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article imageScience Group Boycotts New Orleans Due to Creationism Law

By Carol Forsloff     Mar 27, 2009 in Politics
There's more of us than there is of them.” The preacher on the radio spoke vehemently about a scientific organization's decision not to hold a conference in New Orleans. He said that creationists hold the upper hand in Louisiana.
While the country pedals in a new direction with a new administration interested in exploring the avenues of science, Louisiana's law on creationism is in the way of economic benefit. The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology wrote to Bobby Jindal stating that it has decided not to hold its 2011 convention in New Orleans but instead electing to use Salt Lake City for its major meeting instead. Their decision is based upon the State of Louisiana's decision allowing the teaching of creationism and intelligent design along with other theories, including evolution, in its science curriculum. In addition classrooms are allowed to supplement science texts with materials outside of state-approved science texts.
I don't know the preacher who spoke over the radio a few days ago and just caught a snippet of his presentation, relative to the science organization's decision about the conference. But I do know people like him. What I recognize, based upon information gleaned over nearly three years of helping to run a small newspaper in the north central section, is that many people agree with the preacher and would uphold the law passed by the Louisiana legislature last year.
I approached one of the legislators about to discuss this issue recently, and he seemed unaware of the law and what it meant. Representative Rick Nowlin didn't seem to know and said he would look into it. That was a year ago, and I have heard nothing since. Apparently some folks don't know; others don't care. But the science organization does and has made a definite statement about it in that they refuse to bring their business to Louisiana because of the state's decision to allow the teaching of creationism and intelligent design as well as evolution in the science curriculum..
Bobby Jindal not only supported the legislation last year, he was behind much of it. He has a strong base of evangelist support in Louisiana, particularly in the north central area where he handily won most of the vote during his run for Governor in 2007. Although he was called upon to reconsider the law last year, he refused. He is viewed as one of the top Republican spokesmen and gave the opposition speech against President Obama's platform and address to the nation early this year.
New Orleans Crying in the Rain
Empty desolate, rain-covered street on Jackson Square in New Orleans stands virtually empty at time when it would have been busy. It needs convention business in order to regain its stature and revitalize its economy.
Carol Forsloff
In the case of Aguillard Vs Edward the Supreme Court declared unconstutional Louisiana's law to exclude evolution in favor of creationism. The Court declared that it violated the establishment clause of the Constitution that maintains that the government should not support one particular religious point of view to the exclusion of others. Yet Louisiana used a different approach to put its beliefs into law.
New Orleans needs business, and conventions have been part of its economic maintenance and recovery. This new decision from a scientific organization not to hold its conference has been covered by the New Orleans major newspaper, the Times Picayune. The organization of 2300 members brought more than 1800 people to Boston last year. Jindal's response was not to answer the organization's letter about the conference and the law, simply stating through a spokesperson that it was too bad since other groups choose New Orleans as convention sites.
The issue raises the question whether folks will choose New Orleans with its weather worries and controversies when the state has rejected stem cell research and teaches creationism when science groups reject it as a venue for conventions. Teachers and other scientific groups may follow suit, which might impact the convention business in New Orleans. That could be another blow to the great city that offers so much interest and activity and that needs financial support so much as it continues to rebuild since Hurricane Katrina.
More about Creationism, New orleans, Bobby jindal
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