No matter how I broach this subject, it’s going to be a hot button topic.
But at its heart lays one essential and undeniable fact… there must be separation of church and state.
If it’s a public school it must respect all spiritual beliefs, races, creeds and sexual orientation, honoring none above the others. These schools should be where children start to learn to open their mind, to learn about different viewpoints, to ask questions that will teach them, to learn to interact and deal with other cultures and belief systems not as inferiors but as equals, and to embrace the curiosity that is the basis of the scientific field.
However, the Texas Board of Education which is the leader in the textbook market of the United States seems to fall squarely in the controlling hands of the conservative Christian right, bringing the battle of science and faith into the school rooms asking them to adhere mind and soul to a dogma that was couched in the language of the times, steeped in allegory and myth that hasn’t been updated to reflect current society in any regard.
In director Scott Thurman’s documentary, The Revisionaries the film puts us right in the battlefield, the Texas Board of Education discussing the adding of Creationism into a science textbook and revising other textbooks to be in line with their own ideals.
And if you have any doubt what those are, they open each meeting with a prayer – I just shook my head. Wouldn’t a moment of silence be more respectful. Of course our own city council in this metropolis does the same thing.
The board is filled with passionate people all saying that they want to make the world a better place for their children, and yet they are denying them the tools and the awareness and the gifts of knowledge to do that.
There was a lot of head shaking, out right laughter at some of the statements and a general air of stark disbelief that this is where the education system of one of the world’s leading nations stands in the early years of the 21st century.
Front and center through all of it is the Don McLeroy, one of the outspoken members of the board, who doesn’t believe in evolution, and personally believes the earth is less than 6000 years old. As soon as I heard that, any credibility I may have given the man went right out the window.
He’s passionate about his beliefs, and honest about them as well, but I can’t believe that this type of thinking can be so prevalent in today’s society. And he wants to spread this belief!
Creationism is not a scientific theory, it’s a belief, a structure of faith, and as such, should be kept in that domain.
It was a fun documentary, entertaining, and it was an experience to see these people battle it out for little edits of words and cuts to be made to the textbooks that may shape the future.
The Revisionaries screens Thursday May 3 at 9:30pm at the ROM, and Friday May 4 at 11:00am at the Isabel Bader Theater.