All four candidates for the Republican nomination for Texas lieutenant governor said Thursday they support teaching creationism in public schools.
During a debate in Waco hosted by the McClennan County Republican Party and broadcast by KCEN-TV, the four candidates were asked if they believed creationism should be part of the state's education curriculum.
“I happen to believe in creationism and I believe that in fairness we need to expose students to both sides of this," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said. "That's why I’ve supported including in our textbooks the discussion of the biblical account of life and creation, and I understand there are a lot of people that disagree with me, and they believe in evolution.”
Dewhurst said he wanted students to be exposed to both creationism and evolution, so they could make their own decision "with the advice and counsel of their parents."
State Sen. Dan Patrick also said he supported teaching creationism in public schools.
“Our students must really be confused," he remarked. "They go to Sunday School on Sunday and then they go into school the next day and we tell them they can’t talk about God."
Patrick claimed "taking God out" of public schools had resulted in the decline of the family. He said the United States was founded on the "Christian-Judeo ethic" and "the word of God."
"I’m sick and tired of a minority amount of people in our country who want us to turn our back on God," he concluded.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson didn't explicitly call for the teaching of creationism, but he implied it was constitutionally permissible.
"Show me where [separation of church and state] is in the Constitution, because it’s not in the Constitution," he said. "The First Amendment says Congress shall make no law regarding the practice of a state religion, or words to that effect. There is a prohibition on having a state religion, so while those words are often mentioned as being in the Constitution, they're not."
"We need to move away from the politically correct posture that we find ourselves in all to often today."
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said "certainly creationism should be taught" because he is Christian.
"We don't need to approach our school system in a manner of political correctness. We need to absolutely demand that our value systems influence our kids."
Watch video, broadcast by KCEN-TV on Thursday, below.