More and more speculation has been happening this week as to when Mitt Romney will announce his running mate. Last week Romney’s wife, Ann Romney, mentioned in an interview that his pick could be a woman. This week the speculation that Romney will announce his Vice Presidential running mate before the August National Convention is getting louder and louder. Many names have been thrown out as top contenders for this position. Bobby Jindal, who is seen by many as a ‘safe bet’, is one of those names. I am here now to plead to Mitt Romney to not pick Bobby Jindal!
Why do I not want Romney to pick Bobby Jindal as his running mate? I hate to say it is because of one thing someone did, but in Jindal’s case it is. First let me say that generally speaking I hate litmus tests, but this is a very specific case where I draw the line because a politicians stance on this issue in my opinion shows that they lack a basic understanding of how the world works.
So what did Bobby Jindal do that is making me beg Mitt Romney to not pick him as his Vice Presidential running mate? He signed the Louisiana Science Education Act. This bill was designed to do one thing and one thing only, to allow the teaching of Creation ‘Science’ in science classes in public schools.
Louisiana has a long history of wanting to teach Creationism in public schools. They were the state that gave us the famous Edwards v. Aguillard Supreme Court case in 1987 that held that Creationism could not be required to be taught alongside evolution in science classes because it would advance a specific religion. Once that case was settled, Creationism was quickly buried and a new term, Intelligent Design (ID), was born.
Under the guise of ID the same religious zealots who believed it was their duty to indoctrinate kids by forcing their beliefs to be taught inside science classes at public schools had a new tactic. Instead of calling their beliefs religious, they now call their beliefs ‘science’. That tactic did not work though and another case, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, held that ID was not science and could not be forced to be taught in science classrooms.
Unwilling to back down, ID supporters now needed a new tactic. In comes Bobby Jindal and gang. Instead of relying on forcing the issue based on ID being called ‘science’, they decided to call the ability to teach ID in science classrooms ‘Academic Freedom’. Afterall, who would object to ‘Academic Freedom’? The tactic worked in Louisiana and the bill passed in 2008 with the signature of Governor Bobby Jindal. So far, the bill has not been challenged in court.
So why do I have a problem with Bobby Jindal? I have a problem with him because under the guise of ‘freedom’ he has forced his beliefs on the people he governs. I have no problem with people believing in Creationism. All I ask is that you keep it to yourself and keep science classrooms free of religious dogma. Instead, Bobby Jindal was willing to force his beliefs on others using the power of his pen stroke. He did it by calling it freedom. Nothing could be further from the truth. That type of thinking and gamesmanship is something I cannot and will not support and I hope Romney does not pick Jindal as his running mate.
As an engineer, I have a firm respect for science and the processes which govern how we develop scientific theory. It pains me when I hear reports about how the United States ranks 17th in the world for science scores. That is abysmal! We should be at minimum in the top 10 if not the top 5 in science. Why aren’t we?
I believe our continued debate about teaching Creationism in it’s many forms (Intelligent Design, Academic Freedom) is a major contributor to the problem. Go to the other countries where they score better than us in science. Do they endlessly debate whether or not Creationism should be taught in the science classroom? Absolutely not! Are those two things related? I’ll let you decide.
Please don’t mess this up Romney! Don’t pick Bobby Jindal!