.
"I just believe that it is important that supplemental scientific information be able to be brought into the school system," he said, adding that he didn't think lawsuits would be filed because of the legislation.
Sources: The Associated Press, Christian Post, WBRZ-2