The Oklahoma House of Representatives Education Committee passed a bill, the intent of which was to "promote freedom of religion."
The bill requires public schools to guarantee students the right to express their religious viewpoints in a public forum, in class, in homework and in other ways without being penalized. If a student’s religious beliefs were in conflict with scientific theory, and the student chose to express those beliefs rather than explain the theory in response to an exam question, the student’s incorrect response would be deemed satisfactory, according to this bill.The link article from the Edmond Sun newspaper is dated March 7. At the Oklahoma House of Representatives website I found an update from March 13 indicating that the bill had passed the full House by a vote of 71-25 and had been passed on to the state Senate.
The school would be required to reward the student with a good grade, or be considered in violation of the law. Even simple, factual information such as the age of the earth (4.65 billion years) would be subject to the student’s belief, and if the student answered 6,000 years based on his or her religious belief, the school would have to credit it as correct. Science education becomes absurd under such a situation.
This is insanity. One cannot declare (legislate) that religious belief is equivalent to truth. The obvious intent is to promote Christianist principles, but to implement that they would have to legislate that only Christian beliefs are accepted as truth. If not, any religion, including Islamic, Buddhist, Jainist, animist, Rastafarian, or even Pastafarian (depicted above) can decide what is "true" and schools would have to give credit for the answer being correct. Graduates of Oklahoma schools will be viewed with justifiable suspicion by graduate schools and employers in other states and around the world.
That way lies madness, and I don't care whom I offend by saying so. Hier stehe Ich - Ich kann nicht anders.
Addendum: As someone has pointed out in the Comments, the March referred to above was 2008. I haven't been able to ascertain whether it did or did not pass the Oklahoma Senate.