FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Arkansas public schools could be impacted by a bill that is headed to the Senate.
Back in 1987, the Supreme Court ruled the theory of creationism could be taught in philosophy classes but not science. HB1701 is looking to change that. While people opposed say the conversation needs to stay out of the classroom, those in favor say the Supreme Court changes its mind all the time.
“I don’t think because they’ve made a decision or ruling that that should stop us from pursing things we think are right for our state,” said State Rep. Mary Bentley (R- District 73).
Rep. Bentley said she proposed the bill on behalf of teachers across the state who reached out to her, who believe the theory should be considered science.
“I would say to look at, maybe, Sir Isaac Newton- the guy that gave us the law of gravity and the law of motion,” Bentley said. “He was a strong believer in the theory of creation and when he found the law of gravity and all that it just confirmed his belief in the Bible.”
State Rep. Denise Garner (D- District 84) said she opposed the bill saying there is a lack of scientific proof and it interferes with religious freedom.
“I’m very much pro-separation of church versus state,” she said. “Faith by definition means you believe something that can’t be tested, can’t be proven.”
Rep. Bentley said the bill only gives teachers the option to teach creationism and would be in addition to- not instead of- evolution.
“I think if you look at the history of our nation you can see that at the very beginning the Bible was brought in, in fact the very first Bibles in our nation were commissioned by the congress,” she said. “Sadly we’ve allowed that debate to come in and that to stop us from allowing a good science right to our students.”