On March 30 I wrote a bit about the kerfuffle in the South Carolina legislature, which was squabbling over whether to make the Wooly Mammoth (called the “Columbian Mammoth”) the state fossil. This was a suggestion of an eight-year-old girl, Olivia McConnell, who had written to her legislators suggesting the new symbol. But two Republicans held up the bill, trying to add creationist amendments and descriptions, and it looked as if the whole thing would fail.
But now, according to USA Today, the bill has passed, and, pending the governor’s signature, the mammoth is on its way to becoming the Official State Fossil. It passed the state Senate, the state House, and apparently will soon become law.
But there’s one slight problem. You can see the whole bill below (also found here). Take a look at the amendment in Section 1.
Yep, that’s right, folks: the Mammoth is enshrined in law as having been “created on the Sixth Day with the other beasts of the field.” And that’s not intelligent design creationism, it’s pure, literalist young-earth creationism. It’s PURE INSANITY!
How did it happen? USA Today reports;
Before Fair’s objection, state Sen. Kevin Bryant tried unsuccessfully to insert a Bible verse into H 4482. This week, the Republican from Anderson, S.C., put forth a new amendment that was adopted, referring to the animal “as created on the sixth day with the beasts of the field.”
“I think it’s an appropriate time to acknowledge the creator,” he said.
Actually, that’s better than the previous amendment, which quoted verbatim three verses from Genesis referring to the creation.
There’s some slight pushback, but it doesn’t seem too vocal:
Rick Hahnenberg, a spokesman for the Upstate South Carolina chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said he’s concerned that legislators’ actions on the state fossil issue have been a continuation of a push for religion to be inserted into the science curriculum.
“Obviously we want to have good science standards in South Carolina,” he said.
I’m torn. Olivia wants her state fossil, but is this the way to give it to her? Will the Governor of South Carolina, Republican Nikki Haley, sign a bill that by its very nature flouts the U.S. Constitution? Will some courageous legislator take out that amendment? Will the Freedom from Religion foundation oppose this Biblical language in a state law?
Stay tuned as the craziness continues below the Mason-Dixon Line.
h/t: Greg Mayer