Here We Go Again

According to the Indianapolis Star,

 Four legislators, including Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, chairman of the Education Committee, say “serious questions have been raised about whether academic freedom, free speech and religious liberty have been respected by BSU in its treatment of professor Hedin, its subsequent establishment of a speech code restricting faculty speech on intelligent design, and its cancellation of professor Hedin’s … class,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Gora.

For those with cloudy memories, the roots of this particular “inquiry” are described here.

Why, exactly, do Hoosier voters are continue to elect people who do not understand the difference between science and religion, the operation of the First Amendment’s religion clauses or the difference between Free Speech and government speech?

Let me spell this out—not that Senator Kruse or his theocratic cohorts will listen.

Academic freedom insulates the academy from the Senator’s own efforts to dictate the content of courses taught by the University. It does not protect a professor who is teaching discredited or inappropriate materials— I don’t have “academic freedom” to teach flower arranging in my Law and Policy classes; a historian does not have “academic freedom” to insist that the Holocaust didn’t occur; and a professor of science does not have “academic freedom” to substitute creationism for science.

Freedom of speech and religious liberty allow Senator Kruse to believe and promote any cockamamie thing he wants. It does not give him—and it most definitely does not give the legislature, which is government—the right to demand (overtly or covertly) that a public university give equal time in science class to an unscientific religious belief.

Can creationism be taught? Sure—in a class on comparative religion, or in a history of science class, or as part of a political science class’s exploration of the ongoing tension between religious orthodoxy and science.

Senator Kruse and his cohorts do raise a question that Hoosier voters should take seriously: When will the General Assembly stop spending so much time on religiously-motivated efforts to marginalize gays, keep women second-class and pregnant, control what Hoosiers drink and when, and teach religious dogma in our public schools? When will they start paying attention to the economy, the quality of life in our state, and the other genuine problems we elected them to address?

I don’t know about you, but I’m not holding my breath.


  1. I’m not holding my breath on that one either, Sheila……even though I could hold it infinitely longer than Senator Kruse or all of his colleagues in the Indiana General Assembly, for that matter.

  2. Well, the answer to Prof Kennedy’s question in the last paragraph is pretty obvious: When Indiana voters stop sending neo-Calvinist legislators to the Indiana Assembly and Governor’s office. Until that happens, these people are DUTY-BOUND by their faith to impose their beliefs and dictates on every aspect of our lives that they can. Stop trying to appeal to their good sense and reason – they’re irrelevant to them. These extremist religionists simply need to be removed from office.

  3. On Meet the Press this morning they had a segment of Bill Maher asking, “When did science become political?”

  4. Another smokescreen. Like daylight savings time, this and gay marriage serve to mask much more important legislation.

  5. It is hard to believe Giordano Bruno who defied the Roman Catholic Church on several levels was burned the stake in 1600 in Rome. The Church not only had the power to have a trial, but also had the power to execute him. More than 20 people were executed during the Salem Witch Trials in America in 1692. The same power was in evidence a Church Trial and Execution- Religious Authority had the power to have a trial and then execute people. These events took place during the Renaissance or shortly there after.

    I do not believe Kruse or his Theocrats would resort to these physical extremes of punishment. However what see is the attempt to use Religious beliefs as a method to impose their Religious Beliefs into Science via their positions as Elected Government Officials. It would be like someone trying to disprove Einsteins equations and work by inserting the word “Miracle” to do so.

    One of America’s closest Allies, Saudi Arabia executed a person for witchcraft and sorcery in 2012.

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