Here in my pretty part of the world, I read a very ugly story in my local paper last week. The Bend Bulletin’s front page story on March 20 was titled “Sisters fires a new teacher for presenting creationism.” The posh little town of Sisters, Oregon has a great quilt show in July, the most kickin’ rodeo around, the most exceptional coffee house in the world, and a really bovine school board.
So, this firing happened a week ago, and I wasn’t going to write about it, because I didn’t want to get completely worked up…but, I will anyway. The reporting was not accurate. But I should add that a follow-up article was helpful in understanding Mr. Helphinstine’s presentation. Kris was not teaching creationism. He has a master’s degree in science from Oregon State University, and obviously knows what evolution is; as far as Creationism, he said “I know what it is, and I went out of my way not to teach it.” He reiterated in a phone interview with The Bulletin that he did not teach the concept of God creating the world, but rather included some supplemental materials to teach the students how to discern bias. “My whole purpose was to give accurate information and to get them thinking.” The headline should have read, “Sisters fires a new teacher for presenting critical thinking.”
Pebble Chaser has covered this superbly, so I won’t go into the whole terrible ordeal; go see what Heidi said.
I did just want to add that I found it incredibly ironic that a brief glance back in history shows that the Butler Act, 1925, prohibited teachers from teaching anything but the Divine Creation of man as set forth in the Bible, and specifically banned teaching that man was descended from a lower order of animals. (Of course, the ridiculous publicity stunt of the Scopes trial changed that.) But here we are, just 80 some years later, and those same teachers are prohibited from teaching anything but that man was descended from a lower order of animals.
photo by: Gary Albertson
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