In a Monday night televised debate, all four Republican candidates running for the position of Texas lieutenant governor — a position some say is the most powerful in the state — said they believe creationism should be taught in Texas public schools.
The four men Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples, State Senator Dan Patrick and current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst were all asked the direct questions, “Does creationism belong in schools? Would you like to see creationism in textbooks?”
All four candidates answered in the affirmative.
Commissioner Patterson said, “Creationism, intelligent design, evolution should be taught in school. Our students should be armed with knowledge about creationism, intelligent design, evolution.”
“We teach kids in church on Sunday about Jesus. On school, on Monday, they can’t talk about Jesus. They must be confused. We have yielded to [the] secular left. I believe we’ve been blessed by God as a nation. When it comes to creationism, not only should it be taught, it should be triumphed, it should be heralded,” was the answer of State Sen. Patrick with the most forceful answer of the evening.
Commissioner Staples answered, “Creationism can be taught in our schools. It is something most Texans believe in.”
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, who is facing one of the toughest re-election bids of his career tried to split the difference but still came down on the side of teaching creationism saying, “I believe in creationism but I understand it alone cannot be taught. And I am fine with teaching creationism, intelligent design, evolution. Let students, with advice and counsel, decide for themselves which one they believe in. All three should be taught.”
Texas public schools do not currently teach creationism, although some charter schools in the state do teach the concept. Currently the only states allowing public schools to teach creationism are Louisiana and Tennessee. Other states have private schools receiving tax-funded vouchers teaching creationism including, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona.