Light years beween Missouri and Mars

The contrast between the Mars Discovery triumph and yesterday’s election results in Missouri couldn’t be more stark.

As the nation eagerly looks to bold new horizons, the state of Missouri hightailed it for the stone age — beginning with the passage of their science smack-down, Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 lets parents and children opt out of any curriculum they feel contradicts their religious teachings. Josh Rosenau, programs and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, says that allowing students to opt out of assignments would be problematic.

“What if a student says that long division is against his religion? Would he be accommodated by his math teacher? How?” he asked. “It’s clearly a frivolous objection, but do we want the state deciding whose religion is frivolous and whose sincere?”

In fact, not so frivolous at all when you consider what religious-right science books are already teaching children in Louisiana.  The curriculum accommodates far-right religious objections to the teaching of modern math, among other things. Here’s an excerpt from one of Louisiana’s new religiously-correct public schoolbooks:

“Unlike the ‘modern math’ theorists, who believe that mathematics is a creation of man and thus arbitrary and relative, A Beka Book teaches that the laws of mathematics are a creation of God and thus absolute…A Beka Book provides attractive, legible, and workable traditional mathematics texts that are not burdened with modern theories such as set theory.”

Another of the books praises the Klan.

In order to further solidify its conservative majority, the rural-focused & GOP-dominated state government has successfully sabotaged the two major metropolitan areas, St. Louis and Kansas City, at every turn. Most recently with outrageous redistricting that eliminated urban districts, shifting even more power to outstate areas that are more politically conservative and intellectually backwards.

Progressives in the beleaguered urban centers had already suffered a number of recent indignities. The state GOP dismantled the voter-approved Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, heavily favored in the metropolitan areas, and they erected a statue of Rush Limbaugh in the state capitol.

There were other disappointing results in Missouri last night, and while the once bellwether state wasn’t considered to be in serious play this fall, tonight’s results seem to be the final nail in the state’s Biblical coffin.

Hope, promise and reason would find more fertile ground on Mars.

Chris Andoe is an author and seasoned activist. After meeting John Aravosis at a Chicago “” protest in 2000, Chris was inspired to organize his own major demonstrations in St. Louis, which drew national attention. Since then, his activism has revolved around LGBT, affordable housing, and mass transit issues. In 2011 Andoe made headlines taking on the amorphous hacker group Anonymous for publishing nude photos of a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesperson, saying “Puritanical shame-based tactics have no place in the capital of sexual liberation”, and he extensively covered San Francisco's jarring gentrification, from mass evictions to the nudity ban. Andoe was on the ground in Ferguson at the height of the unrest, recording events as they unfolded. Always in the fray, Andoe’s been interviewed by NPR, CBS, and has been quoted from CNN to The St. Louis Post Dispatch.

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