New Hampshire seems to pride itself on its “limited government” philosophy, while at the same time boasting the largest State Legislature both in raw numbers and per capita representation. With all those state representatives with little to do, sometimes some interesting legislation gets proposed and passed.
Recently state legislators have proposed two bills designed to weaken the teaching of evolution in New Hampshire.
One bill, HB 1457, is designed to protect teachers who wish to teach alternatives to evolution . The other, HB 1148, seeks to require that evolution be taught as a theory , “including the theorists’ political and ideological viewpoints and their position on the concept of atheism.” This follows earlier legislation allowing parents to devise alternative curricula for subjects they deemed “objectionable.”
New Hampshire legislators appear to be joining other state legislatures around the U.S. who are attempting to get creationism taught in public schools as science, or at the very least introduce doubt regarding evolution.
When such legislation has been fought in the past, it has been overturned, such as in the case of 1987’s Edwards v. Aguillard , where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Lousiana law requiring the teaching of creation science. Therefore, passing any similar legislation could potentially saddle New Hampshire with millions of dollars in court costs in the future should a resident bring a lawsuit against the state.
If New Hampshire legislators truly believe in small government and responsible spending, they should avoid pursuing legislation that places an unacceptable burden on science teachers and could end up costing the state millions in court fees.