Georgia State Rep. Ben Bridges of Cleveland, home of Cabbage Patch dolls and Babyland General Hospital, is a vocal critic of evolution. This former barber and captain in the state patrol has twice (1999 and 2005) introduced legislation to include non-existent evidence against evolution in public schools—one of the teach-the-controversy laws that the Discovery Institute is so fond of these days. In 2005, Georgia Citizens for Integrity in Science Education testified against his bill, causing Bridges to remark that he could have gotten “experts” as well, if he’d known that GCISE was going to be there. Earlier this week, we learned the type of “experts” that Bridges relies on.
On Feb. 9, Texas State Rep. Warren Chisum, the second most powerful member, sent a memo from Bridges to every member of the Texas House of Representatives. This memo advertised a model bill and called for the end of “tax-supported evolution science” because it “is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings on the mystic ‘holy book’ kabbala dating back at least two millennia”. Talk about bringing the crazy—but wait there’s more. Bridges’s memo invites lawmakers to visit FixedEarth.com, the “non-moving Earth & anti-evolution web page of the Fair Education Foundation, Inc.” Yeap, you read that right, Fixed—WTF—Earth.com.
So what is the connection between FixedEarth.com and Ben Bridges? FixedEarth.com is run by one of Bridges’s friends, Marshall Hall of Cornelia, and it would appear that Hall is the “expert” behind Bridges’s anti-evolution legislation in Georgia. Two years ago, while GCISE was testifying against HB 179, Bridges remarked that had he know that the university folks were going to be there, he’d have brought his own experts. Can you imagine the sound of everyone’s jaw hitting to floor if Hall got up and began to talk about he used to be “indoctrinated by the contra-scientific nonsense of Darwinism and Copernicanism (not mention Marxism, Freudianism, Saganism, and the like)”? Creationists are crazy, but we’re not usually prepared for them to be that crazy. If you are too crazy for Answers In Genesis, then there is a room for you at the “State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum” in Milledgeville.
Needless to say, blaming evolution on a Jewish conspiracy might go well with the cross-burning, tinfoil-hat wearing crowd, but is not going to play well with most of middle America. Chisum and Bridges have been back peddling ever since Texas journalists discovered the Bridges-Chisum-Hall memo.
On Feb. 14, the Dallas Morning News quoted Chisum as dismissing his actions as “a courtesy to a member of the Georgia legislature”, but advocating that schools “ought to teach creation as well as the fact of evolution”.
On Feb. 15, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted Bridges as denying any involvement in the memo: “I did not put it out nor did I know it was going out. . . . I’m not defending it or taking up for it.” However, the AJC also reported that Hall got approval from Bridges to distribute the memo under his name to “lawmakers in several states, including Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Ohio”.
Not surprisingly, the Anti-Defamation League has publically blasted the Bridges-Chisum-Hall memo as bordering on antisemitism. They have demanded a public apology from the lawmakers involved. According to Feb 17’s New York Times, Chisum has issued one: “I sincerely regret that I did not take the time to carefully review these materials and recognize that I may have hurt or offended some groups including some of my dear friends.”
Wait, Chisum sent around the memo saying that he “greatly appreciate[d] [Bridges’s] information on this important topic”, but didn’t carefully review the materials? Why is someone with such poor reading comprehension skills tasked with managing a state as big as Texas? Are anti-intellectuals like Chisum sent to Austin to balance out the ivory tower of UT? What Texas needs is not another anti-evolution bill, but a bill that would give politicians the Bridges-Chisum-Hall test. If the politician actually believes that there is any merit to the rantings of a fixed-earth creationist, then he fails the test, is declared legally stupid, and required to stay five counties away from any child.
And finally, the Bridges-Chisum-Hall memo is an advertisement for a model anti-evolution bill that can be found on Hall’s FixedEarth.com. Given all the negative publicity that the memo has generated, we probably shouldn’t expect the model bill to be introduced anytime soon. This doesn’t mean that it won’t be introduced sometime in the future. Below is the text of the memo as transcribed by me from a scan. All emphasis is original, and I’ve redacted the contact information.
February 9, 2007
To: All House Members
From: Representative Warren Chisum
Subject: Tax-supported “Evolution science”
I am distributing the following information to all House Members on behalf of Representative Ben Bridges of the Georgia House of Representatives. I am acquainted with Representative Bridges through my work as Chair of the NCSL Agriculture, Environmental and Energy Committee, and greatly appreciate his information on this important topic.
[signature] Warren Chisum
MEMO FROM: Representative Ben Bridges
RE: Tax-supported “evolution science” now unlawful under the U.S. Constitution
Greetings. As Georgia’s 5th term State Representative from the 10th District, I, like others, have made several attempts to challenge the evolution monopoly in the schools. These attempts have all have [sic] been in vain for basically the same reason you and I and all others have encountered. Whether the challenge has come from BOE members or Legislators, the Courts have ruled that “creation science” (& “ID”) has a religious agenda and thus is in violation of the “Establishment Clause” of the U.S. Constitution. “Evolution science”, on the other hand, has been viewed by the Courts as “secular science” with no religious agenda and therefore has been deemed lawful under the Constitution.
All of that can now be changed! 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. This scenario is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings in the mystic “holy book” Kabbala dating back at least two millennia. Evidence in the URLs below show _conclusively that “evolution science” has a very specific religious agenda and (as with “creation science”) cannot legally be taught in taxpayer supported schools _according to the Constitution__.
This first link gives the purpose of the Bill in a generic form useful to other Legislators & BOE members: http://www.fixedearth.com/HB%20179%20PART%20I%20MODEL.htm (2 pp.)
The second link provides the court cases and Kabbala-related evidence to support the Bill: http://www.fixedearth.com/HB%20179%20PART%20II%20ATT.EVIDENCE.htm (7 pp)
This third link is optional. It is included it supply more evidence for those who want it. http://www.fixedearth.com/HB%20179%20PART%20III%20ADDENDUM.htm (9 pp)
I hope you will join with me in presenting a Bill with this same content in your state. It will WIN in the Courts! Together we can stop the misuse of billions in taxes now funding a deception that is causing incalculable harm to every student and every truth-loving citizen. (The solution for future science instruction after evolution is _expelled from the schools is also contained in the HB 179 links_.) Feel free to copy and forward this memo to others you know.
Please direct all supportive calls and emails to: Marshall Hall. Pres. The Fair Education Foundation, Inc. 1-706-XXX-XXXX - fefinc@XXXX.net.
Wow, that sure was convincing!