The Sally Kern Show

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State Rep. Sally Kern (R-Oklahoma City) is gearing up her crusade to dictate Oklahoma public school teachers turn their classrooms into narrow minded bastions of Christian extremism and fanaticism.

Kern, along with another legislator, state Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-Oklahoma City), are introducing similar bills, both named the Religious Viewpoints Discrimination Act, according to a media report. The bills will be considered in this upcoming legislative session.

I have written about Reynolds’ bill before. Kern’s bill is apparently another back door way to try to stop the teaching of evolution and the scientific method in our state schools. Essentially, students would be allowed to argue—without any penalty—against established knowledge in all fields using fundamentalist religious arguments.

For example, students might use pseudo science, such as intelligent design, an offshoot of creationism, to undermine basic scientific facts in a classroom. Teachers could be forced to sit idly by as religious fanatics hector their fellow students about evolution and other topics that do not fit into the small intellectual framework of the Christian fundamentalists.

Kern, whose husband is a pastor, and Reynolds say their bills are needed to ensure religious students are not discriminated against, but the real intent is to expand the right-wing Christian fundamentalist agenda in public schools here. These are dangerous bills that will lower the bar for Oklahoma students and prevent the basic dissemination of scientific knowledge. The insidious, disingenuous nature of these bills cannot be overstated.

According to an Associated Press story in The Daily Oklahoma, Kern, a former teacher, said, "There's a great deal of confusion out there. Any time a student says something about God or Jesus, they're immediately censored."

I challenge the veracity of this statement. School teachers, principals and superintendents in the state should challenge this statement as well. Students have never been nor will they ever be consistently “immediately censored” for talking about religion in Oklahoma classrooms. Teachers in Oklahoma do not attempt to stop their students from holding or expressing religious beliefs. This is a non issue.

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