Clown Award: Susanne Atanus
It might come as a surprise to some of you out there, but I expect it won't to some, that creationism - the notion that the Earth is only 6000-something years old and the evolution doesn't exist and that god created everything just the way it is - is being taught in science classes in schools across much of the country. There are at least hundreds of schools that are, in essence, using the Bible as a science textbook.
And I'm not referring to private fundamentalist religious schools, but to taxpayer-supported schools. Charter schools and even, in some cases, public schools.
In Texas, a publicly-funded charter school system operating 65 campuses (with plans for 20 more this year) does it - with no need to be coy about it, because the state science education standards allow teachers to present "alternatives" to evolution, with the result that the opening line of the workbook section on the topic is, quoting, “In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.”
Recent laws in Louisiana and Tennessee allow teachers in any public school in those states to, again, teach “alternatives” to evolution. In Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Washington, DC, and elsewhere, taxpayer money is is funding creationist private schools through tuition vouchers or scholarship programs.
And what does this kind of thinking produce? What does it lead to? It leads to this week's edition of one of our regular weekly features, the Clown Award, given for meritorious stupidity.
Susanne Atanus is one of two candidates for the GOPper nomination to challenge Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky for her seat this year. She describes herself as "a conservative Republican" who believes in "God first."
She sure does. During what the suburban Chicago Daily Herald called an "endorsement session" both candidates had with the paper's editorial board on January 20, she declared that she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on Earth as punishment for gay rights and legalized abortions. "God is angry," she said.
Actually, Susie, if there was a god, I suspect most of that supreme anger would be directed at twits like you. She was bad enough that state and local GOPper officials insisted that the party has nothing to do with her.
Her opponent in the primary is no prize, a Ron Paul supporter who favors doing away with all income taxes and replacing them with a 23% national sales tax, opposes raising the minimum wage, and - oh yeah - has an outstanding domestic violence protection order against him. But it takes real skill to rise to the level that Susanne Atanus has achieved. Susanne Atanus: champion-level clown.