Could you make this up even if you tried REALLY hard?
A leader of the Texas House of Representatives apologized Friday for circulating an appeal to ban the teaching of evolution as derived from “Rabbinic writings” and other Jewish texts.
“I had no intention to offend anyone,” said the lawmaker, Warren Chisum, a Republican from the Panhandle who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Mr. Chisum said he had received the information from Ben Bridges, a Georgia legislator, and “I never took it very seriously.”
In fact, he took it so ‘unseriously’ that he wrote a personal memo about this drivel and circulated it to all the other Texas state representatives:
On Feb. 9, Mr. Chisum, 68, an 18-year veteran of the House and second in power only to the speaker, Tom Craddick, sent a memorandum to all 149 other state representatives in Texas.
The one-page memorandum, marked “From: Representative Ben Bridges,” declared that “tax-supported evolution science” was based on religion and therefore unlawful under the United States Constitution.
It continued, “Indisputable evidence — long hidden but now available to everyone — demonstrates conclusively that so-called secular evolution science is the Big Bang 15-billion-year alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion.”
“This scenario,” the memorandum stated, “is derived concept-for-concept from Rabbinic writings on the mystic ‘holy book’ kabbala dating back at least two millennia.”
The memorandum said that inquiries could be directed to the Fair Education Foundation, a group in Georgia, and gave its Web address, fixedearth.com. The site features items belittling the Holocaust and portraying Earth as stationary as depicted in the Bible, with Jewish thinkers like “Kabbalist physicist Albert Einstein” responsible for contrary scientific theories.
Representative Bridges, a five-term Republican from Cleveland, Ga., northeast of Atlanta, did not return calls to his legislative office on Friday.
I’ll bet he didn’t.
The president of the Fair Education Foundation, Marshall Hall, said he had sent the memorandum to Mr. Chisum at the request of Mr. Bridges, whom he called a longtime friend and supporter. Mr. Chisum, in a letter accompanying the memorandum, said he distributed the memorandum “on behalf of” Representative Bridges. He said he knew Mr. Bridges through the National Conference of State Legislatures “and greatly appreciate his information on this important topic.”
The memorandum was condemned by some Texas lawmakers and by the Anti-Defamation League.
In a letter to Mr. Chisum dated Feb. 14, Mark L. Briskman, director of the league’s North Texas-Oklahoma regional office, said, “We are shocked and appalled that you would share this outrageous anti-Semitic material with your colleagues in the Texas House.”
Questioned Friday about his apparent endorsement of the memorandum, Mr. Chisum appeared to back away from it. “I read it, but he didn’t ask me to edit his memo,” he said. “It does not reflect my opinion.”
Come to think of it, I’ve got a few questions about Darwin’s theory myself. It declares survival of the fittest, right? But wouldn’t you think someone who was dumb as a post wouldn’t be fit to survive? Yet apparently this guy’s genetic material has made it all the way from the beginning of time to this generation. It’s truly a wonder and gives me some doubt about ol’ Charles’ theory. I’m just glad he didn’t call it “survival of the dumbest.”
In a letter to Mr. Briskman, Mr. Chisum wrote, “I sincerely regret that I did not take the time to carefully review these materials and recognize that I may have hurt or offended some groups including some of my dear friends.”
Mr. Chisum said he had “engaged” a Jewish colleague, former Representative Steven D. Wolens, a Democrat, to intercede on his behalf.
Mr. Wolens, a lawyer who is married to the mayor of Dallas, Laura Miller, confirmed that he would [!!!!]. “I always found him respectful to me and people of the Jewish faith,” Mr. Wolens said.
–source: New York Times
To which I would say: “You MUST be kidding.” What self-respecting Jew would defend a piece of dreck like this??? And how, in heaven’s name can you call this “respectful to the Jewish faith???”
Josh Marshall notes that Ben Bridges is chair of the “retirement committee” in the Georgia legislature. Is that foreshadowing or what?
I do hope–though given the political landscape in Georgia and Texas it is unlikely–that by tomorrow or next week there will be an empty chair in each of the respective legislatures in which these two bozos sit. If their State Republican parties had brains in their heads they would rush these guys out of town by the back door and make sure they were never heard from again. I guess it’s more likely they’ll erect a statue in their honor.
I am Jewish and someone who has studied Kabbalah in a university setting. I’m offended on behalf of my religion and this wonderful sacred tract.
I know there are many good folk in each of these states, but since when does baiting Jews and those who support evolution amount to a political strategy for the Republican Party??