Anti-evolution memo stirs controversy
By Jeremy Redmon
February 15, 2007
The Anti-Defamation League is calling on state Rep. Ben Bridges to apologize for a memo distributed under his name that says the teaching of evolution should be banned in public schools because it is a religious deception stemming from an ancient Jewish sect.
Bridges (R-Cleveland) denies having anything to do with the memo. But one of his constituents said he wrote the memo with Bridges’ approval before it was recently distributed to lawmakers in several states, including Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“Indisputable evidence — long hidden but now available to everyone — demonstrates conclusively that so-called ‘secular evolution science’ is the Big-Bang 15-billion-year alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion,” the memo says. “This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic ‘holy book’ Kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”
The memo calls on lawmakers to introduce legislation that would end the teaching of evolution in public schools because it is “a deception that is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen.”
It also directs readers to a Web site www.fixedearth.com, which includes model legislation that calls the Kabbala “a mystic, anti-Christ ‘holy book’ of the Pharisee Sect of Judaism.” The Web site also declares “the earth is not rotating … nor is it going around the sun.”
The Anti-Defamation League says the assertions in the memo border on anti-Semitism.
“Your memo conjures up repugnant images of Judaism used for thousands of years to smear the Jewish people as cult-like and manipulative,” Bill Nigut, the ADL’s Southeast regional director, wrote in an e-mail to Bridges Thursday. “I am shocked and appalled that you would send this anti-Semitic material to colleagues and friends, and call upon you to repudiate and apologize for distributing this highly offensive memo.”
Bridges denied writing or authorizing the memo.
“I did not put it out nor did I know it was going out,” Bridges said. “I’m not defending it or taking up for it.”
The memo directs supporters to call Marshall Hall, president of the Fair Education Foundation Inc., a Cornelia, Ga.-based organization that seeks to show evolution is a myth. Hall said he showed Bridges the text of the memo and got his permission to distribute it.
“I gave him a copy of it months ago,” said Hall, a retired high school teacher. “I had already written this up as an idea to present to him so he could see what it was and what we were thinking.”
Hall said his wife Bonnie has served as Bridges’ campaign manager since 1996.
Bridges acknowledged that he talked to Hall about filing legislation this year that would end the teaching of evolution in Georgia’s public schools. Bridges said the views in the memo belong to Hall, though Bridges said he doesn’t necessarily disagree with them.
“I agree with it more than I would the Big Bang Theory or the Darwin Theory,” Bridges said. “I am convinced that rather than risk teaching a lie why teach anything?”
Bridges sponsored unsuccessful legislation in 2005 that would have required Georgia’s teachers to introduce scientific evidence challenging evolution.
Asked about the ADL’s call for an apology, Bridges said: “I regret that these people have been offended, but I didn’t offend them because I didn’t put the memo out.”
A Texas lawmaker says he is now “willing to apologize” for giving fellow legislators the memo Tuesday, The Dallas Morning News reported today.
“The stuff that causes conflicts between religious beliefs, you know, I’d never be a party to that,” Texas House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum told the Morning News Wednesday. “I’m willing to apologize if I’ve offended anyone.”
The newspaper reported Chisum made his comments after he learned the Anti-Defamation League was demanding an apology in a letter to his office.
The National Center for Science Education, an Oakland, Calif.-based organization that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools, said the assertion that evolution is linked to an ancient Jewish sect is “bizarre.”
“Evolution is recognized as a central unifying principle of the biological sciences by the scientific community and the education community,” said Glenn Branch, the center’s deputy director.
The non-moving Earth & anti-evolution web page of The Fair Education Foundation, Inc. – O_o
these people make the NATURE’S HARMONIC SIMULTANEOUS 4-DAY TIME CUBE guy look positively normal…
(by the way, if you hadn’t noticed, both of the web sites above were posted by people who are stark raving lunatics)
but and think you’re if you disagree with ’em!! – and they’ve apparently got a guy at the federal level who is responsible for making who agrees with ’em!!
and people wonder why i’m not sure i wouldn’t be happier dead… 8/
and then, to top it all off…
Christian pediatrician denies child service because parents are tattooed
By Brynn Galindo
BAKERSFIELD – A family is turned away by a local pediatrician, they say because of the way they look.
The doctor said he is just following his beliefs, creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients.
Tasha Childress said it’s discrimination.
She said Dr. Gary Merrill wouldn’t treat her daughter for an ear infection because Tasha, the mother, has tattoos.
The writing is on the wall—literally: “This is a private office. Appearance and behavior standards apply.”
For Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services, that means no tattoos, body piercings, and a host of other requirements—all standards Merrill has set based upon his Christian faith.
“She had to go that entire night with her ear infection with no medicine because he has his policy,” Tasha Childress said.
Merrill won’t speak on camera, but said based on his values and beliefs, he has standards that he expects in his office.
He does that, he said, to ensure the patients he does accept have a more comfortable atmosphere.
According to the American Medical Association and other doctors, he reserves that right.
“In the same sense that any other business person has the opportunity to decline service, be it a restaurant if they’re not dressed properly, be it any other type of business,” said Dr. Ronald Morton, Kern County Medical Society.
Morton said certain ethics apply if a person’s life is in danger, but besides that, there is no requirement to serve anyone they don’t approve of.
“I felt totally discriminated against, like I wasn’t good enough to talk to,” Tasha Childress said, “like he didn’t have to give me any reason for not wanting to see my daughter because I have tattoos and piercings.”
17 News found other patients who had a different experience with Merrill.
“I have tattoos, actually, and no, nothing’s ever been said about it,” Brandi Stanley said, Merrill’s patient.
Childress’ insurance company, Health Net of California, who referred her to Merrill, said in a statement: “We provide our customers with a wide breadth of doctors that meet certain medical quality standards … If a customer doesn’t feel comfortable with a particular physician, it is our responsibility to provide that customer with access to another doctor who does meet their needs.”
But that’s not enough for Childress who wants the policy changed immediately and an apology from the doctor for making her feel like an outsider.
“Really, it didn’t matter what he didn’t want to see us for. It isn’t right,” she said.
Merrill said he will continue to enforce the rules he has in place, which even include no chewing gum in his office.
He said if they don’t like his beliefs, they can find another doctor.