Friday, February 10, 2012

Republican Candidates' Views: School Prayer, Vouchers, Creationism

Official Prayers in Public Schools
Newt Gingrich is a former Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. When a federal judge in 2011 forbade graduation prayer in a Texas school district, he proposed to abolish the court.
In 2005, U.S. Representative Ron Paul introduced a bill to remove “any claim involving the policies of any…government relating to the free exercise or establishment of religion” from the jurisdiction of federal courts.
In 2008, he wrote, “Issues like prayer in schools.…were never meant to be decided by federal judges.”
Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has not talked about school-sponsored prayer. A search of the internet found several sites that say he favors it, but they report no comments or votes.
In 1994, Mitt Romney said, “Local school districts…could not endorse specific religious beliefs or prayer in schools.” As Governor of Massachusetts in 2006, he said, “We ought to allow…graduation ceremonies…the ability to recognize the Creator.”
Tuition Vouchers for Nonpublic Schools
Santorum said, “The government.…force [parents]…to turn their children over to the public education system and wrest control from them.…That has to change.” He voted in favor of a voucher program in 2001 in the U.S. Senate.
Gingrich said, “We’d be far better off if most states adopted a program of the equivalent of Pell Grants for K-through-13, so that parents could choose where their child went to school, whether it was public, or private, or home-schooling.…”
Ron Paul favors credits against the federal income tax bill for tuition paid to nonpublic schools. He opposes federal tuition vouchers. He voted against the federal voucher program for Washington, D.C.
In 1994, as a candidate for U.S. Senate, Romney pledged to vote for a means-tested federal voucher program. As Governor of Massachusetts, he favored vouchers in principle, but he did nothing to promote them.
Creationism in Public-School Science Classes
Santorum wanted the 2001 federal education bill to require intelligent design creationism in science classes. The conference committee rejected his proposal, but included it in the conference report.
In 2005, Santorum said, “I’m not comfortable with intelligent design being taught in the science classroom. What we should be teaching are the problems and holes…in the theory of evolution.
In 2007, Paul said, “I think it’s a theory…the theory of evolution, and I don’t accept it as a theory.
The same year, Gingrich said, “Evolution certainly seems to express the closest understanding we can now have.…I believe evolution should be taught as science.”
Also in 2007, Romney said, “I believe that God…created the universe. And I believe evolution is most likely the process he used to create the human body.…Science class is where to teach evolution.”

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