Westboro Baptist follower enters Kansas Board of Education race

By Stephen C. Webster
Monday, June 25, 2012 11:14 EDT
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A Westboro Baptist Church member pickets a Jewish synagogue in Los Angeles on June 19, 2009. Photo: Flickr user k763, creative commons licensed.
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A man running for the Kansas Board of Education declares on his website that he has decided to seek public office in “the evil city of Topeka” after “seeing the light of Westboro Baptist Church,” one of the nation’s most notorious hate groups.

Jack Wu, a California native, writes that after elementary school he began learning Christian scripture at a religious school, and it “burned” away “all those trashy concepts” like evolution. “Jack now knows that God is the creator of all things,” his site explains.

Now he’s running for office by pledging “to purge such lies” as evolution from the state’s school curriculum, insisting his candidacy is not about the Westboro Baptist Church.

Speaking to The Topeka Capital-Journal, Westboro Baptist Church spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper said Wu attends the church, but is not a member. “He’s just a friendly little guy,” she reportedly said, claiming she had not yet heard of his candidacy.

Wu is running against Kansas Board of Education Vice Chairwoman Carolym L. Wims-Campbell, a Democrat elected in 2008 who supports the teaching of biological evolution. “She’s going to win my district without a fight?” he commented to the Journal. “I’m not going to let that happen.”

The Kansas Board of Education became notorious in 2005 after it staged several days of hearings on the legitimacy of evolutionary science following an election in which religious conservatives won a 6-4 majority on the board.

Following the hearings, which were boycotted by legitimate scientists, the board voted 6-4 to adopt new curriculum standards that recognized christian claims of “intelligent design” as a form of science. They also decided to redefine the word “science” to accommodate theories unsupported by evidence.

Voters in Kansas reacted the following year by tossing four of the six religious conservatives from the board of education and replacing them with moderate Republicans and Democrats, who moved almost immediately to repeal the former board’s anti-science decision.

Photo: Flickr user k763, creative commons licensed.

(H/T: The Associated Press)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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