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Ohio GOP bill may bar teachers from penalizing students who give creationist answers on biology tests: ACLU

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A bill that passed Ohio’s House of Representatives this week is being criticized by the American Civil Liberties Union for vague language that could prevent biology teachers from penalizing students who give creationist answers to questions about evolution.

Local news station WKRC reports that the legislation, which passed the House and is now awaiting debate in the Ohio Senate, states that “students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.”

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As Patheos notes, the specific language of the bill states that teachers shall not “prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments” and “shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work.”

ACLU of Ohio Chief Lobbyist Gary Daniels tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that this clause could restrict biology teachers from docking points off students who say that the Earth was created just thousands of years ago.

Rep. Timothy Ginter, a Republican lawmaker who is cosponsoring the bill, tells the Plain Dealer that the legislation isn’t intended to let students get away with giving creationist responses in biology classes, even though its language is broad enough to encompass that.

“Even if the student doesn’t believe in evolutionary theory, the student must turn in work that accurately reflects what is taught,” writes the Plain Dealer, explaining Ginter’s rationale.


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2020 Election

‘Sign of desperation’: Trump slammed for ‘anti-religious bigotry’ over new attack ad on Joe Biden

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A new anti-Biden attack ad from the Trump campaign is filled with falsehoods, and ends by mocking the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee praying in a church. Some on social media are slamming the President and his campaign for "anti-religious bigotry" and "demonizing prayer."

"Deep in the heart of Delaware Joe Biden sits in his basement, alone, hiding, diminished," the ad begins.

Many Americans are sitting in their basements – that's where Biden's office and TV studio are – and they're sitting alone, and hiding, and diminished, so to speak, as a New York Times opinion column notes. But they are doing so because of Trump's horrific handling of the pandemic – the worst management of the coronavirus crisis in the world.

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‘America is out of its mind’: Texas doc goes on viral rant about pushing schools to reopen during pandemic

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A doctor based in Austin, Texas this week uncorked an angry rant about President Donald Trump's push to force schools to reopen in the middle of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Writing on Twitter, Dr. Pritesh Gandhi argued that American schools are in no condition to reopen at the moment, especially given that the disease is still infecting tens of thousands of people every day.

"America is out of its mind thinking we are even remotely prepared for school this fall," wrote Gandhi, who earlier this year made an unsuccessful run for the Democratic nomination for the House of Representatives in Texas's 10th Congressional District. "We are definitely NOT ready & if people say we are, it's either out of ignorance or arrogance."

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2020 Election

‘Is that even legal?’ GOP senator slams ‘problematic’ Trump plan to hold RNC speech at White House

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A Republican senator on Wednesday cast doubt about the legality of President Donald Trump accepting the Republican nomination for president at the White House.

Trump revealed in an interview on Fox News that he is considering a nationally televised address from the White House to accept his party's nomination.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD), who is the Senate Republican whip, was asked about the idea later on Wednesday.

"Well, I don't. Is that even legal?" Thune replied. "I assume that's not something that you could do."

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