The Senate approved a bill Monday evening that deals with teaching of evolution and other scientific theories while the House approved legislation authorizing cities and counties to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings.
The Senate voted 24-8 for HB368...
Critics of the HB368 labeling the measure "monkey bill" ranged from the American Civil Liberties Union to the National Center for Science Education. In a statement sent to legislators, the eight Tennesseans who are members of the National Academy of Science said that, in practice, the bill will likely lead to "scientifically unwarranted criticisms of evolution."
"By undermining the teaching of evolution in Tennessee's public schools, HB368 and SB893 would miseducate students, harm the state's national reputation, and weaken its efforts to compete in a science-driven global economy," said the statement signed by Stanley Cohen, who won the Nobel Prize in physiology of medicine in 1986, and seven other scientists.
The bill authorizing display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings — HB2658 — is sponsored by Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, who said it is in line with court rulings. In essence, courts have often declared displays of the biblical commandments unconstitutional standing along, but permissible as part of a display of "historic documents."
The bill authorizes all local governments to display "historic documents" and specifically lists the commandments as being included.