The four major Republican candidates for Texas Lieutenant Governor met in the first televised debate of the race last night.
Current Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst faced off against the men who want his job: Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, State Sen. Dan Patrick and Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples.
Three of those candidates spoke out in support of teaching creationism in Texas public schools – a move that would be unconstitutional.
The debate on Waco TV station KCEN focused on border security, the role of the Tea Party in Texas politics and education.
All four GOP candidates agreed religion should play a larger role in public education. Three agreed creationism should be taught, including Commissioner Staples. “Well, as a Christian, creationism certainly should be taught,” Staples said. “We don’t need to approach our school system in a manner of political correctness. We need to absolutely demand that our value systems are influencing our kids.”
But UT law Professor Scott Powe says there’s no question that teaching creationism in public schools is unconstitutional.
“Texas would be sued, the ACLU would get attorneys fees when they win it,” Powe says. “The Supreme Court in 1987 … struck down a Louisiana statute that required teaching creationism whenever Darwin was also taught.”
Land Commissioner Patterson was the only candidate who didn’t speak out in explicit support of teaching creationism.
The Texas primary is March 4.