Ohio House Bill 481would require balanced treatment 
of the topic of Origins in Ohio Science classes

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  March 5 testimony of Rep. Linda Reidelbach (R) concerning HB481 New

There is a very interesting bill that was recently introduced to the Ohio House of Representatives Education Committee (2001 - 2002).  If passed, it's intent would be to "enhance the effectiveness of science education and to promote academic freedom and the neutrality of state government with respect to teachings that touch religious and nonreligious beliefs, it is necessary and desirable that "origins science," which seeks to explain the origins of life and its diversity, be conducted and taught objectively and without religious, naturalistic, or philosophic bias or assumption. (excerpt from the actual bill)."

We don't have an official opinion on this bill yet because we're still researching some issues related to it.  Our major question at this point is whether or not it has the "teeth" that will be needed to finally restore real academic freedom to those teachers who want to teach the opposing scientific arguments and evidence against evolutionism without fear of reprisals.  In the days ahead, we will be seeking the opinions of one or two legal organizations to ask them the following questions about this bill:

  1. If a teacher experiences any reprisals whatsoever by school officials or other teachers for teaching the scientific arguments against evolutionism, will this bill give him/her adequate legal recourse to put an end to it while at the same time preventing any retaliation?
  2. If retaliation occurs anyway, what options if any will this bill give or at least provide indirect support for, if a teacher decides to seek damages against those involved (i.e. for lost wages, loss of tenure, damage to reputation, etc.?).
  3. If this bill does not contain the "teeth" needed to provide adequate consequences to those who would squelch academic freedom in this manner, what wording would these legal experts suggest to give it this kind of enforcement power?
  4. Will this bill stand up to the inevitable court challenges by the pro-atheism, anti-Christian ACLU?

For those who are following media coverage of this bill (and for that matter anything related to this debate), be discerning about what you see and hear.  The media in general has a long history of misleading, highly-biased reporting on this issue.  The Columbus Dispatch is especially bad about this.  Thankfully there are a few editors and journalists who still try to be unbiased, and we appreciate their efforts, but they are exceptionally rare.

We will post more information about this bill after we receive responses back from the legal experts.